Every role-playing gamer should go to Gen Con at least once in their life. Gen Con is the largest game convention in North America, and while it primarily caters to the role-playing side of the gaming industry, board, miniature, and collectable card games get represented as well. The retailers show upcoming products. Attending had always been a dream of mine, and now this will be my tenth Gen Con!
Attending Gen Con requires a lot of planning. Tickets go on sale in January, and I suggest purchasing them early because of the two online stampedes that happen. In late January/early February, Gen Con housing opens for hotel reservations. You want to be part of that rush because the downtown hotels near the convention site sell out quickly. In years past, it was first come/first serve but those days of mad clicking on the day the Housing Portal opened to get to the housing portal are now history. A lottery replaced the first come/first serve system a couple of years ago. People love the new system when they get an early time, meaning they usually get the hotel that they want. When they don’t, they go to Facebook and complain. Every year Gen Con attendees are assured that the system will be more accommodating and downtown hotel rooms will be parceled out slowly. In reality, I have seen little evidence of that. This year by 3 pm on the first day of hotel bookings, all the hotel rooms were gone. Roommates increase the odds and there are still plenty of rooms in the outlying areas. The outlying hotels are cheaper, but the money you gain from the hotel room, you lose in rental car and parking fees getting to and from the Indiana Convention Center downtown. Other ways to get a hotel room for GenCon that I have heard are more problematic and more $$$ – Air B&B, VRBO, or you can pay for a “Very Important Gamer” (VIG), though those go fast as well. You can also check the Gen Con Forums for people who can’t make the convention or need roommates (obviously you take your chances with this method), or you could book from the hotel’s own web site (this can be very expensive because the hotels are already nearly at capacity).
The next gear rush for Gen Con is purchasing events tickets This is first come/first serve and individual games tend to fill up fast. A week before opening day of event registration, Gen Con lists the events and can be downloaded as an Excel file. Get the file and find the events you want. In your Gen Con profile, you can create a wish list of events. You are able to also list in what priority the events you want. For example, I need to be in the Torg: Eternity game, then I want to put that as my highest priority. Pathfinder goes to the bottom of the list (trust me, there are plenty of tickets for Pathfinder Society events). When registration begins on May 6 at noon Eastern, submit your wish list and pray you got in early.
Once event registration is done, sit back and get ready for the best four days in gaming! I’ll be there again this year. Let me know if you are and let’s game together!
Gen Con website: www.gencon.com
Add me as a friend on the GenCon website!Dalhyp@yahoo.com