Daily Illuminator

August 7, 2009: Gen Con Advice

As everyone knows, a good portion of the Austin crew will be at Gen Con Indy this year. (Come see us at booth #1321!) For most of us, it'll be just another show. But for a couple, this year will be their first time -- their first national convention in fact!

If you're a newbie like them, talk to your friends who have attended before. You'll have fun, no doubt, but controlling how much you pay for that fun -- in terms of dollars, sore feet, frustration, and blown budgets -- requires some preparation. Here are some of my best tips.

  • Wear good shoes. Consider a pair of those gel inserts. Have backup shoes, and twice as many socks as you think you'll need. (You'll be surprised at the rejuvenating effect a fresh pair of socks has!)
  • Drink lots of water. It's healthier than soda, and it'll keep your voice from leaving you in the middle of a game of Are You A Werewolf?
  • Shower every single day; twice if necessary. Don't be afraid to change clothes more often than you would at home.
  • Be prepared for lots of walking. Don't weigh yourself down with a ton of minis, books, and costume. Do weigh yourself down with a camera -- you're going to see at least one costume you'll want to share with friends, and snapping a photo is a quick and easy way to remind yourself of a game you played!
  • While there are lots of restaurants within walking distance, be prepared for the waiting list. If possible, schedule meals for before or well after the usual "rush" times (aka noon for lunch, and 6pm for dinner).
  • Good advice from a veteran: Adam Jury (Catalyst Game Labs' head of Media Design and Production) has excellent tips, broken up into two posts (here and here) on his blog (which is a good read even outside of con season).
  • And finally, the Ultimate Guide to Gen Con: The Keeper of Ancient Gen Con Lore. This Indianapolis native has attended more Gen Con events than you can shake a stick at, and his site is very worth a read.

-- Paul Chapman

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