So, just wondering how it has been for people who have gone to Gencon alone? I am going alone and for the first time in several years. I am honestly kinda nervous. Plus it is probably way more overwhelming than 2008? Any advice?
I am actually going solo for the first time as well and I'm looking forward to the adventure. I even volunteered 16 hours to see what that would be like. My buddy and I rarely competed in the same games the last 3-4 years and we each started to develope our own agendas while we were there anyway; it happens after going 8 straight years I guess. I am going to miss our meet up for dinner n drinks to end each night, but again, maybe I explore more of the city/ late night gaming and make new friends.
Always gone solo myself. I like being able to retreat to a hotel room after being around thousands of people for several hours and not have to deal with a roommate. I like being able to do my own thing at the convention. Hell, if I went with friends I probably wouldn't know how to handle it!
Not to say I don't see people I know there from my hometown, but we don't plan a day together or anything - usually we just say "hi" and talk for a few minutes, then it's back to our separate convention experiences.
For advice, assuming you want to meet people: Try to remember that you'll be surrounded by tens of thousands of folks who are just as into whatever their gaming interests are as you are into yours.
The folks sitting next to you on a bench, or at the next table in a food court, might not be interested in your sort of gaming, but they're still gamers who were passionate enough to come to Gen Con, and providing that they're not total asshats, that makes them just like you. More than half of my Gen Con friends are folks I've never played a game with; They're just folks I spoke to while we were both sitting or standing around.
Two years ago I went to my first GC solo and right after a divorce as well. Honestly it was just as good as any other GC. I had an easier time getting into games I wanted since I didn't have to coordinate schedules, I didn't need to consider what other people wanted for food, and I only had to carry my own stuff. I also got to cute with a fellow cute gamer for a few minutes. Overall all a great time.
I wouldn't worry, if you like people and want to make new friends, there are thousands of gamers of every disposition and I am sure a majority would share their game or dinner table.
If you are concerned, you might even hit up the forum or the FB page and find a group to meet with and grab drinks, to make some new con pals.
I have not done GenCon alone but I went to Origins alone for the first time ever this year. I was a bit intimidated about learning a new convention and going alone at the same time. In all honesty, I was worried for nothing. I monitored my own schedule and did things that made me happy. I slept, ate and gamed at my leisure. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I will say that some meals alone were good, others were made better by asking someone if I could join their table. A little kindness and a smile will go a long way in meeting new people. Good luck!
Assuming you are of legal drinking age, one of the best meal tips I can give is to sit at the bar. You can almost always find a single seat at the bar, even at the most crowded of Gen Con hot spots such as the Ram and Scotty's. Plus odds are that the others at the bar are there for Gen Con too ( you can tell from the badge) and it is easy to start a conversation.
As someone who has ALWAYS gone solo, i love it. Less to worry about in not having to keep meeting up with the loved ones/friends, worrying about lost kids etc.
As to meeting people, that's what the lines are for. Chat up the person in front/behind you. Talk to strangers. Engage!!
I usually attend Gen Con alone. But it's one of the easiest places to make new friends:
1. Talk to people while you're waiting in line.
2. Talk to people who you're sitting near at the seminars.
3. Play some 'party games' like Munchkin or some demo games that require you to sit there for a half-hour to two hours, like Battletech/Alpha Strike or Malifaux. I've made LOTS of new friends this way!
4. Compliment a cosplayer on their outfit.
5. Talk to the guy standing there with the funny gamer t-shirt.
And if you don't know what to say to strangers, here's the three best icebreakers:
1. When did you get in? Translation, when did you arrive at the con?
2. Play any good games so far?
3. Find anything cool in the dealer room?
Remember: you're in what is probably the greatest concentration of people with similar interests that you'll ever be in. So it's a lot easier to meet people when you've already got that common ground.
Lastly, go to OfficeMax/Kinkos/whatever before the con and print up a handful of geeky 'calling cards' with your name and an e-mail that you don't mind giving out. If you make a new friend, it's easier to hand them a card that's memorable than to try to fish around for a pencil and piece of paper.
All the best! :)
I had that same problem - I'd make a lot of friends, but forget to get any sort of contact information and then never see or talk to them again. This year, I'm prepared - I ordered a stack of calling cards from VistaPrint, which I will probably forget in my bag and never hand out to anyone, because that's just my kind of luck.
I "go" with friends, but honestly for the entire weekend, I only see them for lunch or dinner or none at all.
I was lucky enough in the 80s to have parents who encouraged my hobby and drove me out to catch the convention in Wisconsin. Even as a solo teen I found the crowd very welcoming.
Work and and real life have largely kept me away from gaming for years. This year will be my first chance to catch the whole convention in almost 30 years.
At 46 years old and with a bit of social anxiety, I'm really hoping that I find the crowd as welcoming as I remember. Would love to make some new friends.
Best reasons I can think of to go solo!
I went to Gen Con solo this last year. Additionally, I didn't even decide to go until about a week before the Con. It was a great time! I ended up with a room downtown as people cancel at the last minute. I bought a bunch of generics and got into every game I wanted to play, including all of the four True Dungeon events. There were a lot of tickets available during the con for previously sold out events that I picked up. I never ate alone, met some very nice people and did things on my own time. Going with friends is great but I will never hesitate to go if I'm solo.
I've tried attending Gen Con with groups in the past but the problem there is that you usually end up doing what the whole group wants to do and not necessarily what YOU want to do. It's easier to be a "lone wolf" and go on your own terms so that way you can experience Gen Con the way you want to.
I went solo last year after having gone with a group for the last 10 years. Also, I booked my trip the week before Gen Con and had no events scheduled at all. The overall experience was one of my best Gen Con's ever. I ended up getting a room downtown at the Marriott due to a last minute cancellation. I bought a bunch of generic tickets and was able to get a seat at every game I wanted to play, which included multiple True Dungeon runs, some great D&D games, a few Fantasy Flight board games and even a Cthulhu game. All of the games I played were already sold out and either the game master let me play or in most cases there was a no show that opened a spot for me.
As far as non gaming time went I was never bored or lonely. I met so many great people and ended up eating/drinking with people I gamed with and people I just met here and there. Truth be told, the whole convention was such a great time that I would have no problem going alone again. You get to do things on your schedule, not someone else's, which is always nice.
I've gone solo to Gen Con only once a few years ago. It was one of the most relaxing and fun times that I think I've ever had there. Always something going on to attend. Always lots of friendly people around. Everything was done according to my own scheduling whims at a moments notice. No inhibitions. GREAT experience. If you've got no one to go with, DEFINITELY try it out at least once. Just go with the flow and follow your interests and you'll have a great time. If I had to, I'd definitely do it again without hesitation. Thumbs up!