I'm a first-timer. I'll be busy when event registration opens. If I don't register for events until later in the day, will I miss out?
Well yes and no. You will probably find a lot of what you want taken. I sign up on the dot-- and lots of the games we want are sold out. That said, events are continually being added so you can check even a week later and maybe get something you want. Also, last year, we were unlucky at event registration -- but very lucky just showing up at the games we wanted and we were able to use our generic tickets.
There's tons of stuff to do at Gencon - so you'll be fine in any case.
TD (True Dungeon) often sells out quickly at popular times. This year, if Paizo is rolling out Pathfinder 2.0, I’d expect those to go really fast. Any popular/new game will fill up quickly. Then, sometime later, they’ll often add more of events that sold out. Also, until June 16, people can cancel events easily, so a seat or two can open at any time.
I found the the best way to keep up with things was eventdb; every 6 hours the site downloads the full list of events, compares it to the last list, then creates a list of new & deleted events, and events that have had slots open.
Over the years, there have been events that we simply could not get into, or if there was a slot it was at a lousy time. We simply found something else to do.
It all depends on the event. More popular events fill up very quickly (TD, painting, new games, LCGs from Fantasy Flight) while others will sit with spots open until the end of registration.
Get some generic tickets. You can show up at any event, use a number of generics to cover the cost of the event and get a spot if one's available. Priority is always given to advanced ticket holders but people often don't show up for events.
If there's something you're just dying to get into, try to get on as soon as you can the day registration opens. You can add and drop events up until the end of preregistration. Any changes after that have to be done on site in August. Just FYI, when you drop an event the refund goes onto your account as system credit for future purchases. You have to email customer service to get a 'cash' refund and they charge a 5% for refunds.
Hope that helps!
The games that I run, Pathfinder, sell out in under 10 minutes usually.
Large events, like Paizo’s PFS, usually have openings, but they post a LOT of events.
Popular games like Call of Cthulhu and AD&D usually sell out quickly as there are very few of them.
New games, like when Starfinder first came out or this year with Pathfinder 2.0, will sell out quickly, too.
However, there is still always fun to be had and buy some generics and show up anyway. I usually let one or two into my games every year.
I would do everything you can possibly do, including having a friend or family member help you out. So much is sold out within the first few minutes.
With that said, I would also recommend buying generic tickets and showing up to the events you want to play. Our group does this and we typically get in to most of what we are looking to play.
When building your event wish list (you will have about two weeks), look for alternate times and dates for the event. This is best done by using a 3rd party database like http://gencon.eventdb.us/index.php (last year) that will submit to your wish list and add to a google calendar.
It is also a good idea to have a few backup, just in case you don't get what you want.
FYI - events are being added up to Gen Con.
I can't stress this enough. Gen Con, of all gaming conventions, is a great place to try out something new. I don't even try to rush and register. In the past, I've picked up event tickets for whatever was available for the time I had allotted. While a couple times I've been disappointed, other times I've been pleasantly surprised with a fun event I would have otherwise missed.
Of course, try to get into an even you've set your heart on, but also, don't ignore the chance to explore something new.
Anyway, whatever you end up doing, ENJOY your Gen Con!
Once the event list gets published (about 2 weeks before event reg opens), make 3 lists.
List 1 is top tier wants. Add these to wish list in top spots, include alternate times
List 2 is want to try. Add these further down, you may want alt times, may not.
List 3 is interesting, I might checked it out. I leave this one until after the first 2 are processed.
Note: last year I submitted right away but still didn't get into my #1 event. I checked the eventdb site 2-3 times per day for the changes. A slot opened up about a month later and I was able to scoop it up.
Just have your wish list prepopulated ahead of time assuming you can sneak in a couple of minutes phone use you can hit submit and check out with what ever events you get fairly rapidly. Then later when you can properly set a side a half hour or so round your schedule with events.
If there is no way that's possible I would still have you wish list set up and submit it asap. Any popular or low attendance cap events will be full but there are always new games and slots opening up just be persistent.
If you have person you trust with your Gen Con login, you can have your wish list ready, then just have them submit it when registration opens.
Also to note: While many events do sell out on day one of event registration, quite often, tickets are returned over the coming months, as people’s plans change. So, if an event you want is full, it won’t hurt to keep checking - a spot may open up.
Don't forget that you can show up at the event time with generics and take a vacant spot if one is open. My LARP usually sells out but there are always last minute changes and no shows. In fact, last year one of our best players used generics!
Also be aware, if you purchase tickets under a separate account (i.e. your spouse's) than your badge, you'll have to pay $10 for anything you purchase on each account. Alternatively you can both do Will Call or you can have one shipped and do Will call on the other. It gives you a better chance of getting what you want to submit under multiple accounts, but it can be a pain depending on your situation.
The easiest thing to do is make sure both accounts are cross-linked - that you are connected via Friends & Family and then:
The second approach is "blocking" - meaning that if your wishlist is processed ahead of the other friends/family members, then they can't register for things that occur at that same time. This is the way to go if you're group is larger than 2 and you all want in on the same event. In this case, you all cross-link via Friends and Family, you all agree on what events you are going after, and then you all attempt to buy tickets for every member in the group who is participating in that event. The first one into the queue will snatch 'em all up if they are available and then everyone else's schedule will be "blocked" at that time.
Whether you pick them up and swap 'em out at Will Call or pay the $10 to have your badge and tickets shipped to you is a completely separate discussion and, by the time you get to event registration, you've already made that decision when you purchased your badge.
Highly recommend Generics! Just because you don't make it into a game during Event Registration doesn't mean you're out - if you really want to play a game, show up early and talk to the GM about using a Generic. Happens all the time and is worth a shot.
The above applies to *paper tickets* - I don't have any experience working with digital tickets like the ones that are used with True Dungeon.