Archive for June, 2009


Origins 2009 photos!

Watch my progress through this year’s Origins Game Fair in my Origins 2009 photo gallery on Facebook! I’ll post new images of the coolest happenings throughout the show.


Friday at the Origins Game Fair

Friday at this year’s Origins game fair started a little rocky, but the customer service team quickly resolved our badge snafus. (Thank goodness for the Senior Volunteers!)

We took a quick spin around the convention center to see the layout of this year’s show. The exhibit hall moved from hall d to the smaller hall C, trading places with the miniatures games. Tabletops and collectible card games took their traditional spot in hall E/F. The popular TerrorWerks live-action adventure moved into one of the Hyatt ballrooms, and the fabulous Origins Art Show took TerrorWerks old location across from main registration.

The famous BattleTech Pods made their debut at Origins this year. The pods were created many years ago as high-end, immersive video game systems for installations in Chicago, Seattle, and other major cities. After the locations closed, the pods went into limbo for a while until the current owner started collecting and rebuilding them. He updated the computing and networking systems, then took them to some regional conventions for shake-down tests. Here at Origins, they’re running well and pulling in the crowds!

Things seemed smooth at this year’s show. It’s hard to judge the attendance because of the show’s physical size, but it seemed lighter than last year. Many exhibit hall vendors reported good sales on Thursday, followed by a dip on Friday, but people were definitely spending money. Peeks into the various event halls showed energetic activity everywhere, but plenty of open tables. Saturday remains the “big day” for measuring the show, so we’ll see what happens!


Origins 2009 Coverage and Interviews

It’s (finally) time for Origins — and that means the Chief Elf is on the move!

Armed only with a camera, digital recorder, paper, pens, pen refills, a freaking huge stack of business cards, a big refillable cup, and some games that I never get to play because I can’t find opponents anywhere except at this show, I’ll prowl the convention, looking for the coolest games, the best fun, and the most entertaining images. It’s all for you!! (And because it’s just so darned much fun to do stuff like this!)

Show coverage from your favorite Chief Elf

Provided the Internet connections work, I’ll post photos and updates here from Friday through Sunday, with a wrap-up post coming Monday or Tuesday. If you can’t attend, at least you can see what you’re missing!

For Exhibitors — looking for games to review

As always, I’m looking for new board games to review, particularly games that work well for families, as well as fast games — anything that plays in 30 minutes or less.

This year, I’m also looking for games to include in my new parenting book, “Dad Tonight: How to laugh, love, and live with your kids – starting tonight!”

For Media — interview schedule

I’m available for interviews about my new book, family and European board games, retailing tips, and other random topics any time during the show. To arrange an interview, you can catch me as I wander the halls, find me in the Board Room, or just do it the easy way and call me at 260-312-0562.

I hope to see you at the show!!!


One toy, two boys, and a radiation alert

nuclear-symbolA toy made by pair of inventive six-year-old boys accidentally triggered a nuclear radiation alert and forced the lock-down of several city blocks in Berlin. The kids decided to play “nuclear power station” in the back yard, so they downloaded and printed a yellow and black nuclear symbol from the Internet, and then pasted it to an old computer case. They left the toy outside while took a break from their play to eat dinner. A passer-by saw the box and the nuclear symbol, and called the police.

Thankfully, the kids weren’t charged with anything.

Read the full story on Reuters.


CPSIA – “A stay of enforcement is our only option to protect children”

I could just kiss Nancy Nord. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

Since stepping down as the acting head of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, she grew more vocal about her frustration with the amazingly broken Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Her latest statement concerning the CPSC’s stay of enforcement for lead content limits in children’s bicycles outlines the CPSIA’s problems in stark terms.

The document contains many powerful statements, but this gem particularly won my heart:

A stay of enforcement [for bicycle lead limits] is our only option to protect children.

Continue reading ‘CPSIA – “A stay of enforcement is our only option to protect children”’


2009 Origins Game Fair coverage

It’s that time of year again! Next Friday, I’m headed to Columbus, Ohio, for this year’s Origins Game Fair. I’ll be there all day Friday and Saturday, plus most of Sunday.

Watch this space for updates from the show floor, including new products (particularly board games, card games, party games, family games, and such), interviews with industry luminaries, photos, and whatever else catches my eye.

If you’re curious for my insights about a particular game, then post a comment and let me know. I’ll do my best to find info about it for you at the show!

(Disclosure: From 2000 to 2009, I served as a staff member, senior volunteer, and board member with GAMA, the organization that runs Origins. I’m no longer associated with either GAMA or Origins.)


Big Tobacco gives up the fight

After five days of non-stop (and, I’m sure, very loud) negotiation, a team of state attorneys general from around the country made an amazing announcement: The world’s leading cigarette companies admitted, in both words and dollars, that smoking is deadly.

The tobacco companies agreed to pony up a mind-blowing $368.5 billion (yes, with a “B”) dollars over 25 years to pay for smoking prevention, cessation, health claims, and more. They agreed to change their advertising, promotions, and marketing techniques. (Heck, they probably agreed to wash cars at church fundraisers and buy an annual truckload of Girl Scout cookies, too.) Continue reading ‘Big Tobacco gives up the fight’

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June 2009
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