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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Perspectives on Origins 2016 - Saturday 18 June

Part 1 - Thursday 16 June
Part 2 - Friday 17 June

My last day at Origins saw more displays, demos, publisher pitches, games, and new gaming acquaintances.

WizKids ran an eye-catching Star Trek: Attack Wing event.  One scenario featured an impressive Deep Space Nine model.
Deep Space Nine under attack in Star Trek: Attack Wing by WizKids

Although Mayfair sold Catan distribution rights to Asmodee North America, they still carried a strong Catan presence, including a giant version of the game in the Mayfair event room.
Giant Catan in the Mayfair Event Room
East India Company
My primary focus for Origins remained pitching "East India Company" to publishers.  Friday's interviews had come up empty.  For Saturday, I had already scheduled one pitch with a publisher, and that morning I approached another, based on a recommendation from Tom Vasel.  So I had lined up two more opportunities for publishers to evaluate "EIC."

The first pitch went well, and the publisher appreciated the nature of the game and some of the innovation in the colony tiles and the supply-and-demand mechanic.  Interestingly, though, he said almost verbatim what Richard Launius had said at UnPub 5 last year - that although the game made sense and seemed to work well, it needed a unique "hook," a marketing angle that would make the game compelling enough print 10,000 copies and sell them to worldwide distribution.  He felt that the game reflected some tried and true game mechanisms but lacked the hook that would make it unique enough to publish.

My second opportunity came later that afternoon.  The primary evaluator for the company was unavailable, but the company representative to whom I spoke agreed to hear the pitch to see whether "EIC" at least fit the parameters of the type of game for which they were looking.  The theme fit the company's line, the player count was right, and the complexity seemed in the right range, so she liked what she saw.  She asked for a copy of the rules to forward to their developers in Europe.  So with that, I'm half a step closer to another opportunity for a publisher to decide that they want "East India Company."

Vendor demos
The Number 2 game on my acquisition list for Origins was Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge (designer Seth Roback, artist Sergi Marcet, publisher Daily Magic).  Chris Kirkman has always spoken very highly of this game, so I've had my eye on it for a long time.  David MacKenzie, who was demonstrating Swinging Jivecat, said that the thirty copies or so they had on display were the last they'd ever sell; due to production costs, the game would not be reprinted.  Even so, I'd already hit my spending limit for the weekend, and a 20-minute run-through wasn't enough to convince me that I'd regret walking away from Jivecat (even with cocktail recipes on every card). 
David Mackenzie demos Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge, which narrowly escaped coming home with me.
Joshua Balvin explains Salem to Keith Ferguson and others at the Passport Games Booth
Open gaming and new acquaintances
Saturday evening featured open gaming.  I really enjoyed Valeria Card Kingdoms (designer Isaias Vallejo, artist Mihajlo Dimitrievski, publisher Daily Magic) with Marcel Perro, Keith, and newly-met Marc "G-wiz" (whose last name - sadly - escapes me).  This fantasy-themed card game significantly improves upon the dice-driven engine-building mechanics of Machi Koro, which I might never play again if I ever bought Valeria.
Tony Miller, Charlie Hoopes, Jordan and Mandy Goddard, Daniel Newman, and Marc "G-wiz" closing out Saturday night in the Origins Main Gaming Hall

1 comment:

  1. Well, the good news is that we still have a few copies of Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge left after Origins, so check with when your game-buying budget refreshes. :-)