Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The last week in June was Origins Game Fair, a four day gaming convention in Columbus, Ohio. A group of my friends and I go every year and it’s always a good time. This year didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Thursday – Day 1

I was helping Privateer Press run a Warmachine/Hordes tournament so I had to be at the convention center around 9am. I got my badge and my pre-reg tickets (not a fun prospect this year) and was the Co-tournament organizer for the morning and most of the afternoon. After the tournament was finished I wandered through the Dealer‘s Hall seeing if there was anything that I wanted/needed to buy. In the end, I went ahead and picked up the new Risk’s and Rewards card for ATZ by Two Hour Wargames. As an added bonus, I got Red Sand, Blue Sky for half off. There has been a lot of talk of that game on the yahoo board and I could pass up the 50% off sale!

The only game I played in before heading to sleep was Assault on Vault 51. It’s a fallout scenario using the Mutant’s and Death Rays rule set produced by Ganesha Games. It had a wonderful looking terrain and the game was well thought out and provided a ton of enjoyment. I am going to keep my thoughts and game recap to a minimum since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is going to play in it. After the game it was around midnight and since I woke up at 5 am to get to the convention on time, I didn’t feel all that bad for cutting out early.

Some of the beautiful terrain used in the Assault on Vault 51 game!

Spending: $20

Friday – Day 2

I got to the game room a bit early so I had some time to kill. As I was wondering around, a game of Deathrace (based off the Warlands system) was starting and even though I told them I couldn’t stick around for the while race, I jumped in. The rules are quite simple and the game itself was a lot of fun. I was bumped by a car during the first turn and that player managed to do a critical that killed my driver. It turns out with all the crashing and bumping that no car survived to the first ‘curve’. I was killed by my awesome ram in the back of two vehicles (after using nitro of course).

If you look closely, there is a car barely over the start/finish line (way behind yellow), that's me!

Again I was helping run a Warmachine/Hordes tournament. This only was a 2 caster/’lock, 50 point beast/warjack and it was a whole lot of fun to watch. Since we had an odd number of players and the second TO left to hang with his father for a round, I even got to play a Haley/Striker list against a Cryx player. Due to the number of players, the tournament ended a bit early so I spent the remainder of my time wandering about the game hall before my game that night. I picked up a couple of block die from Impact miniatures and some counters from Litko (http://www.litkoaero.com/)

In the evening, I played in an “Adventures in Lost Lands” game (by Two hour wargames) ran by Ed himself. There were 8 players so we split into two groups of 4 (with a bearer apiece). This game was a lot of fun. For some reason, the fates were against my side and we had to deal with a couple of feeder dino’s (which we wounded and sent towards the other group), Trogs (which we handled without any issues), Early Man (who surprised us and kill most of our team’s bearers) and second dino (who turned out to be a meat eater). We managed to kill it, but one of us was wounded in the process.

See the other dino's flee in the wake of KONG!

While trying to skin that dino (to prove their existence), three PEF (that’s possible Enemy force) showed up right on top of us… One of those PEF turned out to be King Kong! I fled when he came “In sight” but the others fled when Kong went after one of our hunters. Of course, we flee towards the other group and after losing one of their hunters, manage to kill Kong (amazing die rolls I might add). I didn’t make it off the table. I was attacked by the other of those PEFs after Kong ran through and we grouped back up. A great game!

Afterwards, I found a group just starting Red Dragon Inn and sat down to play. It was great fun and I even managed to win the game allowing me to have a chance at a prize. I rolled amazing (a 17 on a d20) and got Street Illegal for free.

Spending: $25 (but I knew I was buying Warlands when I came home)

Saturday – Day 3

This day was jammed pack with gaming starting at 8 am and heading straight through until 4pm. First up was “Wings of War” with miniatures. I really enjoyed the game with its simple rules and quick play. Due to an error in scheduling, a second group of people showed up to play at 9am and we all just played a huge 4 on 4 battle. Great fun… I can’t remember the young lady that showed us how to play, but I can tell you that she was a fighting ace taking down at least 4 planes in the short time we played… Even got me on turn two (took 4 damage cards that were enough to destroy my plane).

After that, it was time for some Savage Showdown in the Iron Dynasty campaign setting. The book is not out, but they are hopeful for Gencon. When I signed up, I wasn’t so excited about the setting since it’s ancient Japan with steampunk included, but I couldn’t find any other Savage Worlds non-RPG so I figured I’d take a stab at it. The game was a lot of fun even if my side (with the designer no less) didn’t manage to win. Each team had a clockwork vehicle of some sort, a magician of some sort (a wild card) and a couple of units (some samurai and some ‘shooters’. I was playing the vehicle (which tried to go toe-to-toe with the other vehicle and was destroyed). The system plays great as a skirmish wargame, but the point system can be easily abuse. I figured that I enjoyed the rule changes and the game enough that I’ll probably pick that up in the end.

The two steampunk vehicles command respect (at least their's did).

Final scheduled game for the day was a Battlestations game called Bot Wars ran by one of the designers (Jeff instead of Jason) and it was a hoot. There newest release is a mini-campaign where the bots have gone crazy and are attacking the humans (and the rest technically). We barely managed to survive the game. The only major beef with the convention games is that the returning characters can be a pick strong which really can have a huge impact. Our game was super rough since we had a level 6 pilot that was awesome at flying the ship, but the scenario we played was all about fighting robots. A friend of mine said his game was a mess since they had a level 6 marine who single-handedly fought most of the robot attackers! I’m glad that our game wasn’t that one-sided.

After that, it was back to the dealer’s room to again look about. Due to how much fun I had playing the Lost Lands game, I picked up a bunch of prehistoric models (mostly dinos, but I did pick up some prehistoric men).

Most of Saturday night was a trip to the Sausage house that we always go to. It’s has an all you can eat brat buffet with all the fixings. My only gripe (and it’s minimal at best) is that I eat too much good German food and am a mess for the remainder of the night (it’s also disheartening to leave the convention for ~2 hours, but I wouldn’t miss “Sausage Fest” for anything).

When I got back to the convention, a friend of mine (Justin) bought All Thing Zombie including some Rebel Mini 15mm zombies/survivors. Since we had some free time and didn’t have anything lined up, we put together a little scenario and played through the game. It was a bit rough to remember all the rules and such (it’s one thing to read the rules, it quite another to actually explain and play it). Still, with a lot of page flipping, we got through the game pretty well. Both of us had a Rep 5 survivor (star) and a Rep 4 grunt so things weren’t as bad as they could have been (like lower rep civies). I think we ran into only a couple of minor problems on our trek across the board (to a car park).

Spending: $60

Sunday – day 4

I had a single game lined up due to one getting cancelled. It was another from Ganesha Games called Song of Armies and Hordes. I wasn’t going to play this since I’m not a big fan of large scale battles, but in the end I stuck it out and played in it anyways. In the end, I’m glad I did; using their activation mechanic made famous in their “Song of…” series, it played fast and fun. Honestly, there were just a couple of minor changes to the core mechanic, but really made the game a lot of fun.

The Dwarven and Elves clash!

Afterwards, I went back into the dealer’s room for some last minute buys. I first picked up a copy of Bot Wars complete with autograph! Next, I picked up three boxes of Starship Trooper models (costing 5 dollars a box), a dreadnaught for my ‘space marines’ (I have a couple of squads from Space Hulk) and some of the Iron Kingdoms RPG miniature line (including a bridge troll for use in Blood Bowl). If that wasn’t enough, I bought more dinos and lions for gladiator gaming (when I finish reading the book of course).

Spending: $80

Somewhere in there I played in a Leviathans demo from Catalyst games. It has some really cool ideas to it and I can’t wait to see some of the finished product. I wish I would have taken more pictures of it since my memory is fuzzy on when I actually played it. The system is easy. You pick a weapon that has a color code which coincides with a die type (I’m told that the polyhedron dice are ‘weighted’). To that add any addition dice for ‘crew’ (green die) and a die from the target (its speed & trajectory). With those dice, a final normal d6 is rolled to determine location (much like in Warmachine for the column). Sum the value on the dice and check to see if equals or exceeds the armor value in that space that location is damaged and whatever was ‘there’ is gone. I guess the idea is the hull of the ships are standard, but the ‘slots’ for each ship are going to be customizable. We will see once it gets closer to release on the full rules and the like. If I didn’t have a bunch of other game systems sitting in the house, I’d probably get into it.

Final Thoughts:

Origins Game Fair is always a fun time and if you can make it, I recommend going. Nothing many of the big game companies there, but don’t let that stop you. The dealer’s room has more than enough stuff to keep a gamer like me happy and the games being played are always fun to watch and play! I can’t wait until next year.