So, you are going to Gen Con Indy, which for thousands of gamers in all walks of life is holy ground. Congratulations, you have several days and evenings of great gaming experiences ahead of you! But, if you plan to make it through to the other side a winner, here are a few pointers to survive and thrive at Gen Con.
Plan, plan, plan
Planning applies when attending most events, and it is just as true for a sprawling show like Gen Con Indy.
In terms of getting there, pack your bags with enough room to bring back keepsakes or purchases, making sure to bring only what you know you need. Here’s one con-goer’s packing list as an example. If packing includes items like a beastly gaming-class PC or bulky cosplay costume, that’s OK, but plan and prepare for how to take it with you.
For the show itself, pick your exhibitors to visit, special guests to meet and games you want to play. If you don’t mind the email reminders, sign up for the Gen Con newsletter. It’s a pretty fair way to keep up with any subtractions, additions, highlights and reminders for the show schedule.
The Gen Con mobile Web app will help you plan your Gen Con activities on site. Any Internet-capable device will do the job for navigating the schedule and event types you want to focus on.
Dress for comfort
Whether you plan to be on your feet all day, surfing the expo floor or sitting down for hours playing board and card games, it makes sense to know what you plan to do, so make sure to dress for comfort throughout the day. This is especially true when it comes to shoes, which can be a source of never-ending torment by the dinner hour and miles racked up on your feet.
Managing food and drink
This can be tricky. The Indiana Convention Center is like a sports venue, bar or movie theater, so outside food is not permitted. However, if you don’t want to pay higher venue rates for food, one safe option is to eat and drink what you need to in advance. Take a break outside the convention center if you need another food or beverage recharge. If that is not an option, budget what you need for pricier food and drink inside the convention center. In the past, food trucks have parked right outside the center to accommodate con-goers.
For the 21 and older set: Manage your adult beverage consumption carefully. If you don’t want to miss half a day of Gen Con because of a hangover — or as bad or worse, be reminded of something unfortunate you did while drunk that would be worthy of a Captain Picard-style facepalm — then know your limits, and keep to them.
Know where you can escape the mayhem
There’s nothing like a seven-hour stretch of games, surrounded elbow-to-elbow with kindred spirits, with the ebb and flow of the beehive of activity. But from time to time, it helps to recharge or get away for other needs. Gen Con has that covered.
The Quiet Room (room 237) is a self-monitored room where attendees can de-stress, decompress and regroup — short of sleeping anyway — for most of the duration of Gen Con. For mothers, nursing areas are available in various parts of the convention center when a relaxing, private place to feed their child/ren might be needed. Last but not least, Gen Con even provides access to open-area chair massage spa services, if Gen Con’ers need the stress of the show worked out.
Don’t be a bad person
One might hope this would be common sense, especially with thousands of others around, but there are those all-too-common stories about convention attendees behaving badly. In the case of Gen Con Indy, if an attendees is caught “threatening, stealing, cheating or harassing others,” among other nefarious activities, the official Gen Con policy states the offender can be booted from the show without a refund. Not the best way to conclude any show and possibly an unpleasant media footnote to Gen Con’s story. Besides, it’s just more fun for everyone to be, well … fun to be around!
Here’s a good general guide to convention etiquette that might be helpful to your Gen Con experience.
Have other ideas, tips and tricks to make Gen Con Indy more fun, easier to plan for and attend? Share them in the comments!