Reflections on Origins Game Faire!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My travels take me to many conventions during the year. I enjoy them all, mostly because I get a chance to meet our volunteers and fans. But Origins holds a special place in my heart. I had never attended Origins before joining the organized play team at Paizo, but I'm glad it is now a staple of my convention tour.

Why do I enjoy it so much? Several key reasons, I think. First, while it is one of the biggest conventions in the United States outside of the Comic Cons and PAX events, it still has a small convention feel. I believe this is due to the compact nature of the hotels and convention center that make up the core of the event. It is a 5-minute walk from my hotel room to the Franklin Ballrooms, where we hold most of the Paizo events. I can get to the food court in 5 minutes. Ditto to getting to the Exhibit Halls, where the vendors and open gaming tables are located, to the Drury meeting rooms for GAMA meetings, and to the show offices. Oh, and the Starbucks is just across the hall from the Org Play space. Great for my coffee needs!

My second reason is the volunteers. Our volunteers at Origins are among some of the best. We had a few scheduling issues and the volunteers stepped up every time to cover tables. They flexed on what games they ran, which allowed us to respond to shifting demand for Starfinder and Pathfinder games. The HQ staff works well together, using their skills to compliment each other and support the GMs.

Finally, I love the convention attendees. I view our players as friends I haven't met yet and love the fact I got to add a few more names and faces to my friends known list. We talked characters, scenarios, likes, and dislikes, favorite things… this list goes on. Getting to talk to our players recharges my batteries and makes the hours of back office planning and work worthwhile. Thank you, everyone, who came and shared your stories. I look forward to continuing our conversations at events in the future.

I'm not the only staffer that attended Origins 2018. We had a team of 5 running games and introducing the Pathfinder Playtest to attendees. Cosmo went on to the American Libraries Conference the weekend after and so didn't get a chance to chime in and Thurston put his thoughts into last week's Starfinder Society scenario preview blog, but both designer Mark Seifter and organized play lead developer John Compton share their thoughts.

From Mark:

This was my first Origins ever, and it was quite an exciting show! With nonstop Pathfinder Second Edition demos layered on top of runs of The Rose Street Revenge, Origins gave me my first chance to show the new game to gamers of wildly disparate gaming backgrounds and play experiences (as opposed to the deeper Pathfinder fans who tend to attend PaizoCon) and to learn…they all like this new game I've been working on, they like it a lot. The universal excitement was contagious, and an important reminder to me of just why I love what I do. One of my highlights was hearing from our crack team of volunteers (who did an amazing job!) how their demo runs had turned out, only to discover that they and their players were as excited as I was; in fact, one of the volunteers for 3 out of 5 days enjoyed the Pathfinder Second Edition demos so much that she asked to fill up the rest of her days with demos instead of playing.

Finally, as Owen pointed out when I returned to the office, Starfinder's victory as fan favorite at the Origins Awards means I am now an Origins Award-winning designer. I hadn't thought of it because to me, the ultimate reward is having people love the games and books I work on, and the award is just a manifestation of that.

John's thoughts on the event:

This was my first Origins since 2006, which was far before I knew anything about organized play. Columbus puts on a fun show with a great community, and it was a delight to meet the Ohio crew as well as Paizo enthusiasts from many states beyond. I split my time between running shorter demos of Pathfinder's second edition, running preregistered tables of the 5-hourRose Street Revengesecond edition quest experience, and wandering the Franklin ballroom to check out the action. Particularly impressive was all of the Starfinder Society energy, especially when we debuted the first ever Starfinder Society multitable interactive special #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion by Mikko Kallio. He and Thurston Hillman put together a great experience, and the Origins GMs and HQ volunteers made it all possible.

So if you haven't been to Origins before, I suggest you consider coming out to Origins 2019! If you're already planning on attending, I'll see you there!

Check back next week for our first of the month "Stars, Cons, and More" blog!

Until next time - Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Conventions Organized Play Origins Pathfinder Society Starfinder Society
***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northeast aka Shivok

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It was a great event with over 300 tables of Pathfinder, Starfinder, Quests, and Pathfinder 2nd Ed. playtest demos. There was a little bit of eveything for fans of Paizo to enjoy.

This is definitely one of my favorite cons, things are easy to get to and food is cheap. The Columbus area doesn't feel like your getting priced out like other big cons. My favorite was parking $50 for five days of parking! You just cant get 13 Slots of Organized Play for the same price anywhere else.

**

I love Origins! Tonya summed it up perfectly. To me, Origins is how Gencon was back in 2009.

I want to thank the volunteers and organizers this year, such a great convention!

And Mark, I think you're doing a great job with Pathfinder 2E, loved the demo and Rose street, very impressed with the design, and I'm looking forward to the playtest time!

***** Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark wrote:
From Mark:One of my highlights was hearing from our crack team of volunteers (who did an amazing job!) how their demo runs had turned out, only to discover that they and their players were as excited as I was; in fact, one of the volunteers for 3 out of 5 days enjoyed the Pathfinder Second Edition demos so much that she asked to fill up the rest of her days with demos instead of playing.

Kudos to her. She also donated dice to the PSA area for the kiddos to take home.

Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka TWTaylor

It was great getting to play in the special and playtest, as well meeting or re-meeting the OP staff.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

I had a great time at Origins this year (though it was my least PFS centric con attendance since the early 2010s because I only volunteered to GM enough to get my badge)

I had what I would describe as a pretty lousy time playtesting 2nd edition as the very first thing I did at the con, and had a pretty rotten time playing at the one PFS table I had as a player and consequently devoted more of my time to other hobbies this time around.

I GM'd 3 amazing tables, two with same set of 6 who had clearly come to the con together and had amazing chemistry roleplaying together, cheers to you guys, you really did make my con.

I did make sure to play some starfinder and the special and holy crap that was well done. The atmosphere for the Scoured Stars special was phenomenal and whoever did the overseer role was just stupendous as Luwazi Elsebo. I didn't think I could still be impressed with a special after the multi-table spam of the small cons these last two years but this was pretty above and beyond, excellent work all around.

Sunday morning I was a standby GM and got to play a table of Beyond Halflight path with Gino and his daughter running the game as a tandem and was the perfect sleepy way to end the con after a long 4 day run on little sleep.

Overall pretty good con, see ya in two years (I rotate origins and gen con because money).

***** Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Douglas Edwards wrote:

[...]

I had what I would describe as a pretty lousy time playtesting 2nd edition as the very first thing I did at the con, and had a pretty rotten time playing at the one PFS table I had as a player and consequently devoted more of my time to other hobbies this time around.
[...]
Sunday morning I was a standby GM and got to play a table of Beyond Halflight path with Gino and his daughter running the game as a tandem and was the perfect sleepy way to end the con after a long 4 day run on little sleep.

Overall pretty good con, see ya in two years (I rotate origins and gen con because money).

Please contact the Origins Leads with specifics on the tables that weren't the best. The organizers are always interested in knowing areas that need improvement.

...
I had a blast running Halflight all week. It is really well structured to allow a GM to run it repeatedly and keep telling new stories. Alex enjoyed getting a chance to run for grown-ups. She normally runs PSA.
...
GenCon is still in need of GMs. As a 5-star, I assume you'd be qualified to take on a full 8-slot schedule. That earns you a badge and 1/4 hotel room. It's a lot of hours, but I find it very rewarding. Running tables for new people is a blast.
There's a thread around here somewhere with all the details to sign-up.

Scarab Sages ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It was a lot of fun. And I will put it down to do again for next year. Unless I can swing PaizoCon. But then I could try to do both.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

Gino Melone wrote:

Please contact the Origins Leads with specifics on the tables that weren't the best. The organizers are always interested in knowing areas that need improvement.

I actually already did, and was satisfied with the response.

I am considering going to Gen Con (I do have the days off) but I am loathe to go to a second con in a row without my wife (and she does not have the days off, plus I doubt they still need HQ help).

I may buckle though.

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Douglas Edwards wrote:
Gino Melone wrote:

Please contact the Origins Leads with specifics on the tables that weren't the best. The organizers are always interested in knowing areas that need improvement.

I actually already did, and was satisfied with the response.

I am considering going to Gen Con (I do have the days off) but I am loathe to go to a second con in a row without my wife (and she does not have the days off, plus I doubt they still need HQ help).

I may buckle though.

They may be able to work some things out, if there are HQ folks that could GM instead.

You know you want to!

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Gen Con HQ staff is full at this time. We have availability for GMs to run PFS, Playtest, and Starfinder with our greatest need in the PM slots, particularly Saturday night


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I've GM'd one smaller con for Starfinder Society (Cleveland ConCoction 2018) and this was a very different experience. So much energy! I was so anxious about running a table during the special, but my players were great folks who rolled with all the punches and the material was so great that my anxiety was replaced with enthusiasm.

Even though I basically lost my voice after my first or second table on Friday! Thankful for the patience of folks who sat with me.

HQ volunteers were awesome, every single one. I had everything I needed from them and on top of efficiency they were just really fun and friendly. I'm driven to do this more often where and when I can, even if I can't afford to make it out to other big conventions very often. I expect to be lining up to volunteer for Origins 2019.

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