Origins Recap

#81 – Origins Recap

Hello everyone and welcome to another bonus episode of the Indie Board Game Designers podcast.

My name is Patrick Rauland and today I want to chat about my experience at Origins.


Origins is a board game convention in Columbus Ohio and it’s one of the bigger board game events in the US. I went for the first time last year and you can hear about it in episode #9.

I really enjoyed my experience last year so went again and had an even better time so let me share what went really well. I did three main things for board game design.

  1. I did publisher speed dating as I did last year
  2. I reserved a table at the Unpub room
  3. I setup 2-3 meetings with publishers ahead of time

Publisher Speed Dating

Publisher speed dating was really good. There were ~24 designers and about 12-14 publishers. So you had a table where you had your game setup and publishers listened to you for 4 minutes and then moved to the next table.

Last year I had pretty good feedback and 2 publishers wanted to take my game home to playtest it.

This year I brought 2 medium games one is Streak which is a Tron inspired racing game. And the other is Bank of the Realms which is a 2-3 player abstract you can hear about in the Simple Elegance series. And I asked pubishers which one they wanted to her about. It was about 50/50.

This year I had even better feedback but no one wanted to take either of my games home. 

I heard that the abstract looks great but it’s really hard to sell an abstract. Which is a bummer.

I got a bunch of business cards and emailed a how to play video to maybe ~8 publishers so there’s a chance they’ll get back to me. We’ll see.

So speed dating was okay.

Unpub Room

The Unpub room was new. Last year I didn’t know I had to reserve a table. I did so this year and got a ton of play testing and lots of validation. And interestingly enough I happened to have a publisher stop by and played my game with them and they asked me to send them a copy of Bank of the Realms. 

So I got more interest by playing the game than doing a pitch in speed dating.

I also got really good feedback. I got okay feedback on Bank of the Realms and will make some tweaks.

I got some pretty good feedback for Streak. It’s a minor change to the game but I think it will add a lot of enjoyment. So I can’t wait to implement that feedback.

I really enjoyed play testing and meeting designers. If I could recommend you do one thing it’s reserving an Unpub table to playtest, maybe get in front of a publisher, and meet other designers.

A friend of mine signed his 2nd game by showing it to a publisher in the Unpub room. They had a contract for him ready by the end of the weekend. So you can get lucky that way.

Publisher Pitches

I also setup meetings with publishers ahead of time. I showed them Bank of the Realms since that’s what I’ve been working on for the past few months but I kept hearing that an abstract is hard to sell which is a bummer.

In retrospect I should have been ready to pitch Streak but I was so focused on Bank of the Realms I didn’t think about showing my other games.

And Samhain which I submitted for the Holiday contest and is a finalist. I’ve been so hyper focused on one game I totally forgot to pitch what is already basically done and just needs to find a home.

It’s so easy to move onto the next thing and I need to do a better job pitching games I’ve already finished and just need to be published. I’ll work on setting up some meetings for Gen Con.

Gen Con

Speaking of which I happened to run into Adi & Liz from Episode #5 and they mentioned they were desperate to find volunteers for Gen Con. I wasn’t planning on attending since it’s pretty expensive but since I’m volunteering they’re helping pay for my hotel. So that’s a huge benefit of going to Origins! I found a way to help someone and make my trip less expensive!

Wrap Up

One more thing – I’d love to hear what content you like most. Is it the interviews? The contest series? These updates? 

I have a very short survey at

If you could fill that out I’d really appreciate it so I can make more of your favorite type of content.

That’s all for this bonus episode. I just waned to share what I did and what I learned from it.

Again if I can recommend one thing – reserve those Unpub tables. Doing speed dating and publisher meetings are great but #1 has to be the unpub tables!

I’m outta here. Happy designing!

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