Conventions & Events

Origins Game Fair 2023: Peripherals for Immersion

Origins Game Fair 2023 Featured

Origins always brings something new and exciting to the board gaming and RPG scene with peripherals. In years past, I praised companies like the Broken Token—who I believe was missing from this year’s show—for their meticulous work making board game box inserts to help keep everything neat and tidy. Other companies do much the same, but I think Broken Token was the first big company to do it.

Pure Alchemy Soaps

At this year’s Origins, we have odors. Yes, that’s right, smells. How’s that for immersion? I walked up to a booth near the back of the dealer’s hall sporting a curtain stating, “Wouldn’t you like to smell like your D&D character?” My thoughts immediately went to a half-giant, heart-eating barbarian that I created some years ago. Of course, I followed up with the nice lass at the front asking, “Now, why would I want to do that?”

Pure Alchemy Soaps were selling—wait for it—soaps. Somehow Cassandra Pohlhammer, head alchemist, concocted scents for all nine alignments (lawful good, etc.), races (dwarves, half-elves, etc.), and classes (cleric, etc.) Almost all of the scents were pleasant, and clearly some meticulous thought went into them. For example, the alignments were all pleasant, but the evil ones had a spicy, zesty smell, while the good alignments had a smooth, silky vibe to their odors. Regardless, everything smelled fantastic, and I’m looking forward to washing off all the grimy neutral I’ve collected with some lawful good using the sampler I received.

Origins 2023 Oddfish Games Scent Jars

Oddfish Games

If coating your body in alarmingly pleasant soaps isn’t your thing, how about opening up a can of fetid swamp in the middle of your gaming table to truly bring your friends into the environment? Not wading through a disgusting pond? How about taking in that meat stew aroma at a busy inn.

These are just a couple of the services Oddfish Games offers via a small metal tin filled with mysterious, odorous pearls. If you can imagine it, they probably have it, including werewolves’ den, Roman baths, pool of acid, treasure vault, and so much more. The folks at the table assured me they had customers come back nine years later and tell them the tins still had a strong aroma. How strong? Well, word has it that while the initial unveiling of these tins might be potent, people aren’t going to clear out of the room. Unlike the soaps, I didn’t take to every smell I sampled, but that’s kind of the point. While few of us want to walk around wreaking something awful after bathing, maybe we’re okay only momentarily smelling a putrid sewer. In fact, if the disease-ridden rats and hungry ghouls don’t chase your party out, maybe the smell will.

Jerry Williams

Jerry Williams

Jerry has been reviewing games at RPGFan since 2009. Over that period, he has grown in his understanding that games, their stories and characters, and the people we meet through them can enrich our lives and make us better people. He enjoys keeping up with budding scholarly research surrounding games and their benefits.