Starting today, Wednesday, June 13th, Origins Game Fair will be underway in Columbus, Ohio. Origins’ origins began in 1975 in Baltimore, Maryland, at Johns Hopkins University. Since then it has grown into a destination for gamers, residing in Columbus since 1996. In 2017, 17,001 unique visitors made the trip to Central Ohio to take part in this amazing gaming convention.
I will be in attendance at Origins 2018 for Funkhouser on Thursday and Friday, so if you see me come say hi, or come play a game with me. I’ll be posting some images on our Twitter account: @funkhouserKSR, so be on the lookout for those.
As I get prepared for the event, I thought I might showcase some of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing/doing in Columbus at my favorite gaming convention. These are in no particular order:
Mashup Meet-up featuring Blue Peg, Pink Peg, The Brawlin’ Brothers & Man vs. Meeple
OK, I lied. This is #1 on my list of everything happening at Origins. The wonderful people behind Blue Peg, Pink Peg Gaming Podcast, and the Brawlin’ Brothers Boardgaming Podcast are getting together Thursday night for a massive gathering of listeners and friends (new & old). I attended Blue Peg, Pink Peg’s meet-up last year, and I can genuinely say that it was the most fun I’ve had at a gaming convention, ever. I went to work the next morning with no voice…
The two (of my favorite) podcasts, along with the guys behind the YouTube channel Man vs Meeple, are hosting an epic night of laughs, gaming, drinking and debauchery*, at Callahan’s Columbus at 7pm on Thursday night. Druid City Games and Skybound Games are sponsoring the event, while 25 or so other gaming companies have donated games to be given away to some of the attendees of the meet-up. If you’re coming to Origins, want to meet fellow gamers, and instantly feel welcome, this will be the event for you! Just head over to the Facebook event page and RSVP (not required, just appreciated) Oh, I also think there’s a 90’s dance party afterwards…
*Debauchery not guaranteed (but likely)*
Next Move Games had a major hit on their hands when they released the (now) 2018 Spiel Des Jahres nominee, Azul, a beautful, chunky tile drafting game. The game has enamored gamers of all levels, based on how easy the game is to teach, as well as an inherent need to try and eat the tiles that look like Starbursts. However, in 2018, Next Move Games is releasing the second game in their line, Reef by Emerson Matsuuchi. In Reef, players have a grid in front of them which they will fill with different colored reef pieces. On your turn you either draw a card from the display or play a card, which will allow you to draw reef pieces (which you must place) – AND – score your reef if possible. However, after placing your pieces, to score the patterns, it only matters from the top down view, so you need to try and plan ahead on how you’ll stack and build your reef to build up combos during the game. This one looks simple to teach, but could have some pretty good depth to it.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I do not know entirely too much about Escape Plan, other than the fact that it has a theme I love. I’ll let Board Game Geek’s description give you an overview of what the game’s theme entails:
After a successful bank heist, you and your fellow thieves are laying low and enjoying the good life. Most of the cash has been hidden away, and the rest has been invested in businesses throughout the city. Everything is going according to plan until the police get a breakthrough in their investigation. Accusations are made, fingers are pointed, and after a heated argument, you decide to go your separate ways.
Chaos ensues as the SWAT team is called in and start to close off the city’s exits. Your only choice now is to escape the city before it is completely locked down. But you need a plan — a good route that allows you to leave the city while recovering as much of the money as possible.”
Oh, come on!! You play thieves, but your moves affect the cops each turn. Players can take missions during the game, play cards to aid their escape, and you can take actions to engage gangs, mules and snitches. If that doesn’t pique your interest… The game is not for sale during Origins, but I’m hoping to get a demo of the game and will definitely report back on the gameplay.
While I have already gotten to play Gorus Maximus, I’m looking forward to seeing other players thoughts on the game. Designed by Conor McGoey, with incredible art by Kwanchai Moriya, Gorus Maximus is a trick-taking game for 2-8 players, with a couple of twists. Like a traditional trick-taking game, a hand will start with a lead suit (trump), where players must follow that suit, and the highest card in the round takes the trick. However, in Gorus Maximus, you can change the trump suit by simply playing a card of the same value of the previous card played. Trump can change multiple times throughout the round. Also, certain cards have point values on them. If you take a trick, you claim the points that are on the card. But you have to be careful, some cards have negative point values, so you might want to sluff those cards off in a trick you might not win to sabotage your opponents. I was a big fan of Conor’s first game Summit, and I’ve enjoyed getting to play Gorus Maximus. The game is not for sale at Origins, but currently on Kickstarter for $15/$20
Holding On: The Troubled Life Of Billy Kerr
When I heard about this game, it seemed so interesting and endearing to me. In Holding On: The Troubled Life Of Billy Kerr, you play cooperatively as a team of nurses caring for Billy Kerr, who is terminally ill. When the game starts, all you know is his name and that he has been given days to live. As medical emergencies develop, you must work together to take care of Billy, while also finding out about him, piecing together some fairly foggy memories that Mr. Kerr has. The game plays over 10 “fully replayable” scenarios, which doesn’t necessarily make it a “legacy game”. From pictures I’ve seen on BoardGameGeek, in each game, you’re sort of piecing together a patchwork of images from Billy’s memories, which are a little hazy from where he’s a old dying man. Apparently, when you play each scenario, based on the cards that come up, you might not see exactly the same parts of his life as someone who plays that same scenario differently, which just sounds amazing. Very much looking forward to seeing this one in action.
As always, there are tons of games to be seen at Origins, 263 as of this morning’s BoardGameGeek preview. I’m hoping to have lots of pictures to share next week of what all I saw from the convention, but that’s all dependent on how the Blue Peg, Pink Peg/Brawling Brothers Meet-up goes. If you’re in Columbus at the convention, come find me!