Origins 2007 — Pack Mule of the Revolution
Origins was, as always, a really great time.
Wednesday was a fairly nice drive out. It was overcast and cool. The wrath-of-god style rain was kind enough to not start until the last 30 minutes of the drive. (note to wild-west-bill: Look at all the fireworks shops we passed IN OHIO! Neener-neener) We unloaded the racks, got our badges, went on a absurdly long trek to find a place to eat, ended up watching youngiskander force a Ohioan waiter to curse at him. Then was a game of Serial in the too-loud Hyatt Regency bar with imogena, Michele, Nathan Paoletta, youngiskander, wild-west-bill. drivingblind, Mike Holmes, and myself observed. Plus, I entrusted my sacred Legos to Nathan to use for booth demos–which would prove to be most successful, as we shall see.
Thursday was my busiest day of the con. Kat had a With Great Power… at 8am. I got her settled at her table and then got ready for my 10am game of WGP. It had 4 players and was pretty good. One guy was addicted to bad puns and would have likely had more fun in a game of Stuper Powers, but everyone else had fun, and I know I made some sales from that game.
After the game was slurping down some amazing pad thai at the North Market, and then sitting on the “Design Your Own Game … Dimmit!” panel. I was all set and ready to play Ed McMahon to Luke Crane’s Johnny Carson, but Luke’s plane was late! I thought I was going to have to run solo. Luke triumphantly strode in with a full minute and a half to spare! The panel went really well, with folks from Mike Holmes, Ralph Mazza, and Jared Sorensen, to Mendel S., Clyde Rhoer and the seldom-spotted Jake Norwood showing up during the duration. It went well and I think we urged some folks to think outside the box.
AFter that was dinner and my 8pm game of By The Stars. I had 4 players, and, on the whole, it did not go well. I’ll analyze that in my next BTS post.
Friday was a mirror-image of Thursday, only less so. Get Kat to her 8am game, run my own 10am With Great Power game. It was my best scheduled event of the con! I met a great guy named Clarence who just plain was made to play this game! Plus, I had a 12-13 year old girl in my game who was a blast. In one enrichment scene, her stakes were “If I win, he wants to ask me to the prom, but doesn’t know how!” That’s what WGP was built for!
After that was the Self-Publishing panel with Luke, Jared, Jake and myself, plus Ralph and Mike Holmes weighing in from the peanut gallery. It was very informative and helpful to the attendees, I think.
I was free in the evening, but Peter Atkinson had stopped by the booth and was looking for some avante garde gaming, so that evening Alexander, Nathan and I played Ganakagok with Peter and his dad Gary. It was a really great game. My character supplanted Nathan’s as the shaman of the tribe and led them south to the homelands of the sun. But I was a terrible shaman and within a generation, my people had been completely assimilated into the peoples of the south–my character’s daughter was even the first to marry an outsider! O the tragedy! But the show-stopping moment of the game came from Gary, whose wizened star-gazer stopped a potentially-tribe-splitting argument by pulling out the only glass vase the tribe had ever owned. It was full of wolves’ teeth that the tribe had killed over many generations. He hurled it to the ground and said “This bickering makes us like these teeth. And I will have none of it.” Then he strode off into the icy wastes. The rest of us were left speechless.
Saturday I just had one game scheduled. Actually, Kat and I were each scheduled to run WGP at 10am. Her game attracted 4 players with generics (including Clarence and his wife Naomi) and mine had one player with a ticket. So I escorted my player over to her table and she ran ParaNormals for a full table of five.
Which was forturnate, as IPR was in danger of running out of cash register ribbon. I made a Staples run to stock up.
After Kat’s game, Clyde Rhoer of Theory from the Closet interviewed Kat and I about the Indie Games Explosion, Games on Demand, Serial, and With Great Power… Cyde is a great interviewer and we had fun.
In more podcasting news, I also did an interview about With Great Power.. that afternoon with Mario Dongu of The GameMaster Show. That was fun and I look forward to catching up on past shows.
The first big surprise of Saturday was Paul Czege and his wife Daniele coming down from Detroit! The got in about 7pm and we all played some Bang! and then we grabbed some dinner. The dinner party was me, Kat, Bill, Clyde, Daniele and Paul. Durning dinner, we had the second big surprise: Burning Empires won the Origins Award for Best RPG! I was floored! I still am! This is fantastic news!!
AFter the euphoria settled, we went back the food court and played a rousing game of Serial. Our players were Kat, me, Daniele, Paul, Mike Holmes, Clyde, Chris Slager (of the GM’s Show), and Bill. The game was good, but really suffered from the superabundance of players. We did get some hepful feedback that we more fully chewed over on the drive home. Bedtime: 3am
Sunday both Kat and I had 10am games. Hers was WGP and mine was By The Stars. This rendition had 8 players and went much, much better. Again, more details in a future BTS post. Kat was sure she would have sold 3 copies of WGP from her morning session, except the last copy was sold about 11am. After that was grabbing of lunch and breaking-down of booth. We loaded up and were on the road by 5:30. We decided to do the trip home in 2 legs to make the 2nd leg more bearable. Things were looking good until we hit some sort of traffic problem about 30-40 miles from the Ohio/West Virginia border. Luckily, we were right at an exit and navigated the foothils of eastern Ohio for about an hour. Nice scenery, but some nerve-wracking driving. We stayed the night in Washington, PA.
Monday was Kat’s birthday. We drove and drove and were making very good time. Such good time that we thought a diversion northward to the Knoebels amusement park might be fun. We were barely 20 miles into our diversion when the engine temperature red-lined and steam started pouring out from under the hood. The rest of the trip consisted of calling AAA and riding home in the tow truck. Fun. I’m not sure how long my car will be able to fulfill the duties of Pack Mule of the Revolution.
All in all, Origins is one of the best, most fun cons around. And this year didn’t disappoint. Much thanks to eruditus and spring_violet for their generosity which made the trip possible. Not spending time at the booth works well for me, I think. I’m not a salesman and don’t play one well at game conventions. But running games? That’s where I shine.
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