I will be attending with my daughter for the first time this year and am somewhat confused in the difference between tickets and badges. Do we have to buy tickets to events in addition to the badges or do the badges inherently have tickets? Any help would be appreciated as I have not been able to find an answer.
Badges get you into Gen Con and locations like the Dealer room.
Tickets are for seats at events you what to attend and play.
With your badge you can partake of a lot of the con, such as the dealer hall, where you can shop, sightsee, and demo games from the publishers.
You can also attend a variety of free events like the GenCon dance, the costume parade, the auction without tickets.
Tickets are use to reserve your place at particular events. Some events (seminars) are free, but it is good to get tickets so they know you are coming.
Many events have a small fee associated with them (generally $2 per 2 hours of event time), and your purchasing the tickets reserves you a seat and pays for the event. No cash is used to pay for events at the con, tickets only.
You can buy "generic" tickets that can be redeemed at events that you did not preregister for, assuming space is open. If there is something you want to do that is sold out you can buy generic tickets, show up, and try to get in if the people who pre-bought specific tickets for that event don't show up.
If you register for events now on the website, your tickets will be purchased for you when you check out.
The badge just allows you to attend. You can get into the vendor's hall for shopping, there will be some demo games you can play for free, several other fun things to do with only a badge.
If there are specific events you want to attend, go on and purchase tickets for those events. That way you know you can get in to those.
If you're like we were our first time & just have no idea what to do since you haven't seen any of it yet, I recommend purchasing about $10 of generic tickets for each of you. That way, if you do happen upon something that looks fun, you can try to get in with them. Many events will bring in the folks who purchased tickets FOR that event, and if there's space left over (which happens frequently) those in line with generics are allowed in. Generics can be refunded at the end of the con if you don't use them all.
For a first timer bringing a little girl, I wholeheartedly recommend trying the Paint n take at the Upper part of the Serpentine lobby. It's free, and there are no tickets. You just show up and sign up and wait a bit. It used to be a long wait since people would wander off and often wouldn't be there when their names were called. Last year they just had you go wait in a short line rather than calling names and it seemed to go much smoother. At any rate you get a mini and then you paint it and you keep it when you are done. Most kids love this and lots of adults do as well.
Thanks everyone for the tips and guidance. I think I have a better idea now and we should be alright. Thanks again
One other thing about tickets for free seminars is if they turn in a pile of tickets from people that showed up Gen Con notices and will give them a better room/higher priority for the next year.