If I would like to be one of the first to enter the hall, what time do lines start to form?
There is not a line per se. There's the main doors, and they open at the same time; you can't really guarantee to be the first in, but if you want to be one of the first in, probably get there around 8am or so.
Gen Con LLC
Get on the YouTubes and witness what happens at 10 AM Thursday. See what you're letting yourself in for if you want to be in the scrum. If you're down for it, it's quite the experience.
I get to the Hall doors around 6:30 am.
Contrary to what they say over the PA, I run as fast as possible and knock people on their collective asses so I can pay full MSRP for a game that comes out 2-3 months later.
I would say do not get in line...I always schedule an event at 10:00 AM on Thursday because I cannot stand the crowd...
Line,line, bwahahahaha. Mob maybe. I've been going for over 20 years and the mob gets worse. There is really nothing I want so bad anymore that I am willing to brave the mob. I just get to the second floor to watch the show and about 5 minutes after the doors open its clear and you can stroll on in. Now if you desperately need a particular game or want to be one of the first at a demo then get there early and take the chance. But really you can demo all the games you want at the publishers demo rooms on the second floor or wait till later in the afternoon or even Friday.
The Running of The Bulls on Thursday morning is so ridiculous. Skip it. Enjoy the Con - get the game a few months later and after more actual reviews have been published and you can make a better decision about whether the game is any good or not. Your life isn’t going to improve in any meaningful way by being “first” into the hall.
*shrug* I guess some people just like standing in lines.
Go for it if you like crowds and people jockying for position and then hauling it to get first inline at a booth for some game thiny or another.
Gen Con is a finite event. Why would you want to waste two hours standing outside the doors to the exhibit hall when you could be gaming? Be more efficient than that. There is almost nothing that requires you to be first in the room
How far back does the crowd extend? Does it fill the sidewalk near Georgia St on the one end, and block the entrance to Hall D on the other end?
I usually play something from 8-noon and walk right in then. Only did The Mob one year, wasn’t worth it.
I left, sat down, drank some water, and came back after lunch and everything was fine, we still got most of the games we wanted and had space/time to discover some new things.
This year, I'm going to eat some bacon and wait a couple hours.
I would recommend not. I sometimes watch from the upper hallway as the mob streams in and about five minutes later after they have all gone in sander in. There is nothing to be gained by being the 1st in trust me.
If you have never done the mob... I encourage you to do it at least one time. After you have done it once, then watch from the upper balcony or just go and play some games. The Vendor Hall will be there the entire con. They don't really start breaking it down until after it closes on Sunday. But trying to be the first in?? Good luck with that!
I'd say 8am minimum, however, being first in is not terribly exciting if I'm being honest.
Skipping a line for a convention exclusive is the only reason I would recommend it. Most other things are either available in stores either now or very soon or sold online (PP, Malifaux, Paizo, etc. offer con exclusives online as well).
Two years ago, 8 am had me back in the crowd a good 30 feet from the front lines. It was already so crowded that there wasn't room to sit down. I don't know when the first people got there, probably the night before. Put yourself in the mindset of crazy Black Friday shoppers and you're not far off.
I've been near the front of the mob before. Got there around 7:30AM. Maybe 10 people "ahead" of me at my gate. However, I took a wrong turn in the hall because I didn't know which way the line for a booth went, and ended up missing out that day. (HPHB - USAOPOLY)
Point is, even if you are near or at the front, things can still happen.
As most people said, just watch from above and easily walk in 5 minutes later.
See, here is the problem. People queue up for a couple hours, fight the crowd, pay full retail to get a game a week before other do -- and then it turns out you now own a game like SeaFall. The only thing missing is the sound effect of a sad trombone.