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Subject: GenCon - Playing or Not Playing Games rss

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Dan
United States
Illinois
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Question to those of you who have attended GenCon in the past. My wife and I are debating attending GenCon 2017. It's a short drive for us (3 hours), which makes the financial aspect much easier on us than some.

My concern however is that we have never done a convention of this sorts and don't know what to be prepared for.


Q1: When sitting down to play games, is it hard to find groups (how 'cliquey' is it)?

Q2: If we don't sit down and play groups with people we meet / strangers, is there still a good time to be had?

Q3: What sort of activities (other than speakers) are available?


Sorry if this has been posted (did a quick search and didn't see anything).


(Edit: FWIW, not anti-social by any means, but could see being a little intimiated/introverted in a setting like this)
 
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Jerry Martin
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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I have been going on and off for about 20 years.

!) You can sign up to play games so you won't have trouble finding a game, but more often have trouble getting into a game because it sells out. There are multiple areas that open gaming goes on. Mayfair has a room you can jump in games on, there is a gaming library you can get into for a small fee, plus I often see people in connected hotels/open space in the convention playing new found games that you can request to join in on.

2) Yes, there are tons of things to do.

3) I few things I have done that are not directly gaming. Improv Comedy Show, Burlesque Show, Saturday Night Dancing, Wandering the sales floor for hours at a time, beer garden, meeting cool people and talking.

The only reason I don't go every year is cost of hotel and flights makes it pretty expensive to do. I try to make it every other year. I am lucky in that my wife is excited to go as I am .

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Mike

Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Register for events. You can find people to game with but I have not ever found it as easy as others make it out to be. If you register for events there are always people to game with. Events are anything from playing a game to doing yoga.
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Kevin Keefe
United States
Kettering
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I've been going since 2003. There is literally TONS of stuff to do. If you want to insure finding a game, sign up for events. You can also grab a bunch of generics and head to the game areas run by individual publishers and get in there, and there's a HUGE game library room that you can get unlimited access to for a price.

There's events running 24hrs a day from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon. Just look at the event schedule when it's released You'll find something. And if you can't, there's always the exhibit hall or my favorite, the auction hall.
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Tim Smith
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Indiana
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Quote:
Q1: When sitting down to play games, is it hard to find groups (how 'cliquey' is it)?


Like others have said, registering for events when the event system goes live is the easiest way to get into games with random strangers. That being said, there are always people just sitting around and playing games all day and night that would be more than happy to welcome you into their groups to play most of the time. My friends and I were playing Codenames late one night this year, someone came up to view and we welcomed them in. The more the merrier as they say.

Quote:
Q2: If we don't sit down and play groups with people we meet / strangers, is there still a good time to be had?


Absolutely! Depending on what you enjoy doing most, you may not even have enough time to do everything. I will say, however, do be prepared for long lines for certain things if you are interested in getting any of the early releases/exclusives. Also, certain companies are just so popular that there are lines to just get in to try demoing. Not that that is a bad thing, mind you. Be friendly and chat up your line neighbors and you might have found someone to play games with later.

Quote:
Q3: What sort of activities (other than speakers) are available?


There are a variety of activities. The obvious ones being gaming and shopping, the others are too vast to mention in detail. From live shows to movies, auctions, retro acrades, larping, cosplay, ect, there is something for everyone at GenCon.

That being said, it goes straight back to registering for some of these events. Tickets usually go on sale early in the year, with the hotel block going live a couple weeks later. Usually in late April/early May, they'll post the most up to date event listing for registration. Go on there and "wishlist" the events that seem the most enjoyable. Once the events go live for purchase, get online as quickly as possible. Many, many events sell out extremely fast (like TrueDungeon and AEG's Big Game Night). 2017 will be GenCon's 50th anniversary. We can only assume the convention and organizers will be pulling out all the stops, but also that many people will be wanting to attend.
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baker mouse
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brownsburg
Indiana
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Cone Defense wrote:


Q1: When sitting down to play games, is it hard to find groups (how 'cliquey' is it)?

Q2: If we don't sit down and play groups with people we meet / strangers, is there still a good time to be had?

Q3: What sort of activities (other than speakers) are available?


#1 There are so many ways to play games!
Register for event tickets, to make sure you get to play something you want.

Go into an open game room , Rio Grande, Asmodee, Board game geek, and others have done a free (or very low cost) room where you can just pop in grab a seat and play. The staff will even teach you the game and find you players if you need some. ( this is by far my favorite way to join a game at gencon- nice and relaxed and get to meet so may new people)

Go into the dealer hall and demo a game. I find this a bit more intense, lots of noise, and very rushed, but if you want to see the new hotness this is one way to do it.

Open up a game at a free table and ask people to join you. I would totally sit and play if the game looks interesting!

#2/#3 Tons of other things to do. Classes on copsplay, mini painting, yoga in the mornings, seminars, music events, shows, indy films, costume contest, puzzle hunts, themed restaurants, beer garden, arcade games, tons of stuff. A lot of it dosn't cost anything either! There is a free mini painting area, the musicains perform on a small stage in the hall thru the day, want to watch the costume contest, Free!

I would sign up on Gencon's site for thier email's its a great way to hear about whats going on.

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AJ Newhausen
United States
Loves Park
Illinois
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If you want to see exactly what GenCon has to offer, there's multiple websites that list all of their events in a way that's semi-reasonable to parse. For example, http://gencon.eventdb.us/ is a list of every ticketed event from this past year. Keep in mind that's just the events they sell tickets for - it doesn't include the dealer hall, the auction, or anything that people bring to play themselves.

To get an idea of just how much you can do, these are the ticketed board games and this is the list of entertainment events (concerts, shows, etc). If you plan it out in advance, there's no shortage of things to do (and even on site, anything that isn't sold out in advance will take generic tickets at the door).
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Dan
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Illinois
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Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm fairly certain we will be attending based on the feedback.

Those links were incredibly invaluable.

One more question though; some of the game events have a 4-5 hours time listed. Are those numbers long to be on the safe side or do most of those events last that long?

Thanks again!
 
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A. B. West
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Beech Grove
Indiana
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Events are I think always in 1 hour blocks. And the estimates are made by the person hosting the game. So that's about all one can say for certain.
 
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William Chew
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Cone Defense wrote:
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm fairly certain we will be attending based on the feedback.

Those links were incredibly invaluable.

One more question though; some of the game events have a 4-5 hours time listed. Are those numbers long to be on the safe side or do most of those events last that long?

Thanks again!


Depends on the company and person running them. Some run long some run short. Go by what the game length is listed as on BGG. If the timeslot seems too short it will probably be. If it seems too long by less than an hour that is just a buffer. If it is a 2 hour slot for something like 7 wonders expect to play it multiple times. You basically pay for that much time so the people running the game are supposed to run it until then unless everyone agrees to call it quits.
 
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ackmondual
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Cone Defense wrote:
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm fairly certain we will be attending based on the feedback.

Those links were incredibly invaluable.

One more question though; some of the game events have a 4-5 hours time listed. Are those numbers long to be on the safe side or do most of those events last that long?

Thanks again!
I've had 2 games of Battlestar Galactica with the Day break expansion actually take the full 6 hours. We were new, and the mod over-explained things. One game didn't finish.

At another con, a 1.5 hour time slot for a Dominion tourney had us play 2 games, but much of the time, we'd finish in 45 minutes.
 
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ackmondual
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Cone Defense wrote:
Question to those of you who have attended GenCon in the past. My wife and I are debating attending GenCon 2017. It's a short drive for us (3 hours), which makes the financial aspect much easier on us than some.

My concern however is that we have never done a convention of this sorts and don't know what to be prepared for.


Q1: When sitting down to play games, is it hard to find groups (how 'cliquey' is it)?

There are some cliques. Your choices for gaming include but not limited to:
--open gaming... ask people who set up in public areas (e.g. hotel lobby, open tables in the large areas, etc.) if you could get in
--official open gaming events, like the one that requires $4 of tickets for the Gen Con library
--free demos at pub rooms. E.g. Rio Grande Games, Fantasy Flight, and other publishers have these
--sign up for events to get gaming in. E.g. Pathfinder thing, or AEG gaming thing where you get swag at the end
--tournaments


Cone Defense wrote:
Q2: If we don't sit down and play groups with people we meet / strangers, is there still a good time to be had?
Yes. In fact, I go to each con being prepared that I may not get in any gaming, or far less than I aimed for. At least at Gen Con, they're big enough that you can do other things... video games, seminars/panels, demos, check out some art shows or miniature painting contests.

Cone Defense wrote:
Q3: What sort of activities (other than speakers) are available?
Cosplay, a seminar on how to tie bondage rope (the more expensive session lets you keep the provided bondage ropes! wow ), I hear there's a strip bar close by (although I hear it's not very good), food trucks, various seminars like ancient armor, ancient weapons, dealer hall, various other seminars like Tru Dungeon 101 Games Manufacturing and Games Café 2.0
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/33412/gen-con-2014-se...
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/33501/gen-con-2014-se...
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/33448/gen-con-2014-se...
(see link below)
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/32750/gen-con-2013-sa...
 
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Rick
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Savage
Minnesota
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The minimum event time is a 2 hour block. I think you can add time on top of that by 1 hour increments. I would recommend signing up for events to play games though that way you are guaranteed the time and space to play.

You could spend all 4 days just in the exhibit hall demoing, playing and purchasing games and still miss some booths.
 
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