Prime’s Declassified Origins Survival Guide 2008 By Matt Riddle (with help from others) Hi everyone. This is Prime again, with a new installment of my guide dedicated to one of the biggest game events on the east coast, Origins: [del]International Game Expo[/del] Game Fair. In this new guide, I want to cover some of the sections I left out in the first guide and go into the planning process before the actual trip. I hope you enjoy it. Chapter 1: Tips for Origins BEFORE you leave. Behind any good trip, there is good preparation. Preparation helps someone plan for the future and organize their ideas, goals, and activities into a single cohesive outline. Not only does it reduce the chance of errors or problems on the trip, it also reduces the stress that often comes with those errors or problems once you arrive at your destination. There are a few ways you can prepare for your next trip to Origins before you leave the house. Here are some tips to make your next trip a little less bumpy: One way to prepare for Origins, and save some money in the process is to buy your pass online. There are different deals you can do depending on when you want to buy your pass. Starting around January, you can mail off an Origins pass form found on the official Origins website. Usually, the price of the pass is cheaper, the earlier you buy it, with prices being anywhere from $10-20 off normal pass price. If you are a teacher, you can get into Origins for free! Origins offers a Teacher Pass that costs nothing and gives you access to all the areas and events that come with a regular four-day event pass. This also applies to those in the army, which get a reduction in cost or a free pass too. This year, Origins did a really cool thing through a new promotion. If you bought an Early-Bird Four-Day Pass online during the early part of the year, you were given the chance to buy a friend a 4-day early bird pass to Origins for free. The only requirement was that the friend had never attended Origins before. This is really great for groups that attend Origins each year, because you can buy your tickets early and get free passes for your new friends and family that plan on attending. Origins website will post a complete schedule outline of all the events happening online. You’ll usually find these on the website in the Events section a few months before the actual date of Origins. These Excel spreadsheet files list all the events that will be held at Origins that year and are organized by the game type, such as Collectible Card Games, Live Action Role-playing Games, Miniature Games, etc. The schedule spreadsheets are very useful in knowing what events will be held and coming up with a rough schedule for your time at Origins. Try to plan out a rough schedule of events you want to participate in at Origins. Even if you don’t make a direct plan, you can still learn about the various events going on. Don’t be afraid to look into other sections you might not be traditionally interested in. You never know when you might find an event that sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Since you are buying a pass that gives you access to all the events, take advantage of that, and try out a few events that sound fun. Some events will allow you to pre-register for them online on the Origins website. This makes it easier to register for events you might be interested in, and will reduce the time you spend in line at Origins. You can pre-register for events in the same location as where you can buy your pass online. It’s always a good idea to go ahead and pre-register so you can guarantee yourself a spot in a certain event. After you have a plan for what you want to do and have pre-registered for events you are interested in, if you have any friends and family that might be at Origins too, let them know what events you’re interested in, and see if they are interested in participating in those events too! Even if you don’t plan on participating in events with them, they will know where to find you, if they need to, in case of an emergency. The Columbus Convention Center is pretty big, and it’s easy to lose sight of someone in the crowds of people. Chapter 2: Tips for Origins WHEN you arrive. So, you’ve made it to Columbus. Good job, but there are still many obstacles and problems you can run into when you arrive. Here are some tips for preparing for those problems before they occur. The Origins: [DEL]International Game Expo[/DEL] Game Fair is held in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Because of the two-hour limits on the meters located around the convention center, you are most likely going to have to find a more permanent parking space. There are multiple places to park around the convention center. Many parking spaces will have different prices, and some will have certain rules you have to obey to park there. It’s always best procedure to scout around the area to find the best deal. Some areas might offer cheap parking if you don’t stay long, but it will go up drastically the longer you are there. While others have fixed amounts that won’t change at all throughout the entire day but are usually more expensive to begin with. Usually, the earlier you get to the Convention Center, the less filled the parking spaces will be. So try to plan your days so you get their earlier. You might find the best parking lot is not full at a certain time of day and you might be able to save yourself a bit of money and walking time. Some parking lots have “rules” that if you don’t fulfill them, you will have to pay a certain fee to park there. Always read the fine print, and in any doubt, ask the person watching over the lot if there are any rules to parking there if you are unsure. Make sure not to lose your parking ticket because some places will charge a high price if you don’t have your parking ticket at time of departure. The first thing you should do when you get into the Convention Center is go pick up or buy your Origins pass. If you’ve pre-ordered your pass, good job, you can just go to the Pre-Registration booth to get your pass and goody bag. Inside the goody bags, there are usually a few fliers, a few little items from various games, and some others random goodies. It’s not much, but it’s free. If you have not pre-ordered your pass, then you’ll have to stand in line in the Registration area. The earlier you get to the Convention Center, the smaller the lines will be in the Registration Area. Usually, there are some events being held on Wednesday, even though most events don’t begin until Thursday. If you plan on participating in any of those events on Wednesday, you should pick up your pass early. The registration booths usually open around 7 A.M on Wednesday. Make sure to pick up an Event schedule book at the tables around the registration booths and information booths. Even if you’ve already read over the scheduled events online, it never hurts to look over them again. You might see something you missed, and it helps to see all the events listed by the day they are being held on. Also, sometimes there will be a list of events that have been added, altered, or canceled. Make sure any of the events your interested in haven’t been canceled and check out the events that have been added. Here is a link to the Pre-Registration book for the Origins Game Fair 2008. This is different than the Event Schedule book, but it does list some of the events being held at Origins this year. The Greater Columbus Convention Center is a very big place. It’s very easy to lose track of a person within the same room, so it’s a piece of cake to lose someone within the entirety of the convention center. Get accustomed to where various events take place. If you have to, walk around the convention center on Wednesday, or your first day there, and try to find the location where your events will be held. "Designate a place to meet. Find some landmark in the hall, and agree that if you [or anyone in your group] gets separated, you'll meet there." ~M_Liesik Chapter 3: Tips for Origins WHILE you are there. Communication is vital when keeping in touch with friends and family at Origins. Being able to find them when you need to, is very important. One the best ways to keep in touch is by communicating over cell phones. You’d be surprised how fast you can lose touch of someone, and it’s so easy to just give them a ring and find out where they ran off to. "If your kid doesn't have a cell phone, give them something that has your name and cell number on it so that if they get lost, they have your number handy, or if they need help from the staff, they can easily contact you." ~M_Liesik Also, it’s useful to check and see if the event your friend or family member is playing in is over with yet. Some events might not appreciate a phone call during the middle of them, so check with your friend or family member before-hand and find out when the event should be over with if you feel a phone call would not be kosher. Cell phones are a definite recommendation for big events like Origins. When cell phones aren’t available, coordinate a time and location to meet back together with your group. Make it a place in the open that is easily recognizable so people don’t lose track of it. If you have younger kids..."Have a hard and fast rule that the kids are NOT to leave the...area unless they are with you or someone you have specifically approved. While (some)...areas are pretty tame, there are places at Origins that might alarm a kid." ~ Big Daddy Snorlax "Have an "explosion plan". If a kid gets sick, or goes flying off the handle, know what you are going to do." ~meganium45 There are many items one might bring with them to the convention center, like cards, cameras, poster tubes, hats, and bags. A single person can’t possibly bring all that stuff with them into the convention center though, since it’ll be a big problem trying to carry it all around the entire day. Each day, pack with your Origins schedule in mind. Don’t bring everything you own with you everyday. Only bring the items you will need for that day. If you don’t need your cards that day, leave them at the hotel. The more you bring, the more you have to carry around. With so much walking, each item will slow you down and get in your way. Don’t leave your stuff lying around. Don’t assume that people will keep an eye on your stuff either. As bad as it sounds, there are people that will walk away with other people’s stuff, and nobody wants to see that happen to them or anybody else. If you have to, walk back to your car or hotel and put it in a safe place like the trunk or closet. It might take a little time to do it, but in the long-term, you’ll be much better off. Food and drinks can be expensive if you buy them from the vendor closest to you. If you buy food or drinks from the vendors located around the convention rooms, you will usually end up paying excessive amounts of money for cheap items like bottled water and lemonade. When you pick up your Origins pass, take a look around the Information booth because sometimes they will have coupons for various food outlets located in the convention center food court. Thanks to The Gorn, here is a link to coupons that can save you money at some of the food court venues. Don’t buy your food and drinks from the first place you find. Usually, if you look around the food court, you will be find better deals and much lower prices. Re-use those bottles! I can’t stress this point enough, if you buy a bottled drink, don’t throw it away after you are done with it. There is various water fountains located around the convention center rooms and you can refill your used bottle for free. This can easily save you the $3 that bottled water might cost you. "Have a food and beverage plan. Food can be expensive at the Convention Center, but worse than the cost are the lines when 1000 players get a lunch break at the same time. Not drinking enough fluids throughout the day leads to dehydration and that means less fun for all. Remember though, plenty of fluids also requires periodic visits to the restroom, so plan how that will be handled." ~Big Daddy Snorlax If you have kids, "Bring a backpack full of snacks and juice boxes or the like. Stuff they like...Otherwise their diet become fried food and soda...not good for a full day of play." ~meganium45 Don’t be afraid to eat at places outside of the convention center. Some of the places can be expensive, but sometimes you can find a good deal. Every now and then, it’s worth spending a little more cash, so you can eat real food. I ate at a few places around Columbus this past year, and here are my reviews for them: Spaghetti Warehouse 397 W Broad St, Columbus, OH - (614) 464-0143 A group of people and I ordered out for spaghetti and other pasta products one night. The meals cost around $10 each on average. The food was decent, but there were a few problems with items not showing up as they were ordered. I’d probably recommend going in and eating at the restaurant instead of ordering out. The food was good overall. Pizza Pan 2167 N High St, Columbus, OH – (614) 294-0000 The night before I headed back to NC, a friend and I found this gem. We got a flier at the motel we stayed at, and it had really awesome deals like “buy one large pizza, get 2 free”. That was perfect for the 3 people staying in my room. So we ended up buying a 12” pizza for around $12.99 and getting 2 more for free. You only get that offer if you pick it up yourself, but you can get “buy one, get 1 free” if you have it delivered. It was pretty tasty, and well worth the money. First Watch 492 S High St, Columbus, OH – (614) 228-7554 A few friends and I ate here for lunch on Sunday. The restaurant had a good selection of breakfast, brunch, and lunch items. The prices were relatively cheap, around $7 for a meal. Every table had a pitcher of ice water on it, which was great with the summer weather and free drinks are always awesome. Each lunch meal came with a side of diced potatoes and a salad. I really enjoyed it. Here are a few restaurants recommended by some of the staff on this forum: RyanVergel's Picks Max & Erma's 55 E Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215 - (614) 228-5555 I went to this place at least twice. Service was quick, although it did get a bit crowded sometimes. Classic American food at a walking distance from the CCC. The food was on par with places like TGI Fridays and at the same normal price. Not a bad little place. BD's Mongolian Barbeque 295 Marconi Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215 - (614) 586-0077 I actually went here at least twice in the weekend, maybe even three times. It was that good. The restaurant was never crowded when I went, had great service, was all you can eat (very easy to go to this place for a "nice lunch" while still eating your heart out with fresh cooked, personally-tailored meals =D. bd's mongolian barbeque© is a Create Your Own Stir-Fry restaurant concept where the guests choose their own ingredients from a great variety of meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, sauces and spices. The food is then prepared by master grillers on a 600° 7-foot grill. Meals aren't too expensive, but expect to pay like you would at a normal restaurant. PokeMom's Picks Jeni's Ice Cream North Market, 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH - (614) 228-9960 "Jeni's features rich and creamy fresh ice cream at the North Market. The flavors are very inventive and very good. They do offer tastes, as the flavors are pretty different and it might be hard to pick what you want just based on the names. Jeni makes flavored frozen yogurt and sorbets as well as the ice cream. The price is just ok (2 scoops- 4$), but you're not going to find these anywhere else that I know of." ~Random Review North Market 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215-1622 - (614) 463-9664 "Flavors of India makes a mean mango lassi to wash down your vegetarian plate. Go to Firdous Express for falafel and hummus. Choose between German pastries at Juergen's Bakery or organic baked goods at Del's. Shopping for dinner? Bob "the Fish Guy" will wrap you up a fresh catch to take home." ~Bob Fitrakis Chapter 4: Have Fun! I hope some of this information can help people with their adventure into the Origins Game Fair. In my last piece of information, I'll leave a link to a website that might could provide some more information. It's the Unofficial Survivors Guide to ORIGINS (not related to this one). Remember, the official site of the Origins Game Fair is http://www.originsgamefair.com/. Cya there!