GenCon 50: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
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Posted by father bloodlust

I remembered this thread from last year, so I thought I'd kick it off this year. I'll post my contribution later.

Posted by galahadkoa

The Good

* D&D Dragonfire!
* Better organized convention and more awareness from security
* True Dungeon Moongate Maze (combat) Saturday @ 1:36 PM was really awesome. Just happened to have people in my group that I ran True Dungeon with at the last Gameholecon. Didn't plan that. Wish my odds of winning the lottery were as good. TD is always better with a good group.
* The Fall of Cardhalla - Seeing so many people literally throwing money through the air for charity before it was all knocked down was great
* The burgers at High Velocity (in JW Marriott) were really good
* No issues with my stay at the Marriott Courtyard next to the JW Marriott
* Liked the Infinitas DM software
* The museum on the football field was awesome!
* The Exploding Kittens Vending Machine!
* I enjoyed seeing White Wolf back on the floor. Onyx Path Publishing was there last year, but didn't have much at the time. I missed World of Darkness.

The Bad
*Ran a starship simulation event for Artemis Saturday at 8pm. Only had one other person show so what should have been five people ended up being two of us plus one of the people from the company running the events. We started late due to a lack of players. The vendor/volunteer helping us enjoyed telling us how we were playing on the old version. The new version that we should be playing is Epsilon which is a different event and it left me wondering why they were even running events using the old software and why I wasted my money. Then before we could finish the simulation another employee/volunteer came over and rudely told us to wrap it up cause we were out of time like somehow its my fault we started late.
*True Dungeon Dancing Among Stones (Combat) - Thursday @10:02 PM was the opposite of my other TD event. Four people from the group showed up at the last minute and half ass made characters. One of them was new, which is fine, but the coach taking our character information was getting frustrated because he couldn't decide on a character class while the coach was trying to deal with the others that were late so he told them all they needed to figure out what they were doing because we were running out of time. We did pretty well with the puzzles, but failed every combat encounter and then died in the last room when we couldn't kill the final boss before time ran out. At the end someone asked if we had a great time and the ones that basically ruined it for the rest of us thought it was great, but TD is not at all cheap so yes its frustrating when people cant be bothered to show up early enough to get ready.
* Had some guy practically run me over in the vendor hall which broke the zipper on my backpack and tore off a couple of buttons from it. Of course that person didn't stop or even care.

The Ugly
*Nothing stood out for me personally, but it was unpleasant to see a few comments from people talking about having things stolen out of hotel rooms.

 

Posted by father bloodlust

Here I go:

The Good
-The games! I got to play in two Shadowrun Missions games, both of which were fun, even the second one in which our team's "big damn heroes" moment ended up falling short and getting Chicago nuked off the map. And I got to try 7th Sea: Second Edition, which was so much fun I headed to the John Wick Presents booth right after and bought the book.
-The arcade room was fun. I got to play Q-Bert for the first time in years - still as fun as ever :)
-Getting to hear the beginning of the Legend of the Five Rings LCG tournament was pretty interesting (it took place right next to the Star Wars: Armada tournament I played in). The clan introductions were pretty cool. It was also really interesting hearing them talk about how long the game was in development and thanking those who helped make it a reality. And them dedicating the first "Banzai!" shout/chant to one of the developers (whose name I unfortunately can't remember), who passed away before the game's release, was really touching - you could hear the announcer's voice cracking a bit when he got to that part of his speech.
-Ian Cross, one of the Fantasy Flight Games judges at the Star Wars: Armada tournament, and the judge I ended up interacting with most while playing the tournament. Really friendly guy, did a great job answering questions me and my opponents had without talking down to us, and didn't give me a hard time when I decided to drop (I was 1-2, had no chance of making the final cut, and would have had to wait an hour and 15 minutes for the final round, which I decided wasn't the best use of my GenCon 50 time). Definitely made the tournament experience better.
-Getting to restock my wardrobe of nerd shirts.
-Buying tons of gaming books (of course).
-Being able to talk to random strangers and not feel weird about it because the fact that all of the thousands of people attending the con share similar interests acts as an icebreaker of sorts.

The Bad
-So many of the arcade cabinets in the arcade room had issues - the Tekken 5 machine had broken left punch and left kick buttons on the second player's side, for starters. If they do that next year, I hope they have more maintenance staff on hand to handle such issues.
-This was an expected disappointment, but I've gotta put not being able to get Starfinder or the Legend of the Five Rings LCG here. I'd braced myself for it well before the con, but still sort of a bummer.
-Lack of sleep. The Downtown Sheraton, for some odd reason, has these tube-shaped pillows that eventually can feel like you're laying your head on a brick, and I just could not get a good night's sleep on those most nights.
-Why did they change the Exhibit Hall carpeting?! When I first walked in, I was struck by how dark it seemed compared to last year, simply due to changing the carpet from red to grey/black. I eventually got used to it, but I still sort of miss the old red carpeting.
-The gamer funk. Not a common problem, mind you, but I still had a couple moments where I'm pretty sure I made the "GFPH!" sound from Dork Tower.

The Ugly
I had some stuff here originally, but upon reading other contributions I realized they belonged in the "Bad" section, so there's only one thing I can think of for "Ugly:"
-People blocking traffic! Seriously, move to the side if you have to check the GenCon map or something - don't just stop in the middle of the traffic lane. And ESPECIALLY don't stop in the middle of a crosswalk in the Exhibit Hall!

Posted by garhkal galahadkoa

galahadkoa wrote:The Good
* Better organized convention and more awareness from security
 

The security in Lucas Oil was amazing, very helpful and courteous..
galahadkoa wrote:The Good
* The museum on the football field was awesome!
 

It was.  A very nice moving tribute to Gencon!  I wonder if they tracked how many visitors it got, though i DO feel it might have been better had it been in the main Gencon area..  So it could get more traffic.
galahadkoa wrote:The Bad
*Ran a starship simulation event for Artemis Saturday at 8pm. Only had one other person show so what should have been five people ended up being two of us plus one of the people from the company running the events. We started late due to a lack of players. The vendor/volunteer helping us enjoyed telling us how we were playing on the old version. The new version that we should be playing is Epsilon which is a different event and it left me wondering why they were even running events using the old software and why I wasted my money. Then before we could finish the simulation another employee/volunteer came over and rudely told us to wrap it up cause we were out of time like somehow its my fault we started late.
 

Wow that does suck..  Did you complain? 
And from what i was told BY one of the staffers, the reason they kept Both versions is some PREFER the older model..
galahadkoa wrote:The Bad

* Had some guy practically run me over in the vendor hall which broke the zipper on my backpack and tore off a couple of buttons from it. Of course that person didn't stop or even care.
 


Saw someone else get knocked down by a dickwad who was in a hurry and who didn't even slow down to apologize..
galahadkoa wrote:The Ugly
*Nothing stood out for me personally, but it was unpleasant to see a few comments from people talking about having things stolen out of hotel rooms.
 

One of the guys i roomed with was paranoid about that so much, he set his laptop up with a camera on it, Transmitting the stream to his phone.. 

 

Posted by garhkal

For me.

The good
*  Loved the set out on Lucas oil, but i DO think those 2 rear most side tunnels which DID have bathrooms in, could have been opened up, even if just "For those officiating games that far back on the field".  Same with one of those water cooler items. 
* The sheer size of the con this year.  MAN did we set records or what!!

The bad
* even with breaking in my trainers for almost 4 months, i still got a bloody blister on my small toe..
* NEED MORE water coolers around the place.

The Ugly
* as already mentioned, saw one lady get knocked down by someone running by, who didn't even stop to say sorry, and had a friend who got his face smacked into by a dude in the exhibitor hall who just made a face and walked off when it was pointed out "you smacked me"..  Some people just lack manners.

 

Posted by gcbrowni

Laser Tag noise was bad. 

The boffer people and Jedi folks don't really bother me, and the "other table RPG noise in a small room" is what it is. But the laser tag guns seemed to have some loud gun noises. They might be located away from other folks next year. It was pretty disruptive to the horticulture hall gaming tables.

Posted by soulcatcher78

The Good:
-Started every day with Dungeon Crawl Classics.  I was able to play with a different group of people each morning and they helped make Gen Con 50 incredible for me.
-Met some new gamers and connected with E Friends from the Forums, Facebook, and G+
-Lucas Oil Stadium.  This helped pull crowds away from the center of the ICC (IMO) making everyone's Gen Con a little less claustrophobic this year.
-Horticultural Hall exhibit.  The memories that came flooding back walking that display are hard to describe.  
-She Kills Monsters on Thursday night was incredible.  I am not an emotional person by any stretch of the imagination but I became heavily invested in this story.  The group that put this on deserves all the praise they get and more. The Bad:-Ripe gamers by Saturday.  I get it, packing light is important but if you are re wearing the same clothes day after day, the shower really doesn't do much good.  Noticed it more this year than the last few. The Ugly:-Can't really think of anything that riled me up this year.  

Posted by nascragman

The Good:

Lucas Oil was a great place to play.  In general those huge ceilings sucked up the noise like never before and we could roleplay our hearts out.  Nascrag ran over capacity in the tournament and had nearly 100 players in the Charity event - raising over $750 for Child Advocates.

The Bad:  

I personally spent my entire Con stuck in Lucas Oil.  Never got to see anything else.  I took on a little too much responsibility this year.  I need to learn to delegate and manage stress better.

The Ugly:

The complete lack of water fountains or water coolers in Lucas Oil.  If you wanted someting to drink you had to pay $4.00 a bottle from the machine or use the sinks in the bathroom.  Really unacceptable.

Posted by bakermouse10133

The Good: Although I was flying solo for most of the day I had a great time! Played lots of games, bought lots of games (maybe a little too many) and took some really great painting classes. Loved the co-op art, please bring that back next yr (and if there is a pic anyone has of the finished piece would love to see it, missed catching one)! Costumes as usual didn't disappoint, such mastery of fabric and foam is a neat thing to see. 

The food truck lines didn't seem as long, ate at a really neat restaurant called Punch Bowl Social the food was amazing and with it a half a block past Georgia well within walking range. If you get a chance check it out next yr, they have gaint jinga, bowling, darts, ping pong, arcade games, and did I mention the food....AMAZING!

The convention center staff did a great job keeping the place clean, can't say this enough, great job. 

The Bad: Missed out on the paint and take again this year, the lines for that are just not worth it. Could have done without the mega phone announcer in the dealer hall. 

The Ugly: A friends bag was stolen while he was playing a game. This is the first year for me putting something in the Ugly slot. It makes me really sad to say that. 

Posted by brion

The Good:
- In my 7th year, I finally did Super Robo Rally. We did it entirely for the novelty, but quickly found that it is way more fun than the board game since we don't know what anyone is doing until the robots start moving.
- The lines at the food trucks seemed much more manageable than ever. 
- We were upgraded to the presidential suite at the JW for no additional charge. Holy crap was that amazing. Only one shower for 8 people was a little annoying a couple of mornings, but not too bad.
- This list would get very long if I kept going.

The Bad:
- This might just have been bad luck on my part, but I could not seem to get into any demos in the dealer hall in a decent amount of time. I was usually standing around for at least 20 minutes next to the game, and in some cases I gave up completely. I don't know if demos were running longer than I remember, or I just showed up at the wrong time.
- New releases sold out before I even had a chance to demo the game. Not a huge deal as I'll likely get them cheaper from Amazon/FLGS, but a couple of things I did want right away. This is not specific to this year, and likely is related to my problem with getting into demos quickly on Thursday.
- Strollers. My god, so many strollers. It felt like I could not move 10 feet without being blocked off by one, or having my feet run over.

The Ugly:
- None.

The Disappointing (since it wasn't good or bad):
- True Dungeon. I was pretty excited for this as it was my first time and felt let down. It was "ok" but did not feel like I got my money's worth. Even those in our group who had done TD in the past felt it didn't hold up to previous years.

Posted by hauntedcity

The Good
- Killer Breakfast was great! My daughter and I were on stage for the first time, and it's a whole different experience up there.  

- True Dungeon was amazing, as always. My group breezed through Moongate Maze, quickly solving puzzles and annihilating monsters, but during Dancing Among Stones was hard. We couldn't figure out the puzzles, and those monsters seemed so much tougher.  It was a good challenge, though, and we survived both events. I loved all the Name of the Wind references, as well.

- MUSIC!!!!  They Might Be Giants!  The Doubleclicks! The Shake Ups in Beach City!

- Lucas Oil Stadium (and especially Motley Kids) - So much room! Not too loud! Gen Con Museum! I loved everything about this Gen Con expansion!

- Buffalo cauliflower at Scotty's Brewhouse!  :)

The Bad... I got nothing.

The Ugly
- The crowd on the floor during They Might Be Giants. We got there crazy early, and had a spot up against the stage. There was an invasion of drunk assholes right as the show was starting, and I had to spend way too much effort protecting our daughters from unthoughtful, rude people.
 

Posted by ryric

The Good - Crowds were well managed in general. Things didn't seem appreciably more crowded than previous years.

They Might Be Giants concert was fantastic and a lot of fun.

The people running the auction - always a good time to listen to, even if you're not buying. The amount of lore they can dig up about the items for sale is just amazing.

The Exploding Kittens booth in the exhibit hall - genius. If you didn't get a chance to see it I'm sorry for you.

The museum was a fantastic walk down nostalgia lane, especially for an attendee like me who has been going over 20 years.

The Bad - It was very tough to get into game demos. The fact that some booths had actual lines for demos was a bit crazy. There were several games my wife and I were interested in that we never got a chance to try.

FFG was a bit disappointing this year. L5R is great, but no early/new stuff for Imperial assault, or the Rebellion expansion, and the new stuff announcement amounted to one game.

The Ugly - Taking away early access from teachers and VIG companions. The companion badge pretty much gets you nothing now; I'm not even sure why anyone would buy one. Trade Day educators got screwed out of early access with no real reason given; retailers buy the same badge and they still got in early. I saw upset people who didn't find this out until they arrived - it wasn't very well publicized. There was even one attendee who switched from VIG companion to educator hoping to still be able to accompany her VIG husband into early access only to discover the truth when she arrived. It's really tough to lose something you're used to having, especially for no good reason, and losing early access really disrupted Thursday for my wife and me in a number of ways. This one change made Gen Con 50 the worst one I've attended in the last several years. (Still very fun, but definitely in my worst half)

Posted by nikas zekeval

The Good- Second year back, and paced myself a bit better on event scheduling.

-Parking.  Seriously, all but one day I got into parking right next to the Con, and maybe that one time I could have if I felt I had time to check rather than take the first good deal I saw on the way in.  Much less insanity than last year, or I'm just learning more of the ins and outs of where to look.

-The Airport Hyatt.  A big step up from last year, in experience and convenience.  If you have to be out of downtown, I'd recommend this place.

The Bad
-Lucas Oil, or rather the distance between it and everything else.  Yeah, it was great to play in, but god help you if you have a game there, and the next time block in the ICC, or vice versa.

-Conbook and Con coupon book availability.  I couldn't find any till Friday and Saturday respectively.  Needs to be better front loaded.

The Ugly
-Lollygagging pedestrians.  Either in the halls waiting for the dealer's den to open, or in the intersections outside.  Both they seem to expand to take up 150% of available room, leaving no one trying to get from one end of the con to the other (see above) to pass without putting on football pads.

On the outside, yes you legally have right of way.  But some of those cars have your fellow gamers trying to get in to park and play too.  So a little hustle crossing the street, or if coming late to a crossing wait for the next light?  Is it too much to ask for one or even maybe two cars make a right turn per traffic light cycle?

Maybe like the freeways, slower traffic keep to the right, to allow people making the Lucas Oil Sprint a better chance?

-The smokers at the doors
Want to go out to the food trucks?  Take a gasmask, because all the smokers and vapers are clustered around the front entrances and you have to run their gauntlet both ways.

-ICC game hall announcements
Seriously, could anyone make out what was being said?  I felt like I was in a scene from Spaceballs.

The Undecided-
I missed until Sunday that FFG came out with a FOURTH edition of Twilight Imperium, with enough differences to be incompatible with Third edition.  Still looking into this to decide.

Posted by melkor

Posted by helenbb

The Good

- I got extremely lucky in the VIG lottery and became a VIG this year. Amazing. 
- I stalked a small-capacity RPG event and managed to get a ticket to it. The event was just as fun (more!) as I had been hoping.
- True Dungeon Moongate Maze was fantastic, and we had a great group! 
- The Gamers: Live shows were excellent, as always, and seeing Killer Breakfast again was icing on the cake!
- I discovered some great new food options this year, so I wasn't beholden to the food trucks and their massive lines.
- My Harry Potter RPG on Sunday at 9 am had everyone show up and we had a fantastic game!
- I had a blast playing NASCRAG!
- I got to spend time with a good friend I hadn't seen since last year's GenCon.
- The Zombie Orpheus people put on a mixer for their Patreons which was really fun.

The Bad

- True Dungeon Dancing With Stones, we had a nasty player who insisted on picking a character class that my husband (who had gotten there much earlier) had already picked. His parents (with him) said it was okay, but the guy kept insisting and started an argument in front of the TD DM. My husband was peer-pressured into changing class last minute. It might have still worked out, but the whining guy didn't play the class properly, negating its benefits, and spent the entire time on his phone in the puzzle rooms. Add to that there were 4 no-shows for the timeslot so they had to pull random people off of the floor to take the spots and they were rushed getting their characters together. We still managed to defeat the boss at the end, but it was disappointing after the excellent Moongate Maze run we had had.

The Disappointing

- My children could not come with us this year, because of the later timeframe of the con, so we left them at home with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm looking forward to bringing them again next year.
- While I got into the awesome RPG, my husband never did. He showed up with generics but everyone else came so he missed out. Ah well, we tried. 
- Although our GM was in stitches and loved us in first round NASCRAG, we did not make the finals. :-(  We want to do better next year! RIP Danger Pig.

Posted by nascragman helenbb

helenbb wrote:
The Good
- I got extremely lucky in the VIG lottery and became a VIG this year. Amazing. 
- I stalked a small-capacity RPG event and managed to get a ticket to it. The event was just as fun (more!) as I had been hoping.
- True Dungeon Moongate Maze was fantastic, and we had a great group! 
- The Gamers: Live shows were excellent, as always, and seeing Killer Breakfast again was icing on the cake!
- I discovered some great new food options this year, so I wasn't beholden to the food trucks and their massive lines.
- My Harry Potter RPG on Sunday at 9 am had everyone show up and we had a fantastic game!
- I had a blast playing NASCRAG!
- I got to spend time with a good friend I hadn't seen since last year's GenCon.
- The Zombie Orpheus people put on a mixer for their Patreons which was really fun.
The Bad
- True Dungeon Dancing With Stones, we had a nasty player who insisted on picking a character class that my husband (who had gotten there much earlier) had already picked. His parents (with him) said it was okay, but the guy kept insisting and started an argument in front of the TD DM. My husband was peer-pressured into changing class last minute. It might have still worked out, but the whining guy didn't play the class properly, negating its benefits, and spent the entire time on his phone in the puzzle rooms. Add to that there were 4 no-shows for the timeslot so they had to pull random people off of the floor to take the spots and they were rushed getting their characters together. We still managed to defeat the boss at the end, but it was disappointing after the excellent Moongate Maze run we had had.
The Disappointing
- My children could not come with us this year, because of the later timeframe of the con, so we left them at home with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm looking forward to bringing them again next year.
- While I got into the awesome RPG, my husband never did. He showed up with generics but everyone else came so he missed out. Ah well, we tried. 
- Although our GM was in stitches and loved us in first round NASCRAG, we did not make the finals. :-(  We want to do better next year! RIP Danger Pig.

The picture of Danger Pig made the rounds of the judges and got many laughs!

Posted by melkor

Well here goes, this year was my 33rd Gencon, and I count it as one
of my favorites.

THE GOOD
Parking. I hit Indy the Saturday before Gencon every year,
and this year did some research. If you want to park early
and just leave your car and avoid the $25 to $29 valet rate per day,
there's a few lots that let you park for the week at reasonable rates.
There's one on Pennsylvania, just up the street from Scottie's, across
from Crown Liquors for $14 per night. As I was leaving town Monday,
I found another on Illinois st, next to LePeep for $11 per night, same deal.

Wednesday Pathfinder We be Goblins. A friend and I managed to get into this
and had an absolute blast! Awesome judge and a way fun table started
out the gaming with  bang.

Pathfinder, Pathfinder Pathfinder. I think we played 8 slots altogether
and loved them all. The judges were all on their A game and the writing
of the mods were all superb!

Scottie's as always. Indy Dave makes sure we feel like family every year,
and it's always something I hugely look forward to, as much as Gencon itself.

Lucas Oil exhibit. Pretty awesome walk down memory lane. Was a
definite shrine to Gencon.

 THE BAD-
Rude folks in Dealers Room and other crowded areas. Yeah, I know I'm preaching
to the choir on this one. At least there seemed to be less folks towing Rickshaw
sized wheel bags behind them this year.

Lack of fountains, coffee and general vendors in some areas.
Maybe it was the area near the Sagamore Ballroom, which I was mostly
in mainly, but there was nothing where there used to be at least 2 food and
beverage stands. And fountains? Can't say I noticed any.

The closing of a few favorite places. Yeah this my be mostly personal
nostalgia I'll be missing, But Champions in the Mariott's is gone, Crackers Comedy
club on Illinois, and Odoba Mexican restaurant right near Scottie's. Always annual
go to's for my group. Guess we'll have to start new traditions.

THE UGLY.

Really only one for me. All the super-drunks outside the Homewood
suites area after around 10:00 P.M. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my
Ale's and Long Island's too, but some of these folks were pretty damn
annoying. One group of 3 decided they wanted to apparently start
something with me for no reason. I was in no mood, and let's just say
I rolled high on my Intimidate check, and they went away. ;-)
Still We're there to have fun with like minded folks. Not be assailed by
Ornery Booze Zombie's

 

Posted by helenbb nascragman

nascragman wrote:The picture of Danger Pig made the rounds of the judges and got many laughs!

I am glad to hear that! We look forward to playing again next year and hope to make the finals this time. 

Posted by lord thrifty the cromulent

Well I don't like this particularly construction.  "The Bad" and "The Ugly" seem redundant.  But here goes.

Good: 
I liked the variety of food trucks. 
The arcade room was pretty cool.
Will Call was amazingly efficient.

Bad:

Event Hall was terribly disorganized.  The boundaries between the individual halls (A, B, C etc.) was poorly defined and the color groupings and table numbers were too random.
The shows were terrible.  I don't know why everyone was laughing at The Gamers Live, but these were some of the most painfully unfunny people I've seen outside of an episode of Two and a Half Men.

Posted by bithlord helenbb

helenbb wrote:
- Although our GM was in stitches and loved us in first round NASCRAG, we did not make the finals. :-(  We want to do better next year! RIP Danger Pig.
Definitely the first time I've had as enjoyable a time playing NASCRAG as I did, and not only missed the finals but (apparently) missed them by a wide margin.  I know our RP was off a bit this year (hopefully we get back in form for next year :)), but man... I didn't think we botched any of the puzzles particularly bad. 

Heck we even solved some despite missing pieces.

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