One + July 2011 - (Page 64)

Well Played The Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, attracted hobbyists, role players, families and silent investors searching for the next new board game. B Y I LO N A K A U R E M SZ KY GAME MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION WHITE-COATED TECHNICIANS AT A NONDESCRIPT LAB IN COLUMBUS, OHIO, COMPLETE THE FINAL TOUCHES TO A NEW INVENTION that has arguably caused a hullabaloo of sci-fi proportions—image detection of anthrax and TNT beneath a terrorist’s clothing. An extraordinary accomplishment? Yes. Is it any surprise Columbus was the home turf? Not really. When you consider one of the largest game conventions in the world puts on its annual five-day expo in Columbus, the extraordinary achievements originating from Ohio’s state capital become apparent. Enter the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the producers of the Origins Game Fair. Board games, insiders there say, are the genus to innovation. “I remember in the 1970s playing Axis and Allies, a WW2 re-enactment, in high school,” said John Ward, Origins’ executive director. “It led me to be curious about history.” The retired military major has been busy these past three years working on the gaming expo that attracts hobbyists, role players, families and silent investors searching for that next new Dungeons and Dragons. “When you think of live action role games like murder mystery games where people dress up or Civil War game reenactment, there are all types of events that’ll happen at the show,” Ward said. The largest city in the Buckeye State is proving to be the ideal hub for the Origins Game Fair. The Midwest town’s history alone shows creativity, and making things possible was at the forefront. Remember the old horse 64 and buggy? Columbus’ claim to fame: it was the buggy capital of the world in the 1800s. That switched when the notion of flight was knocked around in 1910. The world’s first commercial cargo flight occurred from Dayton to Columbus. These days, the Columbus CVB, Experience Columbus, boasts that the city has the best science center and zoo in the U.S. Columbus is becoming famous for its rich, diverse culture, and its openness, creativity and growing culinary scene. “To me, Columbus is becoming famous for its rich, diverse culture, and its openness, creativity and growing culinary scene,” said Brian Ross, senior vice president of sales for Experience Columbus. As a host city since the late 1990s, Columbus’ close proximity to much of the U.S. population is one of the reasons the location was selected, says Ward, who adds that Columbus is a one-day drive from two-thirds of the population. “Both I-70 and I-71 run through our city, intersecting downtown, making us a very good drive market for cites like Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Louisville, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Cleveland,” Ward said. “But one+ 07.11 RON GECINA PHOTOGRAPHY we have noticed more international attendees and exhibitors from Canada and Germany, as well.” Perhaps more people are putting aside their computer mice and PDAs for some good old fashioned face-to-face game playing. “It’s just a nice social feeling where people can actually sit around a table and play a game,” Ward said. “We had the highest attendance at last year’s conference. Ward proudly boasts of the 11,000 participants, which added a 6.5 percent attendance increase from previous years. “It’s a social gaming convention,” he said. “It’s not just all electronic games. Board games, role playing games, miniature games and LARP (live action role playing), along with professional development tracks, are at the show. So if you’re a budding author or game designer, there are actually seminars you can attend by accomplished authors and game designers.” But more importantly, Ward sees games as the comeback kid. “Board games are actually starting to become integrated in the continental

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of One + July 2011

One + July 2011
Energy of Many
Paradigm Shifts, Part II
Web Watch
Ask the Experts
Recognizing Community and Organizational Excellence
Art of Travel
The Prism Effect
Top Spots
Using New Tech for Old Purposes
So You Think You Can Dance
Don’t Use Tech You Don’t Understand
Are You In It to Win It?
Anything is Possible
Night of the Radishes
Well Played
When People Come Together, Magic Happens
Size Matters
Building a Better FAM
One Bar at a Time
Industry Insights
Your Community
Making a Difference
Until We Meet Again

One + July 2011