Monday, June 30, 2008

Origins: Made of Awesome.

Games, games and more games. That pretty much sums up the Saturday full of awesome that I had at Origins, the humongous five-day, 24-hour-a-day game fair held this past week in Columbus, Ohio. The husband and I attended on an invitation from Park Bench reader Trey, who was incredibly nice and throws a helluva great game fair.

I should come clean right off the bat and admit that I don’t know a lot about gaming. Monopoly is about as advanced as I get. I know nothing about role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons or card games like Magic and I’m not the world’s greatest Settlers player either. All of which means I was totally amazed at the enormous variety of great games that exist and were on display at the event. I had no idea I could have been having so much fun all these years!

Truly, the best part of the day was getting to meet the different game designers and testing out their creations. Some of my favorites included:

* Looney Laboratories’ not-yet-released "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" Fluxx card game. This game is a blast and basically involves a set of ever-changing rules, which means that no two games are ever the same. The Holy Grail version, which will be out this fall, incorporates wonderfully detailed bits from the movie – in order to win the game, you’ll find yourself doing everything from searching for the Knights Who Say Ni to singing songs from the film to to brandishing ridiculous accents to earn more cards. It’s a simple game but addictive – the husband and I bought Zombie Fluxx and played it the minute we got home. It really is a perfect party activity and trust me, you’ll kick ass if you know all the words to the “Brave Sir Robin” song. Available at

* The Game of Redneck Life, which seems so, so wrong but is so hilariously executed it can’t help but be endearing. Basically, it’s like the game of “Life” but instead of finishing with the most money, the object is to finish with the most teeth. I am not lying. We had such a good time talking to the designer – she had us laughing the whole time as we chose which trailer we wanted to live in and what career our 8th grade education could earn us. This is no doubt what America’s elitists play when they mock America’s heartland. Yee and haw.

* AmuseAmaze is a great game for anyone who likes Scrabble or its crack-fueled cousin Scrabulous. It involves creating words on a board in order to maneuver through a maze and be the first person to reach the goal line. The board is comprised of interchangeable pieces so there are thousands of different iterations, meaning the word creation options change all the time. The husband and I played the two-person version and had a lot of fun. I get the sense though that it would be even better with four to six players. You can learn more about it here.

If you are a fervent gamer and would like to meet up with other fervent gamers, I get the sense that there is no better place to do that in the country than at Origins, which was filled to the rafters with people rolling dice, throwing down cards and doing many, many things that I totally didn’t understand but that looked really fun.

I was hugely impressed by some of the elaborate gaming boards on display. For one thing, there was a bad-ass Godzilla:

There was a lot more where that came from, too. We saw elaborate aircraft dogfights being staged, chariot races in a hand-crafted Roman colliseum and much, much more.

And if you got frustrated after losing one too many Magic matches, there was even an area where you could faux-fight and pelt people with foam-covered swords. It looked pretty awesome:

I’ve saved the best for last. There was a giant Pikachu strolling the exhibition floor. I nearly died. I know nothing about the game; all I know is that this giant yellow pseudo-rodent has had a magnetic hold over me for years now. So much so, that I may have scared the PR person escorting the giant foam creature when I exclaimed, “Oh my God, there is a giant Pikachu and it is the most awesome thing in the world!” Below you will see my husband sneaking in for a photo-op with the nice person in the Pikachu suit:

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Origins event. If you like games even remotely, I urge you to check it out. And prepare yourself for Pikachu because it is the most awesome thing in the world.


Trey said...

Awww...thanks! I'm really glad you had a good time.

Now I just need to sleep for a week or so before I feel human again. :-)

Miss Grace said...

The Game of Redneck Life? I must own this.