Having been a role player and living in Ohio for many years, it’s a surprise that my first visit to Origins Game Fair came when I live in a different state. I had lined up Kerry and I to only go for one day as a bookend to a visit with family in Ohio.

The not-so-great parking, I expected, having gone to events at the Columbus Convention Center before, but I don’t think that I fully expected the size of the event. There were thousands of people there. I think that it’s the second largest gaming convention in the country after GenCon, and I have been lead to believe that they’re not even close in size, GenCon being much bigger. Still, there were thousands of people there. To the point that it was overwhelming.

We came into the convention from one of the side entrances, which really worked against us because I was completely disoriented as to where to go and what to do. After wandering around for awhile, and being accosted by a girl who was desperately wanting people to LARP with her group, we found the main booths. So, here is something that I was shocked to see- the on-site registration booths were packed. These are the people who did not sign up for their badges before that day. Just in case you forgot, these are people who play miniatures games, role playing games, or are board gamers. We’re all nerds here, so these people have Internet access, why didn’t they sign up ahead of time? I had one guy in line ahead of me to get our badges.

With our badges was a printed out list of all of the events and games for the weekend. It was like a phone book for a small city. We also received tickets to the one game I signed us up for, and then forgot about.

Our first stop was to the dealer room, because we didn’t know where else to go, feeling overwhelmed. We wandered, and I bumped into Andy Hopp of Low Life fame, and made sure to say hello to him and let him know I backed his Kickstarter about three minutes after it launched.

After doing more wandering, Kerry and I took a seat and then Kerry points out that I signed us up for a Savage World’s game yesterday and today is today. I look for another game to play in the phone book sized directory and find a couple of Savage Worlds games hosted by Pinnacle. Both are Deadlands games, one is the Hell on Earth setting, which I’ve never played. Both games are starting in a little under an hour.

I take us up to the table that seems to be running the show for the role playing section of the convention and explain the situation. The people at the table make a really good show of trying to accommodate me, but refer me across the convention to the customer service booth. The both there is staffed by one guy who is actually handling things, and another younger guy who is “buying and selling generics”, which are poker chips that buy you into games that have openings. The guy handling the customer service situations, handles the first guy in line, then the guy right in front of me takes forty minutes, not an exaggeration. Before that happens though, I tell Kerry to hold my spot in line, I’ll go to the ATM, and buy a few generics from the other guy and take my chances upstairs. Ultimately, that’s what happened, just as I get the poker chip, the other guy is wrapping up. Upstairs, I go to the room the games are happening in. The Hell on Earth game is filled, the other Deadlands game has zero attendance, so Kerry and I take our seats.

Our GM introduces himself as Mike (actually Evil Mike of the Evil Mike and Chaos Steve duo). His props and gaming aids are impeccable. As a member of Pinnacle’s “demo team”, he does a great job. Doesn’t assume that we’re some sort of Savage Worlds experts, but figures out pretty quick that we’re familiar with the system, so gives us a nice middle ground of instruction when needed.

Long story short on things, Kerry (the Huckster) and Stephen (the Weird Scientist) wind up very dead on what would have been the last round of combat in the scenario had we gotten just a bit luckier on the rolls of the dice. It was a great game.

After that, we went to the North Market for dinner and Jeni’s Ice Cream for dessert.

(p.s. we know there is a Jeni’s in the North Market, but we got our dinners just as the whole place was closing. Timing wasn’t our friend the whole day.)