‘Pyrotech’, a member of the Order of the Iron Crown went to this year’s GenCon (along with a couple of other members). Below he gives us a view of how his GenCon went, along with tips for those planning to attend next years.
I drove into downtown Indy and checked in to my hotel (the Hyatt) and was ready to go to the Convention Center by 5:00pm. In the convention center things were already hopping. The Will Call line was very busy and many people commented that Gen Con is one con where paying for shipping on your badges and tickets is worth it. In my experience this is true, and I was able to avoid these lines because I had paid to have my items shipped to me. I went to the Swag Bag line which was moving pretty quickly. I waited in this line about 10 minutes to get my bag and coupon book.
We got up in the morning and left the room around 8:30 to get my wife and niece to their first event (a photo scavenger hunt put on by the Gamer Wenches). After my wife and niece started their scavenger hunt I went to my first event – Ready Set Play for D&D 5ed.
The Ready Set Play event went over the highlights of the new edition and some of the most common errors GMs and players might make in the new system. It was enlightening to see some of the rationale behind some of the new ideas in this edition. I may start playing the new edition again, but I suspect I’m still going to stick to HARP Fantasy for my main fantasy system.
I spent about an hour and a half in the Dealer room Thursday and made my way through about 1/3 of the booths. There were a lot more booths this year, and every day after Thursday the Dealer room was a press of people. I am always amazed with the variety of really cool stuff I wish I had more money to buy on display in the Gen Con Dealer Room, and this year had even more than normal.
After lunch my niece and I played in an Advanced Green Ninja Elementary Preparatory Super Educational Fortress 555 (ADGNEPSEF555) game. I have been playing this game every Gen Con and Origins I have been to for 15 years and it is still a lot of fun – and I still haven’t played every character. I can’t recommend this game enough for anyone looking for a fun, slapstick game or anyone who has ever wanted to blow up their elementary school (3 times in this year’s game).
Friday my wife and niece had a couple of SPA events (highly recommended for the non-gamers who may be with you). They made dice bracelets and something else that day. After swapping my daughter back to my wife I went to watch Ken Hite and Robin Law record a podcast for “Ken and Robin Talk about stuff”. If anyone is a fan of historic fantasy gaming, conspiracy theory games, esoteric lore, or just plain good food recipes then this podcast is for them.
For Lunch Friday my family and I briefly met up with a college buddy of mine who is playing in my HARP SF game on Google Hangouts. In the Afternoon I went to a workshop to decorate a short Steampunk top hat. There was little instruction for this workshop, but the quality of the top hat was decent. The materials to decorate the hats had a nice variety and were well organized. They had a lot of hot glue guns on hand to use and I was easily able to complete my hat in the time allowed for the event.
I spent another hour in the Dealer Room Friday and barely made it to the half-way point. The crowd was thick but manageable.
I attended the D&D 5ed street party Friday night. It was decent but somewhat of a let-down compared to the 35th anniversary party and 3ed release party in years past. I stayed to look through the “museum” but left soon after finishing in there. It was far better than the 4ed launch however.
My wife and niece were heavily booked on Saturday so I didn’t schedule any events for Saturday for myself. So I spent quite a bit of time with my daughter while the other two did their events. They decorated cupcakes and decorated boxes using comic books and Modge-podge. The results were pretty nice. The cupcakes looked and tasted great, but the decorated boxes needed some additional lining materials.
I was able to spend another hour in the Dealer Room on Saturday. The press of people was too much for my wife, and I was only able to make it another 4 or so isles through the Dealer Room. One area stood out for us this day however. Diana Pressnell was reading her “The SurReal Mother Geek” in the family fun area of the Dealer Room. I had bought this book for my daughter last year and she is very familiar with it. My daughter greatly enjoyed listening to the author read it in a circle with a half dozen other young children. Over the last year this book has become one of my daughter’s favorites – so I would have to recommend it to gamers with young children.
Saturday night I took the skywalks over to the J.W. Marriott (a rather long walk from the Hyatt) to check out Aaron Smalley’s RMU game. My family was getting hungry so I didn’t have much time to hang out and chat (or play for that matter). I stopped by, said hi, and had to bail. It sounds like it was a pretty fun game however.
We packed up the bags and checked out of our hotel then headed on over to the convention center. My wife insisted on no events for anyone on Sunday to ensure we could leave at a reasonable time and still have time for the Dealer Room. We also avoided buying any art until Sunday because of the likelihood that it will get mangled before we can get it home. So we spent around two and a half more hours in the Dealer Room Sunday. We checked out the Art (and bought some) and picked up the last few things we wanted to get before leaving.
At about 2:30pm it was time for my family to get back on the road and head home. Traffic out of town wasn’t bad at all (despite a couple of failed navigation rolls on our part).
A huge thanks to Pyrotech for taking the time to write this report. If you are interested in running ICE games at conventions and would like to become a member of the Order of the Iron Crown, get in touch.