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Origins Game Fair 2016: Day 3

I mentioned before that the nadir of Origins was probably around 4-5 years ago. The exhibit hall was a ghost town, vendors had fled, and it didn't seem that the convention was long for this world without major changes. Since that rock bottom, Origins has been clawing itself out of the basement and I first really started to notice it last year. It seemed like there were more attendees and the exhibit halls weren't as barren as in year's past. When I arrived on Wednesday this year I was pretty shocked by the crowds of people just hanging around. I pointed this out to Curt who said that he had been thinking that the halls looked a little light and empty. Of course, he had skipped out on the real bust years and didn't realize how much of an improvement we were already witnessing. In the end, he seems to have come to the conclusion that Origins is once again worth the time and effort, with sales at the booth justifying a return next year.

Since I spent all of my time with the Smirk & Dagger crew this year, I don't know how the event catalogue fared but with the loss of space due to the construction this year, they were forced to turn some events away. Oftentimes I think that the real problem with Origins is that they don't have many signature events that really anchor the convention. What they could really use is their own version of True Dungeon or Nascrag or something else similar which drives attendance because Origins is the only place where you can really experience it.

Friday in the booth pretty much went the same as Thursday. I spent some time wandering around the exhibit hall but mostly just to visit specific friends or to snap pictures of interesting things I ran across.

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Even then, it's unlucky I saw even half of the hall, mostly going from point to point and then finding a place to flop when my feet hurt too much to keep toddling around. There were a couple of tables set up around the hall for open gaming and as places to rest and when I needed to, I would limp my way over and form a makeshift bed out of 3-4 chairs and sprawl until I felt better. I also used that time to welcome all the new Miis I had visiting my Plaza on the 3DS. Over the course of the con I probably added a few hundred people to my list.

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I also found time to visit the giant floating pikachu in the main hall. I even thought about buying a big bulbasaur plushy I saw in one of the booths but by the time I pulled the trigger and came back to get it on Sunday, it was already gone. Oh well. It's not like I really needed another piece of dust-collecting junk anyway.

After the exhibit hall closed, we went over to the North Market to grab dinner. At this point, I was pretty gimpy and the thought passed my mind more than a couple times to simply call it a night and that lying down and getting off my feet might be the better part of valor. I ended up limping my way along though and everyone scattered to pick over the many offerings available at the North Market. It might seem weird but in all these years going to Origins, this was only the second time I had ever been to the North Market. I'm not sure exactly why but it was probably pure laziness more than anything else. I've had more meals out of Subway while at Origins than any other location. Sadly, because it is convention time, a lot of the places in the Market already sold out by the time dinner rolled around. The BBQ place was completely cleared out as was a place that I'm told serves the best fried chicken in Columbus. Given how good Double Comfort had been a couple nights ago, that would have surely been a battle for the ages.

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In the end, I went with Indian, as did Mel, and I stuffed my pie hole with gobs and gobs of curry. I even ordered an extra helping of rice to mop it all up with. After dinner was over, there was still a couple hours before that night's events and everyone else was in the mood for ice cream. The North Market had closed at that point and the nearest Jenni's was around a half mile down the road. I like ice cream as much as the next person but my feet were about to fall off and I needed a rest. So while everyone else wandered off in the quest for ice cream I went back to the Hampton and did my beached whale impression until it was time for the night's events.

Which no one showed up to. This was a reoccurring problem at Origins. The attendance for our ticketed events were dismal. When Origins first decided to offer an open gaming ribbon run by the CAB (Columbus Area Boardgamers), there was a lot of speculation that they were robbing Peter to pay Paul. Most of the events at Origins were board gaming based and it's hard to see why people would continue to buy event tickets when they could have unlimited players in the open gaming area for a flat $20. After some speculation about whether we should stick around because people could theoretically show up for the 11pm event, Curt made the executive decision that we all blow it off and go drinking instead.

While at Barleys the day before, we had noticed that there was an arcade bar located on their second floor with free to play game cabinets. So it was off to Brewcadia that we went. Honestly, by this time I was still exhausted and feeling sort of blah. I've also never been a drinker so I tagged along at first out of solidarity. When we got there though, I had an idea. I hadn't been sleeping very well despite the exhaustion and I ached all over, so maybe I should just pound a bunch of drinks and see if that helped out.

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I immediately put that plan into action aided by the fact that they had created a cutesy gamer-related bar menu. I have no real experience with alcohol and only the barest notion of what will taste good....or really in my experience it's more like what will taste bad and what will taste less bad.

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I was mostly drinking for effect though, not taste and I knocked back three of these cocktails within 15 minutes. What I can say is that the Pac Man's Potion was the most palatable of the bunch, which Mel had suggested. Apparently we both have a preference for girly drinks.

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It turns out the bar also had a list of board and card games they would lend out and while discussions continued about what the group should play, Curt and Mel faced off over a game of Joust. At this point I was starting to feel a bit lightheaded and I figured it was a good time to call it a night. I closed out my tab and stumbled my way back to the hotel, unsure whether the alcohol, drugs, or pain was most responsible for the limpy shuffle. I will say that my plan did seem to work out pretty well though. I was dead asleep within 10 minutes or so of getting back to the hotel room and unlike every previous night thus far, I didn't wake up every couple of hours and instead slept through the night.

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