Hope this is not a repeat, but I couldn't find the answer... Just wondering if we know when we can start lining up for the exhibit hall on Thursday. Trying to get some shopping done early ;)
You can start lining up now. The convention center is open 24×7.
(However, with that being said, they don't allow you to sleep there.)
Alec Usticke, Unofficial Gen Con Indy Facebook Discussion Group
Hopefully someone else will chime in on how early that crowd starts to gather.
Don't try to cheat by going to the side doors. Those are opened later, if at all.
And make sure your badge is visible and facing forward. They will be checking, even with the rush on. I generally go ahead and hold it up for them.
Here's the "line" at 8:30 last year.
I usually go to get a spot after I eat breakfast. I get up really early, go eat, and then take a seat on the floor in front of the door I want to go in. When I got to the doors in 2015, there were 3-4 people there. That was it. It was super-early, though.
I think on Friday & Saturday last year I was lined up at 8AM to get in trying to get Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle for my wife. Failed both days to be one of the first 50 at their booth. I bought the game 50% on black Friday. Won't bother trying to wait in line this year.
I find it better to watch from above.
I have been in the mad rush once or twice before, but I'm done with that. I wait 5-10 minutes, and then I stroll in.
If you want to be in the mad rush, and want to be towards the front, I would say about 1 hour before the hall opens (so 9 am or so) should do it.
Since most of the things people are rushing for are things everyone can get in just a couple of weeks I don't usually worry about getting there super early. If I do it is to try and demo a high demand game at FF or Asmodee.