Origins 2009?

 Hey Stephen & David,

Are you guys going to make it to Origins this year? 

And if so, would you guys want to get together for dinner one night with Spiel fans?


I will know for sure if I am going to Origins later this week. Dave, unfortunately, can't make it due to his work schedule.

If I end up coming to Origins, I'm game for a Spiel dinner, sure. Hopefully we can get some guidance from locals since last year we wandered around before settling on a place.


Here are a few ideas of places to eat near Origins.

191 W Nationwide Blvd # 100,ColumbusOH‎ - (614) 227-0013
"Ted's is a good place with many good items on the menu. The Bison burgers



59 Spruce StColumbusOH‎ -(614) 463-9664
LOTS of variety and fresh food. Indian, Greek, smoothies, chocolate, and more! 


Max & Erma's Restaurants: Crowne Plaza -more info »



343 N Front StColumbusOH‎ -(614) 621-3287
Italian with Large Portions


 Bd's Mongolian Barbeque more info »
295 Marconi BlvdColumbusOH‎ - (614) 586-0077



467 North High StColumbusOH‎ -(614) 228-2537
"Barley's brews their own hand craft beer, which is very good."
401 N Front StColumbusOH‎ -(614) 228-5488



I have taken the plunge: ordered my badge, booked my hotel.

I arrive Thursday afternoon and will stay through Sunday. Woo!

As for dinner,  I am an omnivore and love trying any type of cuisine. I always favor locally owned establishments. The North Market is great but I didn't think they were open for dinner. Barley's sounds promising, too.

Anyone else have thoughts?


Gah! I really want to go now!


  • Life-Sized Haunting House - Try this life-sized version of The Haunting House with many twists and turns.  Be the first one out of the house."

I'll be around, but mostly I'm going to setup shop in the Board room this year. :-D

I look forward to seeing other Spieler's!


Here are the multiplayer wargames I will be running in the War Room. Look for my white board along the right wall as soon as you enter the War Room.

Don't try to signup for them on the Origins web site as GAMA can't be counted on to get the details correct. Contact me directly or just showup at the appointed time.

All games WILL start on-time. You need not be familiar w/ most of these game to play; I teach it as the game progresses.

Wednesday the 24th

  • 1-8p: A Most Dangerous Time (MMP) 3-player, you need to have read the rules
  • 8-11p: Friedrich (Histogames) 4-player

    Thursday the 25th

  • 9a-3p: Thru the Ages (Czech Boardgames) 3-4 player
  • 5-8p: Shogun (Queen) 5-player, uses the Wallenstein system
  • 8-9 Pacific Typhoon (GMT) 6-player
  • 9-10p Atlantic Storm (AH) 6-player

    Friday the 26th

  • 9a-7p: June 6th (GMT) 4-player; have 3-players, need one more for team play; MUST be familiar w/ the game
  • 8-11p: Cosmic Encounter (new FFG version) 5-player
  • 11p-Mid: Glory to Rome (Cambridge Games Works) 6-player

    Saturday the 27th

  • 9a-3p: The Napoleonic Wars (GMT) 5-player, need to be familiar w/ CDGs
  • 4-10p+: 7 Ages (ADG) 7-player

    Sunday the 28th

  • 2-player gaming: CC:P, CC:E, Twilight Struggle, Warriors of God, Espana 1936

    If you are a P2Per or Consimworlder, stop by and say Hi!


I have noticed in the past that you are setup right inside the war room section. War room ribbon mandated for play with you? My timing has never worked out for any of the games you have run in the past, but I am always on the lookout for your schedule.

Several on the list this year that I would be very interested in. I often want to try to get the longer games in at Origins, but that desire doesn't seem to match general interest, so I usually get in a bunch of shorter Euros - still fun.

- Jonathan

Each year since 1996 when Origins moved to Columbus, Ohio, I have attended as a wargamer. Some years I was disappointed in board wargaming but found other things to do (auction, dealer hall, War College, miniatures). Since CABS (the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society) has taken over responsibility for board wargaming from the incompetent, self-serving, inept hands of GAMA, my favorite genre has been doing well.

CABS was given side-by-side rooms on a second floor right beside the restaurant district with wargames going into one room and all other board games (Euros) in the other. And each year attendance has risen, this year beingthe exception for the War Room. With the economy on the skids and GAMA pricing themselves out of the dealer room so that GMT and others didn’t bother to attend, attendance in the War Room was drastically down, along with attendance as a whole.


Fortunately, my participation wasn’t affected. For the last three years, I have enjoyed non-stop wargaming thanks to the white board I bring with me that includes my schedule of multiplayer wargames. Here is a synopsis of my wargaming at Origins:





My daughter and I rolled in at our usual time of 11am to find at least fifty gamers already enjoying themselves both in the War Room and on the “Gaming Veranda” outside both rooms. We setup my area, parked the SUV in our usual parking spot near the elevator, got checked in, picked up our badge and War Room ribbon, then gamed practically non-stop till Sunday afternoon.


First up was MMP’s brand new 2-4 player game of conquest during Japan’s medieval period: A Most Dangerous Time. I had previously played a pair of 2-player games and was undecided as to how good it was. At Origins I played a 3-player game as Oda. The victory conditions are different depending on how many are playing, and in the 3-player version I had to protect my two home castles; I lost if either fell. Staying alive was easier said than done, as the only way I got additional forces was to kill off clans and take their soldiers. By turn-8 the anti-Oda forces had grown and had me boxed in, taking a castle the next turn and ending the game.  This is a great game with lots of decisions and tension, but it is one whose mechanics are easy enough that as long as one is fluent in them, he can teach them to the others. I plan on hosting 3-player games at all future cons I attend.


Next was Histogames’ classic 4-player, Friedrich. I as the French acted as a true Frenchman and sat there turn-after-turn without attacking Freddie, waiting for my chance to stab him in the back when he had overextended himself. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen as the random events forced first Russia and then me out of the game. Austria capitulated and Freddie was master of Europe. This will also get lots of future play.


Lastly came 6-player games of AH’s Atlantic Storm and GMT’s Pacific Typhoon card games. I don’t remember Atlantic Storm, but I do remember getting fated a record THREE TIMES during Pacific Typhoon. Pete Stein et al had a good laugh at my low score.




Thursday morning brought a 3-player game of Czech Boardgames’ Through The Ages (TtA), 3rd Edition by FRED Distributing. I love Civ games and as TtA is modeled after Sid Meier’s superb Civilization computer game, it stands head and shoulders above the rest. In this game each player starts in Despotism with 4-civilian and 3-military actions that are used to pickup cards, play them, build workers, and assign them to buildings. Buildings generate food (used to build more workers) or rock (used for everything else). Leaders, Wonders of the World, and technical improvements aid you in gaining the highest score with play ending once the Fourth Age of Mankind is reached. There are lots of cards, bits, strategies, and mechanics that give TtA a somewhat steep learning curve. Play time is also long, lasting 1-2 hours per player, and that is why I chose to limit our game to 3-players. As it was the game lasted almost 6-hours due to a new player who suffered from analysis paralysis, as well as our taking a break to attend the Dealer Hall and a second break for lunch. I didn’t win as I waited too long to switch from Despotism to Democracy (7-Civilian and 4-Military Actions), but we all had lots of fun. This one will also get repeated play.


Queen Games’ Wallenstein clone for 5-players, Shogun was next up. This is a fairly simple area control/combat game where bad things happen if you don’t feed your people over the two turns (4-seasons each turn) the game lasts. The winner was the person who controlled the most areas, temples, castles, and theaters.





First up was GMT’s 4-player game, Wellington. This 3-turn game has not been nearly as popular as its sibling, The Napoleonic Wars.  Wellington is the more difficult game to play well as even without the Diplomacy Track and naval warfare, events and combat are more random and mechanics a bit more difficult. In the end, the British won all the battles but lost the war due to not observing the victory conditions.


Next came two games of FFG’s new Cosmic Encounter. I have never played the origin versions but like the game, even though I got useless special abilities both times.


Lastly came my first play of GMT’s Combat Commander: Pacific. I have lots of experience with CC:E and CC:M, but was unprepared for the bloodbath we encountered in this game. We played the first scenario with the Chindits ambushing the Japanese (me).  Even though we later found out we weren’t handling Melees correctly, the Japanese quickly chewed up the surrounding British forces and stayed ahead in points to the end. 





Saturday was a busy day. First off I tried Lock’n Load’s World at War: Eisenach Gap. This is a WW3 armor game, which I should have enjoyed as I, along with most all wargamers, love tanks. Unfortunately, the combat results felt artificial and I will be selling my copy.


Next was Kaiser’s Pirates by Lost Battalion Games. I had previously played it once before and liked it. But this time we must not have been doing something right as I excused myself after a few rounds. GMT is re-releasing this and I have a copy on P500, so I hope I enjoy it the next time I play it.


Then came a teaching game of MMP’s Warriors of God, which is their area control game about the 100-Years’ War. I have played this one numerous times and enjoyed teaching it to Leeland, who later bought his own copy.


The big game for the day was 5-player The Napoleonic Wars, 2nd edition, with me as the British. I sat back and built up a bit, sank most of the French and Spanish navies, then played the Diplomacy Track, which forced Napoleon to spend CPs to counter my actions. Then I invaded Spain, which caused Nappy still more problems after I had a good foothold in the country. He mistakenly played the Scorched Earth card, which prevented him from undoing the damage I had inflicted. He countered by taking Ireland, which forced me to spend a turn taking it back. The game ended shortly thereafter with a French Victory.


Someone asked me before play why TNW is such a good game. I couldn’t answer that question at the time, but now I can. TNW stands head-and-shoulders above any other multiplayer wargame because the rules and mechanics are simple enough that players can concentrate on strategizing and playing to win, rather then fighting the rules. Also, each player has distinctive player requirements for survival.


Lastly came two games of Rio Grande’s Race For The Galaxy. This is a San Juan card game clone that is much better than its ancestor. The base game that we played is for 4-players and ended the round that the first person laid down 12-planet/tech cards. VPS are then totaled. I like this game but up to now didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to due to the cryptic symbols on the cards. We were lucky enough to have experienced players nearby to help with some of the symbology, and my enjoyment has since increased. The game now has two expansions that add 2-players and more options. I haven’t played using these expansions yet, but plan to.





The last day of Origins, I spent it circulating through the dealer hall, then playing one last game of Race For The Galaxy.  I had left my schedule open this day to play 2-player wargames with friends, but I ran out of steam before it could happen.


I estimated attendance to be down 25%, which means only 9,000 gamers attended Origins this year as opposed to the normal 12,000. I didn’t get through the Great Gaming Hall or the miniatures hall until Saturday night. In past years both were packed; this year both were as empty as graveyards.


In addition to the games I played, I saw lots of Combat Commander being played, as well as Twilight Struggle, Spartacus, OCS, SCS, and other too numerous to mention. No one who wanted to play a wargame went without being able to do so.


Origins was fun as always and I recommend that all wargamers try to attend next year.


Next up: The Buckeye Game Fest, October 1-4 here in Columbus.


Great report, Kevin!

One of the great thing about conventions is how varied the experience can be from player to player. Since I am pulled in ten directions at once, needing to do interviews, learn about new games, talk to and meet listeners, *and* play games, I am lucky if I get one big heavy game in over the course of the four days.

We had our first run with a simple game of Through the Ages this past weekend and had a great time with it. I hope we can return to it again soon so we can build on what we know.