Harry Potter D&D - Always a good time.
Inexpensive Escape Rooms - Just a good as the professional rooms, did three amateur and one professional.
D&D Mini trading - More dragons for my collection.
Math Trade - Ran as smoothly as that chaos can run.
Giant Galaxy Trucker - These are the games I go to cons for.
One of the Trade day events didn't have a host so I stepped in with a couple who run a game store.
Magic event ran without enough time to finish a single game as we were kicked out at midnight.
A game demo that started with "I've played this game once in 2019" by the demoer.
Unexplained $200 charge on my hotel bill.
Ugly: (WARNING: COVID RANT AHEAD)
My friend and coworker died on GenCon Friday from Covid. She was a poster child for the anti-vaxx community. She was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday and never recovered. (Ironically, I haven't seen her for several weeks as we have overlapping vacations. Working the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention kept me from being in contact with her and possibly getting Covid.)
I found out Friday when I looked at my phone and saw a text from a coworker that read "Hey, do you know how Tess died?" As this was the first I heard about it I started screaming and cursing like a madman as I walked down the streets of Indy. I'm actually surprised I wasn't stopped by the police or the like.
I skipped out on three events, did some non-GenCon shopping and crashed at my hotel with a pizza. Saturday and Sunday were busy days so I didn't think about her. I returned home too late to attend the funeral. I grew up catholic so I didn't realize some folks have funerals on Sunday.
Today, I packed up her personal belongings and took them to HR to be shipped to her husband. I'm mad and angry and crying because I feel like a bad friend who couldn't convince her to get the vaccine. But I'm getting better each day...
GenCon 2021 will forever be "the year my friend died during the convention".
I'm sorry your friend died and it will get better over time, keep remembering the good, the funny, the inside joke.
For those who are still trying to convince their friends/family/other, ask them "What would it take to convince you"
Unfortunately (well not for me, I don't like housekeeping in my room) Traveller is correct that full-service house keeping has not been available at most hotels in the US even after Covid restrictions were lifted. Honestly I think at this point it is primarily a staffing shortage rather than any "safety concerns". Many, many people were laid off and they are just not coming back to work very fast.
Speaking of Hotels, since Gencon 2022 is less than a year away, booking is open for August 4-7 2022 outside the block. Get em' while they're hot.
I'm not saying this is how you meant it, simply saying that on some level politics permeate our lives and spaces, and everything (including doing nothing and accepting the status quo) is a choice with political ramifications for someone.
Believe me, I'd love to see things get less heated, but I don't see that divide changing anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong.
One more "good" item is that after one event, I talked with a person that was alone (and somehow had a whole slice of pizza at the time, despite having no time to buy it after the event and the 2-hour length of the event --- why did they still have the entire, presumably cold slice?), and we talked gaming. I have no idea what this person's real life is like, and we didn't care at all about that. We laughed about some game topic. That type experience is worth the cost of the con.
Being at Gen Con.
Meeting artists and game designers (I met Christian Petersen of FFG and he was great).
Able to visit non-convention sites, like the Zoo and the park.
Tried some new restaurants.
Buying games I had never heard of. Found some cool new dice.
No True Dungeon. My wife and I were so disappointed.
So few vendors. It seemed like half the hall was blocked off and there were open spaces where others just didn't show up.
A lot less gaming. A lot fewer games to play. I miss seeing and playing Werewolf at 11 pm with a dozen other groups in the hall. I miss seeing RPGs starting after midnight.
I miss the rush of people, the crafts and ballroom dancing, the cosplay parade, and so much more that makes Gen Con different from local conventions.
Whatever you think of masks, I missed seeing the smiling faces at the Con and just people sitting along the wall of the ICC comparing stuff and just having fun. People seemed subdued. The crowd just wasn't the same.
If you were going to miss a Gen Con, this was the one. The wife said if it doesn't go back to normal, she doesn't want to go, and I agree.