Origins 2014 – Reports From The Grogs

frontier wars 728x90 KS

There’s always something cool to see at Origins.  Here’s what stuck out for our team…

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Barthheart:  Well, this was my first ever Origins and my first con of this size. WOW! 5 days whizzed by… but maybe because I had such a great time with the GrogHeads and GM’ing games of Sergeant’s Miniature Game. I managed 5 games in total and all the people who came to play were great sports and had fun… not hard when SMG is a fun game to play. Husband and wife teams, father and son teams, old, young just great people out to have a fun time. The people from Lost Battalion Games, makers of SMG, were very helpful in starting our games, gave us some fantastic prizes to hand out and also gave me some very nice swag for GM’ing their game.

I also helped some of the vendors setup. We were helping Decision Games setup and it was hard to not start shopping right then. I wandered by their booth later on and they remember who I was and asked if I was interested in play testing a new tactical space game they were working on. We played for about 2 hours. Fun game, nice people. They took my name and email and are going to set me up with a printed play test copy when they get them.

I managed to not break my wallet and only bought RAF and some extra soldier minis for SMG. Decision Games released their new monster Atlantic Wall for the con….. REALLY nice looking game with a huge map, 11+ sheets of counters… only $240 at the con…. so tempted but it would have never gotten played only taken out and fondled every few years.

Overall, great fun with great people. It was nice to be able to put faces to the screen names at GrogHeads.

Hope I get invited and can attend next year.


The GrogLoot that some of our folks came home with ~

BayonetBrant:  First, I saw the coolest new game company name in years: Nerd Rage Games.  I also saw a lot of non-wargame companies selling wargames (albeit light ones) like Iello’s Heroes of Normandie and Ares’ Wings of Glory and Sails of Glory.  Finally, the guys over at Atlas Games were selling the awesomely-named We Didn’t Playtest This At All.


PanzerDE:  Unquestionably the greatest thing about Origins for me was getting to meet and hang out with a great group of fellow Grogs. Sure, that sounds kind of cliche, but having four days to talk wargaming with others who understand and enjoy your hobby is a fantastic thing! Being able to put faces with names, and then to have the chance to meet and have extended conversations with not just Grogs but game designers and publishers was really a treat. I was introduced to a lot of new game systems and ideas, some of which went home with me in the form of games I picked up. Honestly, I never thought I was a “con” person, but I’m already planning for next year.

The coolest thing of the entire show, however, was watching Cyrano masterfully use attack helicopters to kill jeeps in Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm.

Crandall:  A game on two battles in Normandy from the ATO guys, and also their treatment of the 6 Day War.  All that and a rare coffee mug too!


Careos:  I cannot narrow down the cool things I saw this week at Origins, it was by far the most active and rewarding convention for me in the last 7 or 8 years. On Friday morning, my partner in crime, Russ and I were able to sit down for a play test of “Moon Shot”, a game that is in development. If you ever played “Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space” back in the 1990’s, you would feel very at home with this game. The main premise is the to be the first one to score 100 prestige points in the game. To do this, you must execute baby steps of R&D to get there safely. You are awarded for your “firsts”, such as orbital missions, EVA’s and whatnot. The entire game is a balance of R&D, launches, astronaut recruiting and whatnot. It was a great design and I cannot wait for the developer to push it to Kickstarter.

The second thing that was a great deal of fun for me was playing Sergeants at the Grogheads HQ. Having always wanted to take a shot at the game, I knew this was my opportunity. Sitting down with my wife and Russ, I was amazed at the finish of the game. This game featured some of the best presentation of any game I have seen so far. Gameplay is quick, easy and light. The game lasted about 2.5 hours and never had a down moment. I was especially excited to walk away with a copy of the game to play at home.

Worth the price of admission all on its own.

Worth the price of admission all on its own.

And of course, the World of Tanks card game, as told by Cyrano:

The folks at Wargaming.Net play very, very dirty.


The World of Tanks card game with Asmodee

I was less than two days into Origins when I drifted past the Asmodee Editions game demo space.  There, amidst piles of family, social, and euro games I would happily leave to others was a stack of small boxes bearing the familiar World of Tanks logo.  One look at the box told me that, as I say, the geniuses behind WoT know their audience.

  • Non-collectible card game playable in under 30 minutes — check.
  • Art by the same people who did the art for WoT — check.
  • Tanks ranging from T2s to the Maus — check.
  • And did I mention that each box includes a code to get a special tank in the on-line version along with a garage to hold it?  Those bastards…

So, how does the game play?

The folks who know card games far better than I say it’s part of the deck building genre.  I find this a misnomer as your deck isn’t constructed as much as it is metastasized by the continual addition of new cards either gained by purchasing them from a pool that appears at random from a draw deck or taking them from your opponent in  attacks.

Each player is given three bases to defend and a tiny deck of six cards with which to begin.  Tanks are purchased, other tanks destroyed, bases assaulted, and nation-specific medals earned.  The five natiionalities considered (U.S., Germany, France, Britain, and the U.S.S.R.) act as suits — under most circumstances, bases can only be destroyed by attacks from two tanks of the same nation.  The vehicles themselves are reasonably well differentiated with light tanks costing little and doing little with their bigger brothers both being more deadly and more costly.  Up to five players can have at each other at one time.  The game ends and is scored when any player has all of his bases destroyed.

A very nice feature of the game is the initial random draw of victory conditions from a separate deck.  In the first game i played, extra points were scored for having won the most German medals (earned by killing things with German tanks), having destroyed the most bases, and having the most cards in your deck.  It promises to keep each game a bit different.

The game is readily taught and plays quickly.  In the end, I liked it a great deal.  It’s hardly a wargame, and the high level of luck introduced by the deck “building” mechanic makes even calling it a strategy game a bit of a stretch, but it’s a clever, light, card game with really pretty tanks —  and a free on-line tank thrown in for good measure.  What’s not to love?

Retail is $35.

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One Response to Origins 2014 – Reports From The Grogs

  1. […] think of a better real-world summation of this place than what we saw last summer at Origins, when a group of Grogs showed up to help us run the GrogHeads Central Command, and despite none of them having met […]

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