Monday, June 16, 2014

Origins 2014 Reactions

What can I say? I had a good time. I met some cool people including DM Scotty. The official line from GAMA is that attendance was up this year. I think there were more people there Thursday and Friday which were both dead days last year but Saturday did not really feel crowded to me. 

Please fix on-site registration. This had been a mess every year since the convention has been in Columbus. There was a picture, posted on Facebook, of the line to register on Saturday that one person claimed as proof of the success of the convention but I saw it as a failure in customer service. The line at the BMV in Ohio moves faster than the Origins line. Ohio is ranked #1 in customer experience but there is a lot more to issuing license plates or a driver's license than printing a badge to enter Origins. Other conventions have figured out how to take registration payments online after pre-registration so why can't Origins? At a Wizard World Con I was able to buy my tickets with my phone while in line and then move to the pre-registration pick up line.

Restore the vendor hall. The entire vendor hall seemed sparse this year. There were only one or two no-shows but the lack of independent miniature vendors and the large discount retailers made the hall feel empty. Moving some of the board game vendors to the board game hall was not a bad idea but I think many may have missed the memo. The companies I noticed the absence of were Chimera Hobby, Pulp Miniatures, Covert /Slugathon Gamers, Cardhaus and Looney Labs. I spent lots less in the vendor hall this year as compared to years past.

Help the GMs. Give them a count after registration closes for each event they are running. They should not have to ask for it. I waited with one poor GM Friday morning with a generic in hand hoping the at least two more players would show so that we could play his game. He like many of the others had no clue how many people had signed up for his game. Another great addition would be an online scheduling system that runs after pre-registration ends until the convention ends so that you don't have to wait in line to find out if  a game you want to play is sold out or worse show up for a game with a generic to find out it is sold out (or over booked!) These are problems that have been around a while and are relatively easy to fix.

Better Signs and/or Information. Where was Artemis? Geek Chic? Stronghold Games? WizKids?

I know GAMA/Origins has no control over the Greater Columbus Convention Center but it was not great that at least one of the snack areas was cash only. The Java City was able to take credit but not the snack vendor next to BattleTech. What gives? They had signs saying "cash only, sorry for the inconvenience" and thanks to a few cash only vendors <cough> Star Realms <cough> I was short on cash a couple of days and could not get my kettle corn and cotton candy fix.

Overall not a bad show. A little disappointing but I will hope that there are changes for the better next year.

Origins Show FAQ

What was the favorite game you played?
Fantasy Quest - Miniature Skirmish Rules

So, What did you buy?
Mice and Mystics with expansion set
Call of Catthulu RPG
Get Lucky (Kill Dr. Lucky card game)
2 Dystopia Rising Splat books
My son Nick bought Star Realms

What did you almost buy?
Myth by Merc Games
Dragon Head Trophy by David Lee Pancake

What did you want to buy but could not find?
WizKids Godzilla Figures
Formula E by Clever Mojo Games (Elephant Racing!)

What new product looks promising?
WizKids new Dragon Combat game licensed from Wizards of the Coast

What was the strangest vendor in the hall?
Vendor selling oysters each guaranteed to have a pearl 

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