I've recently arrived home from Origins 2008, and it was a blast!
This was the first year that we did the whole hotel experience, since we no longer live in Columbus. It was also the first year that my daughter Amelia went for the whole convention. Last year she stopped in for a couple of hours, but that was it.
Staying on-site was terrific. I had loaded my schedule with late night games so that I'd be able to spend time with Amelia during the day, so being able to make a five minute walk to a hotel room instead of a fifteen minute walk/drive home was great. Plus, Amelia has discovered she loves vacations, so she wouldn't have felt like she was on one if we hadn't stayed away from home.
The kids program at Origins is first rate. Amelia and I explored it while Lisa was busy going insane in a Call of Cthulhu game. They had games and toys for all ages of kids, but what Amelia loved most was the game of parachute they did each day. That's the one where you have a parachute like circle with handles, and everyone lifts it up, runs under it, etc. From that first day, Amelia made sure we never missed a parachute game.
I got quite a bit of LARPing in, which is always nice. I can usually get half a dozen people together for a LARP outside of a convention, but it isn't quite the same as playing with a group of twenty or thirty people.
Two of the LARPs were Call of Cthulhu games. One was a last man standing game that involved Boy Scout troops in the Appalachian mountains. The goal was to be the last person alive. The game started at 11:00pm, and was supposed to go until 3:00pm. I guess we were too good at staying alive, because it lasted until 5:00pm. I ended up being the last one alive by the luck of a few draws (the game used playing card draws rather than dice), and brought home a Last Man Standing t-shirt.
The other Call of Cthulhu LARP was a Cthulhu Live event set on a German Zepplin in the 1930s. Very cool setting, and many of the players went all out on costuming, with some very realistic looking German uniforms evident.
I also played in lots of table top role playing, including more Call of Cthulhu and a superhero game set in the Italian renaissance.
Amelia had a great time at the con, although the one game Sunday that she was going to help me play (a Fudge superhero game) was canceled since I was the only player. But we played lots of games in the kids room, and even found a game of charades in the board games library that we played Wednesday evening. I also found a card game in the dealer's room called Stoplights that she loves (a few weeks ago she started calling out Stop and Go when we're driving, based on the color of the traffic lights). So when she wanted to play Stoplights she would call out, "Stop! Go!"
There were a lot of kids oriented RPGs at the convention this year, although none were suitable for Amelia's age (three years old). One game had three years old as the minimum age, but it was a four hour game, and there's no way my active daughter would sit in a chair for four hours rolling dice. She's more of a LARP girl, she needs to move around; hopefully someone next year will have a kids LARP.
We'll definitely all be going again next year!