So GenCon is coming up fast (I will be at GenCon when this posts) and I’m doing laundry to make sure that I have all of the nerdy clothes cleaned I want to wear to the main event. Now if you don’t know what GenCon is, it’s the biggest gaming convention in North America. I’ve met people from all over the US and Canada, and even some from Germany and Russia. People from all over come to GenCon to game and meet people that enjoy the same things they do. One thing I have noticed from meeting all these people we don’t always pack what we need to survive the con. So here is a guide of things you should bring with you.
I always bring one day extra worth of clothes for myself when I go to Cons. You never know what you might be doing or when accidents will happen. So it’s always best to have an extra set for those just-in-case moments. I was cosplaying at a Con once; I got sick and ruined my costume. I was super lucky, for that morning I had packed a bag with an extra set of clothes and had one of my friends hold on to it for me. Hopefully your experience won’t be like that and you can just leave your extra set in your hotel room.
2) Medication & Vitamins
If you are on regular medication or take daily vitamins you should bring them with you when you go to the Con and not leave them back in your hotel room. I, for one, lose track of time while gaming and sometimes forget to take my meds. Now I carry band-aids and painkillers along with my Airborne and daily vitamin. We get a ton of paper cuts making characters and flipping through books; it’s better to cover them up with my Hello Kitty band-aids than to bleed all over, yuck.
The convention center itself will sell you water, but I really don’t think you will want to pay $5 a bottle when you and a few friends can pitch in for a case of bottled water. There is a lot of walking that you will be doing at a Con. GenCon specifically has events in multiple hotels and it can be a trek to get from one room to the next. Along with the painkillers I mentioned, water will also help combat headaches that come from the noise and long hours that the Con will bring. The rule for me is for every bottle of Mountain Dew I have to stay awake, I drink a bottle of water to keep hydrated and happy.
4) Nerd Badge
Each Con has their own way of showing that you are allowed to be at their Con. GenCon uses badges. This badge must be on you at all times! If it is lost or you try to sneak in they will kick you out; this includes you cosplayers. The best way I have found to keep it with you is a lanyard around your neck. I know for many cosplayers around the neck gets in the way of the costume, you can totally fit it to your belt; the security team just needs to make sure you have it.
5) Bare minimum
Your ID, badge, hotel room key, and wallet should be with you. There are some events I go to that are 18 and up and I need my ID for that so I can get in. I know not everyone has the money to go into the dealers’ hall and buy that game they tried and loved. But it’s good to keep your money on you just in case you run into people and go for a drink or get food. Chipping in for food makes a great first impression when going out with a new group of folks. I’m not saying snipe the bill *looks around innocently* but have enough to pay your share. I’ve gone out to eat with groups where I’ve need to cover $$ on top of my own bill because people left $20 on the table and it wasn’t enough to cover all of the drinks they had. Also be nice to your wait staff. They are having a really busy night and you aren’t the first 8 person table they’ve waited on tonight.
Hotel room key is essential to getting back into your room. Everyone you may be staying with will be busy at the Con and won’t have time to walk back to the hotel with you. Your name might not be on the room you are chipping in for so the hotel isn’t going to give you an extra key just because you whine at them.
Another item, if you have a cell phone like the rest of us, is your charge cable. The convention centers I’ve gone to are cell signal killers and that sucks up the juice of your phone and makes it much harder to make it to the 8 to 12 person dinners I was just talking about.
Overall have a good time. There will be a lot of people there, so many chances for new interactions and finding people that love the same things you do. GenCon is one of those nerd meccas that every nerd should try to make it to at least once in their lifetime.
So let’s get