Saturday, June 13, 2015

Origins 2015!

Origins! Woo!

Yeah, I know. GAMA doesn't do administrative stuff well, their software is weird, etc. Don't care. Still love this con, and attendance was up this year, so that's great to hear. Let's see some pictures!

This year was special because my daughter Teagan was in attendance, and ran her first con game. So we picked her up from her last day of school on Wednesday and hit the road.

We stopped at Grandpa's Cheese Barn on the way, because obviously. 
We got to the con and unloaded the stuff for our booth, and then I went to go fight with registration about exhibitor badges.
Michelle doing booth assembly. 
See, here's the problem. If you want an exhibitor badge, you have to wait until those become open to register. Which is great...if you don't plan to sign up for any events. I do want to sign up for events. That meant I had have them cancel my badge, cancel my events, sign me up for a new badge, and then sign me up for my events real quick. It worked, it just took a long time. But we got it sorted and the folks at registration were really nice and patient.

Back to the booth, then: We couldn't get it entirely set up, because most of the flooring hadn't been delivered. See, funny story, UPS randomly decided to deliver half of our flooring to our house in Cleveland, rather than the hotel that we'd specified as the delivery address. So...huh? But, Amazon and UPS worked with us, and got stuff shipping down to us. So we set up as much booth as we could...

 ...and fucked off to get dinner.

We got dinner at Bare Burger, a lovely little place across the street from the convention center that serves (you guessed it) burgers, many of them made from bison or wild boar. Very tasty food, though I think the staff isn't used to Origins. When I walked in, I just had Teagan with me, and the host said, "two?" And I said, "no, eight, they're just not here yet. Actually, we're both four people." He just kind of blinked. I said, "dude, it's gonna get a lot weirder than me this weekend, best be ready."

Teagan contemplates burgers.

Tim & Travis.

Cheyenne, Michelle's shirt, and half of Chris' face.
 Anyway, dinner done, we went back over the convention center. I walked Teagan around a bit so she knew the lay of the land, including the giant inflatable sheep.

You thought I was kidding?
And then she had her first game, which was Are You a Werewolf? I wound up playing, too, because I had nothing else going on and why not? AYAW is an Origins staple; we also often play it at our holiday party, though there are some differences. The Origins folks have everyone pat their legs during the night so that you can't listen to movement and try and figure out the werewolves that way (not that it mattered, as loud as the room was). I always find that weird, because it's not like there's anything else to go on, not if you don't know the people and know their tells. Ah, well. It was fun, I got eaten by werewolves, and then we headed back to the room for rest.


So, first thing was finishing booth set-up before the hall opened. We got the flooring and got the booth completed, and I think it looked pretty nice.

Buy one of each!

The booth from the other angle.
Thursday I worked the booth, and then had an afternoon Chill game that didn't happen because I didn't get players. Bummer. So I wound up wandering the dealer's room a bit. Teagan had a game earlier in the day...

I believe this would be the infamous "anime weird ninja school" game where they give out candy.
I found Tim doing demos in the booth...

 And Jerry in his booth...

Sellin' books. 

But that night, after dinner, Michelle and I went to Games on Demand, and there was a crazy line of people to get in.

Like a Cedar Point ride.

We wound up playing in a game of Feng Shui 2nd Edition, which was lots of fun. I was a magical cop named Stephen Wei, and lots of fun Jet Li-esque shenanigans were had. Michelle was a sorceress thrown forward in time to handle some Chi weirdness. We fight crime!

The games was really well-run, I think. There were a couple of moments were the GM paused to explain things for a bit too long, but it wasn't an ongoing problem, and the fight scenes (which are important to Feng Shui were evocative and quick-paced). This was run through Games on Demand, and they have yet to disappoint. My Grade: A

The GM, some sheets, my pen. Very minimalist. 
Then sleep! Then Friday!

Friday was the day that Teagan was going to run her game of Cat. I was supposed to be free until 2 so I could be with her for her first hour of the game, but Cheyenne got sick and lost her voice, so I had to run two Chill games back to back. Which was somewhat exhausting, but hey.

So the first game went fine, but it ran over a bit. I took a break close to the end to go get Teagan going, but Michelle wound tagging in. I should note Teagan did some cosplay that day:

With her friend Noe.
But she ran the game, it went well, I segued directly into my second game of Chill, which also went well. That finished up about six, and we had some time to wander. Teagan was supposed to be in a game of Mammoth Catan, but Origins fucked the schedule up, so that got cancelled.

Looks cool, though, dunnit?
We saw a "rocket ship" made of balloons.

Sometimes, a balloon is just a balloon. 
We were supposed to play The One Ring that night, but that got cancelled, so we crashed out instead.


First thing: Teagan and I played in a game of Barbarians of Lemuria retooled for Thundarr, the Barbarian!

Now, my dad used to watch Thundarr with me on Saturday mornings, and it was a show we liked. I didn't have time to show Teagan much of it, but she got a sense of how it worked. She played Princess Ariel, I played Ookla the Mok, and we beat up a bunch of evil monsters and destroyed the Moon Men and saved the world. It was pretty awesome. The GM kept things moving and moved the spotlight appropriately, and, most important, he played off the 10-year-old at his table nicely; he didn't talk down to her or just tell her what to do (which is good, because Teagan can have great ideas on her own if you give her a minute, but she'll go along with whatever folks suggest in a game otherwise). My Grade: A

Character tiles!

Fightin' rat monsters!
And then some lunch at North Market, and then I had a game of Chill to run, which went fine (got to see people I don't get to play with often, which is always neat).

And then more Chill+Monica Valentinelli had asked me to run a game for her, so I gathered up some folks and we played a game of Chill in the Big Bar, at a Geek Chic table. I liked this game; it's quick and tense. I think maybe I will use it as a con game going forward. No PC deaths, though the monster used the Chill discipline at the end and threw everyone for a loop.

Captain America came to visit. 
Monica and Jerry review their mission. 

Bat Lord: Banished! Woo!
And then sleep? Naw, and then we sat up chatting and drinking forever. And then sleep.

And then Sunday! Sunday morning at Origins means only one thing: Clay-o-Rama! It was weird this year, though. I had eight people signed up, but only four showed, so it went really quickly.

Preparing for battle. 
So that was quick, and then back into the dealer's room to wander around for a while before it was time for tear-down.

Chill book, tokens, dice, and a character sheet. You know you wanna buy it
And then tear-down!



And that was Sunday. Monday, we were still there. We got everything packed up, and got on the road to Baltimore for a little mini-vacation, leaving the ruins of the con behind...until next year.

Wait...I still...function...