Origins Game Fair

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Origins Game Fair
Genre Gaming
Venue Greater Columbus Convention Center
Location(s) Columbus, Ohio
Country United States
Inaugurated 1975
Attendance 10,669+[1]
Organized by Game Manufacturers Association
Filing status Non-profit

Origins Game Fair is one of North America's most prominent annual gaming conventions. Origins takes place each year in Columbus, Ohio at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Origins is run by The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Origins was chartered to serve gaming in general, including wargames and miniatures gaming, which at the time tended to be less well represented at Gen Con and Dragon*Con. Board games, trading card games, LARPs and role-playing games are also popular at Origins.

Registration area of Origins

Origins is the site of the annual Origins Awards ceremony. For many years, the Charles S. Roberts Awards for historical boardgames were presented at Origins, but these are now presented at the World Boardgaming Championships.

Origins Game Fair was formerly known as the Origins International Game Expo. The name was changed in the summer of 2007.


Exhibitor's Hall

Origins started in 1975 with a gathering of game players in Baltimore, Maryland. The Interest Group Baltimore, a local wargaming club, worked with the Baltimore-based Avalon Hill game company to put on the first show that year at Johns Hopkins University.

Avalon Hill produced the first commercial war games back in 1958. In a nod to Baltimore's position as the home of Avalon Hill and the birthplace of the commercial wargame hobby, Don Greenwood, a game designer with Avalon Hill and founder of the convention, suggested calling the show "Origins". Over the next few years, both Avalon Hill and SPI (another wargame company) ran the show. As the show continued expanding, the Game Manufacturers Association assumed management in 1978.

In 1988 and in 1992, Origins and Gen Con joined forces[2][3] to hold a single convention in Milwaukee.


Year Dates Location
1975[4] July 25–27[4] Baltimore, Maryland
1976 July 23–25[5] Baltimore, Maryland[5]
1977 July 22–24[6] Staten Island, New York[6]
1978[7] July 13–16[7] Ann Arbor, Michigan
1979[8] June 22–24[8] Chester, Pennsylvania
1980[9] June 27–29[9] Chester, Pennsylvania
1981[10] July 3–5[10] San Mateo, California
1982[11] July 23–25[11] Baltimore, Maryland
1983[12] July 14–17[12] Detroit, Michigan
1984[13] July 5–8[13] Dallas, Texas
1985 June 27–30[14] Towson, Maryland[14]
1986 July 3–6 Los Angeles, California
1987 July 2–5 Baltimore, Maryland
1988 August 18–21 Milwaukee, Wisconsin (with Gen Con)
1989 June 29 - July 2 Los Angeles, California
1990 Atlanta, Georgia (with DragonCon)
1991 July 4–7 Baltimore, Maryland
1992 August 20–23 Milwaukee, Wisconsin (with Gen Con)
1993 July 13–16 Fort Worth, Texas
1994 July 7–10 San Jose, California
1995 July 13–16 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Columbus, Ohio[edit]

"Alan Smithee" (the man in the gaudy jacket) consulting with his helpers at the 2007 Smithee Awards at the Origins International Game Expo

Throughout most of its life, Origins migrated from city to city, but this limited the show's growth. In 1996, GAMA decided to anchor Origins in a single location. After considering a number of possibilities, GAMA chose Columbus, Ohio. With its proximity to many attendees and show volunteers, Columbus promised a fertile environment. The decision proved wise, as Origins continued to grow in subsequent years. In 2005, the show set another attendance record with just over 15,000 attendees (as announced on the Origins website).[citation needed] Attendance in 2009 was approximately 10,200 people, with 10,669 in 2010.[15]

Year Dates
1996 July 4–7
1997 July 17–20
1998 July 2–5
1999 July 1–4
2000 July 13–16
2001 July 5–8
2002 July 4–7
2003 June 26–29
2004 June 24–27
2005 June 30 - July 3
2006 June 29 - July 2
2007 July 5–8
2008 June 26–29
2009 June 25–28
2010 June 24–27
2011 June 22–26
2012 May 30 - June 3
2013 June 12 - June 16
2014 June 11 - June 15[16]
2015 June 3 - June 7[16]


  1. ^ "14,000 To attend Origins Game Expo at Greater Columbus Convention Center". Press Releases. 2004-06-22. Archived from the original on 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  2. ^ Laws, Robin D. (2007). 40 Years of Gen Con. Atlas Games. p. 72. ISBN 1-58978-097-3. 
  3. ^ "The History of TSR". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2005-08-20. 
  4. ^ a b "1974". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  5. ^ a b "1975". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  6. ^ a b "1976". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  7. ^ a b "1977". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  8. ^ a b "1978". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  9. ^ a b "1979". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  10. ^ a b "1980". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  11. ^ a b "1981". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  12. ^ a b "1982". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  13. ^ a b "1983". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  14. ^ a b "1984". Charles S. Roberts Awards. Alan Emrich. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b

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