The Cardboard Hoard: Origins Recap - Thursday; Or Media Mayhem and Multiple Meetups
Months ago, when I got my badge and hotel for Origins, I didn’t see the need for a press badge. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of filling out the form on the Origins website and waiting to see if it would be approved, I just wanted to know I had my badge and hotel and didn’t need to worry about it. So I bought a regular badge and forgot about it.
Of course, with the Punchboard Media launch a month ahead of Origins, a number of unforeseen media opportunities popped up, and I needed to make sure I could take care of them all on Thursday morning, as not to lose the entire day, a day where I would already be stressed about the official Punchboard Media launch party.
The two things I really needed to do were to visit Bruce Voge at the NorthStar Games booth to get tickets for a “surprise event” at 6:30 pm that night, and stop by the Renegade Games booth to see Sara Erickson, who I needed to do some follow up work from my interview with her. I also wanted to demo The Fox in the Forest, Flipships, and Sentient while I was there, so I’d have a better idea what she was speaking about in the interview.
So I popped by the press room, wondering if I could get a press pass at the last minute, and was shocked by how accommodating GAMA’s Social Media & Marketing Manager Dominique was, after hearing so many nightmare stories about how Origins was run.
With that sorted, I was able to find Bruce at NorthStar (quite easily, considering his teal mohawk), and get the event tickets, although with no hints as to what the surprise event was. I also got a glimpse of the pre-painted miniatures for Heroes of Land, Air & Sea at the nearby Gamelyn Games booth.
I then ran into Daryl Andrews again (on Wednesday I had seen him pitching a game in the North Market). I asked if he was demoing the game at all later that day, and he said it had already been signed, and the publisher had taken the only copy. So there’s a small anecdote on the importance of networking at industry events. It’s where things get done.
Before I made it over to the Renegade booth, I stopped by the Daily Magic booth to see fellow ‘What Did You Play This Week’ podcast contributor Levi Mote, but he was busy demoing, so I instead demoed Kitten Klash with designer Alice Davis, who destroyed me at the dexterity matching game.
I did then get to demo Flipships and The Fox in the Forest at Renegade, but the Sentient shipment they had received was missing a punchboard, so I was unable to demo that one. Flipships was a fun dexterity flicking/flipping game that can be best summed up as Space Invaders: The Board Game. The Fox in the Forest was an interesting card game, as it was a two-player trick taking game. Despite my reservations, it worked smoothly and had some interesting decisions to make.
By this point, the halls were opening up, and I went to wait on line at the Mayfair booth for my one purchase of the convention, Barenpark. I wanted to bring something home with me that I could play with my family, and Barenpark was an obvious choice. The line was long, and I was a bit concerned as to whether I would get one, but my fears were unfounded, as there were plenty left when I got to the front of the line. Caverna: Cave vs. Cave, however, sold out to the woman directly behind me in line, who was quite grateful I was getting Barenpark, and not the last copy of Cave vs. Cave.
I wandered the hall for a bit, and then decided to grab a bite at the North Market before my ticketed event of Yokohama. After BBQ the previous day, I opted for a muffuletta at the Italian eatery, and found a seat upstairs with two of my favorite Canadians, Nicole Hoye and Tim Fowler. I made it back just in time for my Learn-to-Play Yokohama game. We played at four players, and I eked out a win, getting one of the public bonuses late in the game. For as busy as the board looks, and the amount of components it has, I was shocked by how intuitive and easy to play it was for all four of us beginners.
After Yokohama wrapped up, I had some time to kill, and wandered over to the Osprey booth, as I am a big fan of their small box games Odin’s Ravens and The Ravens of Thri Sahashri. I demoed both Shahrazad and The Lost Expedition. Both were very difficult, puzzly small box games that can be played solo. In the case of Shahrazad, I suspect it may be the ideal play count. The Lost Expedition reminded me a good deal of Friday, without the constant shuffling. I also checked out Escape from Colditz, a game that was designed by Major Pat Reid, a prisoner-of-war who actually escaped from Colditz Castle, which I found fascinating.
At 6:30 pm, I made my way across the street to the Underground basement of Barley's Brewing Company for the surprise NorthStar Games event. There I met up with MJ and Ben of the DiceBreakers, Kimberly of The Cubist, Patrick of WDYPTW, Ken of Geek-Craft, and Brian and Will of Cloak and Meeple, and we sat down for a game of the brand new Vegas Wits & Wagers, with Bruce acting as our emcee and dealer. The game was an absolute blast even though I gambled away all my money and finished in last place. We only hung out for about 45 minutes, as the Punchboard Media launch party was at 8:00 pm at the Czech Games room back at the convention center.
While it was a bit of a challenge to set up the Punchboard Media launch event, not having any experience at event planning, and never having attended Origins before, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out (mostly true, although I am still kicking myself that I didn’t get a group picture of all the Punchboard Media members that attended). The amount of support we got from publishers, designers, other board game media people, and board gamers in general definitely made it all worth it. And the amount of help I had from other people in the Punchboard Media network made it easy.
So for two hours, I got to watch as friends new and old played Codenames, Codenames Duet, That’s a Question, Galaxy Trucker, and Adrenaline, and then we got to give away a bunch of prizes to those in attendance, and even to some #NOrigins people that joined in virtually through Twitter. We owe a big thanks to CGE for providing the space, to all the publishers that provided the prize support, and most of all, to everyone that attended.
I wrapped my night up not long afterward, but not before first attending Nerd Night, a charity gaming event hosted by Marguerite Cottrell. There, in addition to giving to charity, I got to meet and hang out with some Internet friends, like Maggi, and play Travis Hill's Train Game, a prototype that was a finalist for Button Shy’s 18-card game contest. I even won a game, Dice Heist, in the raffle!
Three social events back-to-back-to-back was a bit much for me, and I didn’t last long at Nerd Night before grabbing a quick bite at the convention center’s cafeteria and heading to bed. While I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to play more games on Thursday, I did get to demo a lot, and would make up for that with the rest of my time at the convention.