Origins came to a close yesterday, though lucky people are leaving Columbus today. Last week was good in a lot of ways, not the least of which were the launches of two new shows.
Fate of the Zakros Planes (Span?)
FotP and Zakros Span both launched last week and as of now each has over 50 listens. That’s pretty damn good for a podcast that’s 1, in a small market of interest and 2, has only been around 19 weeks.
Zakros will have a new episode Thursday, and I’m still trying to decide if FotP will be weekly or every other week. The sessions we record are more infrequent and I’d hate to run out of content of we go weekly. Also, I’d need to find the time tonight to edit a new episode. So, we’ll see.
The convention starts on Wednesday and in years past, that’s been kind of a throwaway day. People will be around, but there aren’t many scheduled events and the dealer’s hall isn’t open. This year, Wednesday felt like a real day at the con (for all that I didn’t get there until after work at 6 or so.) I thought that was notable. There seemed to be more people there all weekend, but things felt easier to navigate. I’m interested to see the official numbers to see if my feelings were accurate.
I’m not gonna bore y’all with a day-by-day recap, so here are the highlights:
Meeting with Encoded Designs
I’ve not really ever scheduled a meeting with the publisher before. This one went really well. We’re working out the details, so I can’t go into detail yet. Suffice it to say that a setting I love is going to be getting a second life and I’ll do much better at it this time. It’s an amazing opportunity. Getting to work with people who are passionate and dedicated to doing what they love and excel at in games is always something to be happy about.
I got to play some good games this weekend, too. That’s almost rare for me at cons because I usually run so many sessions. (Spoilers: I didn’t run any games this year.)
- Monsterhearts 2 – Kira Magrann ran two of my sessions this year, both at Games on Demand. This session of Monsterhearts was set in her fictional Springfield, OH and featured the monsters (us), fighting against the racist punks so prevalent in our small town. I played a total tease of a Vampire and had a great time. A couple of the players didn’t seem to buy in completely, but the rest of us all clicked pretty well and it ended up being a good session. Kira runs good games.
- Sync – Kira also writes good games! Sync is her community-centered cyberpunk game, Powered by the Apocalypse. I played the Driver and did my best to channel Dominic Toeretto. I had the absolute pleasure of playing alongside Gavin White. We were on the same wavelength from the jump, as we played siblings in the game. Highlight of the game was Gavin leaning over to me and asking if my character (Kanada Range) liked Hamilton songs, then narrating an emotional montage featuring Lafayette’s entrance during Guns and Ships.
- Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate – I got into an after-hours session of this gem, and it was awesome. If you like Betrayal at House on the Hill and you like Baldur’s Gate as a fantasy setting, this will be like peanut butter and chocolate to you. The game plays faster than the original (at least, the one run-through of it was), and it all worked well. We stopped our Traitor, and the city was saved from the depredations of a long-dead serial killer. Yay!
- Tavern Brawlers – Brian Patterson brought the prototype of his beat-em-up board game, and I had a good time with it. It’s Karthun-themed, and it was a lot of fun to take the iconic characters in Karthun and knock each other down while trying to avoid angry bar patrons. Like I said, it was a prototype, and I can’t wait for the final version of it.
- Traveler – The original! Bill White was running this all weekend (and yes, I survived character creation). I played a stupid-as-rocks ex-Army Lieutenant who was skilled in Gambling and Administrative tasks. I walked from the Army directly into a mid-level bureaucrat job on a space elevator. From there, I helped grease the wheels for my companions to bring a biological payload from the surface of the planet. I didn’t dig the system so much (no surprise there), but the session itself was fun.
- Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game – I played a demo of this in the dealer’s hall and it was fun, as always. As soon as I have a chance to pick up a copy, I’d really like to. I’ve never won a round of the game, and this one was no different. We came close, but the last die rolls didn’t go our way.
And that’s it for games! The rest of the convention was the best part:
All the People and All the Conversations
Seeing people is the heart of a convention for me. This year I came into Origins with no agenda and no responsibilities aside from that one meeting and signing some Karthun books with Brian. The rest of the weekend, from Thursday through Sunday, was spent talking and relaxing with people I like. I got to see old friends, and I got to meet some people in person whom I had previously only known online. It was awesome.
The biggest change was that I didn’t have any expectations. That’s a thing often said with a negative connotation, but for me, it meant just being there in the moment. I didn’t worry about who I was going to see or why or for how long. Sure, I’d have loved to have the opportunity to talk to more people. Overall, I was grateful for the time I had with the people I did see, whether it was a long conversation or a passing wave in the hall. I didn’t worry about networking or getting to know specific people. I just went and had a good time. It’s the first convention where I’ve ever been able to do that and it was awesome.
I’m hopeful that approaching the weekend that way will mitigate the inevitable con drop that will come this week. It’s always hard to leave a group of people who’re “your people.” So remember, if you’re home after this convention, or you go to one in the future, keep reaching out online to the people you saw. Keep those connections going and look forward to when you get to see them next. It’s hard to be away, but your people are out there.
Thanks for the great weekend, Origins. Let’s do it again next year.