I had no idea that there would be open gaming tables in the tunnel going down to Lucas Oil Stadium (not sure if there were bathrooms close by but hey, tables to play games!). Opening up the additional space allows for some more possibilities like this that hopefully we can get better use out of next year.
Cracking open a new game (Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu) on a table in the Westin and I had three other people sitting down within minutes to help me puzzle out the rules and play. Being surrounded by gamers is a beautiful thing.
Hard Rock Café. In the 8 years we've been going to Gen Con we haven't ever eaten there. Saturday night we didn't get a chance to eat dinner until 8 and the shortest wait at a sit down restaurant we could find was 35-40 minutes. We were seated and served at the Hard Rock within 20 minutes of arrival. Looks like it might be worth while to repeat.
We parked in the parkwhiz parking south and west of the convention hall for $6 a day. It was a bit of a walk and when we left Friday night we saw Basey's Downtown Grill and Spirits (http://www.baseysdowntown.com).
It seems to have a generic burger and fries but we decided to give it a shot. BEST BURGER I've had in years. Very plain and simple but the meat was fresh, all of the topping were fresh, the fries were awesome and the entire meal cost less than $10 a person. Very empty air conditioned bar with excellent service. We went back saturday for lunch and then sadly found out they were closed Sunday. Otherwise it would have been 3 lunches 3 days in a row. Will be back...
Best thing I found this year was the board game Tyrants of the Underdark by Gail Force 9. What a great game!
We found the snack bar on the 2nd floor of the Marriott. The food was better than the convention hall (which isn't a big endorsement, I know) and there was no line!
I also found that Chaosium reprinted the 2nd edition of RuneQuest, which I played in the early 1980's, and loved, but never owned. So I'm looking forward to running that.
I found the card game Last Front on the last day of the Con. It is a fun card game (filler game) for not a lot of money. Nice theme (WWII), auction style game. I normally don't like these types of games, but this one hit a chord with me.
Had the chance to check out the Achtung! Cthulhu line by Mophidus Games. Looking forward to running a campaign in that setting. :)
Best things achtung cthulhu gamemaster was pretty cool, I enjoyed the system. Having true dungeon in the deeps of the stadium was pretty cool I enjoyed the walk, felt very thematic.
We went to Palomino for a late lunch (3:30) on Saturday. Their lunch menu is a lot cheaper than their dinner menu and the food is excellent. We were in and out in less than an hour. I am definitely going abck there again for mid-day sustenance!
The Ruth's Chris deal, OTOH, wasn't so great. Even put together, those sliders made one tiny, tasteless burger.
Talked to the guy who supposedly sets up Artemis @ the Stink and I asked if I should try it (Only a border Sci-Fi fan really), he thought so even just one if it wasn't my thing though trying it was a big selling point since afterwards you really 'get it' and checked it out Sunday when I found out where it was. I will try it next year since we were leaving within the hour on Sunday. Seemed easy to fit into a schedule of gaming for beginners since it's run hourly.
I discovered that the rooms on the Mezzanine and 2nd floor levels of Union Station are great for playing in a LARP.
Lots of space, with irregular configurations that allow for private conversations.
I can't say that I "found" this out given that I pretty much already understood it. But: Go just a little bit further than normal and you can eat well. And not wait too long either. For breakfast, I first stopped, then bypassed a restaurant called "First Watch" on Illinois and went just about a block and a half further to Le Peep. WAAAAY less crowded; I got seated immediately at Le Peep, whereas at First Watch I was basically stuck by the door behind 5 or 6 other groups just to check in with the hostess, let alone join the crowd that was already waiting. For basically 1.5 blocks more walking, I avoided what sounded like at least 30 minutes of waiting. That's beyond worth it. Huge difference with my experience at Cafe Patachou, which had a looooong wait.
Works for lunch and dinner too. :D
(Not saying the close in restaurants are bad; Patachou has a marvelous breakfast. But again, OMG that wait...).
Oh, genuine find: If you get into your mind to buy something, shop around and don't just settle for the first item you see. I went looking for metal dice and a dice box (as opposed to a bag), and found dealers for both that were much cheaper yet had no less quality imbued in their products. Crystal Castles had zinc dice for $30; others had them for $60, and while it's likely they were a different metal, I'm still happy to have paid half. And I've already forgotten the dealer for the wooden box, but it's better constructed yet less expensive that most of the other ones I saw.
So yeah, shopping around sounds obvious, but it really sinks in after you actually benefit from it.
Harry and Izzy's for lunch instead of the RAM was no wait and close price wise. My wife ordered the prime rib sandwich with fries and it could have fed 2 people.
I really wanted the game The Others:7 deadly sins so it was my first stop in the hall on Thursday after a massive line to pay for it I was surprised to see Eric Lang, the designer of the game, standing at the register to sign your copy if you wanted. He also talked with me for a minute or two, just until the next person buying one of his games wanted an autograph, instead of just dismissing me with a smile like most would.
Fear Itself: 2nd Edition. I had no idea it was even in the works, but I found it at Pelgrane's booth.
Embassy has THREE pokestops in range of the hotel rooms. At first I thought I'd have to pry my offspring outside...combine that with the GPS tendency to 'walk' them across to the Hyatt and back...they were hatching eggs SITTING ON THE COUCH.
They really should include a blurb about that in their services...
Louie's Wine Dive on Mass Ave in Indianapolis.
Saturday night, a large chunk of the group I was with was going to the dance. A few of us who weren't, decided to go to dinner at the Eagle. However, after the half mile walk (not bad in the Saturday night weather), we found the wait was an hour and a half. One of the guys I was with found Louie's on his GPS, which was across the street and down a few stores.
We went in without a wait, and really without expecting anything - and were really amazed. The prices were good, and all of us got a drink of some sort; one appetizer for the group, everyone had a main meal, and desert - every plate was finished.
It's going to be a place we go for dinner every year.
On the games side: Mysterium. One of my friends bought it and it was the game played most over the weekend. Some others went to buy it on Saturday and it was sold out.
It's a family-friendly, light-strategy game. I was walking through the expo hall on Sunday and came across the booth. The booth was well designed to catch your eye, for which I'm grateful because the game is just gorgeous. Beautiful artwork and quality component design.
I played a demo then snatched it right up.
Here is some info on the game. (I don't work for the game, I just like it a lot!)
The object of the game is to earn the most treasure. Each person plays 1 of 4 colors of dragon game pieces on a grid board. On each player turn you have actions which allow you to move, build villages/cities, destroy villages/cities, steal treasure. Then there are player cards (in your hand) that give you special abilities. It's very easy to learn and, more importantly, very fun to play.
Board Game Geek
Original Kickstarter Campaign - now closed
Jon Ritter - Reddit AMA