Origins is the site of the annual Origins Awards ceremony. For many years, the Charles S. Roberts Awards for historical boardgames were presented at Origins, but these are now presented at the World Boardgaming Championships. Board games, trading card games, LARPs and role-playing games are also popular at Origins.
Origins Game Fair was formerly known as the Origins International Game Expo. The name was changed in the summer of 2007.
Origins started in 1975 with a gathering of game players in Baltimore, Maryland. The Interest Group Baltimore, a local wargaming club, worked with the Baltimore-based Avalon Hill game company to put on the first show that year at Johns Hopkins University.
Avalon Hill produced the first commercial war games back in 1958. In a nod to Baltimore's position as the home of Avalon Hill and the birthplace of the commercial wargame hobby, Don Greenwood, a game designer with Avalon Hill and founder of the convention, suggested calling the show "Origins". Over the next few years, both Avalon Hill and SPI (another wargame company) ran the show. As the show continued expanding, the Game Manufacturers Association assumed management in 1978.
In each of 1988 and 1992, Origins and Gen Con joined forces to hold a single convention in Milwaukee.