First timer, running solo
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Posted by wookz

So this won't be my official first time going to Gen Con, as I attended back in the early 2000's when they were still running it in Milwaukee, though I was much younger back in the day. Been wanting to get back to Gen Con for the last few years, but it always seemed that life happened to get into the way... being a workaholic doesn't help with that I suppose... well now work is forcing me to take a vacation this year, and I thought might as well seize the opportunity. Problem now being, no one I know can make the commitment to come with so I am flying solo.  

 This will be my first time making the trip to Indy, and also experiencing the con as someone in their late twenties. I'm a pretty sociable guy as its part of what I do for a living, yet still the idea of approaching events and gaming sessions with already established social circles is a bit intimidating.  Is taking this adventure solo a mistake... as in, is the con more enjoyable with a group.

If this is a dumb question my bad, I'd just like to hear some other's opinions on the matter.

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Posted by voice_of_reason

It was 10 years ago that I attended my first Gen Con.  I also went solo my first year.  To be honest in my reply, yes, it felt a bit strange.  I was surrounded by fellow gamers, but all my conversations over the 4 days were pretty "light" and superficial.  I knew I needed to so something different.

I DID come back the following year and tried to get more involved.  I sat in on one specific event with some great people and became friends with them...some from the US, some from Europe.  With some of them, the friendships have since grown.  I could not imagine how things would be now had I sat at a different table (or heaven forbid...didn't go that year), and knowing what I know now, I would definitely do it again.

My advice to you is:  Not only should you GO to Gen Con, you should dive in and participate.  Play games, meet people, try new activities.  I bet you'll meet some awesome people.  Yeah, some may be "clicky," but who cares?  There will be THOUSANDS of people.  I say get to Indy on Tuesday...go to Scotty's and/or The RAM.  Have a beer and meet some people.  Wednesday, go to The Stink.  Can't get a ticket?  Who cares...show up anyway, meet some people.  By the Thursday when the con starts, I would not be surprised to find you're hanging out with newfound friends.

Additional advice:  I used to work 28 out of 30 days a month.  With my wife's urging, I've cut back and only wish I've done so sooner.  I hope you not only enjoy your vacation, I hope it inspires you to take more, be it for conventions or other travel or activities.

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Posted by andrewj.rager

Almost everyone we met at Gen Con last year was extremely nice & welcoming. Hit up the Mayfair test area, lots of jump in Demo games. The Rio Grande Room is free. The Game library is $4-8 a session but you can jump into games or pick a game & sit a flag out looking for more players. Also in the evenings, walk around the halls & hotels & see if people are open gaming & would like another player.

Gen Con can seem overwhelming, it was for my group of 3 last year for our first time. But I hope you have a blast!

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Posted by elvinlord

You will be fine people are friendly and even for a introvert its easy to strike up a conversation.  

Best thing about running solo you can skip lines and go sit at the bar.  Had a great time at scottys last year chatting with people at the bar and watching movies while I ate.  

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Posted by rutherfordr

When you go alone, you can try anything you like, play any game you like, attend any event you like without getting judged by anyone. Turn off your own internal critic for four days, and see where your interest leads you. The freedom is incredible!

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Posted by armadilloal

I've done Gen Con three times; all solo.  At this point, I couldn't even imagine going with other people and having to coordinate schedules.  In my experience, trying to share a schedule with two other people just means that all three of you are doing something other than the thing you *really* want to do.

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Posted by remnant

You can check here:  http://gencon.highprogrammer.com/gencon-2016.cgi/
to see what happened last year. 

Short version you'll be fine I think.  I have probably ten years on your, I don't think I'm super social, more amicable and dorky as my wife puts it and I had no idea there were social circles at Gen Con. 

That said I don't know what you're into RPGs, boardgames, larps, seminars, etc.  but there's a lot of well everything at Gen Con.  My first time at Gen Con I went with two friends by car, someone who had gone several times and the other having just going the previous year.  I for the most part saw my friends very little during the con having picked a lot of events I was interested in that I can't play at home.  You meet people, good or bad it's interesting to see new gameplay styles and how other people think at a table for an RPG or boardgame I've found.  I've seen locals trying to figure out someone's Coplay and gone over and asked for them also if they wanted a picture with them.  There's people who look at a request to hang out and be open to it.  You can meet people from all over the world at Gen Con (Shot out to the people from Brazil, Germany, and New Zealand!).  But there's also the opposite.  Like people who think Cosplaying shouldn't be a part of Gen Con or if it is it should be for something they are interested in and playing (to which I ask why they aren't Cosplaying that but whatever I guess).  There's a chance you will find people that can relate and known your pains of rolling doubles on percentile dice and failing during a check in an RPG like Eclipse Phase or you'll have no idea about a story someone tells you about a boardgame but it sounds interesting and the figures look cool so you might take pictures and go Oooo... well I do at least.  Also last year had a ton of social events!  I was busy around the time last year and didn't run down Georgia street in the evenings but I know the previous year (2015) they had a chill spot out there with social events/concerts and what not going on.

Good luck!  Eat, Drink (responsibly), Game, Sleep, and Have Fun!

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Posted by klaminder

I'm going solo to GenCon as well. I have never been to GenCon before and I'm from Sweden so this is also gonna be my very first trip to the US. I've been to lots of cons' in Sweden since the late '80s and it has always been one of my dreams to get the chance to visit one of the bigger cons in the US. And this year it's finally gonna happen! Plane ticket, badge, hotel - all is payed and done! 
Since I'm going all by myself I am wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks how to hook up with other players. I would like to get the chance to play at least a couple of RPG-scenarios. Is there anywhere where I can just turn up and drop in?

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Posted by soulcatcher78

Welcome back to the tribe wookz!  Going solo will give you a lot of flexibility and you'll be seeing familiar faces by the end of day 2 (even with 60k people, lol).  Meeting people and having a conversations easy when everyone around you has something in common so I wouldn't worry to much.

My wife and I have been coming since 2008 and our Con family grows a little each year.  Be open to meeting people and you'll be swapping contact information at a record pace. 

Klaminder, welcome to the tribe.  Be sure to check out the Gen Con UN as an international traveler.  We have members from all over.  If you use Facebook touch base with Matt (https://www.facebook.com/CrzyCanuck) who has been given the awe inspiring duty of wrangling us all together (this sometimes resembles herding cats with dynamite BTW).

Both of you should attend the annual STINK gathering which is a free event on Wednesday night.  Tickets for this event have no cost but do tend to run out.  If you don't get a ticket you can still attend but wont be eligible for the free giveaways.

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Posted by it can be fun to run away klaminder

klaminder wrote:
Since I'm going all by myself I am wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks how to hook up with other players. I would like to get the chance to play at least a couple of RPG-scenarios. Is there anywhere where I can just turn up and drop in?

I'm not certain that I understand what you're asking, but here goes;

Most of the RPG scenarios at Gen Con will be run as 'Events' - A specific game in a known place and time. You need a ticket to play, and this can either be a ticket for that specific game (guaranteeing you a place) or a generic ticket (which does not guarantee a place - you can play if there is an empty seat)

There is a site ( http://gencon.highprogrammer.com/gencon-2016.cgi/ ) which shows what was available last year. This years list of events is not available yet; It should become available a week or two before event registration (when you are able to purchase tickets for specific events) on the 28th of May.

Choosing games that you'd like to play & getting tickets for them is probably the easiest way to play RPGs at Gen Con, and one of the easiest ways to meet other players. 

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Posted by jerrytel

In my experience, half of table could well be a group of people who know each other, but there are usually at least 2 or 3 people that are playing a rpg solo.

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Posted by dangusbeerbelly

This will be my first Gen Con solo also and the last time I was at Gen Con was over a decade ago when my wife was still alive.  As I live in an area where there are no game shops or gamers, I was dying to get back into living again and Gen Con will be a wonderful place to start.  The number one priorities for me is to have fun, play lots of games, and meet new people that I can keep in contact with no matter where they live in the world.  To me Gen Con is an experience not just a place to play games.

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Posted by klaminder it can be fun to run away

it can be fun to run away wrote:
klaminder wrote:
Since I'm going all by myself I am wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks how to hook up with other players. I would like to get the chance to play at least a couple of RPG-scenarios. Is there anywhere where I can just turn up and drop in?

I'm not certain that I understand what you're asking, but here goes;Most of the RPG scenarios at Gen Con will be run as 'Events' - A specific game in a known place and time. You need a ticket to play, and this can either be a ticket for that specific game (guaranteeing you a place) or a generic ticket (which does not guarantee a place - you can play if there is an empty seat)
There is a site ( http://gencon.highprogrammer.com/gencon-2016.cgi/ ) which shows what was available last year. This years list of events is not available yet; It should become available a week or two before event registration (when you are able to purchase tickets for specific events) on the 28th of May.
Choosing games that you'd like to play & getting tickets for them is probably the easiest way to play RPGs at Gen Con, and one of the easiest ways to meet other players. 

Thanks for the advice! Here in Sweden most 'cons only let you participate in rpg-events if you are a part of an existing group of players (when you register for rpg-events you register as a group, not individually). 

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Posted by it can be fun to run away klaminder

klaminder wrote:Thanks for the advice! Here in Sweden most 'cons only let you participate in rpg-events if you are a part of an existing group of players (when you register for rpg-events you register as a group, not individually). 

Happy to help :) - I wondered if there were some differences between countries on how things worked at a convention.

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Posted by rev. mike

 I've gone to Gen Con both alone and with friends and I've enjoyed it both ways. Don't let the fact that you're going solo deter you from diving into events. Every event I've ever played in has been with people I didn't know and I've had fun. 

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Posted by sniderman

This’ll be my third solo Gen Con, and I prefer it that way. Of course, I run into friends and game with them, but I prefer going off on my own and exploring/trying new things rather than being saddled with a group trying to decide what they want to do next/where to do for dinner/who’s bunking where. What I do to get my “money’s worth” is two-fold: 1. I try games I’ve never played before. If I want to play games I’m familiar with, I’ll just stay home. At Gen Con, I jump into games that I’ve only heard about or seemed interesting that I can’t get the home group to try. So it satisfies my curiosity about new games as well as shows me how they work in case I can sell playing it to the home group. And 2. I GM a game on the books each day. So all those new folks I’m trying to meet now come to ME and play MY games for a change!
 

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Posted by nascragman

If you're looking to play Pathfinder, you could always try the Nascrag Tournament.
We'll get you hooked up with a team, no problem.

We've been running roleplaying tournaments at Gen Con since 1980 - 38 years!

We tend towards the roleplaying end of the spectrum rather than the dice rolling end (no criticism implied).  And things can sometimes get a humorous.  We have fun, that's the bottom line.

Check out www.nascrag.org or our wikipedia page for more details

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