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I am home from Origins, having had a darn good time. My passenger was a guy I knew in passing from games down at Pet Shop, and he turned out to be a great guy to have for a long drive. Lots of good easy conversation on the drive to and from Columbus, and we became each others' convention buddy pretty quickly.

Origins is a very different convention experience from GenCon. GenCon can be sometimes draconian in its policies, especially regarding exhibitors, but it's very organized, very effective, very efficient - Shit Gets Done. Origins, on the other hand, plays a lot looser, and feels antiquated in some ways. Where GenCon has a very friendly search engine for events, Origins uses a ginormous spreadsheet that doesn't see any kind of grammar or spelling check, so if a GM registers, say, a Shadorwun game, then that's what goes into the spreadsheet. And the time/date fields aren't standardized, which leads to some messy formatting - in the convention event book provided onsite, games that were scheduled at, say, 3:00PM are under one heading and those scheduled at 3:00:00 appear under another. The print file seems to pull from a weirdly sorted output, as we found headings in an order like Friday 1:00 PM -> Friday 10:00 AM -> 11:00 AM -> 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM. So, that was a mess. And a LOT of our events scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just didn't show up in the printed event guide. They were in the spreadsheet and whatever form the online guide took, but if you were just looking for a game to get into during that period, you had no indication that something was going on. 

Columbus was mercifully free of the occasional sewer gas smell that plagues downtown Indy, so points to Origins on that front. Our hotel, the Downtown Westin was very nice, if a bit of a hike from the convention center - about 1.25 miles. Sure found plenty of Pokemon candy on those treks! The Pride Parade was on Saturday, running (or strutting, or sashaying) down High Street, and that made for some great entertainment on my way back to the hotel to meet up with Ben P.

I got to spend several hours with Rebecca and Ben that afternoon. Saw their gorgeous house, some parts of Marysville, had excellent brisket for dinner. Some of my favorite folks.

So, games and other stuff. Lots of good times, the good gamers far outnumbered the bad. Ken Hite signed my replacement copy of Trail of Cthulhu, and I got to chat with John Wick for a few minutes. Picked up a 6'x3' mat for X-Wing Epic and Armada games. Saw Ray Forsythe and a couple of Louisville people. Talked with Jim Searcy for a little while.

The Mariner ran very well, if thirstier than I like. Not much to be done there. Some good meals, and good times at them. Met and spent time with some very fun people. It's good to be home, though. The closer I got to Louisville, the more I liked the thought of sleeping in my own bed. There's some laundry to start, and once that's well underway, I'm hitting the sack and hopefully sleeping for at least ten hours.

I think I'd sooner go back to Origins than GenCon, the gripes above considered. Far fewer people, just a different vibe, plenty to recommend it. I think I'd like to try it as a civilian, and probably not for the entire five days - more like a three-day weekend. For someone like me, who is primarily a role-playing gamer, three days of Origins is just about enough. So, we'll see where things are in nine months or so.

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