Origins exhibitor hall

For many people, summer is a time for beach vacations and hiking trips. But for us, it’s convention season. And while some of Columbus’ regular cons are traditionally held in the off-season — Ohayocon in the midwinter cold, and Marcon over Memorial Day weekend — the next three months will keep us busy with gaming, cosplay and even the delightful smell of old paperbacks.

The biggest of them all is Origins Game Fair, which is coming to the Greater Columbus Convention Center from June 15th-19th. Origins is one of the biggest tabletop gaming cons in the country, and with exhibitors both big and small in attendance it’s a great place to see what’s available to play now and what’s coming soon. In addition to a gaming and panel schedule so dense it’s offered as a massive spreadsheet (with a door-stopper of a print version available at the show), this year they’re presenting the first Origins Film Festival, showcasing independent films related to sci-fi/fantasy and gaming.


If you’re into collectible card games and still itching for a fight even after Origins, there are three big tournaments coming to the convention center this summer. The Wizards of the Coast-run Grand Prix Columbus on June 10th-12th and the Star City Games Open on July 23rd-24th both focus on Magic: The Gathering. On July 1st-3rd, the 2016 Pokémon US National Championships will feature both the Pokémon card game and video games, including the new Pokkén Tournament fighting game.


For the more literary-minded, July 21st-24th is PulpFest, a convention celebrating pulp fiction and all the modern pop culture that it inspired. Their Guest of Honor this year is Ted White, editor emeritus of Amazing Stories, the first sci-fi anthology magazine. PulpFest will also be hosting a con-within-a-con, FarmerCon XI, which honors the late sci-fi/fantasy author Philip José Farmer. The dealer’s room will focus on pulp-related collectibles like vintage paperbacks, anthology magazines, Golden and Silver Age comics, and radio show recordings. There will also be a tabletop gaming area focusing on fantasy and Lovecraft-inspired horror games.


July wraps up with Wizard World Ohio on the 29th-31st. The former Mid-Ohio Con has become an overpriced pop-culture mess since it was bought out by Wizard World, Inc., and expensive table space has priced a lot of local businesses out of attending. But if your life’s goal is to spend an extra $55 to have your picture taken with original Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson, here’s your chance. On a budget? Green/White Ranger Jason David Frank’s photo ops are only $45.

The summer comes to a close this year with anime-focused Matsuricon on August 19th-21st. This year Funimation will be on hand recording panels and fan interviews for upcoming Special Features releases. The Carolina Manga Library is returning for those who need some quiet time. And the Team Aqua Challenge, a fan-organized tournament and cosplay group, will be available for Pokémon battles using Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for 3DS.

So no matter what your geek niche, there’s something for you to enjoy this summer in Columbus.

Appears in Issue: