I wanna place bets on the most popular Ugly experiences
I would be the same as the OP (probably) but since that wasn’t in my realm of experiences, I cannot really comment on it.
Good - This felt like the first ‘full’ Gen Con since 2019. I got to play a number of great rpgs, which all ranged from good to excellent. I had the experience of gaming in the Lucas Oil suites, which was a super cool experience (outside of the actual game itself, which was also a super cool experience being a DCC playtest with the writer). Gamers Live (Saturday night) was the best show of theirs that I can recall in years. True Dungeon pulled out all of the stops and was fantastic. I never thought that I would actually get to fight Acererak (uh, Batterak) in his lair after putting my hand into the mouth of the Devourer! But at TD I did! And I got to socialize with friends, which was extra special in and of itself. And we won one of the big prize packs at the Stink, which was completely unexpected.
Bad - One of my rpgs was cancelled because the DM was a no-show. One of my games (which was a fun story) was rushed because it was a 4 hour adventure but the game had been slotted for 3 hours and we all had events afterward so we couldn’t stay longer. At Trade Day, Paizo and AEG (which pre-COVID had been mainstays) did not participate. They were missed.
Ugly - Nothing really. I am trying to think of something ugly that happened to me and I just can’t. So I’m going to take the win and leave it at that.
The good: played In an epic game of Star Trek Ascendancy. Silent Death smash run by the Ottawa Redshirts was great as always. The new location for the food trucks provided more seating though some shade would have been nice.
The bad: a player in the final round of a tournament barely knew the rules and only got there because everyone else in his first game did not want to play another game. I had to help throughout the game and even then missed some things he did wrong that were too late to correct.
The ugly: nothing.
Good: It's Gen Con. I mean, there's so much to put there that I could fill a book, or at least a chapter.
The good :
Loved the setup on south street for the block party and food trucks. Thursday was really backed up for the food truck lines, but the rest of the week was normal Gencon traffic.
The consignment store setup was great too. More space, more people were able to get into the store at one time and the extra space I think led to more sales since people could browse efficiently and not hit a point of 'I gotta get out of here'. Morning lines were long, but after the initial hour rush, not sure I saw more than a few people in line at a time.
The bad :
Gencon has to think about carts/pull behinds in the vendor halls.
The ugly :
While I wasn't part of the Lorcana stuff, I don't think the mess Thursday should have been a shock to anyone. Everyone saw this coming. Should have been more thought into crowd management before it even got to this point. Some day someone will get seriously injured over cardboard.
Maybe 'If your luggage can fit a cinder block within it, it is disallowed in the vendor hall.'
This was my 15th Gen Con (not in a row--we skipped 2006 and 2021-2022). Not one of my favorites, but it's Gen Con, so still pretty great.
I ran three Mos Espa Pod Racing events on Thursday. Although we did have a few no-shows (3 out of 36 total slots), the energy and engagement of all of the participants was amazing and I had a great time earning my first ever GM badge (although I've been involved with SWMGamers behind the scenes for MANY years).
The energy at Gen Con is always amazing, and this year was no different. You can't beat a huge group of game geeks for excitement, enthusiasm, and overall nerdiness. I had a fantastic time.
The Skull King Championship on Saturday was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed playing in the preliminary rounds, and even though neither my husband nor I advanced, I only needed one more victory point, and I had an absolute blast.
My husband won the Star Wars Miniatures National Championship, beating out 10 other players this year (myself included). This win has been a loooong time coming and I was very excited for him!
After I faceplanted on Friday morning (see below) a very nice man picked me up and got me to first aid, who gave me some ice for my face and calmed me down. I’m very grateful that someone was there to do that for me.
Not an official part of the Con, but on Thursday night, some friends and I played an EPIC 7-player game of Black Rose Wars. I think I finished right in the middle of the pack, but it was a great time and really fun to see different schools of magic and play styles.
The Bad: Although I had a full slate of non-minis events in my tickets, scheduling changes and the whole faceplanting incident led me to get most of them refunded, including Distant Era’s Cosplay Posing and Photography Workshop. I had been really looking forward to that event and was super bummed that I busted my lip and couldn’t participate.
My own fault, but I never did get into the Artists’ Alley in the dealer hall, which is one of my favorite places to visits.
More meh than bad, but the food trucks I tried were only okay, for the most part. I did like the location by the stadium, though.
The Ugly:My face after the sidewalk jumped up and bit me lol. Seriously, was headed to Panera in my Scarlet Witch cosplay when my heel caught on the sidewalk and threw me forward. I tried to reach out to steady myself on a trash can, but I missed it and hit the ground with my face, hard. I had a bloody lip and scrapes all over my face for the rest of the con, which caused me to be quite self-conscious.
On Friday night, walking into the Sheraton City Centre for more gaming with friends, a random dude took one look at my face and said “Oh my god” is a shocked/disgusted voice. I get that I looked gross, but I didn’t need to be reminded, especially by some random stranger.
Despite the bad/ugly, it was overall a fun year and great to be back in Indy!
My take on things:
Man, I just wish everything could go to electronic tickets, with paper ones just as a backup if a person needs it for whatever reason. Just scanning our badge made things go so smoothly for nearly every event I was in.
The only event where it seemed to stall out a bit - and even then only a very little tiny bit - was the almost 300 attendee event on Saturday with Tracy & Laura Hickman and Margaret Weis reminiscing about old times. And even *then* it was hardly a real problem, just sort of a bottleneck. Could've been solved with just 1 or 2 more people scanning badges.
It's just so much better. Even when it's a bottleneck, it's not that bad.
-The size! It felt like a pre-pandemic con, and then some! It was great to see the old energy all the way back!
-I really felt the kind spirit of the gaming community this year in particular, for some reason. It seemed like everywhere I went, I ran into total strangers who were willing to help me if I needed it or just talk for a while about gaming stuff.
-Seeing the destruction of Cardhalla for the first time was a lot of fun.
-As a GM, I had great groups of players.
-Finally got to try out Zweihander and loved it! Unfortunately they were out of the core rulebook by the day after that, but I can get it online.
-The consignment store's new home is very nice and spacious, something that it's needed for a while.
-Pinball Alley was an awesome addition to the con. Hope it comes back next year.
-The size! The Exhibit Hall was sometimes claustrophobic even by Gen Con standards. This might not have been as bad if not for the fact that traffic was constantly being snarled by people 1) Stopping in such a way that caused a traffic stoppage, 2) Paying more attention to their phones than where they were going, or 3) Wearing ridiculously oversized backpacks (think "as big as a 24 pack of soda").
-Why gods WHY are the convention food stands cashless now? So many unnecessary card transactions these past four days just because I wanted to get a quick meal.
-The Alien RPG game I was part of in Lucas Oil Stadium ("Heart of Darkness"). It was all because of the GM, who was the most unprepared GM I have ever played under! He seemed like he literally bought and opened the Heart of Darkness box set just before game time, because he not only read aloud the situation report the GM's supposed to read, but the GM-only adventure text too! Plus, he seemed to think we were going to get through the whole thing in just two hours somehow.
Yeah, I sympathize re: Ungood GM experience.
You may want to note which gaming group sponsored your event this year, then make your future choices based on that. Without publicly naming names or groups, I plan to do exactly that myself next year. Having a subpar game master drags things down.
Did they expect to build roundabouts around them? All it did was tangle foot traffic and encourage people to stop and rest stuff on them or chat over the covered top.
As for the ugly? Cell phones again, I stood next to more than one person who couldn't put down their phone, even while standing at a urinal taking a leak.
Also on situational awareness? People crossing the street while traffic was trying to turn onto the same street. At least show some urgency in clearing the intersection.
Especially since Conspiracyofgamers was complaining about people stopping in the middle of traffic to check their phones. At least you could tap them on the shoulder and ask them to move, the cans were there the whole time. And someone say checking the con app's map for the next booth they are looking for? Is less likely to accrete others to them.
The GOOD: GOODMAN GAMES. OMG. They had the BEST GM's. And they always have their Sunday games.
The BAD: Fathers should be made to take a class in manuevering strollers in cramped areas. This is the second year one ran my foot over with a stroller. I would have been livid, if I hadn't already injured that toe.
The UGLY: The food truck lines. Every time we looked, the lines were insane. We only ate there once this year.