Monday, August 1, 2016

GenCon Beginner's Notes

This Thursday GenCon 2016 begins. Technically it begins on Wednesday if you're in the industry or in the area, but the real kick off is Thursday morning. With that said, there won't be regular posts this week. Why? Well, Wednesday I'm going to be on the road all day (and getting things together Monday/Tuesday for that trip) and Thursday through Sunday I'll be at GenCon.

All that said, there is still time for some beginner's tips for the event. If this is your first time, take a look. Some of these tips may just be what you need to keep you going.

  • Carry a Water Bottle - beverages on the con floor are expensive and can be hard to find. There are hydration stations regularly placed but they're best used to refill a water bottle. You'll be doing a lot of walking, and if you're outside it gets hot. Odds are you'll be sweating a lot if only from the press of bodies. Keep yourself hydrated!
  • Shower daily, maybe twice - Speaking of sweating a lot, shower every day. I recommend showering in the evening. Not all hotels change your sheets daily for the same guests - especially during Conventions - so being clean before going to bed will give you your best sleep. If you need to, take a quick wake up shower in the morning to freshen yourself up. Trust me, people wil know if you haven't showered, and numerous events have rules saying that if people are distracted by your odor you'll be asked to go deal with it. Don't face that embarrassment.
  • Plan Your Meals - If you're like me it's almost too easy to forget about a meal. You get in the swing of gaming, you have events to get to, and oh my god, did you see that board game they're demoing? Carve out some mealtimes for yourself. Also, check out the area around the con for restaurants. The Johnny Rocket in the Center Circle Mall is good, and almost without fail the restaurants (even the fast food) are better than the convention center food. Also, Food trucks sell out fast
  • Good Shoes Save Feet - Lots of walking. Make sure you're wearing shoes you can be comfortable in.
  • Respect the CosPlayers (and other guests) - Don't snap a picture of someone without their permission. If it's a cosplayer, ask. Odds are not only will they be cool to have a photo taken, they'll even pose for you. If they say no, respect the fact that they may have somewhere to go. Be polite. Don't be that guy (or gal) that gives the rest of us a bad name.
  • Respect the Event Staff - This goes along with respecting CosPlayers and other guests. The GenCon staff, in my experience, are very personable and polite. The only cases I've seen them be less than such was when the person they had to deal with was. Don't block entranceways, don't block lines, follow the rules for the convention, and be polite to the staff. It'll make your time better.
  • Carry Generic Tickets - Generic Tickets are so useful that last year my buddy and I didn't even buy normal event tickets with one exception for a very specific event. Otherwise, we just showed up, got in line to use generics, and played games on our schedule. On some occasions we used generics to help random people who seemed cool out. Also, every event at GenCon is paid. They use that to pay for the conspace itself and the event organizers need to collect the right amount of tickets. Carrying generics is a good safety net in case something you thought was free actually has a cost.
  • Double Check Your Events - Double check that the event you're going to is the event you want to be at. This includes edition. If you show up to a D&D 5th Ed game with a D&D 3.5 Ed Character, you're going to have a bad time. Worse, you're going to slow down the whole table as the GM and you have to figure out what to do now that you've been seated with a bad character.
  • Have Fun - Seriously, have fun. Let yourself have fun. There's enough going on at GenCon you should be able to find something you love about gaming and do it. Try new games. Wander the dealer hall and check out demos. See what games are doing quick demo runs. Have fun though, it's why you're going, right?

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