Origins Reclaims #3 Biggest Tabletop Gaming Convention Spot

A couple of weeks ago, UK Games Expo overtook Origins Game Fair to become the world's third largest tabletop games convention. That a victory was short-lived, however, as Origins this week announced its latest unique visitor and turnstile figures, which put it back in third place again, relegating UKGE back down to fourth. The difference is very close, though - there's just 500 unique attendees in it, and both conventions seem to be growing right now (UKGE especially fast), so this leap frogging might occur for a while. Gen Con and Essen Spiel are, of course, 3-4 times the size of both.


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ConventionUnique AttendeesTurnstileExhibitors
Gen Con60,819201,852500+
Essen Spielunknown174,000900+
Origins Game Fair17,00158,595200+
UK Games Expo16,50031,000325



As mentioned in the previous article, conventions which don't focus exclusively on tabletop games tend to be bigger, especially those which include comic books (Italy's Lucca Comics & Games dwarfs all of these). But tabletop gaming conventions are growing fast!
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Having just gotten back, I can attest, it was a blast. The D&D Open was awesome and WotC had a strong prescence, and they gave a lot of swag away, (even met and chatted with Chris Perkins before one of his panels, and he signed all of my stuff, what a great guy)!

Baldman Games runs a tight operation, I never bought tickets and got into every game with generic tokens, the DM's (except for one) were high calibre storytellers; the game room was dedicated large hall with great noise level that was not so distracting.

For this reason alone Im avoiding GenCon, (having attended that beast for the last 3 years). Its way to f*Cking big, too crowded, too noisy, long lines for everything. Plus at Origins I found great hotel accommodations that cost me ¼ the price for what I paid at Gencon last year.

Yeah, smaller, less attended equated to more fun and a better gaming experience for me ;-)
 
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Jer

Adventurer
Yeah, smaller, less attended equated to more fun and a better gaming experience for me ;-)
Yeah - this is why I don't really want Origins to get too much bigger. It's big enough that it attracts a lot of great people to GM events and a lot of great vendors to sell stuff. But its not so big that it overwhelms you. I think that Columbus could handle a much larger event, but I'm not sure I'd want to attend it. (And I'm not sure that GAMA could keep up with it to be honest - as an outside observer it seems like their organizational abilities are pretty stretched by Origins at the size that it's at right now. And if it gets much bigger it may break in nasty ways.)
 
The projected number I heard at Origins was 20,000. 17,000+ still isn’t bad, and I think is about a 2,000 bump from last year? Despite that, the pre-registration sign-in was much, much faster this year.
 

Jer

Adventurer
Despite that, the pre-registration sign-in was much, much faster this year.
I noticed that this year they had a couple more check-in stations and that they'd moved the materials pickup station around the corner. Which probably helped to keep the lines moving by giving people who only needed to pick up a badge and tickets a way out that didn't involve them accidentally unnecessarily standing in the materials pickup line taking up space.

Also - rumor had it that last year they had everything ready to go for pre-reg sign in, and then the Windows boxes set up to do the sign in all started doing a Windows update. Across the wireless network they had set up to only handle small amounts of data necessary for dealing with registration. By the time they got it all fixed the lines were huge and it took a while to clear the backlog. (That only explains the long lines on the first day, but I didn't notice long lines after that day, so it may be true).

They need a better way to handle on-site event registration now. That's where the long lines are now, and it would be great if they could figure out how to reduce those.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Just found out Dragonmeet's figures, courtesy of Chris Birch. 2014 approx 800, 2015 approx 1400, 2016 approx 1600. Quite a gap between that and UKGE, but it's growing.

GaryCon had about 550 in 2012, but I don't know how much it has grown since.

I don't know what Winter Fantasy gets. Anyone know about Paizocon?
 

Seule

Explorer
If you didn't like a DM from Baldman, please please please let him know, and why. He can only keep his DM quality high if he knows what's going on. He can also shuffle DMs to events that their talents suit if he has more info.
 
Seule, I did, the organizer shrugged his shoulders, what was also odd, the DM for that event did not give out feedback sheets, every other DM did.

But it was only 1 DM, overall my experience was stellar :)

On a side note: my only gripe with Origins was their event registration, on the day of the pre-reg, their website crashed monumentally, it was an IT clusterf@wk
 

wavester

Visitor
Just found out Dragonmeet's figures, courtesy of Chris Birch. 2014 approx 800, 2015 approx 1400, 2016 approx 1600. Quite a gap between that and UKGE, but it's growing.

GaryCon had about 550 in 2012, but I don't know how much it has grown since.

I don't know what Winter Fantasy gets. Anyone know about Paizocon?
Winter Fantasy had 425 last year (our new high for the 3rd year straight). Which I am pretty happy with for a show focused almost entirely on D&D OP Play (we have only a few vendors for basics). Thinking of adding some new games this year though. We shall see how far I get with those plans once I survive Gen Con and HasCon this fall.
 

GameDaddy

Visitor
Just found out Dragonmeet's figures, courtesy of Chris Birch. 2014 approx 800, 2015 approx 1400, 2016 approx 1600. Quite a gap between that and UKGE, but it's growing.

GaryCon had about 550 in 2012, but I don't know how much it has grown since.

I don't know what Winter Fantasy gets. Anyone know about Paizocon?
Garycon 2016 - approximately 1,100
GaryCon 2017 - just over 1,500
 

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