Report on ORIGINS '96 by Greg Nichols

I'll start by saying that though I've been to several small local
cons, this was my first ORIGINS.  My reaction was WOW!  The Columbus
Convention Center was huge.  Any consim gamer that stayed away because
they felt there wasn't going to be enough to do was dead wrong.  I never
saw so much wargaming in all my life.  From monster games to pocket
games. Chits, blocks, cards, and all other medium for wargaming was
present.  A virtual orgy of gaming.


I only entered a few but most of the gamers were quite pleasant and a
good time was usually had.  Some companies did a fine job at this:
Moments in History (good Tank demo), TCS (I played Clad in Iron
miniatures), Mayfair (played their GRAND PRIX and liked it so much I
bought it), and Columbia (plenty of opportunity to push blocks) come to
mind. The one glaring bad apple was GMT.  They were responsible for
running a DOWN IN FLAMES Team tournament and really messed up.  My
roommate and I entered BECAUSE it was to be a team tournament only to
find that nobody at GMT seemed to care about it since Gene B. couldn't
make it.  Mark Herman was sent at the last minute with no instructions
and by the time my partner and I got to it from other gaming events, a
junta group had devised a whole new tournament based on single player
play and multiple games.  I played DiF for four very busy hours.  Sigh.
I won't even get into the aftermath of the tournament and GMT's
cluelessness in terms of tournament prizes...

The Boardwalk:

Where all the companies came to hawk their wares.  And it was BIG.  Most
of the larger game companies were there.  Of the bigger companies,
Steve Jackson Games was the only one noticibly absent.  Many fine
displays such as The Gamers, Clash of Arms, Mayfair, US Games,
Magic folks of course, Columbia, and Speerit had a terrific display of
their game in about a 500% scale. Dice were everywhere in large amounts.
But CCG's had a good share of the limelight (Gettysburg by Columbia was
just beautiful).  I thought Mayfair showed what a class act they were with
not only a fine display but professional people selling and demoing their 
games.  If I had to focus on one area that was disappointing I would
say the lack of aggressive pricing on the part of the wargame companies.
Most did not offer any significant discounts on their games.  Many of
us came from hundreds of miles away and many gamers here were seeing 
particular games for the first time and yet many of the companies offered 
almost no discount to lure in potential new gamers  Avalon Hill was an 
obvious culprit (the baboons there forgot to bring the WE THE PEOPLE 
expansion card set that I was looking to pick up).  They did have 
AIR BARON available and discounted. GMT and Columbia had only the most
modest of discounts if any on their products.  Spearhead was aggressive
and even had their Gettysburg game in beta mode on display and taking 
discounted preorders).  Lots of ways to spend you money but I wasn't 
encouraged to spend more thanks to the stiff pricing by many of the 
wargame companies.


The wargames auction was from 10am-12 on Saturday and I got to see a
little over half of it.  It was well run (funny stories and some useful
descriptions of the games) and it was fun to see some of the competitive
bidding that was going on.  I grabbed a copy of DAWN PATROL in very good
shape (only partially punched) for $1.50.  I saw a first edition
(unpunched) copy of Ironclads and the expansion set go for about $70.
Lots of WiF copies showed up.  And somebody dumped their whole RISK
collection (six copies in a large white box  - even a '62 French

Overall impression:

My gaming buddy (David Richtmyer) and I had a fine time.  Columbus was a
good host city (had great dinners at Schmidt's in Germantown and at
the 94th Air Squadron out at Port Columbus).  There were many more
things to do (and many at the same time!) then time and energy allowed.
I finally met a few people whose names I've seen on the consim list and
in game box credits.  Finally, I can honestly say that attending this
con was like taking a drink from a fire hose.  But what I was able to
swallow was filling and tasty!

Back to Index

Send comments, suggestions, and fan mail

Page Last Updated: 4/10/03