I have been to Mecca!
Well gaming mecca, anyway.
Okay, Origins Game Fair. it was the first time I have ever been to a convention quite like this. Tabletop games, miniature games, role playing games, live action games, new games being designed and tested, old favorites there for the sharing. When our friends, Matt and Carol, first told us about Origins, Geoff was really excited. I admit, I was a little unsure; many of the recent games that friends were picking up were enjoyable because we were playing with friends, not because of the games themselves.
But wow! What a great time it was — four days of gaming with friends and strangers. We played any kind of game that struck our interest. We played approximately ten different games each day and, no matter how much we liked it, we tried not to repeat a game. After all, there were so many to try!
I realized a few things about myself as a gamer that weekend in June. Some I suspected, and some surprised me.
- I am a CLASSIC tabletop gamer. Parcheesi will forever be my favorite game, with chess, Survive, and Risk running close behind. These games are simple, fun, have few pieces, can be challenging, and usually are done within an hour.
- I’m a sucker for a dinosaur! I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplash at least once when I stopped in mid-stride to investigate a dinosaur on a box. Okay that isn’t REALLY too much of a surprise if you know me. It’s more that I had no idea how many dinosaur-themed games there were. That said, few were interesting enough to take home.
- I dislike expansion sets. No … no that really isn’t true. I hate expansion sets. … No, I really, REALLY HATE them. You take a fun game that you’ve spent a bunch of money on only to have the company start coming out with additions every few months. It’s like the STD of the gaming world. Or maybe more like tabletop games trying to get into collectible card games. Truthfully, if the game wasn’t interesting or versatile enough in the first place, I wouldn’t have bought it. Now it’s: get this expansion, adjust the box (hoping new sets fit in), and learn additional the rules. Then you have to determine which set you play with with kids or which with friends who aren’t familiar with the game. It’s annoying to me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy playing some games that friends have with expansions. But that is more a commentary on how cool my friends are. Truthfully, I’ve never come across a game that was made significantly different with an expansion.
- I have a very short attention span for directions, but there is always an exception. Alhambra and Seasons come to mind. With Alhambra, it helped that Carol had played it before, so we didn’t have to read through all of the directions. Seasons was the real surprise to me. Lots of rules, lots of pieces, and fiddly–oh so fiddly. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. I also remembered it days later. I still wouldn’t buy it, but I don’t regret the time struggling through the initial issues with learning how to play.
- Lots of little fiddly, easily lost pieces annoy me. Okay, so this stack of tiles are for round one, this stack of cards is for you to draw from, keep this sheet in front of you, move this piece, add this disc, and… well, you get the idea. Think of it this way: no game should be ruined because you sneeze and mess up the pieces.
- Prices! Yep, turns out I’m REALLY cheap when it comes to games. I admit that I don’t buy games that often. I grew up with the shelf of ten well-loved games in the closet. Nowadays, my hubby is a game lover, same as I, and we have many more than ten. But I’m not usually the one purchasing them. I guess that was why I was so shocked by some of the prices I saw at Origins. Anything $20 or under, I’m okay with. I still need to be interested in it, but I’m likely to purchase on a whim. Very few games at Origins were under $20. Heck, few were under $50! I did eventually find a game or two that I liked enough to purchase, but it was tougher than I expected.
Overall I had a FABULOUS time, met some great people, and tried (and even liked) some games I never thought I’d have been interested in. And yes, I would really love to go back to gaming mecca next year.