Merch hopes
Posted by ungmar9567

This is early, I know, but I am hoping for some merchandise that celebrates the 20 years since Gen Con moved to Indy in 2003. I think it's been a great relationship between the city and the convention. Indy has been more welcoming to us attendees than Milwaukee (although I have fond memories of Milwaukee).

Posted by colbrook

Slightly unrelated but I'm always really impressed with how well Indy rolls out the welcome wagon for Gen Con attendees.

Posted by forar

For sure. Toronto ComiCon and Fan Expo bring in tens of thousands of people to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (maybe not the same numbers as Gencon, but it's nothing to sneeze at either) and the immediate area doesn't get nearly as into it.

The decor and menu updates are great, but even just things like walking into a bar or restaurant and everyone is wearing a super hero shirt or whatever, really adds to the atmosphere.

Posted by quarex

Definitely.  Origins has a little bit of that vibe, but just minimally enough that it is disappointing instead of exciting, haha.  Like you go across the street and get a cool etched Origins glass from the bar and the bartender is excited you are there, but then you go to North Market and realize once you get about 200 feet from the convention center nobody knows what Origins is.  Very different from Gen-Con obviously.

Posted by colbrook

Even things like the banners on the motorway and gaming tables at the airport make it feel like the city really embraces the convention and it's attendees (and their money of course :P)

Posted by davidschneider ungmar9567

ungmar9567 wrote:
This is early, I know, but I am hoping for some merchandise that celebrates the 20 years since Gen Con moved to Indy in 2003. I think it's been a great relationship between the city and the convention. Indy has been more welcoming to us attendees than Milwaukee (although I have fond memories of Milwaukee).

I love this idea!  Would definitely buy this shirt. 

online
Posted by mvotruba davidschneider

davidschneider wrote:
ungmar9567 wrote:
This is early, I know, but I am hoping for some merchandise that celebrates the 20 years since Gen Con moved to Indy in 2003. I think it's been a great relationship between the city and the convention. Indy has been more welcoming to us attendees than Milwaukee (although I have fond memories of Milwaukee).

I love this idea!  Would definitely buy this shirt. 
+1 Count me in if there's a shirt for that.  It'd be a nice change of pace.  

Posted by aldctjoc

I'm sorry, I don't mean to derail the thread, but: What was up with Milwaukee? I've been looking at the history of Gen Con, I'm currently reading Ben Riggs "Slaying The Dragon" (that's much, *much* more about D&D than Gen Con, but it has some references), I want to pick up "40 Years of Gen Con" & Witner's "Empire of Imagination" (also more about D&D, ibid), and whenever I read or talk, I see references to Milwaukee not being fully welcoming. Not outright hostile, but sort of "Ugh, these people" in attitude. 

What was Milwaukee doing wrong? 

I re-ask this occasionally, and I've seen a few anecdotes - example: One person either here or in Reddit mentioned that a server refused to serve him because he was in costume, and someone else had to do it - but there must have been something more systemic or endemic for so many attendees to have caught on to it. 

Since I've only been around it since it's been in Indianapolis, I'm really uninformed. What was wrong there? Not looking to trash Milwaukee - my one experience there was very positive - I'm just curious about how a city lets something like Gen Con go. 

Posted by quarex

I know a guy who spent some time researching that very issue and he came to the conclusion that it was largely coincidences with a side of generally grumpy and unpleasant people.  I was the person who had mall food court employees refuse to serve me in costume--costumes were far less common back then certainly--and there was a write-up I just read recently where the guy who runs Midwest Gaming Classic related having a vendor he wanted to use literally tell him "I don't work with gamers" and hang up.

I swear I remember reading an article from someone in Milwaukee in the early 2000s saying like "good riddance to Gen-Con leaving" but I admittedly have not been able to find it recently.  And the aforementioned guy looked through Milwaukee newspapers for any discussion of the convention in the early 2000s and could not find it there, so it might have just been some rando's blog post.  Again falling into the "a handful of grumpy/unfun people might make up the appearance of a structural disdain" camp.  Not sure there is any way to know how much truth there was to it now in hindsight, though it definitely was a sense at the time.  Hotel staff being annoyed with people gaming was something else complained about too, I think even in the White Wolf newsletter if that was a thing (I know it was White Wolf complaining about the locals there, which admittedly also makes more sense due to their edgier vibe). 

Posted by aldctjoc

Thanks Quarex. That sounds reasonable. Maybe I overreached by saying "something more systemic or endemic" when really, it's just more of a popular sense because word got around. 

Like literally the original definition of a "meme". 

It's just that I was struck by hearing/reading so many anecdotes, a lot of them unprompted. But now that I think about it, these all felt like thirdhand stories, the "I heard from someone who heard that..." types of testimonies. Again, exempting yours, since it happened to you. 

That book I mentioned above stands as an example. In one chapter, there was a paragraph that read:

"The city itself seemed uncertain what to think of the sudden influx of tens of thousands of gamers. They could spend all the money they wanted in Milwaukee, sure, but in a thousand little ways, the city sent the message that the presence of Gen Con was tolerated, but not welcomed."

(Cite: Benn Riggs, Slaying the Dragon, ch. 13 "Salvation Sales in the Book Department".... I can't get a proper page number from the Kindle cloud reader...)

Anyway, that's the sort of thing I'm getting, albeit more direct than most and published in a book on top of all that. The sentiment is clear, but the details I'm noticing are a bit lacking. Yours is one of the clearest examples I've read. There's literally nothing else beyond that paragraph in that chapter that gives details about the "message" that the presence was not welcome; instead it goes on to describe a meeting between two figures in TSR history at the famous SafeHouse bar.

So it's hard to suss out the particulars when these stories stop exactly like that. 

Bleh, anyway... I'd better stop here. This is a derail of a merch thread. Maybe I'll make my own post at some point to collect these stories. 

Thanks again!

Posted by ungmar9567 aldctjoc

aldctjoc wrote:
Thanks Quarex. That sounds reasonable. Maybe I overreached by saying "something more systemic or endemic" when really, it's just more of a popular sense because word got around. 
Like literally the original definition of a "meme". 
It's just that I was struck by hearing/reading so many anecdotes, a lot of them unprompted. But now that I think about it, these all felt like thirdhand stories, the "I heard from someone who heard that..." types of testimonies. Again, exempting yours, since it happened to you. 
That book I mentioned above stands as an example. In one chapter, there was a paragraph that read:
"The city itself seemed uncertain what to think of the sudden influx of tens of thousands of gamers. They could spend all the money they wanted in Milwaukee, sure, but in a thousand little ways, the city sent the message that the presence of Gen Con was tolerated, but not welcomed."

(Cite: Benn Riggs, Slaying the Dragon, ch. 13 "Salvation Sales in the Book Department".... I can't get a proper page number from the Kindle cloud reader...)Anyway, that's the sort of thing I'm getting, albeit more direct than most and published in a book on top of all that. The sentiment is clear, but the details I'm noticing are a bit lacking. Yours is one of the clearest examples I've read. There's literally nothing else beyond that paragraph in that chapter that gives details about the "message" that the presence was not welcome; instead it goes on to describe a meeting between two figures in TSR history at the famous SafeHouse bar.
So it's hard to suss out the particulars when these stories stop exactly like that. 
Bleh, anyway... I'd better stop here. This is a derail of a merch thread. Maybe I'll make my own post at some point to collect these stories. 
Thanks again!

Hello! I wanted to add that I never had a bad experience in Milwaukee myself. I liked going to Major Goolsby's for a drink and a bite to eat. There was a Rock Bottom on the river, and their patio was a nice place to chill and watch the boat traffic. One year we had extra time and we took a couple of brewery tours.
For me, the difference between the two cities is that Indy just welcomes the attendees more than Milwaukee did. When the convention was in Milwaukee, I don't remember any staff at hotels dressing up, or any banners. Same with the restaurants and bars. 

Posted by castigere

My understanding was that a large part of moving had to do with overall capacity to expand.  The facilities in Milwaukee just couldn’t handle many more people and didn’t fit with GenCon’s plans to expand.

i also recall hearing that during discussions for renewing their deal with the city, the Milwaukee reps acted a little entitled and didn’t think that they needed to make a particularly attractive offer whereas Indy basically took the approach of “Hell ya we
 want you.  What can we do?”

those are anecdotal.  I don’t have any data to back them up.

Posted by quarex

SO I have been thinking about the Milwaukee thing some more, and have been talking to someone else who is very interested in the subject of Gen-Con in Milwaukee, and one substantial factor kind of relevant to the entire discussion is a larger one than either Gen-Con or Milwaukee--Gen-Con more or less relocated to Indianapolis right as the pop culture tide turned to start being WAY nerd-friendlier.  News coverage of any gaming convention back in the early-mid Milwaukee days would have undoubtedly had negative asides about devil worship or how this was a weird hobby for nerds or whatever, and that probably would have been the case if the convention were in Indianapolis, too, but obviously it was not.

Posted by ungmar9567

We did kinda go in another direction here, regarding the differences between Milwaukee and Indy. Which is fine, I enjoyed reading all the comments about the whys and wherefors. 

But to get back to merch for a bit, I'd definitely like to see a shirt for the Hive Mind beer from Sun King. I think they had a shirt for last year's beer.

Posted by kevinrg

I live in the Milwaukee area now and grew up in the Milwaukee area and went to Gencon in the 80s.

People really sometimes are not capable of inserting themselves into a specific timeline or remember things that were going on.  The landscape in the 80s in regards to 'nerd' culture was significantly different back then and D&D was in the news repeatedly for it's Satanic undertones.  Comical now (actually.. comical then if you played) so people definitely were lukewarm to a convention of that nature that was hosted by the creators of Dungeons and Dragons.  Like Quarex stated, my guess if Gencon was in any other city, it probably would have been met with the same general coldness and I'd say, in some of the bible belt regions, probably would have been met with downright hostility.   

From a pure business/convention space/layout, was absolutely the right move to move to Indy.  Milwaukee just isn't a convention city where Indianapolis has structured itself as a convention friendly city in how it is laid out and the improvements that occurred.  

Funny thing, for as many years as I've gone to Gencon, I don't collect any Merch.   I'm not sure I have a single piece of Gencon in the house.   But.. that's me.  I should dig in my old 80s D&D/misc high school stuff that I have stored in a box, might be some stuff in there.

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