2 comments on “Gen Con Survival Guide

  1. Great video Dave — excellent tips. Here are some of my additions, as a four year veteran.

    You are so correct — hand washing is such a simple way to keep yourself healthy. As we learn in food service, 20 seconds of washing with soap will do it, and make sure to get your wrists, too. Dry with a disposable towel or air machine. Although people don’t need to go crazy with hand sanitizer, some travel wet wipes are a quick way to make sure your hands are clean when you can’t get to the rest room. If you bring a water bottle, you can refill it during the day if you can find a water fountain. There are concessions in the hall, but they are so expensive, it’s totally worth bringing your own snacks. Hate the taste of plain water? Grab some of those little flavor packs to bring and make your own flavored water right on the spot.

    The will call badge and ticket lines are exceptionally long. Be prepared for a good 30 minute wait at peak times. The folks at the registration desk are very nice and working as fast as they can. Hang on to your badge!! One year, we lost a badge and guess what, you pay full price to replace it. There are no ways to reprint or reissue one.

    Do be careful of your valuables. There is security, but frankly with 75K people, there will be petty thieves and pickpockets. Don’t make it easy to be a victim. Zip up your pack, don’t leave a wallet in your back pocket.

    The schedule book is overwhelming, but it can be helpful in planning your trip. Not only are there games, but live shows (check for ratings, some are adults only). The con is kid friendly. There is an entire section of kids games. Tip — last year they were giving out tote bags, but they only had enough for the early birds. Keep an eye out.

    Set a budget. Okay, I always go over mine but have some will power. You can and will be able to buy these games after the show. It’s overwhelming and exciting in the vendor hall, and so tough not to snatch up all the games at once, especially when they are selling out. Be strong. Yes, you will find that wonderful game you never heard of and love — save some money for it.

    One thing you didn’t mention is the auction room and consignment store. You will stand in line for the consignment store, and be asked to leave your bag with an attendant, but it’s worth it because there are some gems in there, and often the prices go down each day on individual games. The auction costs a little money to get a bidding card, but they have usually hundreds of games going on the auction block. They stack them up on the podium table before they auction them so you can see what’s coming up next. They are also stacked up in the room on shelves, so you can get a peek beforehand. There’s no listing of games. You may find a bargain; there are OOP titles offered, maybe your grail game! It’s just interesting to check it out. They are very kind about bidding if you have never attended a live auction before.

    Standing in line is kind of a thing at GenCon, so don’t be surprised if you do a lot of it. The FFG booth is infamous for the long lines (jhint, as far as I know it’s all MSRP in there, too). Dave is right, preorder if you can for GenCon pickup so you don’t miss out on that title you really wanted. That grail game of the show, where there’s only 50 copies a day? Get it afterwards and save yourself some boring down time standing in a line. It will be online or at your FLGS eventually!

    Do some price shopping — the collectible card booths are competitive. They also buy cards at the show.

    Saturday is usually the day the booths offer specials, and Sunday there are sales, especially at the Rio Grande booth were they discount everything so they don’t have to take it home. You can ignore what I said about the budget — hey, it’s GenCon!

    Demo games are only 15 minutes or so, but if you want to check out some games, the demo hall is the best place to do that for some of the major publishers. Dave is right, please be nice to the demo people — I am one of them, and we try very hard to make the game enjoyable for you. One tip — it’s a demo. Please don’t overstay, we can’t play an entire game with you. Sorry. At many of the booths, you can get your game signed by the designer after you purchase. Even at the big guys, like AEG, they may have a designer there. Ask about promos. Most booths have them.

    If you are a BGG fan, be sure to stop by the BGG booth and say to the admins!

    True Dungeon is expensive and it’s always sold out, but often there are last minute tickets, especially for singles.

    Check out the GenCon facebook page for hints on where to eat in Indy, there’s a whole thread on it. The food trucks are good, but be prepared as Dave said to stand in long lines and wait. They are also pricey. The good news is the health department regulates them, so you can be assured they are not going to make you ill eating there. It is convenient because they are right outside for lunch and dinner. Be prepared for many homeless people outside asking for money. Whether you give or not is up to you.

    Thank you Dave for a great tips video! Right on target!

  2. Great video Dave — excellent tips. Here are some of my additions, as a four year veteran.

    You are so correct — hand washing is such a simple way to keep yourself healthy. As we learn in food service, 20 seconds of washing with soap will do it, and make sure to get your wrists, too. Dry with a disposable towel or air machine. Although people don’t need to go crazy with hand sanitizer, some travel wet wipes are a quick way to make sure your hands are clean when you can’t get to the rest room. If you bring a water bottle, you can refill it during the day if you can find a water fountain. There are concessions in the hall, but they are so expensive, it’s totally worth bringing your own snacks. Hate the taste of plain water? Grab some of those little flavor packs to bring and make your own flavored water right on the spot.

    The will call badge and ticket lines are exceptionally long. Be prepared for a good 30 minute wait at peak times. The folks at the registration desk are very nice and working as fast as they can. Hang on to your badge!! One year, we lost a badge and guess what, you pay full price to replace it. There are no ways to reprint or reissue one.

    Do be careful of your valuables. There is security, but frankly with 75K people, there will be petty thieves and pickpockets. Don’t make it easy to be a victim. Zip up your pack, don’t leave a wallet in your back pocket.

    The schedule book is overwhelming, but it can be helpful in planning your trip. Not only are there games, but live shows (check for ratings, some are adults only). The con is kid friendly. There is an entire section of kids games. Tip — last year they were giving out tote bags, but they only had enough for the early birds. Keep an eye out.

    Set a budget. Okay, I always go over mine but have some will power. You can and will be able to buy these games after the show. It’s overwhelming and exciting in the vendor hall, and so tough not to snatch up all the games at once, especially when they are selling out. Be strong. Yes, you will find that wonderful game you never heard of and love — save some money for it.

    One thing you didn’t mention is the auction room and consignment store. You will stand in line for the consignment store, and be asked to leave your bag with an attendant, but it’s worth it because there are some gems in there, and often the prices go down each day on individual games. The auction costs a little money to get a bidding card, but they have usually hundreds of games going on the auction block. They stack them up on the podium table before they auction them so you can see what’s coming up next. They are also stacked up in the room on shelves, so you can get a peek beforehand. There’s no listing of games. You may find a bargain; there are OOP titles offered, maybe your grail game! It’s just interesting to check it out. They are very kind about bidding if you have never attended a live auction before.

    Standing in line is kind of a thing at GenCon, so don’t be surprised if you do a lot of it. The FFG booth is infamous for the long lines (jhint, as far as I know it’s all MSRP in there, too). Dave is right, preorder if you can for GenCon pickup so you don’t miss out on that title you really wanted. That grail game of the show, where there’s only 50 copies a day? Get it afterwards and save yourself some boring down time standing in a line. It will be online or at your FLGS eventually!

    Do some price shopping — the collectible card booths are competitive. They also buy cards at the show.

    Saturday is usually the day the booths offer specials, and Sunday there are sales, especially at the Rio Grande booth were they discount everything so they don’t have to take it home. You can ignore what I said about the budget — hey, it’s GenCon!

    Demo games are only 15 minutes or so, but if you want to check out some games, the demo hall is the best place to do that for some of the major publishers. Dave is right, please be nice to the demo people — I am one of them, and we try very hard to make the game enjoyable for you. One tip — it’s a demo. Please don’t overstay, we can’t play an entire game with you. Sorry. At many of the booths, you can get your game signed by the designer after you purchase. Even at the big guys, like AEG, they may have a designer there. Ask about promos. Most booths have them.

    If you are a BGG fan, be sure to stop by the BGG booth and say to the admins!

    True Dungeon is expensive and it’s always sold out, but often there are last minute tickets, especially for singles.

    Check out the GenCon facebook page for hints on where to eat in Indy, there’s a whole thread on it. The food trucks are good, but be prepared as Dave said to stand in long lines and wait. They are also pricey. The good news is the health department regulates them, so you can be assured they are not going to make you ill eating there. It is convenient because they are right outside for lunch and dinner. Be prepared for many homeless people outside asking for money. Whether you give or not is up to you.

    Thank you Dave for a great tips video! Right on target!

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