Industry News

This article originally appeared in Pyramid #16

Origins Report

by Scott Haring

The 1995 edition of Origins was the most successful in several years, helping to put to rest the notion that the "National Games Convention" was on its last legs.

Sponsored by the Game Manufacturer's Association, Origins '95 was held in the largest, best-looking facility in the convention's history, the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. This was the first Origins run by the formerly-independent Andon since their purchase by Wizards of the Coast, but the rumor-fueled fears that this would somehow turn Origins into a giant Magic: The Gathering convention were unfounded.

Philly convention center
The main ballroom of the Philly convention center
looked like an art deco airplane hangar.

Not that there wasn't an awful lot of Magic going on - there was. But all aspects of adventure gaming were well represented, with perhaps a special emphasis on the miniatures and wargaming roots of the hobby that isn't seen at any other non-specialty game con. "The East Coast is the best place for wargaming," Avalon Hill's Jackson Dott said. Other boardgames did well, too - the Train Gamer's Association drew an all-time record to their Puffing Billy tournament.

The most interesting rumor circulating through the convention was that Pat Robertson's The 700 Club TV show would be there to do a report on Redemption, the new Bible-based trading card game by Cactus Game Design. It didn't turn out to be true - the Cactus people said that while The 700 Club was planning a story on their game, there was never an arrangements to specifically come to Origins. That surely must have come as a disappointment to the Vampire live-action players that were there in large numbers . . .

Fire and Fury Demo
This Fire and Fury referee dressed in the spirit to better get into the game.

Andon claimed over 6,000 gamers came to Origins '95, and optimism for the future was high. "I expected it to be OK," FASA's Jill Lucas said. "It was as I expected." Given that after a disastrous show in Ft. Worth, TX just two years ago Origins was given up for dead by some, "OK" is quite an accomplishment.

Fuzzy Heroes
One of the more bizarre miniatures events was this Fuzzy Heroes tournament

Sadly, Origins '96 will not be returning to Philadelphia. While GAMA was interested in securing Philly as a long-term site, many of the local hotels raised their room rates significantly for future shows, and GAMA felt like it had to move elsewhere. Origins '96 is confirmed for July 4-7, 1996 in Columbus, OH. See you there!

Article publication date: December 1, 1995

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