AN HOUR AT ORIGINS: REMAKES AND REHASHES. NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

It's Origins time, where gamers gather from around the world (though a might less than, say, GenCon) to find examples of geeks who are worse than them. For the most part, one can say "I may be completely obsessed with the minutiae of this thing, but at least I'm not as bad as" and then point. Somewhere in the field of your finger there will be someone creepier, smellier, or more out of shape than you.

But anyway! I usually spend the whole weekend there, minus work, but I'm poor this year so I just stopped in to see what was new from my favorite boardgame makers. Five dollars for a day pass is certainly cheaper than the couple hundred I usually spend. Last year I walked out with five or six new games, including Settlers of America, which takes the Settler of Catan idea and perfects it.

This year, not so much innovation.

Transient

Firstly, Stronghold Games remade one of my all time favoritest games ever, Survive! The 1982 classic is how I spent most of my time at my grandparents' home in Pennsylvania when we visited as a child and weren't in the mood to be angry at each other. When we were in the mood, we played Monopoly, of course. Unfortunately, their copy ended up in the dump after Grandpa died, but a rather convoluted series of events ended with one of my college roommates giving me a copy of the game for Christmas. It's missing one piece, but it is still the greatest game Parker Brothers, or any other American company, ever produced.

Anyway, it's remade now! With fancier pieces and thicker tiles, and less casually racist cover art.

Transient

So yeah, great game. Though currently the remake is barely less expensive than what the original is pulling on Ebay.

One of my favorite game companies, Looney Labs -- who make a lot of games that I love playing in small spurts and then not thinking about for long periods -- had two new games as flagships for their booth.

One is Seven Dragons, which is exactly like their game Aquarius but with new artwork by Larry Elmore, a man who clearly likes dragons (and possibly dungeons), but then who doesn't?

The other is the officially licensed Back to the Future The Card Game, which is their game Chrononauts with a new skin (and hopefully a quicker pacing).

One of my favorite discoveries from last year, Baksha Games' Good Help -- a game which I swear was stolen from my and Pat's brains (I still have our production notes from when we were working it out)  -- returned, though the promised future expansion has yet to manifest. Mayfair is apparently still riding the laurels of Settlers of America (well deservedly). Steve Jackson Games probably came out with some new version of Munchkin, though I didn't actually check. Z-man had some new ones, but no one was demoing them while I was around. I should go back tomorrow just to check them out, more than likely worth five more bucks.

Plus it'll be good for the self-esteem.