Origins Game Fair: A first-timer’s strategy guide

Origins Game Fair is a really great convention, especially for designers and aspiring designers — nearly every publisher you can think of has a presence there, and many (most!) are willing to talk to just about anyone about their publishing process, what kind of things they are looking for, and occasionally able to set up ad-hoc meetings for pitching or socializing. I’ve made a ton of industry friends there: gamers, designers, media people, and publishers alike. Relationships are the lifeblood of the tabletop industry and I’m really grateful for all the ones I’ve been able to cultivate. And Origins has been one of the best ways to meet people.

I’ve been talking to some of the folks in my local designers meetup that they should get out to Columbus this summer if they can (Oh god, it burns even typing that… #GoBlue). It’s taken me a few years to really feel like I’ve got my legs under me going into ‘con season’, and all the questions they have are the same ones I had my first year, so I suspect others jumping into the game design game may have a similar experience. So here’s a little strategy guide for the run-up to Origins. Maybe I’ll do another one for how to make the most of your days there, but we’ll call that one a “survival guide” or something.

The Site…

Man oh man, the websites for some of these venerable conventions are a trip. Getting registered for Origins is only the most confusing thing you’ve ever had to figure out… until you try and get a badge for GenCon. Continue reading

Hack Retreat

IMG_5099I imagine most people are familiar with the concept of a ‘hackathon’ at this point: a semi-cloistered block of time dedicated to writing as much caffeine-soaked code as physically possible, by one or a few people, also usually in the context of other groups hacking on their own things.

I’d like to describe another time-boxed structure for focused productivity: the “Hack Retreat”. I did this during one weekend in November to focus on a specific project, and I’m easily two months of ‘nights and weekends’ ahead of where I was when I embarked on the retreat. (Full disclosure… this concept was initially inspired by an article I once read about Jon Carmack, so I can’t claim full credit.) Continue reading