Origins Game Fair 2011: Day 3

I’m happy to report that on Day 3 of Origins, The Great Banana Quest was finally fulfilled. With my system unable to sustain another morning of breakfast sandwiches, I scoured the convention center for something remotely healthy. Thankfully, I was able to bribe a smoothie attendant out of a banana, no doubt depriving some poor convention-goer of some frozen fruit goodness later that day.

But I digress.

First order of business for the day: Leviathans. For those not in the know, Leviathans is a miniatures game of aerial combat between huge fleets of heavily armored airships – giant, floating flotillas held aloft by giant Tesla coils. As I drooled over the awesome minis, Randall Bills – the designer and developer of Leviathans – walked over and I got a chance to talk with him about this uniquely awesome game.

Dice On The Road interview: Randall Bills – Leviathans

After talking with Randall, we moved onto more perusing of the exhibitor hall, trying to fill in gaps that were missed in the days before.


Ascending Empires - this game looks groovy.


The Wall of Warhammer

Square Shooters - the dice were beautiful and the base game simple and accessible. I was given a review copy, so I'll be reporting on how much it totally kicked my butt very soon.



The Moosetache Tent

I finally had a chance to meet up with Cristina Ramos about Moosetache Games‘ new card game, Hike. We settled into the Moosetache tent and played a few rounds. The game is breezy and fun, with some nice humor and a great feel. I’ll have more from Cristina and the Moosetache gang on the next State of Games podcast, so check out my thoughts there, soon!

Leaving the tent, we headed across the open gaming area toward the den of the miniatures players, braving the throng for one reason: a Leviathans demo. And, boy, did we get the full treatment. Catalyst Game Labs really put the screws to us, throwing me and Shawn right into an aggressive battle between our fleet.

Shawn captained the swift, but lightly-armored French fleet, while I lead the forces of the ironhided, but plodding Brits. It wasn’t long before I was getting outmaneuvered, and the froggy Frenchman looped me twice before disabling the engines on my light cruiser, leaving it a sitting duck. I had no choice but to cede the battle – however, as the base game is due out in a couple of months, my revenge shall come swiftly!

After a late lunch at – surprise! – Barley’s, Shawn and I randomly stumbled into a casual game of PitchCar. Neither of us had played before, and I had said the day before that agility games like to make fun of me. Well, PitchCar turned out to be the agility game that made me rethink my attitude. Shawn and I both found a natural affinity within ourselves, and hung tight with the leaders despite the fact that we started out behind in the very beginning. The game ended, and we were immediately invited to participate in a sanctioned PitchCar race – which Shawn and I promptly finished first and second in, respectively. I love PitchCar. I want PitchCar.

Feeling my Wheaties after doing well at an agility game, I decided to further test my mojo by playing with dice. Dice Town, to be exact. Of course, it was a massacre. The blog’s called Dice Hate Me for a reason!

After my beatdown by dice, it was prototype time. David MacKenzie broke out the long-awaited Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge, which is one of the most unique and enjoyable games I have encountered. We were all a bit worried, at first, since it takes awhile for your brain to adjust to all the things you can do and the overall insanity of the lounges. But after two rounds, we were all whipping out scoring combos that more than filled our little martini glasses with the cool cocktail monkeys. I cannot wait to see this one complete – it’s going to be an incredible and beautiful game.


Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge. Yeah, man.

SJVL wrapped, and a designer friend of John Muller – T.C. Petty III – presented the prototype for his coffee-themed Euro for 5 to 8 players, Deve Java. Although I’m hard-pressed to easily summarize the gameplay, I will say that it was one of the most unique gaming experiences from Origins, and I hope he finds a publisher soon.

Deve Java with the designer, T.C. (in green)

T.C. and the gang were kind enough to playtest mine and Monkey238’s prototype, and although they said they enjoyed it a great deal, it felt a bit off. Of course, it was late and we kept getting interrupted so the flow was disrupted, but it was clear that an advanced mechanic was introduced to the playgroup a bit too soon. I got some valuable feedback and more accolades, so we’ll probably be taking the game public before too long.


Squint real hard and maybe you can see the name of our game. Probably not, though.

Rounding out the late night menu was a brief playtest of Princes of the Dragon Throne with designers David and Fred Mackenzie. The game is in a transition stage, so not all the mechanics were present or even balanced, but what we saw so far felt unique and a solid base. The artwork is gorgeous, and portions of the gameplay put a fresh twist on team-building and area control.

Clever Mojo Games is officially sold out of Alien Frontiers at Origins, so the booth is becoming playtest central tomorrow. Shawn and I hope to get in more plays of Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge, Sailing Toward Osiris, Sunrise City and Princes of the Dragon Throne. Also still to come – a conversation with Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games, a look at Quarriors from Wizkids! and a grand search for some rare Euros that I vowed to check out before leaving home. More to come, so stick around!

Related posts:

  1. Origins Game Fair 2011: Day 2
  2. Origins Game Fair 2011: Day 1
  3. Tequila Sunrise over Clever Mojo Games
  4. Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Artist!
  5. Dice On The Road
3 Responses to “Origins Game Fair 2011: Day 3”
  1. tomg says:

    Wow, it looks like a great day. Leviathans looks as awesome as I thought. It looks and sounds like you found a bunch of winners. SJVL, Sailing for Osiris, Hike = cool. The java game interests me. I want to hear more about it. And I can’t wait for to finally play Monkey’s game. What are these Euros?

  2. T.C. says:

    Finally get to check this out with some real internet at home. Had a rocking time and glad I got a chance to slip in DeveJava. I bow to your mad graphic design skillz.

  3. dicehateme says:

    T.C. – It was great to meet you, and I’m glad we got a chance to play DeveJava, too! It’s a fun, tight game, and I really think you have something there. Thanks for being a great gamer, and also for playing the sh*t out of some Troyes. 😉 We may be seeing you at WBC.

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