I only had one gaming event planned ahead of time (an Epic limited event on Saturday). I've learned over the years that it's wise to keep your schedule flexible. Once you're on the ground, it's easy to find lots of interesting things to do. Unless the event is something that's likely to sell out (either something super-popular or with very limited space), it's easy enough to show up with generic tokens rather than locking yourself into a particular schedule. Also, don't schedule back-to-back events if at all possible, since the early one might run late, or you might be tired enough that you won't enjoy the later event much anyway.
Everything I played this year was a card game of some kind. Origins actually has a lot more role-playing games than anything else, but I tend to gravitate toward the card games unless I'm going with a group. Partly that's for the sake of time...a single RPG event can take many hours...but mostly I just prefer to know at least one or two other people in an RPG event, and I didn't have anything like that organized this year. There are plenty of board games as well, some of which I tried out as demos, but I didn't play them as organized events.
|Wasn't hard to find the Star Realms event area, with this banner to navigate by.|
The Epic limited event was different than anything I'd played before. Since Epic doesn't have randomized packaging (i.e. Magic boosters), they can't just give you some random packs to use. Instead, everyone brought their own set of cards, then the organizers handed each person a list with 60 random card names that you were allowed to use to build your 30-card deck. If you didn't like your list, you could replace it with another random list, but only once. First time I'd played a format like that, and I thought it worked pretty well. I lost all my games, which isn't too surprising since I'd never actually played an organized event for the game before. I usually play group games with friends, but it's a very different game playing one-on-one! All my opponents were nice enough, though, and everyone got some promo cards to take home.
|Epic promos - alternative art cards.|
|Event loot! Playmat and promo cards.|
The atmosphere was good in all those events, friendly without being overly competitive. Everyone I met and played against was having a good time. Every convention has big events where the competition level is high, but I generally avoid those in favor of the smaller, more casual formats. I find my stress level stays lower that way, and I have a better time overall. It certainly worked out that way with these events!