I'm hoping to give 5E a whirl while I'm at the conference, but almost every game is sold out. A lot of official games for a lot of systems I'm interested in are sold out, in fact. Is there a lot of open gaming and opportunities to jump into D&D and other RPG games at the conference? What's the space dedicated for open gaming like?
There isn't much space dedicated to open gaming, but you can go to one of the event organizing stations and request a spot to play and they can help you find a place that isn't otherwise reserved.
You can also play in hotel lobbies, etc..
I haven't ever played in any pick up RPGs - buy YMMV.
Thanks for the reply. I'm starting to worry a little bit about the con, because everything of even the slightest interest sold out so fast that I'm sort of scraping the bottom of my interest barrel. I'd really hate our first* foray to GenCon to end in frustration and disappointment. I just assumed that the premier gaming convention would have plenty of available games, but it's turning out not to be the case. I hope the con on the ground will be different, but it's an awful expensive trip to sit around and watch other people play.
*It's not my first time to GenCon, but it's my first time in 20 years or so, so it might as well be.
While the lack of ticketed events may make your schedule seem bare it's not necessarily a bad thing. With Gen Con there is so much to see and do that filling the time won't be much of an issue and you are now free of "game guilt"...having to make a decision to drop a game you've got tickets for to do something more spontaneous. Generic tickets and some patience will allow you to get into events (especially earlier morning events where hangovers keep people in bed).
Finding a pick up RPG might take some networking (here or related forums) or just some luck. Find yourself a DM who wants to try a one shot or who is working through the rules just like you are and create a learning experience. While you are rolling the dice (isn't that the whole point?) with what you'll get as a DM, you're doing that anyway when signing up for events :)
As your first Gen Con I wouldn't worry to much about filling up slots with ticketed events, find one thing a day you'd like to try and plan around that. I've done it differently each year and have come to the conclusion that there's no "wrong" way to plan your Gen Con.
Sorry about the double post. There was something crazy going on.
If you have GMed before, I recommend getting your own scenario ready and running it.
The problem with this thing exploding to 60k people is that few people want to run games. And then everyone finds out that there aren't enough games to go around. (and yet somehow no-show players happen all the time). If the GM pool doesn't expand, this is the future of Gencon.
And I feel you--there's a lot to do at GenCon, including the dealer hall, movie screenings, seminars, etc. But if you're there to game, and particularly to play one or two game systems, you could easily be out of luck due to the lack of GMs willing to run games.
I'd also recommend keeping yourself open to new systems and genres, even just within tabletop RPGs. Use Gencon as a chance to play a game you've never played before, test new things. (but even that can be limited by few GMs).
If you run a game, though, even a publicized pickup game, you're guaranteed to get at least that chance to play :)
I feel your pain. I had hoped to get into at least 1 of the events that I wanted, but didn't get any. I'm running a LARP on Thursday and Friday, and I noticed that the ticket availablity goes up and down...don't lose hope.
We (Baldman Games - all our events are under the "RPGA" category but that means nothing other then making our events really really easy to find) have tons of D&D 5E going on. More in fact then most can fit into their show schedules.
As a newer player you can sign-up for any event staring with CORE or DNDAL 5-1 with zero worries.
To clarify: there is no dedicated open gaming space. We don't reserve space just for pickup games.
However, if you get friends together and want to play and just need a table, stop by an event HQ and we'll let you know what is available at that time. We can usually accommodate everyone.
If the events you were particularly interested in are sold out, I would suggest three things:
Also keep an eye out for late events. We'll have those up as soon as we can, so it's always a good idea to check back frequently in the last couple weeks before online pre-reg closes (basically between now and June 19).
Gen Con LLC
I'm also going to start plugging this again--I set up a twitter bot that GMs can use to announce open spots or available tickets for games. This can also be used to announce a pickup game.
Summary: GM tweets an announcement using certain hashtags, anyone subscribed to the Bot gets the retweeted announcement. :)
Ok, so I just set up @gcticketbot, the GenConTicketBot.It's all preliminary--the name could change, for example, and the trigger hashtags could change. Right now, players would need to follow @gcticketbot. GMs would only have to send out a tweet with two hashtags, #gencon and #needplayers, and the game specifics. The ticketbot will automatically RT the GMs tweet, alerting the bot's followers, and poof, the word is out.The two hashtags are necessary, they activate the bot, and it won't RT anything with links in it (to limit spam). I tried just one hashtag, #weneedplayers, but I almost immediately ended up RTing some guy in England talking about his soccer team!I know there was a GenCon bot in the past that just RTed everything with the #gencon tag. I don't think that's running right now, but if it does go back up, it would also RT these #needplayer tweets. The ticketbot will be specific only to GMs needing players, though, as both hashtags are necessary. And I think this bot will still be useful, as I suspect a bot RTing all #gencon tweets during the con these days will be overflowing. Hard to find individual tweets that are of a timely nature in there.
Jishoshan, see if you can get yourself into the D&D Adventures League (AL) & do some Online playing before the convention. I've done extensive online 5E Role playing online via Roll20.net but my first 'official' 5E AL online D&D game was this past Friday... almost as fun as being face to face. I know that some of the events I signed up for still have opening (Under the RPGA Heading). AL D&D is pretty much exactly like playing D&D @ home but there is a little extra book-keeping and rules for equal division of treasure & not working against other players & such. Also, you need to keep track of it all on your Adventure Logsheet. I hope you don't think I'm trying to hijack your thread... I'm very much hoping you & others will find this information useful... You will find tons of D&D games here: https://roll20.net/ and also here: https://www.alonlinetools.net/
If you look there, hope you find something you can play. Also sign up and find some games here; both are free to use.
Some games I'm signed up for if others want to join me @ GenCon: