Many of us have been doing this a long time, some of us are new to this fun game.
Here are my rules to a successful convention (these are to be done every 24 hours):
5 Hours of Sleep: I'm not kidding here. You must sleep at least once a day for a minimum of 5 hours. You're a night owl? Awesome! Sleep during the day.
4 Scheduled Events: Look, don't over do yourself. Try not to book back to back games. Many games do sell out the first day of event registration, many of those sold out events are not full due to people over scheduling themselves. Do you have extra time? Great! Use those generics and go to that one game you missed out on and see if there is an extra slot. Please be on time though. It sucks to hold up a whole group just because you didn't plan correctly. You're a night owl? Awesome, make sure to bring your generics to the 50 player "Are You A Werewolf?" and Magic drafts that are running all night long.
3 Meals. You NEED breakfast, You NEED lunch, You NEED dinner. No really. The amount of calories you are burning running around to all these events, getting through the exhibit hall, trying to catch that one thing that you just heard about. You need to eat. It will effect your time at your event if your stomach is growling the entire time. Night owl eh? There are several 24 hour food places (yes, they will be full) but White Castle is still open, and technically that's food (no you can't walk through the Drive Thru, yes it's been done, no it's never successful).
2 Showers. What??? No really, take one when you wake up to wake up, and take one before dinner. Change your clothes completely. Get refreshed, you never know, you might wind up in a game after dinner with the people at the other table. You might venture to a bar and get a bit out of the normal drunk, it happens. You will avoid the dreaded con crud, it's been my secret for many years. So, you are still a night owl? This still applies, get up, take a shower, before breakfast, get a shower. If anything it's relaxing.
1 Trip through the Exhibit Hall.. No really, you are going to miss that one thing you were looking for the first through fourth time. You didn't know you were looking for it. If there is something you want, bring money. Sometimes, the universe gets all wonky and cards don't work for a moment. While all the other folks are trying, you can go to the cash only line and get right on your way. On Sunday, some exhibitors really love your cash. You may indeed have some bargaining power if you have the cash on hand. I will warn you, ATM's run out of money regularly, they are all stocked each morning and the PNC in the Hyatt usually has enough money, that's a really long run for that ultimate thing you just found that only takes cash though. Night owl? You're gonna have a tough time getting into the exhibit hall. Open from Thursday - Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Make sure to get your sleep though.
That's pretty much it. If you want to add or subtract from this, please do so! Keep well!
Point #3 is a real stretch. You're probably not burning that many calories. You'll be walking at a slow pace and you really won't be walking terribly far. More walking than normal, but still not that much. Particularly compared to the high caloric content of the fast food you'll probably be eating.
I always heard it was 5-2-1. 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower a day.
That's others rules. Not mine. I haven't had con crud in years due to this. Now, the bit about 4 events is due to all the complaints I have heard for the past 15+ years from the other side of the HQ.. Those that follow this have the best con. The food bit is from my 20K+ steps and 10K+ answering the question "where's the bathroom" every year.. The meals don't have to be from those places, but the brain and body need it.
I always do at least five miles of walking at the convention per day so yeah - burning a lot of calories.
Everyone's formula is a little different but this one fits me well. The only thing I'd add would be to the 5. In addition to the minimum amount of sleep needed to make good decisions (lets face it, when you're tired you get dumb) would be 5 bottles of water (not "water like substance") per day.
You will thank yourself later when you aren't miserable and dehydrated from all the non water you drank and sweated out during the walking/dealer hall/adult carousing you will be up to.
I like it.
Mine would be:
Hours of sleep (minimum) - Events (maximum, and 0 on Thursday/Sunday) - Meals - Showers - Trips through the exhibit hall (minimum)
I really don't mind answering the same question 10K+ times, it does wear on you by the end of the night sometimes. I just keep the smile up and walk them there if they are really confused.
Vitamin C too - for those prone to things like con-crud (read, ME) -- and thanks for the idea about making sure I eat enough. I've been on a faithful Weight Watcher's diet (and a different one before that) since March and I was planning to keep to the points I'm at now - but I think I can afford more with all the extra walking I WILL do.
Fantastic tips, Spicer - as usual!
Can someone elaborate on 1 trip through the Exhibit Hall?
I can't tell from the context if you're saying do at most 1, or at least 1 (but probably more).
And yes... water, water, water.
I'm sure they mean "at least".
At least.. IMO if you don't go through the hall at least once during the con, you are missing out.
Its my vacation but I still insist on at least 6 hours sleep a night, I plan events for one heavy day packed completely full, usually Thursday or Friday, two days fairly light with 2 maybe 3 events and one day with nothing planned(usually sunday with generics). I hit the dealer hall on Thursday for a couple of hours with a list from various friends. While I'm shopping for them i see things I want to look at I mark the booth down and hit it friday or sunday I usually avoid the hall on Saturdays. I eat breakfast and dinner but lunch is usually beef jerky,trail mix and granola bars I carry with me. I shower twice a day once in the morning, once in the evening. With this schedule I can stay anywhere, downtown or further away and still be good. I prefer down town so I can rest in comfort if I feel overwhelmed or my hips start hurting(yes I'm old been doing Gencon since the 80's :) ) But I have used the auction hall or just my car for the same purpose when I've missed out on downtown rooms.
So I guess for me it would be 6-4?-2-2-whenever I have free time :P
Well for me, an ave night ends around 1-120am.. I've gotta get back up at around 7.20am ish for my 8am sessions. So on a good night that's about 5 hrs of sleep..
"Younger me" would have scoffed at 5 ours of sleep. "Current me" very much agrees that it's a good idea. I miss "Younger me", He was hardcore. I have a 2am Pathfinder game though so this year I might have tough through it for one day.