Pre-Origins Jitters from a noob

I leave my cozy, comfortable house and my super-awesome family to attend Origins for the first time on Tuesday. Having had a career in marketing, I am no stranger to attending conferences – but this one feels different for some reason. This time I am attending a conference with a subject I am actually interested in but know very little about. I am also attending Origins with a Press Badge — something I’ve never done before. All this unknown triggers anxiety inside me, but it is not all bad anxiety.

It is just so easy to sit in my comfort zone and be knowledgeable on the topics I deal with from day to day and I rarely have to worry about looking stupid. But I know that by doing so, I will not be growing as a person. Besides, this is a chance for me to meet some really cool people and write about how gaming has impacted their lives. All the excitement about the adventure ahead and the stories to be experienced and retold also give off some good anxiety. I get to go in, be the new guy and — hopefully — meet some people who want to show me the ropes. From what I’ve seen of the tabletop gaming community so far, I don’t think that will be a problem at all. Everyone has been incredibly helpful and so willing to help others — unlike any other industry I’ve ever been in.

As I embark on my journey to a place many hours away into the unknown, I can’t help but think about how I relate to some of the games I’ve learned about recently. I’ll be that little meeple who starts off on a quest with no clue what awaits me. And much like that little guy, I’ll probably face some obstacles along the way — and if I keep my explorer spirit — I’ll come out the other side a bit stronger, wiser, and better prepared for the next adventure.

If you are attending Origins this year and see me wandering around looking overwhelmed, come say hi to me! The best part about about any adventure is the people you meet along the way!

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Artist Spotlight: Michael Rechlin aka Viking Myke

There’s a certain image that pops in your head when you are told someone calls themselves “Viking Myke.” Then I saw his artwork for the first time — and the image became more pronounced. Finally, I got to interview him over Skype and the full picture came into focus. Michael Rechlin, aka Viking Myke is as dynamic as his artwork. A driven guy who knows what he wants and — like a Viking — doesn’t mind fighting hard for something he believes in.

When looking at a piece of his art, I can’t help but get a sense that there is some deeper meaning behind it all. It is humorous, dark, and sometimes twisted. If you look closely, it seems possible there is something to be learned about humanity in each piece. For example, one of his pieces depicts a rich fat guy getting his toenails clipped by people of a lower socioeconomic status which could symbolize how disgusting and twisted our world can be towards those that are not as fortunate in life. Needless to say, his art is nothing short of breathtaking and I couldn’t wait to dive right in and learn more about his influences.

Myke---Lanista-Life*Art by Michael Rechlin


Myke tells me about his need for independence and how early on he knew he wanted to pursue art for a living. Listen to what he says about his early influences and how they helped shape his work today.


There is little doubt that Myke enjoys what he does. Several years ago, his desire to continue doing art would be tested. Listen how an unforeseen event almost ended his ability to draw and how his determination to find a way to keep doing what he loves pulled him through.


I’m finding that some artists like to warm up a while and have a ritual of sorts before working on commissioned pieces. Viking Myke seems to have a different take when it comes to starting on a piece of art. Listen to Myke explain why he thinks of himself as an “Artistic Sniper.”


Myke-FloorSawsFinal*Art by Michael Rechlin


While Myke works with all types of mediums and enjoys paint as well as black and white work — he explains to me there is something pure about black and white. There seems to be a fan base out there that enjoys black and white and how it hearkens back to our younger days and brings back a sort of magical nostalgia. Listen to what Myke has to say about the tabletop gaming industry and black and white art.


When it comes to deciding who Myke will do business with, he tells me he likes to feel out the person to make sure they will be a good fit before taking on a project. When Scott Rumptz and Jay Goike of D-Verse Publishing reached out to Myke to work on their new game Nexus, Myke was not sure he would be a good fit at first. Listen to what factors helped him make up his mind on the project.


Myke--SKURN-Death-Saws*Art by Michael Rechlin


Sometimes in life you meet someone that you can just tell will be a really big deal once they get that one big break. Myke is one of these people. It’s almost like he is a hidden gem just waiting to be scooped up once his work is brought to the surface in the sunlight. I foresee a day real soon where Myke will be busy beyond his dreams and people will be fighting to commission his work.

It seems the universe always finds a way to test you the most when you feel you have found the thing you want to do in life — almost as a way to say “are you sure you want to do that? You are going to have to work twice as hard for it!?” Myke’s tenacity and determination to keep going when times get tough and sticking to his beliefs should resonate with anyone who has tried to do something on their own. From now on, I will always remember my inner “Viking” when those tough times hit and urge myself to push on through towards victory.

If you are interested in seeing more of  Michael Rechlin, aka Viking Myke’s work, you can check out his website here:

Next week I will be attending Origins 2018 in Columbus, Ohio for the very first time. I am very excited and look forward to bringing you some stories about the people I meet there. The blog may be delayed a week or so depending on if I have time to get writing done while in the hotel room or not. I have a feeling I’m going to be busy meeting all the great people in the tabletop gaming community! See you there!

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Noob at Origins 2018 Day 1 – Unforeseen Obstacles

My first day at my first gaming convention was both thrilling and disappointing. I had traveled with my friends Scott and Jay from D-Verse Publishing, LLC. along with artist Michael Rechlin a little over 9 hours to get to Columbus a couple days before. We had spent the previous day setting up the booth for Nexus and that night we stopped by a meet-up for a while. The hotel was just shy of a mile from the convention center which we walked to and from — something I am not conditioned to do — but the excitement of being there kept me going. Needless to say, anticipation and anxiety kept me from sleeping well.

OriginsWe arrive at the convention center an hour and a half before the doors open to the public. The time slips through our fingers fast as we make last minute adjustments, preparing printed materials, setting up the demo area ,and vacuuming the black carpet (yea bad idea) before the show. A steady, low roar is building from the hallways outside as people line up to get in. An announcer comes over the loud speakers and I hear “Origins 2018 is now open!” followed by sounds of yelling and cheering from the exhibitors as well as the eager public. The crowd comes flowing in the doors, rounding corners, and melting into the exhibit hall almost like a viscous liquid. Excitement is high as people rush to their “first hit” list to make sure they get the limited editions, coupons, or other rarities before they run out. Passing by the exhibitors’ booths, the enthusiasm is high as stuttered and stammered sales pitches, still not quite perfected try to catch the attention of passersby.

There is nothing I want to do more than to walk around and watch all the people. My legs and feet are so exhausted from all the walking and preparing the booth and everything over the last couple of days, I just can’t muster up the strength to make a lap right now. So, I sit here in a chair and watch as people flow by me probably wondering why this guy is sitting against the wall typing on a laptop at an awesome tabletop gaming convention. “Maybe if I just sit here and rest for a while I’ll be able to make a few laps in a bit” I tell myself. Knowing damn well I could sit here for three days and not have the physical strength to walk around without pains in my feet and legs. I can’t help but think about how many people are walking by, so many stories I’m not catching. “Later” I tell myself, “there will be time later once I can get some rest.” But that feel-better moment never came as I was struck with another dose of reality. Stimulus overload.

Tim and Myke 450Being a natural introvert, I recharge my batteries being alone. Normally, just an hour or two alone can give me the charge I need to function at a high level. On this trip, there is four of us staying in the same hotel room, going to the conference, and eating together 24 hours a day. There is no alone time and I am starting to feel it on the first day of the convention already. The sights and sounds of the exhibition hall are intoxicating and I am constantly looking and listening, trying to pay attention to every detail to make sure I don’t miss out on something really cool. This high-focused intensity leads to me becoming more and more mentally exhausted and I can hear myself stuttering and searching for words when I speak — something that rarely happens to me. I had to find a quick-charge somewhere. Luckily for me, there is a first-aid room right next to our booth that no one is using — and technically I do need some aid. I sneak off in there from time to time to escape the sights and sounds for a few minutes of time to pull myself together, but the reprieve never lasts long. Like a 5 year-old, I don’t want to miss out on any of the things!

Right now you might be saying, “Come on Tim, we get it, you were exhausted. There has to be some upside to all of this. Right? ” That is where you are correct. The old silver-lining, lemons into lemonade stuff starts to come into play here.

If you have kids and have ever been to Disneyland, you probably have seen one of your young ones being so excited they wear themselves out and end up falling asleep on one of the benches during a 5 minute break. I was honestly afraid that someone was going to bust into the First Aid room and find me snoozing away hours after the show had ended or something. Being out of shape has its upsides though. Being lazy goes hand and hand with finding creative and easy solutions to problems. I found that if I just sat still in a chair off to the side, others were tired as well and would sit next to me. Conversations would pop off about the show, how tired we all were, what booths we couldn’t wait to share with one another, and a myriad of other topics. As it turns out, tired people are everywhere at the convention and they wanted someone to talk to as well. So I ended up spending most of my time right there against the wall which allowed me to meet people I would have never otherwise run into.

As I said in the beginning, the first day at my first gaming convention was both exhilarating and disappointing. The sights, the sounds, the booths, the people were all incredible and were better than I could even imagine. My disappointment came with my own physical and mental limitations and the expectations I had placed on myself being unrealistic. I knew I was going to learn a lot at Origins this year, but I didn’t think my big takeaway from the first day would be facing my own shortcomings and resetting my own expectations of myself the rest of the trip. The good news is that I was able to reset those expectations and make the best of my time there and I was able to capture so many great things to write about. I just had to go about it a different way then I had planned and narrow my scope and reach.

I didn’t set out to make a blog post all about me, but this really was the big story for me personally the first day. It is my hope that it might help some other convention newbie prepare themselves in the future and give them the expectation that you are going to be tired, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it.

Next time, I want to share with you all the things I noticed from someone that is not in the gaming industry. Things I found surprising and unlike other industry conventions. I think you’ll find it as interesting as I do.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share! Comments are always nice too!