Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton


The long Origins report. lj-cut for your ignoring convenience.

We had planned to head to Columbus Wednesday night, but we changed our minds. We planned to get an early start on Thursday.

So much for the early start. We got on the road around 10 or 11. We got to Columbus in mid-afternoon, and got to the convention center with only minor difficulty.

Pre-registration was complicated by the fact that Lori was registered under her maiden name. I blame myself for this. How embarrassing.

Went into the dealer's room, found the Cheapass booth. My services were not really needed; they seemed to have plenty of volunteers. I played some more Diceland, and quite enjoyed it this time. I'd like to play more.

Ran into Alex and Julie at the dealer's room, and made plans to play with them later.

Dinner was in the food court. Charley's Steakery served us rather disappointing cheesesteak-inspired sandwiches.

Afterwards, we wandered back to find Alex and Julie. We found them playing in the large-scale IceTowers game near the Life-Size Kill Dr. Lucky game. We played in one game of IceTowers--I got whomped.

I talked with Liz about doing some Demo Monkeying for Cheapass, and then we went off to play games with Alex and Julie. Our first game was Flower Power. It was much better than some other Kosmos games we've played (I'm thinking in particular of Druidenwalzer), but it didn't hugely grab us.

After that, we played a four-player game of Carcassonne. As with the previous time I played Carcassonne, I got whomped badly. On the other hand, Lori quite enjoyed the game, so I might pick it up.

Off to David and Stacy's house, where we arrived late at night.


Arrived early to run Kill Dr. Lucky in the newcomer's track. Unfortunately, I had neglected to bring my Kill Dr. Lucky stuff to Columbus, so I had to lurk outside the dealer's room until the Cheapass folks showed up and borrow a demo copy. The game went fine; the usual murderous mayhem ensued. I was glad to do some actual Cheapassing; I've felt guilty for not doing enough demos.

For lunch, I went to the Krema Nut Company, and got an immensely tasty peanut butter sandwich. I had forgotten just how good a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be.

Back to the dealer's room. Demoed some Brawl and some Diceland for the Cheapass booth, but they didn't really need me.

Wandered off to scout the dealer's room. I had some trouble finding things that really captivated me--most things that were there I could purchase at Phantom of the Attic, and I've already bought most of the games that I really covet. (One product that I do covet: MasterMaze. These pieces look absolutely wonderful--I just worry about whether I would really use them, and whether I would need to spend several hundred dollars on them.)

Got a demo of Grave Robbers from Outer Space. It was enjoyable (particularly for the text on the cards), but I'm not sure it's good enough. I would cheerfully pay $10 for it, but I hesitate to pay $20.

Went over to the WizKids area and got a demo of Mage Knight. It was reasonably fun, but I'm not sure I'd get to play it much. Part of the appeal of MageKnight for me is as a source of cheap monster miniatures for D&D--but I'm not sure I find the art that compelling.

Lori finally found me--she had apparently been searching for me for hours after coming back from her wine-tasting.

I don't remember Friday night much. I think that we went back to the Wendts' house to care for Julian, and we exploited their Tivo and I read David's new copy of Nobilis. (I'm unsure about Nobilis. It looks immensely cool in some ways, not my cup of tea in others. I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge of playing or running such a high-power, freeform game. And the touted art generally didn't do that much for me.)


We spent the morning working on our entry for the Matt & Gilly Lookalike Contest. Lori had a great Gillyesque dress, and we made a Matt t-shirt for me by making a 'W' on a red shirt with masking tape. But both of us were challenged in the matter of hair.
Lori's fair hair wasn't a good match for Gilly's dark hair. We got temporary coloring mousse for her hair. The 'chocolate brown' mousse didn't get her hair dark enough, and it left her hair stringy and sticky in unfortunate ways. :(
On my side: I have very long hair. But Matt is bald. And I do not know of any sources for 'temporary bald mousse'. We approximated badly by putting my hair into a ponytail.
We were having second thoughts about even making the attempt, actually, because we had seen a really excellent Gilly wandering the dealer's room. But we had a special addition: Lori's raspberry-and-chocolate-ganache-topped brownies, with a large perky-goth ankh drawn in white chocolate.

Unfortunately, the ganache melted and slid on the drive down, so that when we presented the brownies to John Kovalic, they were very gooey. But John seemed delighted, and many pictures were taken, and gooey brownies were shared with everyone in the Atlas/SJGames/Dork Storm booth and the Cheapass booth.

I did find some things that I wanted in the dealer's room; I got a hardcover copy of the GURPS Basic Set, and a copy of In Your Face Again, a book of adventures for Feng Shui, both at half price. And Lori and I managed to find some sparkly dice that we had not been able to find in Pittsburgh.

A very late lunch came from Krema Nut Company again.

In the dealer's room, I learned to play Agora (fairly neat--the gimmick that you can play cards anywhere in any orientation is interesting), I got a demo of Reiner Knizia's "Too Many Cooks" (not bad, but not particularly distinguished, IMHO), and I got a demo of Qwitch (simple game, but I couldn't think fast enough to play well).

After the dealer's room closed, I went off to check out the GURPS room. (I had hoped all weekend to get some roleplaying, to experience other GM styles.) I didn't manage to get into a GURPS game, but I did get to try out Frag. Frag is a lot of fun--it's like a miniatures wargame, but it plays fast enough to work very well. I would pay at least $20 for this--unfortunately, the MSRP is $35. So I'm unsure.

The GURPS Bunnies and Burrows game and the GURPS Cliffhangers game were both full, so I didn't get to play. I did end up demoing Frag to another player, thereby earning the first MIB points I have for years.

After that, a big group of people went out to dinner at Martini's, a nice restaurant near the convention center.


We'd considered not going to the con on Sunday, but I'd been asked to help out with the Car Wars tournament. That went pretty well, though none of my games with the new Car Wars have been as fast as SJGames claims they should go.

We went through the dealer's room for a final check. We didn't find much on this pass, but got a demo of Squint, a Pictionary-like game in which you make pictures out of shape tiles. It was pretty good--we might pick this up at some point.

We went to the Krema Nut Company for a final meal, but the person ahead of us got the last slices of bread they had. Alas! Instead, we ended up getting an extremely disappointing meal with the last dollars of change we had.

We left the convention center, navigated the Columbus construction, and drove on home.

I had a reasonably good time, but not a great time. I'm not sure that I feel eager to go back in coming years.
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