This year’s GenCon was a whirlwind for me! I worked the Cubicle 7 booth in addition to my usual event-coordinating/running and meetings. I got to visit one of my favorite steakhouses with my fellow Gnomies (and met an epic waiter!) and finally tried Fogo de Chao. I was also fortunate enough to collect a couple of ENnies (a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who voted!). In addition, GenCon boasted record attendance again, easily crushing last year’s count. I have no doubt that this is due, at least in part, to WOTC getting back in the game with a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
While this was now my 8th GenCon, there are still a few things I’ve learned this time around that I thought I’d share:
- The harder it is to get into an event, the easier it is to get into an event. As event coordinator, I watched Cubicle 7’s slate of events sell out within seconds of the site opening. That said, few of our events were actually full. With attendees overbooking and group sales, it’s very likely that 2 or 3 players in a particular event choose not to attend together. This point was driven home when I observed a Saturday afternoon event of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space only have 3 players show and no generics filled the slots.
- While the food trucks offer a convenient way to grab different types of food just outside the convention center, they are also sapping business from the local restaurants. Thus, in the time you are waiting in a line to grab a slice or a taco from a food truck, you could have walked the extra block, sat down, enjoyed a meal in comfort, and returned to the con. If food trucks are your thing, there are also a few of them off Georgia Street that don’t have the long lines.
- Vendors seemed to sell out of a lot of popular items quickly this year – some of the bigger companies even had long crowd-control lines. If there’s something new at the con that you can’t live without purchasing, plan to get it ASAP and realize that you may lose an opportunity to grab something else that you wanted.
- When someone says “the Marriott” they could be referring to one of four hotels. While traditionally “the Marriott” meant the one across from the Convention Center, I’ve heard it used this time around to refer to the JW, Springhill Suites, and the Courtyard.
- Having an exhibitor’s badge for a few years now, I’ll sheepishly admit that I didn’t know there was a dealer’s room upstairs to get free coffee and refreshments!
Well, that’s about it for me this time around. If you were returning to GenCon this year, what changes struck you?