Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dispatches From The Origins Show

I just returned from the Origins Game Fair in Columbus Ohio. Origins is the national show of the Game Manufacturer's Association (GAMA) and this year was the 35th annual show, so it's been around for a while. I missed it last year but I've been to it every other year, starting in Baltimore over three decades ago. Good show.

The show's theme this year was Victoriana, yet more evidence of the relentless all-conquering march of Steampunk. In honor of that, Talon Dunning (an artist who I predict you’ll see more of in the future) did a beautiful painting for the Origins War College. For reasons which surpass understanding, they did not use it, but I bought a copy of the print. I also used it as the lead piece of artwork on this blog entry, so judge for yourself. Here’s a link to his web page – most of his art is fantasy rather than steampunk, but that may change as well. Let's hope so.

Catalyst Game Labs prominently featured their steampunk miniatures game Leviathans, complete with a large diorama of two French aerial Leviathans crossing above the White Cliffs of Dover and being met by two British aerial vessels. There’s no denying the appeal of big flying ships. I’ve certainly never been able to resist. Here is a link to Catalyst’s free download section where you can take a look at the game basics and a background piece on their world.

Several of the booths were purveyors of Steampunk costume paraphernalia and lots of the attendees were in costume. Here are some pictures of attendees, snapped by Ken St. Andre and forwarded to me. Ken’s the designer of Tunnels and Trolls, and it was good to see him again at the show.

Rod Campbell from Highlander Studios was there as well. We had dinner and spent a couple hours talking about the upcoming 15mm line, fine-tuning its contents mostly. We have greens (masters) right now, but we should have some painted production figures in a couple weeks so we’ll hold off showing them until then. Those of you going to Historicon in about a week will see the first releases there.

A very good show overall.


  1. I've always considered Space: 1889 to be a cut above the "Steampunk" moniker. Those photos only reinforce that opinion.

  2. In fairness, the costumes look better in person than in photos. I suspect this is because in the photos you do not have the sense of fun and involvement which folks bring to the activity, but in person that is very apparent.

  3. That said, I would certainly never disagree that Space: 1889 is a cut above the rest of the crowd!

  4. Sounds like a great trip. I'm imagining an entire hall of people garbed like your photos, it would have been wonderful to see.
    Was there any other Space 1889 action happening?...I was hoping Red Sands would stir some interest

  5. Andrew,

    As part of the War College, Robert Mosher (a retired 30-year veteran of the Foreign Service)gave a great presentation on European Diplomatic History from 1870 to 1889 in the Space: 1889 universe. He did it in costume and in character as a foreign service background briefing, and the audience raised questions and had some disagreements as to interpretation -- but all given in character as well. "Excuse me, sir, but I do not believe you understand the intended employment or full capabilities of the aether battleship." Very good presentation and well attended.

  6. That would have been exceptional :)