In this video, Dave and Chris discuss this lower player count version of Ticket to Ride. They share insights and discuss strategies for the game
In this video, Dave and Chris discuss this lower player count version of Ticket to Ride. They share insights and discuss strategies for the game
I often think about the games I used to play when I was growing up and one of the games I really enjoyed was Pay Day, which was then published by Parker Brothers. The game was designed by Paul J. Gruen from Massachusetts and the year Pay Day released, which was 1975, it outsold Monopoly. Quite an accomplishment I would say! I was born in 1971 so, the game was still pretty new when I got my first copy when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old.
I remember the game….rolling the die and moving through the days of the month and either getting money or having to spend money. Bills piling up, opportunities to make deals, and then if you got lucky, hitting the jackpot!
Unfortunately, as I grew up and moved on with my life, some of my games and such did not make the move with me. I think they were victims of my parents cleaning out their house many years ago.
Fast forward to about 5 years ago. I happened to be in Target and was in their toy and game section and they happened to have the game Pay Day on the shelf. It said Classic Edition on it and a number of memories about this game filled my head.
I decided to purchase the game so I could share some experiences with my kids, seeing it is a family game. I wasn’t sure what to expect either from myself revisiting this classic game, or what my kids thought of “old” games.
So…. let’s take a look at this new version of Pay Day and get my thoughts along the way. If you are not familiar with this game, here is a brief summary of how it is played:
The game simulates money management, with the game board resembling a calendar month. Pay Day is played on a one-month calendar with 31 days. During the game, players will have to deal with various bills and expenses, but will also have the opportunity to make deals on property and earn money. At the end of each month, players are paid their salary (the same for each player) and must then pay off all outstanding bills, taking out a loan if necessary. Most money (or least debt) wins after a certain number of months decided by the players (3 months usually takes 30 minutes to finish).
One of the things that I vividly remember is the paper money used in the game. And yes… it is still here.
Looking at the board, the month has quite a bit of activity going on.
Each day there is something that is happening that has the players doing something. There is only 1 space on the board where players get to take a breath and that is on the 7th day…..It is a day of rest. Interesting… a subtle Biblical reference in the game taken from the Ten Commandments.
As I was playing the game, I realized that I was pretty much along for the ride. 95% of the game is based upon the luck of the die rolling. Movement is based on the die roll, so players have no control over what spaces they move to and have to endure whatever bonus or penalty is associated with that space. And based upon the roll of the die, my opponents can have a better or worse opportunity on the very same space that I occupy.
The game leaves players with only a few decisions to make: buy a deal, take a loan out, and making payments on a loan. As I have been playing more of the modern board games that put players more in control of their destiny during the game, I felt a bit restricted in what I could do to make optimal moves. The main decision to make was how I was managing my money.
In making deals, I really need to think about how I am managing my money. Do I need to take a loan out to pay for this deal? Will I get lucky and land on a space that allows me to sell that deal? If I take out loans, they are tabulated on a loan pad and on Pay Day, I have to pay interest on those loans, much like in real life. But, I do get an opportunity to pay down these loans so that is a good thing. Other aspects of the game that remind me of real life is the mail call.
Bills piling up, junk mail, etc. fill our mailboxes every day and during the game, every piece of mail we receive is a mystery. The bills that arrive are completely unplanned and so we are again at the mercy of the luck of the draw.
One last thing that has to do with luck: Rolling a 6. If I roll a 6 when I am rolling for movement, I hit the jackpot! and take all the money on the jackpot! space in the lower right corner of the board. Sometimes it can be a lot of cash, other times not one red cent.
Well… There are certain things that Pay Day does that is a good thing and that is challenges players to manage their money. Nothing is guaranteed in this game except the monthly salary. So you need to be prepared for anything. This is a good life lesson for today because it is always important to have a handle on finances.
Being able to adjust the length of the game is a good thing as well. It makes the game adaptable to different situations in which players a playing. Do I want something quick or do I want to play for 6 to 12 months? Length of play is a very big issue when it comes to being able to bring a game to the table to play it, and bringing a game to the table to play it is just a tool for being able to spend time with others in their physical presence.
I had fond memories of Pay Day when I was a kid, and in a way I am glad the game has gotten back into my collection. Looking at the game in today’s gaming standards… is Pay Day a good game? Well, it is still for sale and I just saw a retro edition of the game at Target recently. So the game is still being played 40+ years after it’s release. I would say overall, yeah the game is good. It has survived this long in a market where games come and go all the time. For me, do I think Pay Day is a good game? The short answer is no. It is more of an activity where I am rolling a die each turn and moving to a space and doing what it says. In fact the rules state, your turn ends when you are finished doing what you are told to do. For most of the game I am not involved in making a decision. I land on a space and roll the die. The die result determines the outcome of what happens, or the amount of money that will be affected. Since the game is played in 1 month increments, the same board is used repetitively and so it gets boring rather quickly. Maybe now our brains are constantly looking for more and this game doesn’t have that “more” to offer.
Will Pay Day stay in my collection? The answer is yes. There are only a few of the classic games that I have that have a permanent place in my collection because they are part of who I am, because they were a part of my past, and still part of my present. More than anything there is a sentimental value attached to the game. Plus, some of these classic board games have laid some initial foundation work for the games we enjoy today. We need to see where we have been before we can see where we are now. Mostly, this game doesn’t take up much space so it can easily be stashed somewhere. Unless the kids want to play it, I don’t see the game returning to the table any time soon. However, I would not refuse to play it despite it being a game that I would not seek out today.
Some things seemed better in the past, and for me Pay Day is one of those things. Decades later what I once thought was a fun game to play, translated into an activity that sort of felt flat. I still have those memories of Pay Day being fun as a kid, so I will hold on to those.
In this video, Dave and Chris discuss the Märklin Collector’s Edition of Ticket to Ride. They give an overview of the new mechanics added to the Ticket to Ride system, specifically the passengers and merchandise tokens, the long and short destination tickets, and also the Wild +4 train cards. They share experiences and impressions of this map.
In this series of videos, Dave and Chris are going to go in depth covering this wonderful game system and all of the maps available to date. Check out this first episode where they talk the original Ticket to Ride.
Once you get into the board game hobby, the sheer number of games available can be overwhelming. They all look good! For most people, trying them out before buying can be difficult unless you have a board game café or friendly game store with demo copies available for play, or maybe a friend with a big collection. Even then, the choices may be limited. So how to decide whether a game might be for you without playing it first?
One way to decide what you like is to know basic game mechanics. Knowing how a game will play can help when deciding if it should go in your collection. For instance, I don’t care for card drafting all that much, so if that’s what a game is all about, I am less likely to want to play it. On the other hand, I love deck builders.
Most games are based on a familiar design concept. Then designers add innovation, theme, and maybe a new twist or two.
One thing you will notice is most games are a combination of two or more mechanics. A single game mechanic is uninteresting and too simplistic to keep people’s interest. On the other hand, some designers can go overboard, putting in every mechanic they can think of, making a game just too overwhelming. The best games are a perfect balance of mechanics. A game will usually have one dominant design element, so you can use a favorite or least favorite mechanic to make your personal choices.
A decision of whether a game fits your preferred playing style or not may depend entirely on how much aggression between players a game might have. Sometimes attacking other players is exactly what a group wants, but for other occasions gentler competition (or none) might be more enjoyable. Certain design mechanics will naturally lead to more player competition or “take that” play.
Let’s take a look!
Roll and Move
Everyone knows this one – think Monopoly. Roll the dice and move that many spaces, then take an action as a result (or maybe not). There’s no changing what you rolled. It’s entirely luck based. Much of the time spent playing is just rolling dice and moving around the board. Modern board game designs have developed beyond this mechanic for the simple reason that players want to be able to influence what they do on a turn. Random rolls can be frustrating and spoil any plans a player might have made to win the game, which isn’t very fun. Thus all the house rules and cheating in Monopoly!
There are still roll and move games that are popular with gamers. Talisman is a good example of a roll and move mechanic that has stood the test of time. Monopoly Gamer takes the idea of roll and move and adds player powers and monster fighting with familiar video game characters.
Card or dice drafting requires a player to pick and choose from a group of cards or dice. The idea is you choose what you need, and give the rest to the next person or discard it. Drafting adds a lot of competitive tension and strategy to a game since players have to decide what to keep that will help them, but prevent passing on cards or dice they know will help other players win (thus the term, “hate drafting,” which means taking a card you don’t need just to thwart someone else’s plans.)
Drafting is a mechanic that rewards players that know which strategies will help them win the game, and requires that all players understand the cards or pieces they are choosing from.
7 Wonders and Sushi Go are two games that use a drafting mechanic. Sagrada is a dice drafting game.
Roll and move may be scorned, but rolling dice certainly isn’t. Dice are used as part of a larger strategic plan in games that want to add an element of randomness to the gameplay. Dice are now colorful, custom made, in all shapes and sizes, and are often rolled by the handful.
Dice rolling is most often associated with games that “push your luck.” For new gamers, the addition of a dice rolling mechanic can ease some of the pressure of pure strategy. It can also mitigate your circumstances in the game, for good or bad. If you like a little luck in your gameplay, a dice rolling mechanic might be just the thing to give you some excitement.
Often “real-time” games, where players are under time pressure to complete a task, involve rolling dice (very quickly!).
Elder Sign, Qwixx, Roll for the Galaxy, Machi Koro, Roll Player, and many others include dice rolling as a main mechanic. Real time dice games include Flatline and Space Cadets.
In a deck building game, players start with a set of cards (or pieces) and add to them by acquiring new and more powerful ones over the course of the game. Each person’s hand will be different by the end of the game depending on the choices they have made. New cards or pieces are acquired from a common pool by spending currency integrated into the cards players hold (in some games, like Rune Age and Nightfall, there is also a personal pool to choose from). There are a great many variations on the deck building mechanic, but the core idea remains the same in most games: a hand of cards that is cycled through each turn, building up a more powerful deck of cards that leads to a victory condition.
Deck builders on the whole do not have a lot of player interaction, so some variants have included attacks on other players. The core idea is to make powerful combinations or chains of cards to gain victory points, which can be very fun.
Dominion is the most well-known deck builder. Other deck builders include Ascension, Puzzle Strike (which uses chips instead of cards), Arctic Scavengers (which has an element where players attack each other directly), and Marvel Legendary – just to name a few!
Role Selection/Variable Player Powers
Variable Player Powers is a very popular mechanic found in many, many games. In this mechanic, on any given turn — or throughout the game — each player has different individual abilities or paths to victory. This design choice relies heavily on each person determining the strategy they need to take to win depending on the role they have. Roles and powers can change throughout the game, or be assigned at the beginning of the game randomly or through a draft (see above).
If there are game balance issues in the design, variable player powers will often be the culprit –some elements might be more powerful than others giving one player and advantage.
Puerto Rico, San Juan, Cosmic Encounter, Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and Terra Mystica are just a few of the top rated games that use variable player powers. Designers will often add player powers in expansions to increase the depth of a game.
As the title says, it’s all about building chains and connecting areas on the board through route building, usually though roads or train tracks, but it can be anything that connects one point to the other.
This mechanic gives players a chance to block others, which can lead to aggressive game play.
The two most well-known network building game are of course Ticket to Ride and Catan. Power Grid is a route building game. Other examples include the 10 Days series, Thurn and Taxis, and Brass, one of more complex games to play.
Worker Placement/Action Point Allowance System
The heart of many Euro games, worker placement and action point allowance systems give the player a choice of taking a piece and assigning it to a space to perform an action. In most cases, once a piece has been placed, another player cannot occupy that space and take that action, which is where the tension lies. There are literally hundreds of worker placement games, with all sorts of mechanisms and mechanics to change up the game play. “Point salad” games, an expression coined for many different ways to score points in a game, is a term often associated with the worker placement mechanic (but not always).
Worker placement games have the reputation for being multiplayer solitaire, which some people like very much. Others want more player interaction, which some designers try to deliver with more “take that” elements in the design, allowing players to interfere with their competitor’s plans. The classic game Caylus is one of those, where the provost piece can be moved to block someone’s actions, which can get nasty.
Well-known worker placement games include Stone Age, Lords of Waterdeep, Agricola, Champions of Midgard, Russian Railroads and Terra Mystica.
Although the name says it all, set collection games come in all shapes, sizes and complexity. It’s the go-to for most lighter games and you will find it everywhere. It sets up competition for scarce resources, which makes it a core mechanic.
Set collection is often combined with another mechanic, such as drafting, route building, or deck building.
Some examples of games with set collection elements include Pandemic (a co-op), Sushi Go (drafting), Ticket to Ride (route building), Fabled Fruit, and the Castles of Burgundy.
Betting/Wagering/Commodity Speculation/Stock Holding
That’s a lot of mechanics in one title! But they all have a similar idea: players wager or bet on certain outcomes in a game. Of course, the best games allow you to “hedge your bets” or manipulate the outcome, but in the end, each player is gambling on whether a stock, commodity, or other game element will rise or fall, win or lose. The winner in these types of games usually has the most money at the end.
Gambling can include a heavy psychological element, be more or less contingent on luck, or be mitigated by player strategy. It’s all about predicting an outcome with the imperfect information you are given in the game. Which makes it…fun!
There are many great games in this category: racing games, such as Camel Up, stock games such as Acquire or Stockpile, train games like Chicago Express and Union Pacific, even social games like Wits and Wagers. And let’s not forget Poker, of course!
As it says, this game mechanic calls for each player to place a bid on items in a game. It can be a hidden or an open bid, ending in the winner taking control of the item(s).
Auction games can be polarizing, as the competition to win the item can be stressful. Game designers have implemented various ideas to make it fun, but in the end, it’s all about not paying too much for something you need. This is one of a handful of mechanics which can cause some players to turn away from a game (hidden traitor mechanics and negotiating games are two others).
Power Grid, Downforce, Aladdin’s Dragons, and Medici are just scratching the surface of games that feature this mechanic.
There are specific games that call for negotiation among players. Rather than kill your competitors, you make deals with them.
The progenitor of all this bargaining was Monopoly, but now there are games that specifically have players freely negotiate terms and prices for commodities with each other without the roll and move. Some negotiation games make it so good negotiating helps the other players. Others just reward the best deal makers with victory.
It can be a very fun gaming experience with the right crowd, but for those who don’t like discussion and arguing, it can be an unpleasant experience.
Diplomacy, the game with the reputation of table flipping friendship ending negotiations (you must betray your allies at some point), is probably the best known in this category.
Chinatown, Sidereal Confluence, Merchants of Araby, Flea Marketeers, and New Angeles are other examples. New Angeles adds a hidden traitor mechanic, and Sidereal Confluence has variable player powers.
Instead of taking turns moving, in a programmed movement game players decide secretly or openly what moves they will make in advance, and then execute those moves. Obviously, the best laid plans can go spectacularly awry.
This mechanic can be divisive, as some people don’t like the inability to react to an outcome.
Well known games that use this mechanic are Mechs and Minions, Colt Express, RoboRally, Lords of Xidit, and Dungeon Lords.
Think Risk, and you’ve got this one. Players score points by having the majority of units or influence in an area. Combining this mechanic with other game play designs makes for interesting play.
Obviously, this is the most aggressive form of play so if your taste doesn’t run to killing off your opponents and taking their territory, this design choice won’t be for you.
Small World is a good example of pure area control, as is El Grande, a classic in the genre. Kemet, Cyclades, Scythe, anything by Cool Mini or Not (CMON) — all include an area control component. Tyrants of the Underdark combines area control with deck building. As we like to call it in my gaming group, “dudes on a map” is always a favorite mechanic for those who love to spread out and conquer.
This one is pretty simple: choose and tile and place it down. Hopefully if you place your tiles correctly, they will score victory points. Having said that, there are many wonderful tile laying games and it is one of the more popular game mechanics.
Examples include the classic Carcassonne, Kingdomino, Cacao, Lanterns Festival, and the Castles of Mad King Ludwig.
Pick Up and Deliver
Get your stuff from one place to the next. That’s what is involved in a pick up and deliver game. How you do that depends on the game’s design.
Empire Builder is one of the first pick up and deliver games, which also include Istanbul, Africana, Railways of the World, Cinque Terre, Firefly the Game, Merchant of Venus, the hard to find Stefan Feld design Macao, and the monster Roads and Boats, which is complex and takes several hours to play.
Cooperative play games, or co-ops, encourage players to work together to win the game. There is no competition between players. The game is won by completing an objective. Semi-co-ops , such as Marvel Legendary, have the same mechanic, but allow for individual players to score points and win.
Co-ops can be played solo, which if you can’t find a game partner is a nice option to have in your collection.
Pandemic is probably the best known of the co-op games, but there are many. Others include Forbidden Island, Flash Point Fire Rescue, Magic Maze, Robinson Crusoe, and for the younger folks, Ghost Fightin Treasure Hunters (which is really hard to win even if it’s designed for kids). For love-to-read puzzle solvers, the one or two player Sherlock Holmes Detective game can be very enjoyable.
A sub-set of this mechanic is all versus one, where one person tries to outwit the other players who work together to stop the villain. Letters to Whitechapel, Fury of Dracula, Betrayal on the House on the Hill, and The Last Friday are examples of this type of game.
Modern game libraries often have one or two games that include a hidden spy or traitor, whom the other players need to uncover or thwart. It adds a lot of tension when no one knows who is trying to sabotage the game.
Bluffing games require players to keep their roles or motivations secret. These games do require some ability to pretend or lie, which not everyone enjoys, limiting their wide appeal.
Secret roles are often found in social games for large groups. Werewolf is a great example of a game with this mechanic.
Other examples include Dead of Winter, The Resistance, Battlestar Galactica, Betrayal on the House on the Hill, Dark Moon, Deception in Hong Kong, Shadows Over Camelot, When I Dream, Coup, Sheriff of Nottingham, and many others.
Some games are are more social activities than competitive board play. In the storytelling mechanic, players weave narratives to guess words, ideas, and other people’s opinions. Often play is not really for points, but just to interact with a group. It’s great to have an icebreaker or two around for gaming groups, or for those times when you have non-game players in the mix.
Storytelling or social games can be difficult for those people who are shy or don’t feel they are creative. Some games have mechanics that help this issue by using a team mechanic, but in general, the introverts are going to have to speak up or it can be awkward. So, choose with care.
Codenames, where players try to guess key words from word clues, is an example, as is Dixit, Concept (guess a phrase from just icons), Say Anything, Time’s Up Recall, and Wits and Wagers.
That was a lot of mechanics! There are more, but those are the biggies. If you play many games, you will see these appear in various forms. How can you quickly find what mechanic a game employs? Look on BoardGameGeek.com under the individual game title entry. On the right hand side of the page you will find a list of the mechanics the game uses in its design.
No matter what your taste, there’s probably a game out there that will satisfy your need for any one of these styles of gameplay. Or design your own!
Have a favorite in one of these categories? Let us know in the comments.
As a continuation of the ghosting topic I discussed earlier, safety should be a concern for con goers.
It’s an unpleasant topic to discuss, and for the most part, most cons are a very safe environment with little worry about personal safety. Having said that, it is important to take practical steps to make sure your con is worry free and you come back with great memories.
It was reported earlier this year that there were assaults/robberies in a couple of the parking garages in Indianapolis. There are no security guards or people watching inside the garages, so if you are going to your car late at night, be aware of your surroundings. If you can get a group to go back to the cars, even better. Be prepared for anything if you are walking alone to a car. Have your cell phone out and keys at the ready, and follow your inner instinct that says beware (don’t ignore that inner voice that says watch out!). Having some mace or pepper spray at hand is a good idea, too. If it looks dicey, turn around and walk out. There are a lot of law enforcement officers out and about at all times in the streets (on bicycles and horses), so help is available if you need it.
ATMs and Credit Cards
ATMs are really convenient, but they are a magnet for criminals to steal your information. Skimming — grabbing your magnetic information and your pin with add on devices — is on the rise, and there have been reports of modified ATMs in hotel lobbies. Criminals put fake slots on the machines, then mount hidden cameras to get your pin when you type it in. It’s really hard to tell if an ATM has been tampered with, frankly, but look to see if the slot fits correctly and isn’t loose or odd looking. If your card doesn’t fit in smoothly, try another ATM. Hide your pin with your other hand when you put in the numbers as they can’t use your info without your pin.
Check your bank balance frequently if you are using ATMs — you can alert your bank to fraud if it occurs.
If you plan on using credit cards at the vendor booths and other places such as restaurants, call your credit card company or bank ahead of time and let them know what you are doing. It can avoid your card being pinged for fraud if they know you are getting charges from stores all over the US and abroad.
Secure Your Valuables
Petty theft of badges, personal items, and money does happen. Keep your stuff close at hand, zip up your bags or backpacks, and keep things out of your pockets if they are easy to get to. Thieves are really clever and can distract you and be off with your stuff before you know it. With 70K attendees and over 200,000 people going in and out, there will inevitably be some bad apples at the con. Just be aware that you can end up being a victim of opportunity if you leave your stuff out and are distracted.
Stay organized! I have terrible trouble with this myself, but making sure you have a spot for your cash, cell phone, identification and credit cards that you can easily get to but is secure. Fumbling around and digging in bags always ends up with items on the floor, and you may not see them fall. Bring a minimum of things to avoid this problem — a bag full of stuff gets disorganized quickly. Use good backbacks or carryalls that have pockets for items so they stay in one spot and you can find them easily.
Keep track of your cash expenditures — it’s not a safety issue but if you are missing some, you will know right away.
Obviously, make sure if you get a wad of cash from the sale of magic cards or games you don’t wave it around. Most of the booths can help you be discreet about it, but be aware there are probably 100 people watching you get the cash.
Don’t leave money, your cell phone or credit cards on the counter while you transact business. Count your change! People make mistakes.
Check your bags before you leave a booth. Do you have all of them? Take an inventory often.
When you are demoing or playing games, put your items in a place where you can keep an eye on them at all times and they aren’t in the open. Wrap bag straps around your chair legs to discourage snatch and grab attempts.
Magic cards are especially vulnerable to theft, since the criminals can just grab your collection and go sell them immediately.
Separating cash into two places, one even in your shoe, can be helpful. You won’t lose it all if something unfortunate happens.
It’s never a bad idea to use a waist pouch that goes under your clothes for your valuable stuff. They sell nice ones fairly inexpensively at places like TJMaxx and other discount stores. It’s a great solution to carry extra cash or an emergency credit card.
Tickets to events should be handled as carefully as cash — since they can be used by anyone.
I don’t know if there would ever be a reason to remove your badge from around your neck, but obviously if you do, keep an eye on it! Badges are going to be a coveted item this year. Badges can fall out of their holders, so a quick check every now and again that it’s still there and secure is a good idea.
GenCon has emergency medical staff available if you feel sick or have a problem. They have a room in one of the hallways. It’s easy to get overheated or stressed in the crowds and all the chaos. If you feel very ill, go see them. Remember to drink and stay hydrated! Bring a water bottle you can refill from a drinking fountain or faucet.
There will be a quiet room this year where attendees can sit and get away from it all for a while (listed in the catalog). Take advantage of it if you can and give yourself a break.
As a final note, just be aware of your surroundings. It’s so easy to get distracted and lose track of your things, allow people to get into your personal space that shouldn’t be there, or find yourself in a situation that you are uncomfortable with. Think ahead, and stay as organized as you can. And of course, have fun!
Do you have other tips? Let us know!
Now that GenCon has announced there will be no more sales of four day passes, and probably a very limited number of one day passes left, the chatter has turned to the practice of “ghosting” or coming to the convention without a badge.
There are two kinds of ghosting: one is sneaking into events that require a badge, the other is hanging around in the public areas without a badge for the con. Sneaking into an event is stealing — you are taking something other people paid for. Hanging out in the halls just makes it more crowded.
This is the first year that GenCon has limited attendance. Many people in past years bought four day badges at the con the day of the convention, but this is no longer possible. Buying four one day badges is much more expensive ($270), if they will even be available.
It is prudent for GenCon to limit badges simply because occupancy codes make sure that if there is a problem, no tragedies occur with overcrowded venues. Panicked, running crowds can literally trample people to death — so there are fire codes and other regulations on how many people can be in a building at any time to prevent it from happening.
The other reason to limit badges and attendance is the sheer number of people all trying to do the same thing. Frankly, the vendor hall is already way too crowded, and if there are just too many people no one gets a good chance to demo games or browse the vendor booths. It makes sense for the GenCon organizers to say they have a capacity and they aren’t going over it.
So why not try to get in without a badge and see what you can enjoy?
First of all, there’s little you can do without a badge. You can’t buy tickets to events or participate in most things. They do check badges and ask for ID at the ticket booth.
Secondly, “ghosting” means you are crowding the halls and public areas and making it more uncomfortable for everyone else. It really is crowded at GenCon — and this year it’s going to be wall to wall people who did pay for the con. It also requires more staff to check badges at every access point to events and in the convention center, which just creates more lines and bottlenecks for legitimate attendees.
Trying to get into events without a badge, or with someone else’s badge is stealing. GenCon, and other cons like it, work very hard to organize the event. Badge fees pay for the staff, the programs, the clean up, and everything else that makes the con a fun place to be. If you don’t pay to get in, you are taking advantage of what others paid for to be there.
Edit: The Indiana Convention Center policy is that it must be open to the public, so hanging out in the halls can be done — but please, there are plenty of places to meet outside the con in Indianapolis that aren’t nearly as crowded as the halls at GenCon.
Staff always check badges at paid events, so there’s no point in even trying to get in without a badge. If you are going to try to get in with a badge from past events, they check that, too — if your badge is flipped, for instance, they ask you to turn your badge around and they do scrutinize them carefully (again, making more work for everyone because people try to cheat the system).
For those who do have badges, please keep an eye on them. Sneaking in without a pass is one thing, but stealing someone else’s badge and using it is quite another thing altogether. Let’s face it, it does happen. With the sell-out, if you lose your badge you aren’t going to be able to purchase another one at the con. So be careful!
If you didn’t get a badge, there are still ways to get a pass into the convention center. Volunteer! Vendors and GenCon need people to help out. I am sure there are still opportunities to work. AEG was asking for volunteers for their Big Game Night, for example (you will see me there). As the con gets closer, confirmed volunteers will drop out, and there will be openings. Check out the BoardGameGeek.com GenCon threads, or the GenCon Facebook page, or ask your favorite game publisher if they need people to work for them (you can find a list of all the game publishers attending on BGG). It’s a little more of a commitment, but if you are determined to go, it’s a legitimate way to enjoy the convention and it can be a lot of fun.