Day two is crunch day for the hard core Origins crowd. The weekend warriors haven’t arrived, but the con itself opens up in full swing: the exhibition hall opens, nearly every track of the con has a full schedule, competitions start in earnest and the effects of late night gaming from Wednesday begin to manifest. So what did you miss if you weren’t at the second day of Origins 2010?

  • Exhibition Hall: The exhibition hall was truly a sight this year – completely full, wall to wall booths. And these booths aren’t all uniform cubicles – no, no…several vendors (Dwarven Forge in particular) went out of their way to make it something special. Lines weren’t horrible this year, though there were a few in places where a particularly hot product was up for grabs (and that was definitely the Dresden Files RPG this year) or where a game was known to be in short supply (such as with Founding Fathers from Jolly Roger Games).

  • Demos, demos, demos: Thursday marks the start of demos at Origins – and just about any game you can imagine is being demoed. From new releases to rare games that only the diehards have (Advanced Civilization, guys? Really?), you can get a demo of it from somewhere, sometime starting Thursday.
  • Cosplay???: Dirty secret, I’m not a huge fan of cosplay. There’s nothing wrong with it – I’m just a bit of a fuddy duddy. And typically, Origins doesn’t have a lot of cosplayers. Usually. This year, that’s certainly not the case. Whether it was Catwoman stalking the board game halls, the legion of anime cat girls or the kids dressed as X-Men, there was an unusually large number of cosplayers at Origins this year.
  • New Releases: Ah…new releases. Let’s face it, most companies put out their new releases at Gencon – that’s more or less become one of the major foci of that particular con. However, the boardgame community still loves Origins and did not disappoint in terms of new releases this year. Defenders of the Realm, Founding Fathers, Roadkill Rally, Perry Rhodan, Swarm, Innovation and numerous other board games all released at Origins. And if board games weren’t your thing, the Dresden Files RPG made it’s debut with quite a splash (with every single DF event selling out and Evil Hat hosting demo sessions in their booth!).
  • The Board Room: I’ll be honest, the board room was pretty full on Wednesday – filling up about 2/3 of it’s space in the new room (which is massive). But that was absolutely nothing compared to Thursday. The whole room was packed – wall to wall. There were so many, they actually ran out of boardroom ribbons and had to resort to creating makeshift ribbons (with some indicating they might have to cut off any more). Without a doubt, the boardroom really took off and became something special today (I’m going to try to get an official count).
  • The Auction/Consignment Store: This is an Origins tradition that I didn’t get to partake in last year – a mistake that I was sure to rectify. Origins has an auction (hosted by Troll & Toad) that runs throughout the convention. Connected to this auction is a consignment store with a variety of stuff that your average gamer might find interesting – old games, new games, miniatures, comics, etc. What makes the store special is the prices – every day, the prices go down. Not sure if the price is right? Wait a day and see if it’s still there – if it is, you can have it for a better deal. This is the sort of “real life” gaming that I adore – definitely worth checking out.

With everything going on today, we were a bit slack on photos (hey, you got a detailed review of the Surface and an in-depth look at Catalyst Games, what more do you want?). Check our Flickr and Twitter streams throughout the day tomorrow for our coverage as we really hit the exhibition hall in full force (and we’ll be tweeting any deals we come across as well!).