Gen Con starts for me tomorrow, I’m super excited about going back, I decided not to go last year and the lapse has made the excitement hardly bearable. This year I’ll be going with a local crew, the first time this has ever happened. There are around 5 of us locally going but one of those are meeting up with some other friends, so we could have somewhere between 8 and 10 people total. Those are great numbers for spinning off pick up games in the lobbies and hotel rooms.
Although I’d be just as happy putting up a post about how excited I am (I’m very excited, if you haven’t heard), I’m also using this to round up some of the events that I’ll be attending and some of the other things I look forward to… basically it’s a guide for myself to Gen Con. If you’re not a 1) total nerd and 2) Gen Con attendee, you can probably skip this post. This is more for those who might have an interest in seeing how other people organize their convention schedules. Hopefully it’ll be of some use to those of you who are still here, especially if you like the Writer’s Symposium events that occur at the con.
Wednesday I’ll get in around 10:45am with three others from my area on the same flight. The fifth comes in about half an hour later when we’ll hopefully be able to grab an Uber to take us downtown. I used to grab a shared ride limo with a company called Carey Indiana, but they shut down that program for some reason. Worst case scenario, we’ll have to take the Go Shuttle into town.
Wednesdays are unofficial days each year at the con, when I used to take part in the Gen Con Forums I would go to The Stink, which was a celebration for people who were forumites. Since I haven’t logged on in a couple years, I’ll probably skip it. The last one that I was at was okay, it’s always in the really cool Grand Hall of Union Station, beautiful to check out at the least.
For me, Wednesday will be a prep day and an anxiously awaiting the opening of the con. I’ll get some basic groceries from the new Marsh Supermarket that’s a short walk from where I’ll be staying at the JW Marriott. I usually get some fruit and some healthier snacks so that I don’t make myself sick eating bad food the whole time. There will be bad food, and plenty of beer, never fear, but you really do need to offset it with some better options. Also, water, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer and Emergen-C. Being in close proximity to so many people, it’s imperative to take the couple of precautions that will help prevent you from getting sick.
I’ll probably walk around just to see who I can run into, and of course, there will be games aplenty.
The first day of the con! I’ve only watched the opening ceremonies once before, but since my first event doesn’t happen until 10, I may watch from the balcony. If memory serves, they usually have some stuff going on around 9:45, right before they open the doors to the Dealer’s Hall.
At 10 I’ll head over to my first session with the Writer’s Symposium, a discussion that’s about 3 steps ahead of where I currently am: The Business of Writing: How to Talk About Your Book (SEM1577109). I still, three years later, need to figure out how to edit my book and feel good about the process. But, I figure it will happen at some point, and I’ll need to be armed with the tools to discuss it. The scenario has already popped on numerous occasions where I’ve not been able to explain what my book is about without getting into the nitty gritty details.
At 11, I’ll hook up with Brad Beaulieu, one of my favorite regulars at the Symposium for a discussion about The Structure of Scenes (WKS1578864). Brad is a really down to earth, practical dude that can talk succinctly about the nuts and bolts of writing. For that reason, I’m taking numerous workshops with him.
And at noon, I move on to my first game of the con, Civilization’s End 01: Welcome to the Jungle (RPG1576600). This is a 5th edition D&D jungle adventure. Not too much more info beyond that.
I’m free from 4–6, when I’ll probably be starving, so it’s off to the Ram to fill up on my fried food quota for the day and down a couple of high octane beers.
After that, it’s off to the last scheduled game of the night, The Cuban Missile Crisis Game: At the Brink: Havana Paranoia (RPG1575275) where we’ll get to see who flinches first in this historical recreation.
Friday starts early for me with a boardgame, Smash Up (BGM1570158), where from 9 to 11 I’ll be playing as a vampire, cyborg, dinosaur, pirate, robot and many other possible monster combos to defeat my opponents.
From 11 to 1 it’s more Writer’s Symposium, first with Rewrites and Second Drafts (SEM1577073), which as I said earlier, I desperately need the advice and probably a lot more than a simple pep talk on. It’s followed by another Brad Beaulieu workshop, Connective Tissue in Writing (WKS1578874), he’s talking about the things that tie a story together and make it feel more, well, connected. Foreshadowing, parallel threads, theme tone, etc.
Due to some issues where games I wanted to check out sold out more quickly than I was hoping, I’ve got a big gaping hole in my schedule from 1pm until 7pm. I’m actually happy to have this because it affords me the opportunity to wander aimlessly through the Dealer’s Hall and play some demo games to see what I might like to take home. If you want to play something during this time, hit me up on Twitter. At 7pm, I’m checking out the insane Two Rooms and a Boom (ZED1571283), where two roomfuls of people try to sneak a (no NSA, not real, it’s a game) bomb into their competitor’s room. This is a massive game with something like 90 people are involved. This is probably the event that I’m most looking forward to and really captures the ‘only at Gen Con’ spirit.
There’s a final game at 10pm that I’m a little iffy on, if I’m not already out and partying somewhere, I’ll make it but Camel Up (BGM1576203) was nominated for a bunch of awards and actually won the 2014 Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year.
Saturday is another big Writer’s Symposium day for me, I’m taking another business of writing workshop, Self-Publishing– Why it Works, Why it Doesn’t (SEM1578853). I’m always iffy on the self publishing thing and I feel like most of the noise around self pub is fairly positive spin, so it might be nice to hear a more balanced perspective. At 11am I’m going to Letters, Pitches & Synopsis (SEM1578854) to work on my chops when it comes to finally submitting that manuscript (some day).
From 1–2:30 I’ll be doing another 5th ed run, this time with Baldman Games, Harried in Hillsfar (RPGA1580252) with a bunch of the people that I came to the con with. Some of the guys brought their spouses, who are only marginally interested in gaming, so I thought this might be a good taste of what D&D is like for them.
From 3 – 5 I’m going way out in left field and learning how to create a Leather Hardbound Book (SPA1573121), because it seemed interesting and I was wondering how much work goes into making them. Voila, I’m going through the events catalogue and there it was!
Finally, my last event of the con is one more with Brad Beaulieu, The Big Idea (WKS1578857), which in one hour, he promises will be a crash course in generating and presenting ideas that have the highest likelihood of hooking an agent or editor. I can’t wait.
There’s always too much to do every time I go, and with attendance growing every year, it gets harder to even kind of keep track of what’s even available. I’ve heard that Chuck Wendig will be there, I’ll probably sit in for a while on the auction to see what relics from my childhood are going for nowadays. If I have the opportunity, I might even go over to Scotty’s, but the proximity of the Ram makes it an easier venture. Oh! And Georgia Street beer garden with Sun King and all of the food trucks!
Well wishes to all who are going and safe travels, see you in Indy!!!