Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Annual Origins Rant 2016 edition

I am going to start with a huge positive. The content of the show may have been the best I have ever seen. The vendor area was completely full plus the main game area had another six of so vendors with items for sale and large demo areas. Wizards of the Coast had a huge Dungeons and Dragons area, Wizkids had a huge area with multiple tournaments and there was a massive Yuh Gi Oh tournament as well. There was a kids area with Pokemon, board games and video game areas, Artemis bridge simulators, and a screening room for geeky movies (The Gamers et al). Also kudos to GAMA for making the Origins Awards a public event. Clearly GAMA has put all their effort into making the post registration experience as full as possible.

Now the bad. Registration! Everything I have ever said about it before and more. Much more.

Please fix it. We, the gamers, have asked you before to fix it and you tell us it'll be better next year. But it never is. The long lines for on site registration were unbelievable this year. Does GAMA understand that it takes less time to renew your license plates or renew your driver's license in Ohio? This is something that is equivalent of buying a ticket to a movie or the zoo both of which would go out of business if they operated like this. 

Windows updates happen every Tuesday night. Always. If your PCs are off then they WILL happen Wednesday morning. If you want to avoid these you can turn them off. You could also make sure to apply them before opening so that your line does not halt while you reboot every PC. Really, that is the most bush league move you have ever pulled.

Perhaps running out of coupon books on Wednesday qualifies are more pathetic than Windows updates. Really, how many years has Origins had a coupon book? I don't remember them ever running out of them before but running out on Wednesday. I was lucky enough to get one of the reprints on Saturday, late morning when the registration line was crazy long (two hours I am told).

Along with these were the long, crazy lines.  People arrived early Wednesday thinking they'd avoid the lines to be greeted with lines in excess of two hours in some cases. Then it was so much much on Thursday. Friday seemed more manageable but Saturday at 10 AM was a zoo. Lots of unhappy people from the start.

So, how do we fix it you ask? I think there are many simple fixes that could be implemented that would actually help people get into the show faster.

1> Print and mail DM and Early Bird Registration badges. Ok, GAMA don't tell me how this won't work. GenCon has done it for years. It will work and it will help to ensure DMs are able to get their games on time, which, in turn allows people to enjoy the show. Use volunteers who can earn free badges and Origins swag.

2> An on-site registration line for badges only. Walk up, pay, print then enjoy the show.

3>  Don't ask for as much information and don't make the registrant write it in line so you can copy into the computer. Just ask them and type it in. That was everyone gets to ...wait for it...enjoy the show sooner. Name and email address is more than enough in most cases (especially 2 above). 

4> Self service kiosks where you can use a credit or debit card to buy a badge or register for a game. Walk up scan your card, enter what you want, search for an event, print and enjoy the show.

5> An on-site registration check in system. Take a number and go sit down. GAMA announces groups of numbers so that the perceived wait is not as bad.

6> Monitors or something that show the next three hours or so of events and if there are slots open. This has been something Origins has needed for years. Many times the DMs are not even told how many people signed up for their event. You could have two monitors side by side one for events that are full and one for events that have slots open. This will certainly help many people enjoy the show.

Now, on to rants about individual vendors.

The Biggest Loser of the show goes to Packrat comics of right here in Hilliard, Ohio. You spent money on a booth and only placed info cards in it. No merchandise. None. Zip. Nada. Booooo!

Second biggest loser of the show goes to Fireside games. Everyone seemed to LOVE Star Trek: Panic! The fact that you had no copies of that game to sell earns my scorn.

The Lost Opportunity award goes to Osprey Games. I was hoping for a booth filled with Frostgrave goodness including sneak peaks at new stuff and miniatures. Instead there were three themed board games that really were not what I had envisioned being there. No miniatures at all. Sad.

Hey but what did you buy?

This year was, for me, a down year for the large board game and big RPG release. My friends enjoyed the demo of Star Trek:Panic but sadly the was not available at the  show (but is in stores). Subsequently, I bought fewer items than in years past. I finally broke down and bought a Wyrmwood Dice Tower, tray and dice vault and that was my big purchase this year. I also bought Cthulhu Realms(card game)Epic Spell WarsFlapjacks and Sasquatches and a second copy of Roll For It. Additionally, I was given a copy of Lake Billy and played the spin and win game at R and R games and won a copy of Spectaculum. As far as RPGs go I bought the Ultimate Grimtooth's Traps Collection and the two supplements the the Remnants RPG Broken Lands I and II. Lastly, I bought a stack of Planets and Moons Map System tiles from  a Place to Play toys.

Favorite Demo?

Wrath of Dragons by Catalyst Game Labs. Not the kind of game I would usually play but the theme of dragons ravaging a continent helped.

Coolest thing you saw that was not for sale?

Dresden Files card game. I did not even get to demo it and was still impressed. Looked like lots of fun. I cannot wait until the Kickstarter come through on this.

Dresden Files card game demo
My spin and win prize!
Wrath of Dragons

No comments:

Post a Comment