The Good: Anime and cosplay moved more away from gaming areas and shunted to stadium. Think this is gencon's way maybe for anime to take the hint. As my roommate puts it "better anime on my tablet"
True Dungeon over in their own spaces which allowed card/exhibitor halls to expand a bit while giving TD more usable room.
Indy bars who welcome gamers,
The Meh: Food options around the stadium highly disappointing. Also the fact that you couldn't walk direct from stadium to outside, had to use tunnel.
Arcade machines in hall, as hyped as they were in precon what a disappointment/letdown. My rolls of quarters stayed tucked in bag all weekend.
Champs, mediocre food overpriced. Regard in same boat as Ram will not go back despite being across street from Embassy.
The Ugly: Accordion player at 10am in cosplay/anime area on Sat. I get you were trying to get crowd going but when the crowd isn't going for it give it up. Also really put a strain on people trying to do jobs running booths/TD. The screaming cosplayers where actually quieter and less obnoxious then you...
Severe lack of useful signage both to find general area for True Dungeon at (especially since effectively completely opposite end of where they've been for years) and lack of signage/clear directions to get from checkin to where we needed to go to play. Don't know if it was TD or Gencon that dropped that ball overall.
The Awesome: Volunteers and anyone who gave up time to work a booth or run a game this con. I volunteer part time and respect and appreciate anyone else who gives up precious/expensive vacation time to truly make Gencon the magic it really is for lot of us.
The Good -
The Bad -
The Ugly -
Alright, 'ere we go!
The Good: I agree with others, the exhibit hall seemed roomier this year. Even on Saturday when I expected it to be wall to wall crush it still had room to spare.
Orc Stomp was a great way to start our Friday. While the temp and humidity made us slow, we beat the raptors and had a great time, thanks to all the staff/volunteers.
Charity Auction was a tremendous time, in particular I would like to single out Jim Kitchen as my favorite auctioneer. He has a passion for raising money for the charity and that makes it even more special. He brought my daughter on stage and I think that made her con that much better.
Food choices were good this year. We aren't afraid to walk a fair distance to explore some different options. First Watch was a spur of the moment decision and well worth it. Service was prompt and attentive and the food was excellent. We walked out to Mass. avenue and had an excellent pizza at Bazbeaux that was worth the walk. Our Island Noodles meal was quick, filling and delicious. My daughter enjoyed her meal from Duos and I enjoyed my meal from Byrne's Grilled Pizza. Scotty's delivered a good meal for all of us as well. Our favorite lunch spot is Potbelly's subs on the circle, no matter how packed, we got our food quickly.
Homewood Suites is our favorite place to stay. As good as the Embassy Suites may be, we like the size of the rooms, managers reception, and being away from the action. It is a couple of blocks away from the convention center, but an easy walk to get there.
Lucas Oil Stadium expansion was a nice addition to the convention, with a little more work it could be a nice oasis of gaming. It kind of felt like we were leaving West Berlin and going into No Man's Land.
Plate etching event was a blast, without any noxious fumes and showed me how easy it could be. Thanks Joe
The Bad: The heat and humidity were bad for us, but not a issue that Gencon can control.
The video game selection in the hall to Lucas Oil Stadium left much to be desired. It would have been a nice diversion if there was something to play, but unfortunately nothing that pried a quarter from my pocket.
The Ugly: I don't really have anything in the way of ugly. Anything I would put in here would smack of first world problem. Air conditioning too cold, crowds temporarily too much, you get the picture.
We've actually got verbal obscenity laws here in Michigan that date back to the 1800's but I doubt anyone would ever enforce them.
99% of the people were friendly and fun to be around, not too much con-funk which is a plus
Gate 10 was excellent. The number one reason I don't like staying away from the ICC is because I hate looking for parking. My #1 complaint went away with the service. Everyone with the company was great.
Line Management at popular booths - Gen Con and the companies got the idea. I could actually get into the Fantasy Flight booth before Sunday afternoon and didn't need to trip over people to get through the halls
People lining up for demos in the dealer hall - People were organized, and I only had one person try to cut in front of me during a Star Wars Destiny demo. Other people also kept the line order and made sure people didn't cut.
Cosplay Corralled - I could actually walk around without people posing for pictures with cosplay holding up the flow of traffic.
The demo giver for the ticketed Star Trek Ascendancy didn't pay us much attention. It seems as time goes on some of the demo givers are worse and worse. He was busy telling us strategy when we didn't even know how to play the game. The table next to us had a couple of people playing to win (the game is brand new, why are you playing to win at all costs during a demo event?) and one of those people who try to break the rules to find a sneaky way to win. Choose someone who is a good teacher, not someone who is a fan of the game or company.
Kickstarter - I like the expanded dealer hall, but I don't like that every game is a Kickstarter to be launched at some future date. Just a personal gripe, but I can see why they want a booth and why some people enjoy it
Lack of Fantasy Flight Paid Demos - Dear Fantasy Flight, I love your games. Please offer ticketed demos so I can play them and get a real feel for the game without trying to get one in the hall
Cosplay Deviants - Like others, I do not know why a softcore pornography site is allowed in the vendor hall. Each year I put it on my Gen Con survey that I think they should be removed. I'd rather see another company related to gaming in the space than them. I also think the booth with the naked ladies as ice cream sundae toppings needs to tone it down a bit. Put all of that in its own area. Children don't need to be exposed to that stuff.
I never saw Cosplay Deviants in the hall this year (did damned little time in hall due to other issues). On the other hand thanks to these posts i now know to vote for them to return and will probably give money to them now. I get it about the little ones. On the other hand our culture is extremely mixed. In a convention as large as this and everyone's individual beliefs of what is kid friendly or not (see language, i come from Ohio, i swear deal with it) there is bound to be something you didn't like.
If the only complaint is that cosplay deviants shouldn't have been in the hall then i'd consider it a great con as so so much else could and has gone wrong for us on trips like this. Beats the annual bark about housing fiasco's...
Also, could someone explain to me what the heck that orc stomp is?
Orc Stomp is a 5k at White River State Park at 6:30 Fri AM. It was the 8th year.
Yeah, they have been coming for years. I can remember them even back to maybe 2010. Not sure before that. I don't see any reason for them to be pushed out of the exhibit hall though. They were never nude and none of the pictures showing were nudes. They were never in costumes that really went too far. I saw a few attendees wearing things more revealing than the Cosplay Deviants ever did. They were fun to talk to and it really shows that Gen Con is open to just about everything, including adult themed events
"We're not a child's convention, and you have 61,000 unique (attendee) badges and 18,000 individual events," Gen Con spokeswoman Stacia Kirby said. "So there’s just a lot going on."
I personally hope they come back every year :)
KFG Wednesday gaming at the Ram - always good fun; ditto their pub crawl Tuesday evening
Dice Cup (drinking game) at the Ram - also good fun, what I remember of it :)
The Ram in general - yes they might run out of some things but given the crush it's forgivable, and this year (unlike some past years) all the staff I met did an awesome job
Cosplay Deviants - to counterbalance some votes above: ye gods, some people are prudish
Tower of Gygax - first time I've made it over to this, and now it's on my don't-miss list
Meeting some fine interesting people who I hope I someday see again
The bigger dealers' hall - more room for more dealers
Homewood Suites - over my 6 GenCons (all in Indy) I've now stayed in 5 different hotels, and this one was the best
20-Sided Rye - way better than last year's brew
(self-inflicted) Thursday, after one too many rounds of Dice Cup on Wednesday night
(personal) The Auction Store - I usually come out of there with all kinds of stuff, this year nearly nothing as they just didn't have what I was after
Is there any chance all the Magic card resellers/traders could be bunched together in the dealers' hall a la author's avenue? Ditto all the dice vendors.
Dealers' hall layout - too many aisles were broken up by having a large vendor booth in the way; this makes it hard to check everything out in any semblance of order by going up one aisle and down the next
No Killer Breakfast
I was really looking forward to the video games in the corridor to Lucas Oil but was greatly underwhelmed by what was there
The GenCon Dance - more of a "meh": for some reason I just couldn't get into it this year, though it seemed I was greatly in the minority as from what I could tell a good time was otherwise being had by nearly all present
Tilted Kilt - pricey I can live with; pricey with poor service I can live without
People who insist on wearing huge backpacks on their backs in tight quarters such as the dealers' hall or while boarding an airplane (hint: if you reverse it and wear it on your front you can see who or what you're clobbering with it)
No official WotC presence (but if you think this is ugly, just wait and see what happens if they don't show up next year for the 50th - whether they like it or not, WotC are the custodians of much of the history GenCon 50 will be celebrating)
The flight to Indy (arrived 3.5 hours late) and the flight home (arrived 4.5 hours late); in both cases getting in late enough at night that the only option to get to town was a cab* as everything else had long since stopped running. First time I've flown to GenCon, and probably the last.
* - no, Uber is not an option
People are complaining about the Deviants? I don't care for them but if you want to eliminate something really offensive lets talk about censoring T-shirts. That is something that is really pretty out of hand.
As a "semi-professional" shirt collector I pay more attention to shirts than most and I saw dozens of shirts with "F-bombs" on them everywhere in the convention and many MUCH more offensive then just the wording. Some were really over the line.
I can keep my kids away from the deviants booth but I cannot stop people from wearing vulgar t-shirts and sitting down at a game with my kids.
I like a good shirt more than most but COME ON people. Get a clue.
I do agree that they were not nude, and that there were other attendees wearing more revealing outfits, but as this group is DEFINITELY an Adult Oriented group, I just think it would be better if they were not in the main exhibit hall where children are. Also, their handouts need to have a statement on them mentioning that they are an adult only service. I am not sure Indy will be able to have a separate room/area for adult oriented content like this, but it may be something that could be looked into. Perhaps, like the artists alley, a section of the dealer hall could have an "Adults Only" section where parents with small children could avoid if they don't want their kids exposed to it yet rather than it be right in the middle of other displays.
The catch here is that to be family friendly (which GenCon is very much trying to do) you do have to sacrifice some of the other aspects. A softcore porn (because that IS what they are) website having a booth in the dealer hall may not be the most family friendly thing to have. I go to plenty of events that aren't children's events that would also prohibit something like that.
The Good: The LARP games in Union Station are some of the hidden gems of Gen Con.
I played in a wonderful Castle Falkenstein game called "Paris in the Spring", and the elegance and charm of the characters, the setting, and the other players was breathtaking. I look forward to playing this again next year.
I was also lucky enough to get into a couple of games run by the BYOV Gamers, and the writing was fantastic. Again, the characters, the imagined setting, and all the different plots and were extremely well-designed, and integrated all the players into the story through the course of the game.
Also, I spent a little time talking with the people at Cosplay Deviants, and I was impressed by their maturity and sense of responsibility toward the people at the show. On one hand, they have customers to serve, and on the other, they make sure they dress and act appropriately for everyone else in the exhibit hall.
The Bad: A game of 7th Sea, run by The Guild of San Marcos.
I was looking forward to a swashbuckling game of adventure, intrigue, and sorcery, and instead we had an AD&D-style dungeon crawl from the 1980s. For me, the game was four hours of mostly tedious dice-rolling, with very little opportunity for the kind of derring-do role-playing that 7th Sea is famous for. And every so often the GM and his friend (who was also playing) would reminisce about the great characters they've played in previous game sessions. It was a huge disappointment, and I'm definitely not going to sign up for any more of their games.
The Weird: Artisan Dice
Did anyone actually pay $500 for a Damascus-style titanium 20-sided die?
The Ugly: The panhandlers.
I know they're having a hard life, but I don't like getting yelled at while walking down the street.
The Weird: Artisan Dice
Did anyone actually pay $500 for a Damascus-style titanium 20-sided die?
No, but I did pay for four of the wooden D20s (at $27 per, buy three get one, plus a nice box to keep them in). For me, they're essentially functional art. Gorgeous to look at, legal and sturdy enough to roll. I actually meant to include Artisan Dice on my "good" list. The people manning the booth were very friendly and knowledgeable, and the booth was a major highlight for me. But I'm a dice hound.