I only just looked at the Calendar and discovered that Origins has snuck up on me.
I love the summer conventions, but since the birth of my son, it's been simply impractical to try to go to both Origins and Gencon. Each one represents a week away form my wife and kid, and what's more, a week of extra parenting duty for my wife. So far as I'm concerned, she's a saint to put up with it for one convention, and she already put up with it for PAX-East. So, given that, I face the annual decision of Gencon vs. Origins, and I almost always choose Origins.
This is a fairly idiosyncratic choice. Gencon is absolutely bigger and more important. If you've got a product to launch, Gencon is the place to sell it. If you need to professionally network or see things you'll see nowhere else, Gencon is the place. Origins is simply not as big a deal (though it's still a pretty big deal), but that's part of the appeal for me, and that's doubly true this year. This Origins, I've got nothing to sell. No new releases to promote, no booth to man - I'll be going as a civilian.
Now, I could talk about a lot of fine differences in culture between the two conventions, or wax rhapsodic about the food available at Origins, but the reality is much simpler for me. At Gencon, I do a lot of stuff and see a lot of people, but at Origins, I actually get to talk to people. That's huge. Other things like playing games or seminars are a lot of fun, and I'll seek them out, but the heart of any convention for me is any time I get to sit down in a circle with a handful of people who are passionate about games and just shoot the breeze.
So, anyway, I'll be there. I'd tell you to look or me, but I'm an overweight white guy with a beard and glasses, so I tend to blend in like a ninja in this highly specialized environment. But if you do happen to find me, say hi. I am not hard to get talking.
Anyway, that means I need to go into this weekend with thoughts of packing. I put an unreasonable amount of thought into my choice of bag for the convention floor, but dammit, a man must have priorities!