Origins 2005 Gaming Convention—A Review
by Melissa Walsh

Once a year, thousands of geeks and nerds descend upon Columbus Ohio. Why? Because America's second biggest gaming convention takes place there, of course! Imagine being surrounded by almost 15,000 gamers--RPGers, board gamers, miniature gamers, and more.

I've been to comic cons, sci-fi cons, even Lovecraft-only cons. But can I really call myself a nerd if I'd never been to a gaming con? Truly not. I needed to get myself to Columbus. My husband Mike and a good friend, Kurt, were also going to make the trek with me. We game relatively often, but the idea of total immersion, surrounded by gamers and nothing to do but game, was very exciting!

After an 8 hour drive, delirious but awake through the power of metal (thanks Manowar!) and caffeine, we pulled in to a little motel one hour outside of Columbus. The receptionist asked if we had been caught in the thunderstorms that had been raging through the area. She told us lightning had killed a few people in Ohio this week. A prison inmate had been playing baseball and was killed instantly when lightning hit the field. The gods were evidently displeased with Ohio this week. Luckily, the weekend weather was cool and sunny for us.

We had been looking forward to Origins for many months. We bought our passes and reserved a hotel in January. In mid-January the hotels that hosted to convention were already sold out. We stayed at the Marriott , which was about two blocks away.

We pre-registered online for many of the games. I signed up for quite a few Call of Cthulhu games. Rogue Cthulhu was a group running many games, and I was interested in checking them out. They have a website with game descriptions and Keeper bio's, and seemed like they had their act together.

We arrived at the con around 9 am. The convention center was immense. The convention centers of two large hotels were connected into one immense building. It took 15 minutes to walk from one side of the convention to the other. This was Origins. After a long hike across foreign ground, with a bit of guidance from hotel staff, we went down a set of escalators to where we were to receive our badges.

We finally saw where the registration was. I asked a volunteer at the help desk where pre-registered people went and he pointed to a behemoth line.
“Everyone has to wait there,” said the teenage boy.
“But I registered online!” I said futilely waving around my printed receipts.
“Everyone has to wait there” he waved towards the line again.

We would be here for hours! I was furious! What kind of convention had pre-registered people and unregistered waiting in the same line? I told Mike and Kurt to hold my spot and went over to the customer service, nostrils flaring. I approached the lady behind the desk ready to bite. I was going on two hours of sleep and the last thing I wanted to do after driving 8 hours was wait in line all morning. It turns out that the volunteer didn't know what the hell he was talking about and that I was now at the right place. I waved over the guys and we got everything situated. There was a problem with the game pre-registration too, and our game passes had to be hand-written.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010 © Ladies of Hack/Kenzer & Company

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