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Subject: Thinking about going to GenCon 2020 rss

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Shaun Giller
United States
Grand Rapids
Michigan
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I did a couple forum searches and got some information, but I am still a little lost. I have been to my local Con (GrandCon) 4 years now. This is the only knowledge of Con's I have. It is small (around 1500 people I think). The vendors are few enough that it doesn't even take an hour to visit them all. They have "events" that you register for a ticket (generally free) and someone GM a game for you, teaching rules as needed, answering questions, etc. They also have a game library where you can rent (also for free) games and play them on your own. That is the extent of it.

Is there a Wiki or something that has a ton of GC logistical information?

For my GenCon Questions:

1. How early should one purchase their badge?
2. How does the hotel room system work through GenCon? If I want a downtown hotel can I get one or is there really a lottery?
3. If I am in one of the hotels listed as 13 miles from the convention, what is the parking situation like? Cost?
4. How easy is it to Uber (or Lyft) and what kid of cost am I looking at for that?
5. Most scheduled events look like they cost money, does the library cost money to get games from and play?
6. If I come up with additional questions can I GM you
 
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Sam O.
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Massachusetts
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1.) If you are looking to get a chance at a hotel room downtown, then there's a cutoff date to enter the lottery. So... before that date.
2.) It's a lottery. My group did not get lucky this year
3.) We did a pre-paid weekend pass. I forget exactly how much it was (somewhere in the $50-$70 range I think), but the parking lot was about a half mile from the convention center and shuttles were free.
4.) There were Lyft discount codes offered through GenCon. We only did one Lyft ride, and it was right after the Critical Role liveshow, so the demand was a bit high at that time. Not sure about other times.
5.) I believe so? It looks like there were different prices - $2 for a 4 hour block or $44 for the entire weekend.
6.) Sure. I've gone 3 times (2015/2016/2019), so I might not be the greatest at answering specific questions, but have a decent feel on general questions.
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Jerbear
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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1. How early should one purchase their badge?
As mentioned you want to do it before the hotels go on sale. Honestly if you want to stay downtown I would just plan on paying through the nose. I have been going to GENCON off and on for about 25 years. About 7 years ago I was unable to get a hotel through GENCON and haven't been able to since. We have just been booking through the hotel themselves and paying the cost (about $400 a night per room)

2. How does the hotel room system work through GenCon? If I want a downtown hotel can I get one or is there really a lottery?

It's a lottery and usually a total shitshow. The keep trying to improve the system, but this year for us it was...YOu can book a room in 3 hours...so nothing downtown.

3. If I am in one of the hotels listed as 13 miles from the convention, what is the parking situation like? Cost?
Personally, if I can't stay near the convention I just won't go.
4. How easy is it to Uber (or Lyft) and what kid of cost am I looking at for that?

Used Lyft and Uber there a bunch. They send people in from out of town to cover the increased activity and it always went smoothly. Form the airport it was $30-$40. In town was normal pricing. Less than a Taxi.

5. Most scheduled events look like they cost money, does the library cost money to get games from and play?

I would plan on everything costing a little bit, but it is usually pretty minimal compared to the cost of getting there, hotels and whatnot.

6. If I come up with additional questions can I GM you

NO need to GM just post here.

 
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Jeremy Gray
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West Chester
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1. Gencon didn't used to sell out but they've started using an arbitrary cutoff to "sell out" of badges. But, as noted above, the housing cutoff is probably the bigger concern.
2. Yeah, the lottery is tough. One thing I'll say is that if you keep checking the housing system, there are periodic cancellations that free up those (pricey) downtown hotel rooms. Keep an eye out, particularly when the cutoff is for free cancellation.
3. I've done "off site" hotels for 3 of the years and have had good luck with ParkWhiz. You can find cheap parking that's within decent walking distance (dependent, of course, on your tolerance for walking). I tried the "official" parking once and wasn't a fan. I don't like waiting for shuttles (no matter how short/long the wait) and it was double the cost of stuff I'd found on ParkWhiz, so I just stuck with ParkWhiz after that.
4. I don't use Uber/Lyft, so I'm no help there.
5. I've gotten tickets to the BGG hot games room each year that I've gone and that's been a really great way to try out the new games. At other, smaller conventions, the main focus is on playing games, particularly ones that you already know and love or older games that you've never had a chance to try. With Gencon it's awesome to be able to play all the new releases to see if they're something you want to buy (at the con or later on). The BGG Hot Games Room is probably the best way to get several of the new releases played.
6. Definitely.
 
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Jerbear
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Oh and it should be noted you can literally spend days in the vendor hall. So leave a bunch of time for that. I spend at least 8+ hours in there each con.
 
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Ethan Yanyo
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Evansville
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Looks like the other questions have been pretty well addressed, but I can speak to these two:

Vospire wrote:
3. If I am in one of the hotels listed as 13 miles from the convention, what is the parking situation like? Cost?
4. How easy is it to Uber (or Lyft) and what kid of cost am I looking at for that?


I've been to Gen Con 4 times, and have never gotten (nor tried to get) a downtown hotel. I used to get a lot of Marriott rewards points through work, so it was worth it to be able to get the free nights and just have a commute to the con. We did parking a few years ago before the tickets were sold through Gen Con, and it wasn't great. The space we got was about a mile away from the convention center, and my wife didn't feel comfortable walking through downtown Indy back to our spot, especially since we were done late at night. From what I hear, the system is better now, but I don't have any experience with that.

However, Uber/Lyft are great. We typically stay around the airport area, where there are a ton of hotels. It typically takes less than 10 minutes for an Uber/Lyft to show up to the hotel, and it's less than a 20 minute ride (it was a little worse this year due to highway construction, but that shouldn't impact next year's con). So, just give yourself an extra half hour in the morning to make it to the con by the time you need to. Getting anywhere from the con is even easier -- there are tons of drivers in the area so you can almost always get one right away. The one drawback is that you can't easily go back to your hotel midday, but that hasn't really been a problem for us. If you plan to do a lot of big purchases, you may want to try to do them all at once and plan an extra trip to drop things off, but if not, just take a bag with you with everything you need for the day.
 
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Jeremy Gray
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Syvanis wrote:
Oh and it should be noted you can literally spend days in the vendor hall. So leave a bunch of time for that. I spend at least 8+ hours in there each con.

Oh, definitely. I usually plan on spending most of my time in the vendor hall until it closes each day (minus time for lunch and whatnot). Then I use the evening for pure gaming.

In the past I'd plan any demos and events for Saturday, since that day was absolutely nuts in the vendor hall. But this year it seemed like every day was crazy in the vendor hall. 70,000 attendees will do that, I guess.
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