2015 was another fun year for me; in addition to my usual hanging with Gnomes and working for Cubicle 7 I got to meet a lot of new gamers and a couple of celebrities. I even got to do a little unintentional situational cosplay as the Doctor when I inadvertently blundered into a wedding reception (long story)! We also won another silver ENnie for the blog!
On the food front, we had an epic Gnome Stew meal again at St. Elmo’s with the legendary Billy the Waiter! I also hit Fogo de Chao again and inducted a couple of new members to my mysteriously exclusive Curry Club. I was also able to hit the food trucks a couple of times and got my food at a reasonable time.
As the years go by it gets more difficult for me to come up with new helpful observations, but I’m going to try anyway!
- If you’re flying, have a back-up plan. My flight was cancelled a couple of hours before it was due to depart and it was the last flight of the day for that airline. I’d already checked out of the hotel at that point and went into panic mode. While my wife saved the day for me, you’ll have a lot less stress if you have a back-up plan ready to go.
- I actually found that the food truck lines aren’t too bad if you eat at off-hours. I was able to get served fairly quickly between 11am and 12pm, as most gamers were hitting the hall and weren’t ready to eat just yet. Just be prepared; some trucks aren’t up and running by 11 and you may want to pick a more “exotic” cuisine (mmm, shawarma..) as most people tend to hit trucks serving American basics like pizza or barbecue.
- Once again, I had pretty good luck with restaurants. I still think you’re better off sticking to odd times and walking a couple of blocks away from the convention center, but overall I didn’t hear many horror stories. Call ahead if you have a large party, slipping in as a single or couple is surprisingly quick.
- Map your routes. While I’m pretty savvy at this point, I still didn’t realize that my hotel (the Conrad) was only two blocks away from my events due to them being placed at the rear of the Marriott. Because of this, my “shortcut” through the Hyatt actually ended up adding 10 minutes to my journey (which could be critical if you’re factoring in things like stopping for coffee).
- Piggybacking from above, keep a record of the booth numbers of exhibits that you plan to visit. Gen Con is enormous now and it’s very easy to get lost in the maze of booths. It’s hard enough to move through the throngs of people when you know where you’re going; it’s very easy to get bogged down when you don’t. It can get really frustrating if you only have a limited time to browse before being otherwise engaged.
- Take advantage of free refreshments. While I didn’t get free breakfast, my hotel offered free coffee which was enough to get me through the morning without the hassle of waiting in a line. I also brought my drink mixes (little squirt bottles), so I was better able to enjoy the free water offered without feeling the need to buy a bottle of something more flavorful – and I didn’t have to lug soda bottles around.
- If you have generics, you stand a far better chance if you try 8am games, especially on the weekend. If you don’t have generics but you miss your time, chalk it up as a loss. Chances are that your seat was filled, and in any event no one’s going to wait for you to walk in 30 minutes late.
- The era of discounting is long past. Don’t expect many exhibitors to discount their products (although some offer free pdfs with a purchase!). What the con does offer are opportunities to grab Gen Con exclusives, face time with developers, and autographs.
Well, I think that about covers it for me! How about you? What advice do you have after visiting Gen Con 2015?