Tuesday, June 28, 2011

She Said: Origins 2011 Part 2

Yesterday, I posted about The Good about Origins 2011. Well, unfortunately, it's that time where I talk about the not-so-good. I wish this was a bit shorter, but I promise to not drop the critical hit with Wall 'o Text on you this time.

The Bad
Origins 2011 Attendance
Origins has, historically, been the second-largest gaming convention in the U.S., with GenCon far in the lead. With that said, Origins can still boast an attendance number of 8,000-10,000, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, for this year, it felt more like 6,000. In years past, I have seen lines for tickets and badges wrap entirely around corners, down halls, up staircases. I've sat in line for hours, cursing my inability to pre-register for events, and wishing the lines were shorter.
Be careful what you wish for.

The Exhibit Hall
I swear, I get this feeling every time; it's the giddiness of walking into an Exhibit Hall on Thursday morning and looking at all the fun stuff to demo, the nifty costumes, old gaming books for deep discount. I can go up to the CEO of a gaming company and completely nerd out with him over his new Shadowrun 4th ed. books. (Which, by the way, are absolutely gorgeous.) But like the attendance, this year's Exhibit Hall seemed small in comparison to days of old. Although GAMA has said it sold out all booths before the convention, the Hall did not give me the feeling of elation, only mild disappointment. The number of booths demonstrating their new games felt was about right, but NOTHING looking interesting enough to demo. And that makes for a sad panda.

Doesn't everyone use this picture in at least one of their posts?

Mage Wars Cards
While waiting in line for tickets, a gentleman wearing an Arcane Wonders t-shirt came up to me and handed me a card for a new card-based board game called Mage Wars. After looking over the flimsy thing, I didn't realize the source of my distaste with it until my husband made the comment, "You can tell it's not professionally produced." I asked how he knew that, and he replied, "Because of the borders, they're all scuffed up. It would've been much better to have a white border, instead of a black one that has paint coming off in places. If you know your deck well enough, you can cheat just by memorizing the scuffs on individual cards."
And he's right. I remember that being a problem with M:TG Alpha, although M:TG cards, even during Alpha, were better made and not nearly as brittle around the edges. Shame too. It looked like an interesting game, but that just killed my interest in it.

Unfortunately, the bear also looks like a screenshot from the Discovery Channel's website.

Please don't get me wrong. Barley's has been a tradition with me and mine for many years now. We go there, drink their prized ales, eat Mildred's Sauerkraut Balls, and chat about the past few days of gaming goodness.
But you shouldn't make a group of 7 people wait for 45 minutes, and then try to seat 8 people that had just got there, no reservation either. One of our group, a feisty girl named Christina, even decided to go up to the hostess stand to give her what for.
We were seated 5 minutes later. And for the rest of the night, as I looked at the surprisingly poor food on my plate, I had disturbing thoughts resembling the scenes from Waiting.

Origins Future Dates
I'm sure some of you GAMAphiles have already heard. But for those of you who do not keep up with Origins/GAMA-related news, this will either upset or excite you. Here goes.
For at least the next two years, Origins will fall on Memorial Day. While that will obviously not affect the international community (unless there is also a holiday in their country that falls around late-May), it will have a definite impact upon the American gaming community, especially teachers and students.

Memorial Day is usually a time for families to have reunions, cook on their grills, and give thanks to the men and women of the Armed Forces, not to mention finishing up school and commencement ceremonies for graduation. It's a busy busy time for students, the parents of students, and teachers, all of which make up a decent chunk of the gaming community. While it will certainly help with costs in going to the convention, what money attendees might save in going, GAMA might lose with dropped attendance numbers.
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Bard said...

Whoa...planning the convention for Memorial Day sounds like a horrible idea.

Alpha said...

I might've freaked out on the hostess, too.

The Angry Lurker said...

Those scenes from waiting made me cringe about your problems in Barleys, good bad stuff though???

Zombie Ad said...

Things can only get better?

Sarah said...

Hm, seems attendance was up for this year at over 11,000. O_o

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