Words by David C. Obenour
Origins Game Fair | September 1- October 3, 2021 | Greater Columbus Convention Center
Even with a scaled down exhibitor hall, Origins Game Fair showcased a number of exciting new (and new to us) games. Following up on part 1 from last week, head back into the exhibitor hall with us for part 2 of our highlights from Origins 2021.
Roll Camera (Keen Bean)
No one sets out to make a bad movie but a there are a lot of bad movies and really only two kinds of good movies. There are good good movies and there are good bad movies. Both are good – in their own way – but it turns out both are challenging to make. In Roll Camera, players take on the roles of industry professionals cooperatively working on a movie. Things go right, mostly things go wrong, but as the dice and cameras roll with time and money running low it’s on you to make sure your movie is good good or at least good bad.
Lost Ruins of Arnak (CGE Games)
Traces of the once great civilization of Arnak have been discovered on a previously uncharted island and now it is up to you to lead an expedition and discover its secrets. With a map board full of hard decisions through worker placement and deck building mechanics, the risks and rewards increase the deeper into the jungle you venture. Widely lauded since its release last year, CGE has been demoing the upcoming Expedition Leaders expansion with unique starting deck abilities, along with new research tracks, items, artifacts, guardians and assistants.
Regenerate! (Tunnel Monster Collective)
One of the most fascinating games we heard about at Origins was one that wasn’t even for sale. Designed in collaboration with the Land Art Generator and Burning Man’s Fly Ranch Project, Regenerate! is a resource management game in its truest sense. Over 20 rounds, players work cooperatively as they dream, design, and deploy their vision for a sustainable community on regenerative land. Created by people actively engaged in these initiatives, the theme is thoughtfully applied to every aspect of gameplay and is meant as a teaching – and inspirational – tool for players.
Fire For Light (Greenbrier Games)
Trapped in a perpetual nuclear winter, siblings Iris and Narii are forced to survive by braving the elements and creatures that lurk in the dark shadows outside their campfire. A grim fantasy setting with bright, comic illustrations (think Over the Garden Wall), storytelling unfolds through tabletop play and a companion app. Still early in its journey to gamer’s tables, Greenbrier was showing off a promising prototype with the expectation of further development later this year.
Kōhaku (Gold Seal Games)
Another inviting entry into the library of modern zen games, Kōhaku finds players laying tiles to build the most aesthetically and naturally appealing koi pond. With colored koi, turtles, statues, dragonflies and butterflies, rocks and flowers, the combinations and placement of features score players points based on their harmony. More of a puzzley game, the theme still matches the gameplay well as a high scoring pond is also one that’s visually appealing.
The Masticator Gate (SkeletonKey Games)
Set in the beautiful and horrifying world of Mörk Borg, the Masticator Gate expands players adventures with exquisite corpse style monster creation, new items and character classes. More than just a new book and dark setting for further adventures, the companion Endless Demon Deck provides three rowed monsters for any number of terrifying combinations. Third party open licensing allows for the nightmare of Mörk Borg to continue to grow far and wide.
La Famiglia and Blackbrim 1876 (Puzzling Pursuits)
Al Capone has just been captured but the trail has only begun for you and your fellow gumshoes. In this two-part escape the room style adventure, it’s up to your team to track down the gang of bootleggers going by the name La Famiglia. Utilizing a box full of puzzles, Puzzling Pursuits offers a surprising amount of inventiveness for only paper components. Also available is their first title released just last year, which sets the puzzley fun in 1876 England.
Vivid Memories (Floodgate Games)
Vivid Memories is an exploration of memories long gone and the connected patterns that they weave in our brain. Another great example of Floodgate Games attention to illustrations and components, players collect memories of illustrated moments while building emotional connections on your brain gameboard. A fun further detail, these memory tiles have both the life experience and a flipside with the fanciful imagined reality. It’s an inventive and fun tactile look at some rather abstract concepts.
Emberwind: The Songweave Tapestry (Nomnivore Games)
An artifact has been stolen, a pivotal inventor’s life is at risk and warring factions rage with no regard to the reality they create. A 5-15 hour campaign, The Songweave Tapestry is the second adventure series released for Emberwind. With an easy to pick up system of rules, beautiful illustrations, plenty of bonus component support offered, and the ability to play without a dedicated GM player, Nomnivore Games thinks of Emberwind as a new, more inviting breed of tabletop role playing.
And those are the games we played at Origins 2021! If you haven’t already, check out part one of our coverage, be sure to subscribe to our Digital Zine and follow along for more gaming interviews and features!