The Good - I got to play games with cool people that I never would have met before, just like previous GenCons. There were some interesting demos, fun game play via beta apps (Code Names), Roll 20 (RPG's) and Tabletop Simulator (many board games). That GenCon organizers whipped all of this up in a few short months was nothing short of amazing and I can't thank them enough for all of their hard work! Thanks also to the GMs and companies that organized some pretty cool virtual games.
The Bad - I really really missed the fun of discovery. For me, the best part of GenCon every year is finding some small game, accessory maker, artist etc that I never would have found without browsing the hall. I missed seeing all of the amazing costumes, and meeting random folks in the bars and restaurants and hotel lobbies around Indianapolis.
The Ugly - Nothing. I can honestly say that all my experiences this year were great. Of course, I only ran into about 20 new people rather than 70000 ...
The Good - I demoed/ran games all weekend long including the D&D Monster Mash, DC deckbuilding cube, Harry Potter Battle at Hogwarts and Valley of the Kings. I got a LOT of experience putting the Mash together. I chatted with a game company over Zoom about a game I designed. I got kudos from lots of players. After telling the designer of Valley, I'm helping him test play the next expansion. I spent some money but not what I'd normally spend. Then I found out one of my favorite artists has a goFundMe page for her cancer treatment so I was able to donate $100 without batting an eye (I normally would have spent that much in the consignment room alone.) And the Harry Potter D&D 5e game "X years after Voldermort". I often wondered why it was sold out and why it was $10 for a four hour session. Now I know and highly recommend it!
The Bad - People trying to install TTS right when your game was starting. People who didn't realize you needed to install TTS. NOT HAVING A TTS 101 CLASS! (Sorry for the caps but there was a virtual board game convention a month ago and someone who attended told me that the weekend started off with a TTS 101 class. He showed me so much stuff that I've already forgetten half of it." Not enough sales from companies. I have mad money burning a hole in my pocket. Like the above post, no discovery from walking around and finding some company selling off something that I've always wanted. Finding out that "10 players" on TTS means 9 players and a GM.
The Ugly - Not being able to go to Indy. No favorite bar (Basey's). No Trade Day. No Wednesday night trip to the Dave & Busters. No costume parade. No Math Trade (which I help run). The missing of of all the little things that make Gen Con a great vacation. (The video games in the hall, the costumes, the events that you really can't do online like Who's Line Is It Anyway?)
The Good - first off, the fact that things like GenCon Online (or, as I like to call it, GenConline) even exist. I mainly go for the seminars and company announcements, and am glad to see that these still happened somewhere this year where I could access them.
The Bad - the lack of a proper dealers area. There's just something about wandering around the hall and finding something that either you didn't realize had been reprinted or just jumps out at you and shouts, "Buy Me!". Also, the Looking Glass could have been organized better; I would have preferred something along the lines of a Virtual Exhibit Hall Map.
The Ugly - too many different systems. I had some on Zoom, others on Discord, and still others on Facebook Live - and some of them switched at pretty much the last minute when they had problems with their originally chosen system.
The Good - Great GM's and players in our events. Actually playing the RPG adventures online were nearly as good as sitting at a table and majority of the experience translated. I miss the dice rolling and being together, but the tools like being able to past text and streamline with digital tools were a plus. Players were polite and engaging, great to see people connecting via game even in a pandemic.
The Bad - Hard to get late folks added to a game and while the issue ticket functionality worked, hard to get a game going and do all that digital admin on the side. New tools to help manage pending requests / wish lists / newly opened tickets on a game would be amazing. What if when a ticket opened up someone who had that game on a wish list got a notification? Seems doable and much more streamlined then checking. Hoping that capability is on a list somewhere.
The Ugly - Not much really.
The Good - Playing some cool new games (my favorite was Looters of the Labyrinth) and discovering the platforms for online board games. The technology held up very well. Channel surfing through Twitch and ending up on entertainment events or the BGG stream which I wouldn't have committed to in person.
The bad - A game heavily reliant on drawing that was poorly adapted to tabletopia. Not being able to match voices to players.
The ugly - Looking Glass
The Good: RPGs actually work and are loads of fun online. Played some DDAL and Cthulhu and had a blast. Roll20 for the visual aids worked great and everyone had an awesome time. “Four hours to Reno” was my favorite Cthulhu run. Some scenes were really hilarious, some frightening and played out very well. Very close to playing in person. Shout out to Morgan our GM.
Also, saved tons of money which I was planning to spend on a hotel, impulse purchase of games, food and beverages and more. Look out 2021, that money is being saved for a really good time next year. :)
The Bad: Not really bad, but I still missed rolling real dice, wandering the “Great Dealer Hall of Everlasting Fun” and the personal interactions with in person people. It was close, and it scratched an itch, but not quite as fulfilling.
The Ugly: Not really ugly either, but a few games did end early. The system will not allow you to book anything during that now free time slot and filling the open time was done by snacking, laundry, house cleanup or some other mundane tasks you saw were waiting for you or ignoring it and surfing Twitch channels. This is far different than being on vacation in Indy were the full focus is on gaming and random roaming around the dealer hall or bumping into that game you never heard of.
Can’t wait for next year in Indy...
Good: Gen Con tried their very best to make the best of a shitty last minute situation
Bad: No Gen Con 2020
Ugly: CENSORED COVID 19
Good: I played some games.
Bad: Online is not as fun.
Ugly: Feedback from the speakers - worse than nails on a chalkboard...
Good: Honestly the Exhibition Hall was about as fun as I can imagine it easily being; it reminded me of Web 1.0 imagemap navigation (in a good way), and honestly I felt like it did a decent job recreating the experience of accidentally encountering weird nerdy stuff you never pay attention to just by showing you so many logos and company names in one place and such. Also good: bumping old threads
Bad/Ugly: ADHD + virtual gaming = no gaming, haha. Then again, I have probably only averaged playing about 0.5 games per Gen-Con in the last decade anyway, so that in itself was not too different. I sure hope we have a national response to COVID-19 by Gen-Con 2021!