I went to GenCon for the first time last year. I didn't get to the Exhibit Hall for a couple hours after it opened on the first day. Besides being able to see all the amazing game exhibits and set-ups is there something people usually are wanting to get in to buy or receive the minute the doors open? I did find one booth where everything was sold-out but it seemed all others had lots of stock. Any insights?
There are a few limited quantities of new release games, and those are often high priority for people jockeying to get in first. Also, some of the game demos run on the exhibit floor often have long lines that get capped, so if you can get to those early, you don't have to wait or be disappointed later.
For me, I like to go in and pick up all of my freebies from the coupon book. ;-)
There's usually multiple vendors that are only able to bring a limited quantity of their hot new game. Lots of people like to be able to buy that game at the con, rather than wait a few months, or sometimes way longer, for the wide release.
There's also things in the coupon book sometimes that are for limited amounts of an item each day.
Where do you find out about the vendors that might be brining the limited quantities of new game releases? How do you hear about them? I am so excited to go again this year as last year my eyes were so wide I just wanted to soak it all in and be spontaneous. This year want to find out all about the rush into the hall and I was able to get some events I really wanted.
BoardGameGeek publishes a comprehensive list of new releases. This year's will be out after Origins.
Alec Usticke, Unofficial Gen Con Indy Facebook Discussion Group
The biggest reason is to get the new hotness, but a few other reasons:
1. There isn't actually that much else going on at Gen Con at 10 AM on Thursday.
2. There is an "opening ceremony" usually that some people want to see, and it's held right outside the exhibit hall.
3. Thursday is among the best times to shop and sell magic cards or other collectibles to vendors who are buying - the show floor becomes more and more crowded each day until Sunday.
I always like watching the mad rush from above. Tradition I guess. I wait till the rush dies down before I enter.
If you don't know of anything new that is going to be in rare quantity you want then be happy you don't have to worry about it. I prefer shopping later in the day Thursday or Friday at more casual times. Most of the time its best to wait for retail release unless they are extra kickstarter copies or something you can't get otherwise. Or something else rare such as special promos etc.
The first year I attended GenCon and bought stuff I got a few early releases of games, but by the time I played them they were readily available everywhere so it was a waste. Last year after being more focused and listening to podcasts and following companies on twitter and such I knew a lot more going in. So I only picked up rare stuff like Orleans deluxe that was leftover from a kickstarter and some CMON promos I could get few other places.
On point 3, this is absolutely true. A lot of players "rent" cards for the convention. In other words, they buy their deck (or the expensive parts of their deck) on Thursday, play it over the course of the con, then sell those same cards back on Sunday. If you sell cards to a dealer, do it Thursday. They are far more likely to give you a deal on Thursday because they know that the cards will sell over the next day.
Some of the vendors with longer lines, like Paizo or Fantasy Flight, can have a huge difference depending on how quickly you get there after 10. When Pathfinder released years ago, I managed to squeeze 5 feet closer to the door than my friends and I saved 45 minutes of waiting because of it.
Some of the free promotional items have limited stock, too. A lot of times the vendors portion out a little each day, so if you're not quick to arrive, you will miss out.
We did the exhibit hall rush until the last 2 years. It just got to be too many people crowded in too little space. With no roped off and defined paths and too many people trying to go THROUGH the crowds, whether it be last minute vendors picking the worst possible entrance/time or people trying to get to different areas and not realizing there are better ways to go around. Just got to be too big of a mess and too much hassle. Now we usually schedule a game until 11 or noon the first day then head over to the hall. We're usually not after any of the big releases since we pick up enough new stuff as it is. :)
My approach for years has been kicking off Thursday with a 8-12 RPG and strolling into the hall around 12:15. Might miss any hard to get games, but a whole lot less pushy and stressful...:)
Personally, I'm with David Campbell - I studiously avoid the first couple hours of the hall on Thursday. But there's at least 60,000 unique ways to enjoy the con, so to each their own.
Must be first to shiny dice...so I can add to the other 5000 I have squirreled away all over the house.
I like hype. Opening of the dealer's hall fits that definition nicely.
There are other reasons to get into the dealer's hall at 10 am on Thursday morning:
One year I found a booth run by a comic con on the east coast (can't remember the city) and they were selling used toys at a great price. I picked up a Star Trek phaser and tricorder from the original series for about 25% of the new price and they were still in the boxes.
One year I bought a 24 foot long hand knitted scarf (using the patterns from Doctor Who). It was the ONLY octogenarian knitted scarf at the con and I can guarantee you it wouldn't have lasted past noon on Thursday.
On the other hand, the number of new games that only have a limited quantity at GenCon because the game drops in September or October has increased so ...