My first GenCon!
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Posted by desade

Hi guys!

This is going to me my first year going to GenCon (or any gaming convention actually!)

Is there anything that happens every year that I shouldn't miss? Or something happening this year that's going to be super awesome? (aside from the con itself, duh) We are arriving Thursday and leaving whenever on Sunday.

I'm sort of new to the world of tabletop games, and a total newb with LARPing. I'm pretty open to trying anything. TrueDungeon looks neat and the group of friends I'm going with said it was awesome in years past, but it looks more like one of those escape rooms than a larp. I also just got back into the world of Pokemon Go! I see chatter here that there is a Discord group, and I'd love to join it. :)

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Posted by aaronmlopez

First off... there is way too much happening at Gen Con to do everything. With this being your first gaming convention, My advice would be to take it slow. Get some generic tickets and don't plan on doing any events the first day until after the vendor hall shuts down at 6pm. The vendor hall can be overwhelming to someone who has never been to Gen Con and you can find yourself staying there all day which can make you miss scheduled events if they are going on while the hall is open. It's nice to be able to go wander in and out of the hall without having to rush to a game/event until after you have had time to drink it all in. Make sure you take a tour of all of the facilities. Check out the second floor of the convention center. Walk to Lucas Oil stadium. Go visit the connected hotels and Union Station. Check out the mall. Once you get an idea where everything is, you can know what kind of time you need to get back and forth. Also... make a note where food trucks and restrooms are. Expect them all to be crowded so give yourself extra time if you have to visit one of these. Finally, try as many things as you can. A lot of people go to Gen Con and only want to play one game and are miserable if they don't get in. Try something new. Ask questions of people playing if the game looks interesting. All in all, Gen Con attendees are a friendly bunch. Who knows, you may end up finding a new favorite game, make some new lasting friends, or discover that something you never considered before was actually fun and you have been missing out all these years!

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Posted by desade aaronmlopez

aaronmlopez wrote:
First off... there is way too much happening at Gen Con to do everything. With this being your first gaming convention, My advice would be to take it slow. Get some generic tickets and don't plan on doing any events the first day until after the vendor hall shuts down at 6pm. The vendor hall can be overwhelming to someone who has never been to Gen Con and you can find yourself staying there all day which can make you miss scheduled events if they are going on while the hall is open. It's nice to be able to go wander in and out of the hall without having to rush to a game/event until after you have had time to drink it all in. Make sure you take a tour of all of the facilities. Check out the second floor of the convention center. Walk to Lucas Oil stadium. Go visit the connected hotels and Union Station. Check out the mall. Once you get an idea where everything is, you can know what kind of time you need to get back and forth. Also... make a note where food trucks and restrooms are. Expect them all to be crowded so give yourself extra time if you have to visit one of these. Finally, try as many things as you can. A lot of people go to Gen Con and only want to play one game and are miserable if they don't get in. Try something new. Ask questions of people playing if the game looks interesting. All in all, Gen Con attendees are a friendly bunch. Who knows, you may end up finding a new favorite game, make some new lasting friends, or discover that something you never considered before was actually fun and you have been missing out all these years!

Thank you!

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Posted by microwench

Great advice aaromnmlopez! Meet people, try new things, don't try to do it all.

Don't overschedule yourself. Leave time for breaks, food, and wandering. You need time to breathe and eat, and you will want time to take in all the sights.

Wear comfy shoes. No flip flops! Sneakers that cover and support your feet (your feet will thank you, I promise!).

Make sure to eat and stay hydrated! It's hot in Indy in August. While the convention center is air conditioned, it can only keep up so well with thousands of people bustilng about and it gets hot inside too. Take it from my (stupid) experience, heat exhaustion is no fun. Drink plenty of water, maybe mix in a little Gatorate (or you preferred sports drink) if you want, but mostly just drink water. Get your coffee fix in the morning, then mainline the water. Take a break to rest and cool off if you need to. 

Take your meds if ya need 'em. Practice whatever self-care you need.

Most of all? Have fun! Welcome (in advance) to your first GenCon! Mine was 2012 and i was neverous and overwhelmed but holy crapola did I have a TON of fun and I've only missed 2 since then and now it's like coming home every August. I've met a bunch of new friends that are like family and it's crazy every year but it's always fun!
 

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Posted by alittleparrott

Last year was my first year.  I'll second what aaronmlopez said. The dealer hall is absolutely overwhelming, but so so so so so much fun.  You really could spend the entire con in the dealer hall. It is good to set aside at least 1 day to just be there.  My first event on the first day isn't until 8:00pm, and I plan to spend that entire day in the dealer hall, then go to this even and make myself sit still. haha. 

Water and snacks are super important.  You may have times where you're not near food or won't have a chance to eat for a while, so pack some kind of protein type snack in case you find yourself in that situation. 

Also seconding the "don't try to do everything" comment.  it's impossible.  But definitely make sure you're doing the things you want to do. 

If you're like me and just want all the games you can get your hands on, look into AEG's Big Game Night.  I think it's Friday night, if there are any tickets left. You get to play some new games from AEG, and they give you a box of games to take with you at the end.  Also, any event that has "win a box" in the title - you'll learn to play the game, play through, and if you win you get to keep the game.  

Overall, just take it all in and have fun!!  it's a really great con, the people are so friendly, and everyone is there out of sheer love for gaming. It's a great time. 

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Posted by raptorov

My first year was 2006. I had heard about it since back in the Dragon Magazine days. A buddy of mine asked me to go with him since his company wondered if perhaps they wanted to have a booth there. I thought it was a "trade show". Wow, was I amazed! 
Just enjoy it, the atmosphere, the people watching, the dealer hall and all the activities through town.

Also go watch the all night Werewolf people in the ICC. Its a blast to watch! Join in if you'd like, but its an experience!

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Posted by desade

Thanks everyone!

What are the all night Werewolf people?? Is it just a game of Werewolf?

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Posted by san_fan_49 desade

desade wrote:
Thanks everyone!
What are the all night Werewolf people?? Is it just a game of Werewolf?
Yes. You can walk the convention hall late at night and see many games, often large ones, of people playing werewolf.

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Posted by ar6474

Not so much what to see but what to bring.

Bring some snacks , water bottle ( plenty of places to fill it), battery charger for cell phones, and wear good shoes. We all carry a backpack so we have the essentials, some wipes in Ziploc ( it can get musty and it's nice to wipe down), bring your preferred pain med ( aspirin , Etc), and if you game don't forget your favorite dice. I also make sure to have a few pens and pencils with me. If you get a chill easily, bring a light sweater or jacket. 

Have a great time

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Posted by adamw

For food - there are food trucks each day but the lines will be long! Best to eat 'off hours'. Also, if you don't mind walking, walk out a few blocks from the convention center - lines are shorter and there are many good places to eat a few blocks away. The connected mall is also not a bad choice - pretty quick.

Take time to go into all the rooms! There are free play areas (like Rio Grande) that will teach you games. Peek into the miniatures and RPG areas! Watch the CCG tournaments! Play video games!

Don't forget to check out the auction! It's a good place to relax and the auctions are fun. You might find a good deal in the after auction area (discounted things that didn't sell).

There are movies! An entire room show 24x7 anime movies. 

There's a quiet room! You can relax in there with no sound at all - dim lights, great if you get overwhelmed.

Check out the open gaming area in Lucas Oil! Buy a game from the vendor hall, take it there to play.

And yes, the vendor hall. That's the center of everything - huge, amazing, loud, crowded. Overwhelming - but oh so fun. Careful with your money - it's easy to get caught up in spending.

And the costume parade! The cos-play contest! Also very fun.

I'm sure you'll be wowed and love it. Have fun!

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Posted by bayushijama

If you want a good LARP, with no previous experience, Heroes of Rokugan is great. This year's Political Interactive is CIT 10: Promise of Aid, and will be a lot of fun.
Great community, Roleplay samurai in a feudal Japan analogue, and if you have a green sticker (first time) they are very forgiving and understanding. Show up, pick a clan, grab a pre-made character, and work for your team figuring out what the other Clans want, what they are willing to trade, maybe play in a riddle contest or see the Emperor make a surprise appearance! Great costumes, but cosplay not required.    

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