Tips for new attendees
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Posted by unknownwarrior33

Hi all. I'm sure I'm not the first person to post any of this, but as someone who's been going to Gen Con for the last 5 years or so, I know there are a lot of things I wish I knew going in. So, I wanted to post some tips for new people.

1. Bring a bag to take around the convention. This may or may not be the same as your travel bag, but you'll definitely want to bring a bag that's the right size and type to carry around all day. This will help you carry giveaways, dice, character sheets, and purchases.

2. Bring snacks. There are places to buy snacks in the convention center, but they're expensive and often have long lines. It's easier and more cost-effective to put a few in your bag each day.

3. Grab the coupon book as early as you can. There will be coupons for freebies at various booths on the show floor. Some of them require a playtest or something, but others are just free.

4. Note where each of your events is held, and how long it will take for you to get from one place to another. Many events don't go as long as they say they will, so you'll usually have at least a bit of time even if the events are back-to-back, but back-to-back events on opposite sides of Downtown Indy might be a problem.

5. If you plan to spend time on the show floor, make sure you have enough time in between events. It's easy to get caught up or lost with all of the dealers, and what you thought would be just a quick peek might turn out to be an hour or more.

6. Check out some of the smaller vendors in the back and sides of the show floor; you never know what you'll find. I found one of my favorite dice this way.

7. Get some generic tickets. It's very likely that either an event will be cancelled, or you won't like one of your events, or you'll miss one of your events, or whatever else might mess up your schedule. You might also learn about new things at the convention that you want to try out. It's good to be prepared.

I'm sure other people have more tips; feel free to add them here. I'll add more of my own if I think of any. And if you are a new attendee, feel free to ask questions as well.

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Posted by ytuni

8. Be prepared to walk A LOT! You don't have to be a fitness god but wear well-broken-in comfortable shoes and go for walks throughout the summer to get your legs into standing/walking all day shape.

9. Don't worry yourself too much about getting into events. The first few years my husband and I went we didn't do any events and had a great time. You can easily spend all day in the exhibit hall just perusing the various exhibitors and doing demos.

10. If you don't have a downtown hotel but park nearby, bring a cooler. You can keep some water/soda ice cold and not pay $2 (i think?) at the vending machines that'll run out Saturday anyways. And you can keep something cold for lunch.

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Posted by funny-shaped dice

11. Bring a refillable water bottle.  There are cold water stations all over the ICC explicitly for the purposes of refilling water bottles.  No need to pay for water.

12. Con Crud is a real thing.  60,000 people indoors, handling dice and game pieces.  Stuff gets around.  Bring hand sanitizer...and use it.  Shower daily.  Get enough rest.  Don't just eat junk food the entire weekend.

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Posted by trace_sl

13.  Don't bring every game you own, travel light. 

14.  If you are in Wednesday, take the time to get a lay of the land.  Walk the halls to know where things are.  
 

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Posted by ascantla

15. A few days before the Con start taking an immune system booster. We always get the Emergen-C. They're not expensive and we've avoided major sickness since we started taking them.

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Posted by lordnlkon funny-shaped dice

funny-shaped dice wrote:
12. Con Crud is a real thing.  60,000 people indoors, handling dice and game pieces.  Stuff gets around.  Bring hand sanitizer...and use it.  Shower daily.  Get enough rest.  Don't just eat junk food the entire weekend.

Can't stress enough this. Hell I usually shower twice a day during the con. It's hot, you sweat quite a bit. 

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Posted by trace_sl

The biggest reason for Con Crud is wearing yourself out.  You are walking a lot, sweating, not eating balanced meals and not hydrating.  Last year, when it was all said and done I had walked about 15 miles a day, I know of people that did a lot more walking than I.  You are burning calories and if you don't watch out, you will get the crud. 

So, take some time to rest and drink plenty of water or Gatorade, do not think coke is hydrating you, it is not.    

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Posted by motownchic82

Thank you. I have been trying to figure out if there were water bottle filling stations or not at the convention center. You have answered my question for this newbie before I posted asking. 

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Posted by jhs

16) Know Thyself.  If I tried to have the same con this year I did 15 years ago it would be a disaster.  Nice to haves then (sleep, food that isn’t fried, liquids not containing beer) are now must haves. Don’t burn out day 1.

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

Liquids not containing beer?  Heresy

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Posted by garhkal jhs

jhs wrote:
16) Know Thyself.  If I tried to have the same con this year I did 15 years ago it would be a disaster.  Nice to haves then (sleep, food that isn’t fried, liquids not containing beer) are now must haves. Don’t burn out day 1.

Good point.  As a younger adult i could routinely stay awake 16+ hrs, gaming.  These days, as a 40 something, its a lot harder, even to go 12 hrs, let alone 16!

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Posted by del_grande

17.  Take the times of your events into account when planning lunch and dinner.  You don't want to get somewhere only to realize that there's no way you're going to get to the front of the line, order, get your food, and be able to get to your next event in time.

18.  No, you don't "have to" be in the exhibit hall at 10 AM on Thursday.  The world will not end if you don't get a copy of X-Wing 2.0 that, let's face it, you were going to sell immediately on eBay anyway.  They do not come with special coupons that, as a reward, give all of your pilots The Force, or with some "con exclusive" version of the Millennium Falcon.
Now, 10:15, that's another matter entirely - things do sell out on the first day...
 

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Posted by danielscooby

Great tips!

Any special tips for a foreign?

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Posted by quarex

How foreign are we talking here?  :)

I might recommend overall watching Nelly's most recent Beginner's Guide video, since she was once a foreign attendee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVZJ2NiCan8

The most interesting thing I learned from her videos over the years that I never would have thought of to warn foreign guests is that apparently, as she explains here: https://youtu.be/kwpfrXb4Dh8?t=336 she had no idea the hotel would charge the whole bill up-front, as they had planned to take out money from ATMs every day to have enough dollars to pay the bill by the end.  I guess this is also a "low credit-card limit" problem in addition to an "unexpected hotel behavior" problem.

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

Actually, the hotels, at least those in the housing block, charge your CC for one night in mid-July, then the rest of the stay after it ends.

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