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Posted on Jul 12, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

ACG At Origins 2006 Final Report

Armchair General

Armchair General sent a crack team to the 2006 Origins game convention in Columbus OH. It was an interesting experience, and one which we highly recommend for those with the slightest interest in gaming of any type.  We’ve been recovering for several days now and have finally gotten the energy to put words to paper and explain what it was all about.  We also have a large photo gallery of the show, located at the end of this article.

Originally, Armchair General magazine was slated to share a booth with another company, but they had some problems and were unable to attend. This left us with one of the larger booths at the entire show! Brian (Siberian HEAT), Andrew (Doctor Sinister), James (Overseer), and Chris were all in the front lines, tasked with showing the magazine to attendees and hopefully get a few people interested in what we were doing. As you can see by the photos of our booth, we had ample space to promote ourselves, as well as some extra space to run a slideshow of Andrew’s photo essays, play Risk with passers by, and hang out and annoy people walking by who were dressed up! But mostly we were there to give away free issues of the magazine, which was accomplished.

The Armchair General booth. The cutout cover was a big hit with the local security patrols…

The convention itself is like nothing you can imagine if you are a fan of any type of gaming. There are football-field sized rooms with hundreds of tables of people playing all manner of games. There are dozens of vendors in the Dealer’s Room who were demo-ing their games to visitors. You could easily walk in on Thursday morning and literally play games around the clock for four straight days.

The game types vary as you walk around the convention center, but the bulk of the gaming was in the realm of the Collectible Card Games (Pokemon, Magic, etc.) and miniature gaming (both types had their own big hall).  There were people playing wargames and many wargame companies did have booths in the Dealer Room, but the percentage of wargamers relative to the entire crowd was modest.  The folks at CABS (Columbus Area Boardgame Society) were there in force and had an entire ballroom set up for those who were into wargames (think Europa, Paths of Glory, Panzergruppe Guderian, block games, etc.).  If you went to this convention simply for wargames, you could definitely be kept busy.

The Collectible Card Game room. "And they call it a room? A ROOM!" The miniatures room, along with the game library and family board games.

While we saw many interesting games being played and displayed, we actually had an interesting visit from one game designer showing us his brand new (soon-to-be-published) game about empire building in Polynesia. Kevin McPartland showed us Conquest of Paradise (GMT Games) in some detail. The first thing that struck me was the subject matter – and honestly I don’t know what I first thought when he showed it to me. However, as he layed out the map, the pieces, and illustrated the dynamic gameplay, I really felt intrigued over the possibilities of this one. Basically, there are a set of tiles representing islands and areas in the Pacific Ocean which are placed on the map as each tribe discovers new islands for their empire. The placement is random so players cannot just paddle their canoes to places corresponding to real life – you are literally paddling into the horizon like the original explorers. Along the way you can build war canoes, invent hula dancing, or discover the giant statues of Easter Island. This simple to learn game will be on our review list.  Learn more about it here.

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