Booking Events Advice
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Posted by werebat

So I screwed up my housing a fair bit by not knowing to just book outside the block in November, apparently.

Trying to avoid similar screw-ups with booking event tickets.

My situation is that I am booking events for myself and my two sons, who will be with me.  A friend is joining us and will no doubt wish to join us for at least some events.

As I understand, when the gate opens for us to be allowed to buy event tickets, it's an online free-for-all.

Are there any things for a relative newbie to look out for, that might be likely to have me smacking my head later on -- "if only I'd known!"?

I went to Gen Con about five years ago, for the first time, and had not even decided to go until June.  So back then, I got what event tickets I could find -- and still had a great time.  Just trying to maximize my options this time around.

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Posted by aaronmlopez

Just remember that the event list will come out at least a week before (perhaps two weeks) event registration opens so you will be able to peruse the events and try to plan accordingly. 

As for the planning, there are multiple schools of thought on this. 

1) Try and book your maximum number of events (50) that way you are sure to get at least some of the events you are wanting.

2) Try and book only a few, then buy a bunch of generics giving yourself a chance to jump in to something that catches your eye.

3) Something in the middle. Buy a bunch of generics and a bunch of event tickets and run like mad all convention...

Personally, I think the problem with the first one is that booking 50 events (average of 2hrs per event, makes for 100 hours, which doesn't give you any time to sleep/eat/rest/shop.) I also don't like to overschedule myself and try to be at least a little considerate of others who may want to go to some of the events that I am on the edge about. 

The way I do it is that I will book a few events from 10am through about 8 or 9pm knowing that I may want to sleep in or go to bed early. I get generics so if I get to the con early, I may be able to find a game to jump into as convention goers are notorious for not making the early morning games and I am an early riser. So I'm more like the second in the list above. 

My first convention I tried to be like the third one. I wanted to make sure I had every moment of every day filled with something. But I was running from one event to the next, and ended up missing some because I didn't allow enough time between events, and I forgot about eating and the dealer hall. 

I am not sure what your kids are into (or their ages), but you may want to try a LARP or True Dungeon as a group (though I find True Dungeon to be a bit expensive, but definitely something to do at least once). Also, the Cheese Weasel (If I got that right) has a cool thing that allows you to experience a lot go different games all over the convention. If they are old enough to go on their own, let them pick out a few events and let them go at it, just make sure you find a meet up location that you can all find later.  If they are not old enough to be on their own, find some games that you think they will like, and something that you may think you will like. Remember, it is Gen Con... make the rule that you won't play any games that you can play at home. Try new stuff. Talk to people and encourage your kids to do the same. We have a local convention and a couple kids met here (one from Philadelphia the other from South Carolina) and they developed a lasting friendship at the convention. They look forward to it every year as an opportunity to get together and game again.

Most important... make sure you have fun, and leave time to wander the dealer hall, see the sights in Indy, and take time to relax. 

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Posted by braewe

Understand how the wish list works, how buying a ticket ONLY if all are available works, and how getting a ticket for you, and one other works. I use two methods depending on how much I want to do something and how many somethings there are I want to do.

Method A for when you only have a couple super duper important things:

I'll use True Dungeon, A painting event and an Intro to Shadowrun game to explain.

You want all three. There are 80 sessions of True Dungeon and 8 of the Intro game and only 1 of the painting event.

You would do something like this:

Painting
Shadowrun time slot 1
True dungeon slots that overlap timeslot 1. Do not put anything that overlaps the painting event AT ALL.
Shadowrun time slot 2
True dungeon slots that overlap timeslot 2.
Rinse repeat.

When your wishlist finishes, realistically you'll end up with MAYBE 1 Shadowrun, PROBABLY 3-5 True Dungeon, and PROBABLY not the painting.

Edit your cart to remove the extra True Dungeon runs you do not want. Add in secondary events you figured would not fill up. LEAVE THE PAINTING CLASS in your wishlist. Someone might choose to drop it. If you overlap it with another event, you won't be able to pick it back up.

Run your wishlist again. Repeat until your schedule is satisfactory. When Gen con comes, bring generic tickets to the painting event. 

Method B for when you have a lot you'd be interested in. Divide this one up into timeslots. Order your list accordingly. So say you want Chtulhu, Shadowrun, RPGA, True Dungeon, Nascrag, the Orc Stomp run, The Stink, PLaytesting, and Ticket to Ride.

I usually divide my day up like this: slot a is early am to 1pm. slot b is 1 pm to 6pm. slot c is 7pm to late.

slot a thursday I usually leave blank because I like hitting the dealer hall but so does everyone else so you might want to stick something else there.

So slot b thursday would have all interesting Cthulhu games that were in that timeslot, followed by all interesting Shadowrun, followed by...you get the idea. Basically everything I would want to do that fits into that timeslot is next, and then I move on to slot c. Repeat.

But. Why you ask? Why not list events in the order I want them? Because I might accidentally lock myself out of an overlapping event. Wishlists are indeed processed from 1 on down, but they do NOT allow for overlapping times. So once it finds an open event for slot b, it skips everything else in that timeslot, and proceeds directly to slot c things.

This is where you have to, I cannot stress this enough, HAVE to make SURE you have accurately checked your boxes. You are bringing your sons, so you should decide now, not during event registration, if you are willing to split your group, if you are willing to have two of them play and you watch, or if all of you must participate or it is a no-go.

If you do NOT check the 'only get it all are available' box you WILL end up separated into different times. If you check it for some events and not others, you may get blocked out of something. For instance, you want to play a D&D game with your friend, so you don't check the box. You get in. But you also wanted to hit this other game with all three of you, so you do check the box. Well, the second event had seats but you were already signed up for the D&D game so it skips that event.

Make sure you and your buddy are friended, each way, in the system.

And lastly, don't sign up for the seminars until early august unless you REALLY WANT TO BE THERE, because they always add many late events and I cannot tell you how many times I have seen teeth gnashing because a seminar overlaps with something and the last day to let you exchange things has passed.

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Posted by mhayward1978

Some other good advice here, but I'll keep it short and sweet:

1. Use the wishlist feature - plug in the events you want into your wishlist before registration starts - this will greatly enhance your ability to get in demand things.

2. Understand that the Wishlist won't let you double book yourself, unless the event is specifically set to allow double booking (normally this is only true for long tournaments).  Don't lock yourself out of your must have Friday 12-3 by having another event that starts at 2:30 higher on your wishlist.

3. If you confirm a friend's ability to buy tickets on your behalf, they can lock you out of being able to register for stuff you want due to rule #2.  Coordinate closely with any friends who can buy on your behalf, or risk getting stuck in whatever dingus events they put you in!

4. I would say I get maybe 25% or less of my first choice events - so have a deep bench of alternates (ideally encoded in your wishlist) ready to go.  That being said the things that seem to sell out right away for me are RPGs, so it depends on what you want to do.

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Posted by austicke werebat

Werebat, you may find this video overview from two years ago helpful. It's a little out-of-date but still a very good recap.

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Posted by werebat

Thanks a lot for the advice all!

Two questions:

1. Do we have a date set when the events will first be available to peruse?

2. How exactly do I "friend" my friend in the system?

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Posted by austicke werebat

werebat wrote:1. Do we have a date set when the events will first be available to peruse?

Approximately one week before event registration opens on May 28.
2. How exactly do I "friend" my friend in the system?

Go here and click Add Friend.

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Posted by jerrytel

Under your name in the upper right menu - My Friends and Family

Button - Add a Friend

You will need to have the email address he/she used to register with Gen Con

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Posted by nascragman

And if after your Wishlist resolves and you find yourself with an open slot at 1 pm or 7 pm, think about giving the Nascrag tournament a try.  Open every day and I don't think we've turned away more than 3 or 4 people in 38 years (People who showed up very late and with generic tickets).

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Posted by alien_freak werebat

werebat wrote:
So I screwed up my housing a fair bit by not knowing to just book outside the block in November, apparently.
Trying to avoid similar screw-ups with booking event tickets.
My situation is that I am booking events for myself and my two sons, who will be with me.  A friend is joining us and will no doubt wish to join us for at least some events.
As I understand, when the gate opens for us to be allowed to buy event tickets, it's an online free-for-all.
Are there any things for a relative newbie to look out for, that might be likely to have me smacking my head later on -- "if only I'd known!"?
I went to Gen Con about five years ago, for the first time, and had not even decided to go until June.  So back then, I got what event tickets I could find -- and still had a great time.  Just trying to maximize my options this time around.

The best advice I could give you, and it seems like you're already aware of this, is to do your event registration as soon as it becomes available on May 28th. Once it opens up, like you said, it becomes an online "free-for-all" and the most popular events fill up pretty quickly. A few notable examples are True Dungeon, Geek Speed Dating and the Orc Stomp 5K.

If your group is thinking about doing True Dungeon then I would start with that. Even if you don't have time to book any other events on May 28th, at least book your True Dungeon events on that day. I couldn't tell you how many years have gone by where I've said "it's ok I'll just worry about True Dungeon later" and then realized that my preferred time slots and days filled up.

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Posted by trace_sl

Oh, look to see if there is an alternative database of events for browsing.  I found the official Gen Con event listing a pain but another version GEN CON 2016 Events better to navigate for selections. 

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Posted by it can be fun to run away

Like others have said, wishlists are your friend, being able to set event priority in the list means you can have backup events if you can't get your first choice, and coordination with the other folks in your group so you don't inadvertently block each other is a damn good idea.

An important thing to remember is that the wishlist does not process automatically - you need to be online & logged in, and ready to hit 'submit' the second you're able.

Once you get through and are assigned some event tickets, you only have a couple of hours to purchase them before they're returned to the pool of available tickets.

And if you're after single tickets, it can be worth re-submitting your wish list. There's a lot of churn in that first few hours, as people return tickets & reorganise their schedules

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Posted by faerol

Perhaps a little philosophical advice is helpful as well. Don't get so fixated on a specific event that it ruins your GenCon if you can't get it. Remember, events are open(and continue to be added) every year(so far) all the way up to the start of GenCon(and during). Be adventurous and try an event you would never think you would like!

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