rong wrote: buffythecatslayer wrote:
There are also lots of games they can play in the dealer hall that don't require a full badge.
All games & demos in the dealer hall are free. Whether they are age-appropriate is a different issue.The problem the OP has is with ticketed events outside the dealer hall.
The OP stated they have never been to Gen Con. I was pointing out there are things to do with wristband attendees that do not require tickets. Something someone who hasn't been to Gen Con might not know.
Thanks for the advice. Also, the advice to reach out to the Catan Jr. event organizers directly. I didn't think to do that and it is a great tip. I had considered buying a ticket for Catan Jr. for myself, for example, and then just subbing in my son. But it doesn't feel that great to have to go outside of the lines. Probably I will email the event organizers and get their unofficial OK that it would be fine to do that.My OP is meant as constructive feedback for the GenCon organizers to hear about my experience up front. I certainly appreciate that they are trying to make the event financially accessible for families including KID activities for 6-12 crowd without a full event pass. But my experience with event sign-up has prepped me for an experience of a less-than-full attendee where I will be questioned/prevented from doing things with my son, even if age appropriate. I hope that isn't the case, of course, I just don't know what to expect after being repeatedly told I cannot sign up for X because he doesn't have an event pass.
All non KID events need a badge to participate. If you are in an event in a space where anyone can enter without a ticket such as the event hall then the child with a wristband can accompany you and watch but not participate. If you want the child to participate in a non-KID event then they will need a badge for the day that event takes place.
The age appropriate category for an event is just an indicator of what the game organizer wants the age of their players to be. Sometimes the content is not appropriate for kids and sometimes organizers want their attendees to just be a certain age to participate. If it is not a KID event it lets you know that it is an appropriate event for a child with a badge.
The wristband allows you entry to the exhibit hall and all other open spaces at the convention such as the event hall and all public areas at the convention as well as all KID events.
Customer Service & Event Team Manager
Gen Con LLC
This year is my first time bringing my kids, and (once I eventually grokked when faced with error after error trying to sign up for events that "KIDS" is an separate event category rather than simply being an all-ages or age-capped regular event) something that has struck me about the KIDS events:
They are ALL age-capped at 12, having the unintended consequence of making it impossible to play a ticketed game together with your children without getting full badges for everyone. Opting-into the KIDS track effectively prevents parents and their children from participating side-by-side.
A parent is thus faced with the bad options of being reduced to spectator while the kids are doing their thing (as these events are not drop-off/child-care things) or having to multiply their badge expenditures to cover the children for the privilege being able to co-participate in all-ages events.
While the free-wristbands/KIDS thing is no doubt well intended, this is something of a critical flaw. Frankly, I don't need to truck my daughters across two states and pay for the privilege of watching them do a craft or play a game. What I was hoping for was to be able to be a player alongside with my girls, rather than Dad always being the GM. That is an opportunity that an event like this could provide, but as implemented is only possible if you're paying full fare for everyone. I respect that GenCon needs to avoid having free kids push full-price attendees out of seats, but this approach is short-circuiting participation as a family.
If all these dynamics were clear up-front, I might have budgeted for at least one day of full-badge for the kids (I probably have enough set aside to badge them on Sunday if I tighten up our shopping and meal expenses). However, there is no reference to any of this on the "Get A Badge" page where the wristbands are described. All it says there is "Children ages 10 and under are free but must be accompanied by a Parent or Guardian with a valid Gen Con badge."
The "Policies and Show Info" and "ToS" docs don't acknowledge kids with wristbands being able to register for any ticketed events, and where the FAQ does talk about it, it doesn't make clear that a "KID" event is not simply an all-ages or youth-aged event. The mention in the FAQ certainly gives no indication that no ticketed events are open to both banded children and their badged parents.
I can accept that my ignorance is ultimately my responsibility, as is my vacation budget, but for everyone's benefit - there should be a brief summary and a link to a more detailed explanation on the Get a Badge page. It is currently misleading, and none of the current policy/ToS/FAQ docs fully or accurately describe the situation as it currently stands.
WRT the KIDS events themselves, they're heavy on crafts and light on games. More troubling is that there are things like the Shake-Ups concert (minimum age 6+) that require full badges. I can't imagine that anyone intended to exclude banded children from attending that show, but as as of this writing they've only sold 29/350 available tickets. This dynamic is not really serving any of the involved parties here.
I don't doubt that we're going to have a good time and that the girls will have an amazing experience, but it will be less great than it could have been had these dynamics been better communicated or implemented with fewer unintended consequences.