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Origins 2023: What to Expect

It’s that time of year again! The Origins 2023 Game Fair will take place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center from June 21 through June 25. With over 300 vendors, there’s a lot to see and do. And that includes seeing us from the Game Talk Network! (We’ll be in booth 831)

There are certain events that are perennial at the con, but with everything going on, it is easy to forget about something. Here are a few things you can expect to find:

  • The Art Expo. Every year there are many vendors at Artists’ Alley. This year, there are over 40, including Andrea Radeck (Magic: The Gathering Artist, Forges of Ravenshire Artist, and creator of Caelum Sky), Woodside Illustrations (who has worked with Disney and Lucas Arts), and Fear the Beard Art.
  • Costume Contest. Saturday, the costume contest will be held in C170. Registration is at the Rubber City Cosplay’s booth at Ogre’s Tavern Of Cosplay found inside the Exhibition Hall. It is open from Thursday until Saturday at 3pm, at which time, all contestants will gather. The contest itself is Saturday from 4pm to 6pm and is free to attend! Check out their site for guidelines.
  • Film Festival. Friday and Saturday, the convention will hold a film festival in rooms B144 and B145. Don’t worry if you can’t make it there, though; it will be streaming online. Click here for more info.
  • Paint N Take. Each attendee can get one free miniature to paint (paints and brushes will be available) and take home. Though it will be open every day of the con, it is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the earlier you get there, the more figurines you can choose from. It will be in Gaming Hall C.
  • Playtesting. Whether you just want to help a game developer or are one yourself, Room C151 is the place for you. Here, you can playtest unpublished games or speedpitch your game to actual game publishers. The schedule and sign-up can be found here.
  • NSDM. For 31 years, Origins has hosted the National Security Decision Making Game (NSDM). This is an impressive, realistic, and unique game for many players designed to simulate real-world decisions with a touch of live-action role playing. It was designed by the US Naval War College. This year, there will be 4 scenarios: 1960s Cold War, Near-Future, Contemporary, and Us Revolution. Lectures will also be given by its impressive roster of experts. Click here for more information and the schedule.
  • Blood Drive. Room C172 will host a blood drive by the American Red Cross. Everyone who donates blood will be entered into a raffle for a basket that includes a badge for Origins 2024.
  • The Gaming Library. Over 1,000 games will be available to rent for free from the gaming library. Grab friends or make new ones and try old favorites, new hotness, or perhaps even your holy grail game.
  • Author’s Alcove. 16 authors will be present in the Author’s Alcove. You can chat, buy their latest offerings, and get your favorites signed by the authors themselves. Seminars will be offered for those of you aspiring to be published yourselves one day. The special guest is NY Time Best Seller novelist Kevin J. Andersen, author of 140+ sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books and recipient of numerous awards. His oeuvre includes novels for Star Wars, StarCraft, the Dune prequel series, Predator, and the DC Universe.
  • Quiet Room. Tired of walking around all the booths and having to be social? Rooms B242 and 243 have couches, phone charging stations, and tables where you can quietly game or just sit back and read the latest novel from one of the convention’s authors.

This is just the start! There are many more things to experience at Origins 2023, many of them new!

  • Special Guests. The roster of special guests at this year’s Origins is staggering! They include author Kevin J. Andersen, Magic: the Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater, prolific board game designer Martin Wallace, renown voice actor and Critical Roll contributor Robbie Daymond, novelist Rebecca Moesta, novelist and top-ranked RPGA player Donald J. Bingle, writer Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg, award-winning sci-fi/fantasy writer Jason Sanford, actor/stuntman/cosplayer Michael “Knightmage” Wilson, and more!
  • The Origins Awards. Returning after 2 years, the Origins Awards celebrates and honors those in the gaming industry who have made the biggest impact. For a list of finalists, check out their site.
  • The Tournament of Pieces. June 23-25, join Origins, Ravensburger, and the US Jigsaw Puzzle Association in a puzzle-solving contest. It will include events for individuals, couples, and foursomes. Get a special Puzzle Badge or pay for specific competitions
  • Trade Day. If you are a board game professional, you can’t miss Origins Trade Day. It provides peer-to-peer education, networking opportunities, product showcases, and workshops.
  • Family Rooms. This year, Origins is including a room for families who want to hang out and play games away from the mayhem. It is not meant to be a babysitting service, but rather a chance to play together and meet other families with young kids (4-8). Motley Kids will be hosting the room.
  • Hall of Fame. The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design will be inducting new members into their Hall of Fame. These are people who have generally been in the industry for at least 20 years and have been significant influences. Past recipients include Gary Gygax, Richard Garfield, and Reiner Knizia. This year, Mark Rosewater and Martin Wallace will be joining these legendary figures.

Believe it or not, there is still more going on at Origins, but many of the shows and new releases have yet to be announced. Their website will keep you up to date. Just as a reminder, everyone is expected to follow convention etiquette. This not only includes things like making sure you’ve showered and not getting into fights, but also not harassing others (“no” means “no”, attire is not consent – Room C172 is where to report harassment), not dressing as an official, obeying their weapon policy (no real weapons, fake weapons must be approved), no alcohol, and abiding by the convention’s mask policy (as of this writing, masks are not required but that may change in the coming days).

Remember to have fun and pace yourself! Origins 2023 is shaping up to be one of the can’t-miss events of the year, and I hope to see you there!

About the Author
Spencer was born in California and has since moved and lived all over the country before settling in the South Bend, Indiana area with his wife and children. He is a writer currently working on his second novel as well as a co-host on Board Game Rundown. His interests are multitudinous and include brewing beer, voice acting, playing guitar, backpacking, and, of course, playing board games.

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