GenCon is overrated and a nightmare for actually gaming
2
2
Normal
Small
Posted by garhkal kidlidar

mbroadwater wrote:
I used to go to DragonCon all the time. You might not have seen people running into others and being rude, but I saw it all. The. Time. So many drunks not watching where they are going.
Gencon security was done through the ICC. D*C has no central convention center so has to have cops. Gencon (and DragonCon, for that matter) are both quite safe.

On the bumping to people issue, from all i've seen/experienced, that's generally a thing you will get in large crowds..  Add to that, i've seen a down trend on people being Apologetic, when bumping into/running over folk over the past 15 years.. 
And on the security angle, i've never felt unsafe in Gencon..  Maybe that's just me though.
kidlidar wrote:Gen con charges $1.00 per hr per player, so that if you run a 4 hr event, you have to charge $4.  As a gamemaster, you have the option to add more money onto the ticket price (mine are $10.00, and it costs me about $6 in materials per player).Security:  I actually agree with you.  I'm a police officer w/24 years experience.  The only police available at gen con are outside on a traffic direction detail and are actually paid by the ICC. (I checked)  Any active shooter situation would end really bad.

That's not just a Gencon thing.. It also occurs at Origins, where you not only pay for your badge, but tickets to individual events..  However, a # of other cons i've been to (charcon, marcon, fire and ice, verncon) you only pay for the badge, not individual tickets..  However, none of those other cons, come anywhere close to the 40+ thousand gencon and origins gets..

 

Normal
Small
Posted by mjdomask

Quick post in support of for-pay tickets.

My guess is that the OP doesn't really want *all* events free. Otherwise, each badge would have to subsidize *all* events, including pricey things like True Dungeon, escape rooms, and crafting events with material costs. Plus figure out a way to dole out access to those subsidized resources.

Instead, the sticking point is probably the $1/hour base cost for events. Which I understand seems petty, but I like it. It discourages booking your entire weekend with events you never plan to attend "just in case". Obviously it doesn't stop no-shows, but I can imagine a higher rate without the marginal cost.

Honestly, event tickets are one of my favorite things about Gen Con. I show up at the scheduled time and know I have a slot. This isn't PAX with a FCFS philosophy and 3+ hour lines for D&D adventure league.

 

Normal
Small
Posted by rayken

GenCon is an incredibly polished and well run convention. No city has the infrastructure in a small downtown area centralized around a convention center to suddenly support 60,000+ people showing up. Not New York, Chicago, Orlando, or San Diego. They're all a mess with massive events like this.

And I can't believe we have people advocating for a ton of armed cops in a convention center because someone may shoot everyone.

I elect to be shot rather than be escorted by armed guards in public facilities so just get behind me. If I can't live fear-free, even at a nerd convention, I will just not live.

Normal
Small
Posted by skilletaudio

If you acknowledge that you you're likely perfectly safe, but you just wish you saw more police to feel better, thats more about you than about the con.

I think the feedback about special accommodations and service is very relevant and worthwhile, and I think it was pretty obvious. Sunday morning, lots of parents were waiting in the service line with ornary kids to get wristbands, and I feel like they shouldnt have had to wait behind us folks who were returning generic tickets. Every couple minutes a few lucky ones would get told they could go to the special services line, and the ones who got in the CS line were like "well, I guess we're screwed and we'll just wait then....".

On the matter of pay tickets: if the alternative is a giant scrum of people trying to get in line for things, then I'll never go. I pay for tickets so that I know what my con experient will be. You're welcome to pay for the badge and wander 4-deep through the dealer hall for demos if you want to.

 

Normal
Small
Posted by kidlidar rayken

rayken wrote:
GenCon is an incredibly polished and well run convention. No city has the infrastructure in a small downtown area centralized around a convention center to suddenly support 60,000+ people showing up. Not New York, Chicago, Orlando, or San Diego. They're all a mess with massive events like this.
And I can't believe we have people advocating for a ton of armed cops in a convention center because someone may shoot everyone.
I elect to be shot rather than be escorted by armed guards in public facilities so just get behind me. If I can't live fear-free, even at a nerd convention, I will just not live.
I was not advocating for "a ton of armed guards"  I was simply saying that their security is not properly equipped for an active shooter situation.  I have been a cop for 24 years and I was stating an educated opinion.  Doing a good job at security is HARD because it's BORING.  Keeping that level of alertness for a long time is very hard.  (I've had to do it before, guarding the presidential motorcade).  The police outside were there to direct traffic, not to augment ICC's security.  I saw security more concerned with keeping lines moving, checking badges, eating, making phone calls, and taking pictures of cosplayers than looking for suspicious packages, people, etc.  

A way they could improve security without making it obvious would be to have a "response team" of police that could get to a trouble area from a central location like the security office when called by the regular security.  To be honest, this may have already been in place and we didn't know about it because there were no incidents that they were needed.  We use a similar system for street festivals in the department I work for.  One of these routinely has 150,00 + people attending in one day. 

Normal
Small
Posted by ryanjamison kidlidar

kidliar, keep in mind that GenCon isn't even the largest convention in Indianapolis, a sporting event and convention city. None of the conventions are actually the largest event in Indianpolis. Every Sunday during the NFL season they have more than the entire attendance of GenCon descending on Lucas Oil Stadium (70,000 person capacity). And let's not forget that none of these are the largest single-day event in Indianpolis. The Indy Motor Speedway's capacity is 400,000. There are 80,000 people at Carb Day alone.

Indy is prepared for large events. GenCon simply isn't, in the grand scheme of Indy, an event that needs a massive amount of visible security. Indy police constantly tell us that it's by far the most well-behaved and easy to manage event the city has on an annual basis.

Normal
Small
Posted by mjdomask

If people are honestly worried about security, it'll require a fairly major change to the fundamental nature of the convention. Right now, anyone can walk in with arbitrarily large bags, boxes, opaque totes, wheeled carts, etc. 

The special services line thing seems like a distinct area for improvement, though. Perhaps dedicate a small room with adequately spaced seating, then use deli counter numbers and sign board to call people up? 

Normal
Small
Posted by lordnlkon

I think Gencon is pretty awesome and get to play a ton of games I wouldn't get to play at home. So, everyone's mileage may vary. 

Normal
Small
Posted by grtbrt

As a reminder - Look how much people complained when Lucas Oil was not allowing people to enter with food and drink . Now imagine the response if the heightened security was doing "normal" entry point security  and not allowing  backpacks ,bags ,etc … not a lot of happy Gen-Con goers.

Then you add in who is going to pay for that additional security - will "you" be happy with a( estimated ) $50.00  badge increase ?

A significant amount of the L.E presence was performed by Park rangers, special deputies who are a lot cheaper than others . 

Kidlidar: As a LE you will be aware that  the presence of armed LE does not deter a determined shooter -it does move the incident start point and sometimes changes the response time in a positive manner and actually increases the chances of LE casualties  ( at least according to the FBI, Secret Service and NSA studies as well as the private studies done by think tanks committees  -though admittedly the pre 2015 studies do  not really address that issue )

Normal
Small
Posted by armadilloal traveller

EDIT: Not sure that the point I responded to was ever actually made in the thread, so I humbly remove my comment.

Normal
Small
Posted by kidlidar

Grtbrt, you are right in that a determined shooter will not be deterred by the additional presence of LE personnel.  Someone like that usually expects to die in the attempt and tries to do as much damage as possible before they are taken out.  Like I said in my earlier post, I was not advocating for an armed police officer on every intersection, simply for security that was going to watch and not eat, take pictures, talk on their phone, etc.  The "response team" concept is one my department uses all the time for large 50 K + events.

Also, a recent study by the Force Science institute (2017) shows that a more visible LE presence at large events can deter actors (shooters) except the most determined, as you mentioned.

And no, I don't want typical entry point security (bag searches, etc) either.  I know that will raise costs.  Our department usually eats the cost when we have large events - I honestly don't know if Indy does the same.

Normal
Small
Posted by mikeboozer mjdomask

mjdomask wrote: The special services line thing seems like a distinct area for improvement, though. Perhaps dedicate a small room with adequately spaced seating, then use deli counter numbers and sign board to call people up? 

Thanks for this. I agree that there needs to be an improvement here.

Mike Boozer
Customer Service & Event Team Manager
Gen Con LLC

Normal
Small
Posted by monkeyknifefight

I actually like ticketed events. However gaming at GenCon is not as easy as smaller conventions. I attend only every 3 years or so, but scheduling events can be a nightmare as well due to the demand. If all you want to do is open gaming GenCon would not be my choice for a con. Its a lot of extra money for open gaming. The main draw for me is shopping and scheduled events for brand new games that are taught by the companies releasing them.

Normal
Small
Posted by dragongears lord thrifty the cromulent

mstabosz wrote:
braewe wrote:
The line on wednesday went very quickly and efficiently, not sure what happened on Thursday, BUT I can tell you the lines for Youmacon, at least, make even thursday pale by comparison.
I took a video of the line late Thursday morning: https://youtu.be/XycS3Gyq4boFor any who are curious. 

And I took this picture at 6:30 am on Thursday morning:

Normal
Small
Posted by cerealkiller195

I never have a problem with the will call line I go around 2-3am on Wednesday and never waited for more than a handful of mins.

Normal
Small
Posted by dranthor

As far as disability services go I know that the volunteers were going through the line and those with disabilities were told to come up to the disability line which was never very long even during will call times.  I had noi issues and don't see that they are not helping the disabled.

Normal
Small
Posted by bobvilla

I got in at 6pm on Wednesday and the will call line was out the door and down the street. I went looking around and up to my room for a couple of hours came back and the line was half the size, still fairly long but no longer out the door. Still it only took about 30 minutes wait time. My friend was delayed and didn't get in till 10pm and hadn't been to Gencon in 12 years so I showed him around and we noticed the will call line was almost nonexistent.

 As for the cost of events, there were tons of board games that were free if you got a ticket in advance. I spent quite a bit of time in the CGE room on the second floor playing 'demos' of games that were either one hour true demo's or two hour full games all free. Most of the other company game rooms on the second floor were never full so it was easy to get into games even with a friend some cost a generic some were free(still needed a ticket but it cost zero and you could get one at the kiosk near the event lines) at least one they invited someone to play without ticket just for the player count. I've told many a friend who balks at the expense of Gencon you can quite literally not spend a cent beyond your badge and still find a ton of stuff to do every year(yes I know room and board but thats not what were talking about). Heck I've known people who basically just play demos in the dealer hall for the bulk of the convention then wander around later in the evenings playing in pickup games in hotel lobbies and some of the exhibit halls later in the evening when they are emptier and no one minds you playing at that out of the way table not in use. Everyone has the latest hotness from the dealer hall and just want to play it, look around and see if you can join worst case they say no best case you might make a new friend and play the latest hotness.

EDIT: I nearly forgot the First Exposure Playtest hall, they almost always want players and it costs nothing. I didn't make it this year but my friend who was overwhelmed by the increase in the last 12 years only signed up for a couple of events. I told him about the Playtest hall and he had a blast playing in the room.

Normal
Small
Posted by irontk

Luckily there are tons of convention options now if you feel Gen Con isn't for you 

Normal
Small
Posted by matthias9 irontk

irontk wrote:
Luckily there are tons of convention options now if you feel Gen Con isn't for you 

Yep.  Pretty much this right here.  Every Con is different.  Do what works for you.

I don't use Special Services, so I cannot comment on that situation.  But, other than that, I disagree with the original poster on literally every single other point.

1. Will Call.    I do Will Call, rather than mail.  And, worse yet, I go there when I get to town -- which might be the worst possible time (late afternoon Wednesday).  I timed it this year, since the line was long.  It was 34 minutes.  Longer than I have waited in recent memory, but pretty tolerable considering it was the probably about as bad as it ever got.  Will Call is open 24 hours.  If this is important to you, it's easy to avoid a line.

3. Gaming - You comment on the library in the open gaming area, but that's trivial compared to the demos, events and more everywhere else.  Simply put, there is nowhere you can go that has better gaming opportunities.  Certainly not DragonCon.  If this is actually what is important to you, I don't know why you'd trade Gen Con for DragonCon.

4. TICKETS!!! -- your complaint here seems to be having to pay for event tickets after already paying $110.  I reject your idea that this is too costly compared to other Cons.  Try going to San Diego Comic Con and then check back with me.  Most events are cheap.  And costly events like True Dungeon or an Escape Room?  Well, you can't really expect to get into those for no extra charge.

5. Hotels - Not even sure what you expect here.  There are 60,000 people in town.  I can tell you that Gen Con blew up Milwaukee when it was there, and there were fewer than half as many people going to the Con at that time.

6. Rude - Gen Con has 60,000+ people.  It has rude people and polite people - like any other group that large.  I think gamers tend to be better about this than the average person.  I certainly don't think the crowd is any different than any other game convention.

7. Safety - I have no idea what the problem is here.  I've been going for 33 years.  I've never had a problem.  I've never SEEN a problem. 

8. Staff - I think the staff do a great job.  Again, I'm on 33 years without a problem.
 

Normal
Small
Posted by irontk matthias9

matthias9 wrote:
irontk wrote:
Luckily there are tons of convention options now if you feel Gen Con isn't for you 

Yep.  Pretty much this right here.  Every Con is different.  Do what works for you.I don't use Special Services, so I cannot comment on that situation.  But, other than that, I disagree with the original poster on literally every single other point.
1. Will Call.    I do Will Call, rather than mail.  And, worse yet, I go there when I get to town -- which might be the worst possible time (late afternoon Wednesday).  I timed it this year, since the line was long.  It was 34 minutes.  Longer than I have waited in recent memory, but pretty tolerable considering it was the probably about as bad as it ever got.  Will Call is open 24 hours.  If this is important to you, it's easy to avoid a line.
3. Gaming - You comment on the library in the open gaming area, but that's trivial compared to the demos, events and more everywhere else.  Simply put, there is nowhere you can go that has better gaming opportunities.  Certainly not DragonCon.  If this is actually what is important to you, I don't know why you'd trade Gen Con for DragonCon.
4. TICKETS!!! -- your complaint here seems to be having to pay for event tickets after already paying $110.  I reject your idea that this is too costly compared to other Cons.  Try going to San Diego Comic Con and then check back with me.  Most events are cheap.  And costly events like True Dungeon or an Escape Room?  Well, you can't really expect to get into those for no extra charge.
5. Hotels - Not even sure what you expect here.  There are 60,000 people in town.  I can tell you that Gen Con blew up Milwaukee when it was there, and there were fewer than half as many people going to the Con at that time.
6. Rude - Gen Con has 60,000+ people.  It has rude people and polite people - like any other group that large.  I think gamers tend to be better about this than the average person.  I certainly don't think the crowd is any different than any other game convention.
7. Safety - I have no idea what the problem is here.  I've been going for 33 years.  I've never had a problem.  I've never SEEN a problem. 
8. Staff - I think the staff do a great job.  Again, I'm on 33 years without a problem.
awesome post and I agree with everything you've said here. 

for a comparison, I'm going to Star Wars Celebration this year at the McCormick center.
The full con badge is 250.
I don't have to pay for events so that's the sort of price you should expect with free events.  

every downtown hotel within MILES sold out.  
miles. 
sold out. 
not staying for slightly higher prices at the airport. 
plus you can get those rooms for regular price outside of the block. 

and they are expecting around 40k people 

as for safety concerns... This year was the only year I've ever heard of something violent happening in now 21 years of attending. 
and it wasn't something random....if it happened at all. 

Sign in to write a new post. New Post
2
2