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GenCon 2019

All discussions regarding Board, Card, and RPG Gaming, including industry discussion, that don't belong in one of the other gaming forums.

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Montag
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GenCon 2019

Post by Montag » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:25 pm

I'm doing the full deal this year and my brother is coming as well. I live on the south side of Indy and I am curious of the OO crew's plans.
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Blackhawk
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Blackhawk » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:46 pm

I really, really wanted to do the full deal again (I did the last two years, and it was one of the best times I've had), but an unexpected new pet and life expenses just made it impossible. I'll only be there for Sunday this year, sadly. I'm in-state, so the gas isn't much, and will be staying with some friends in town Saturday night. Net cost for Sunday for me will be about $30 including badge, gas, and food.
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YellowKing
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by YellowKing » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:13 pm

I'll be there Thursday - Sunday with my friend/co-worker Terry who I went with last year. Had so much fun there was no question about me coming back this year.

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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Blackhawk » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:30 pm

Luckily, I didn't know I was going until yesterday, so I didn't spend the last couple of months researching what the latest cool thing was or what would be there. Hopefully that means I can get by without having much money!

It also helps that I know I have a couple of games on the way via KS (Hostage Negotiator should be here this month.)
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YellowKing
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by YellowKing » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:55 pm

Blackhawk wrote:Luckily, I didn't know I was going until yesterday, so I didn't spend the last couple of months researching what the latest cool thing was or what would be there. Hopefully that means I can get by without having much money!
I'm actually going to try to not spend as much this year either. My game group is halfway through a Gloomhaven campaign that is likely going to take the rest of the year, which means our backlog has just been growing and growing. I also have the STREET MASTERS all-in coming in October.

This year we scheduled more actual game play time than anything - two sessions in the Hot Games Room and library passes Thurs-Sat. The goal is to play more, buy less. We'll see how it goes. :D

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Blackhawk
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Blackhawk » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:38 pm

Yep, and we just got the last of Sword & Sorcery in, plus Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. I have the wave 1 elements of Hostage Negotiator (which is the stuff already in print) this month, plus several sets of dice in August. I've also got several games in line to take a turn on the table.

My goals right now are to get remaining content for games that I already have rather than collecting a bunch of new games (although I wouldn't mind a good, quick solo game or two.) Since most of that was already released, it isn't something I'm too likely to get at GenCon unless I find it in the consignment room or the CSI scratch-and-dent shelf. Seeing that I'm coming on Sunday after it's all been picked over, the chances aren't great, and it's likely to be cheaper online than in the other booths. I'm not running any RPGs right now (I'm a player for a change), and already have what I need for the next one I do run (which will be Torg Eternity.) I could use some sci-fi miniatures, but I've actually found that GenCon is a terrible place to shop for miniatures.

I'll mostly be going for the experience and to check out some of the general board gaming/RPG accessories. Maybe a Star Realms mat, some organization options, that sort of thing.

That's not to say that, if I had a pile of cash, I wouldn't be getting a few games.
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Punisher
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Punisher » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:41 pm

As of right now unless something drastic happens, my wife and I will be going for the full deal. We have our tickets and a hotel reservation about 20 minutes away. Driving in from Jersey. Might start the drive Monday night after work and take our time getting there (it looks to be about a 11 hourish drive)
This is our first time going, but its been on my list of "must go at least once" things. (We hit another big one on my list last year when we went to Star Wars celebration for the first time.)
Does anyone know if the parking deal they have is worth it or am I likely to find cheap parking closer to the convention?

Any tips or things to look out for at the con? (I found out too late that there is a LOT of stuff you needed to pre-register for and pay extra for, so probably not going to be able to hit too many things. We are going to try to get into some of the free painting classes though and I did get free tickets to the Cosplay contest)
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Montag
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Montag » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:41 pm

Does the crew try to get together at some point? I have not done many events in the past. I think the BGG Hot Games Room is pretty awesome to get access to the newer games. I recommend trying to know the rules in advance for the games you want to look at.
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YellowKing
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by YellowKing » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:30 pm

Punisher wrote:This is our first time going, but its been on my list of "must go at least once" things. (We hit another big one on my list last year when we went to Star Wars celebration for the first time.)
Does anyone know if the parking deal they have is worth it or am I likely to find cheap parking closer to the convention?
You're going to love it, Punisher. Last year was my first year and we had a blast despite our trip getting off to a really bumpy start (our initial flight got cancelled, and by the time we got to Will Call the line was 4+ hours).

We used the parking deal last year and did it again this year. To me it was well worth it. From the lots its either a very short shuttle ride or a moderate to long walk, depending on whether you're hitting the arena or the convention center. I highly doubt you're going to find parking any closer, but I'll let some of the GenCon veterans confirm.

Avoid Will Call if at all possible. If you're planning on picking up your badge on Thursday, you may be in for missing half a day of convention waiting in line. That's what happened to us. They stay open late so you can pick it up Wednesday night if you're in town which is what I'd suggest to avoid the MASSIVE lines on Thursday. I paid the $10 to have it shipped and will NEVER make the mistake of Will Call again.

As for tips, I don't have a lot since I've only been the once, but I will suggest hitting the vendor hall hard on Thursday. That was by far the least crowded day and when we got the bulk of our hands-on time, publisher interaction, etc. Good shopping day too, as some publishers sell out quickly if it's a hot game. I suggest if you see it and you want it, you buy it. Some people like to wait for Sunday deals, but just from our experience we ran into more "sorry, we're sold out" than hot bargains on Sunday. (Though I did get a super sweet deal on HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: CRIME WAVE and a bunch of promo packs). There are tons of good first timer Gen Con tips on the Boardgamegeek forums, so I'd suggest looking at those. We read a bunch before our trip and they helped a lot.

I second Montag on the BGG Hot Games Room. That was a blast. We got to play FORBIDDEN SKY when it was hot off the presses. We had so much fun, in fact, that we signed up for two sessions this year.

I also highly recommend getting some game library time in, if they have slots available. That was another highlight of the trip and we had a ball sitting down and just trying stuff.

I can't express how positive our experience was overall. It's a really good time.

If any OOers want to drop by and say hi, PM me and we'll make it happen. Blackhawk and I met up last year.

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Punisher
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Punisher » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:16 pm

I have only done Will Call once in my entire Con life and only because I jumped on too late to get it shipped, so I already have my GenCon Badges in hand and the Cosplay ticket we got is apparently an E-Ticket so I should be good there.
Our current plan is to start the drive Monday night or Tuesday morning. Neither one of us like driving and we both have some medical issues that will make it an adventure to say the least, so there may be plenty of stops along the way. The goal is to get to our hotel room by early Wednesday at the latest so that we can have the whole day to recover from the drive. Then leave after the con on Sun or early Monday depending on our condition after the con to get home by early Tuesday at the latest to again recover from the drive before work the next day.
We went to Pax unplugged 2 years ago (She couldn't go last year because of work) and she REALLY enjoyed the various painting classes we took, so I am hoping the onsite sign up ones have room by the time we get to them. If I had realized you had to sign up online I might have jumped on a few less costly ones (The Pax ones were all free)
Other than that we are going to be looking for some games that peak our interest and try them out. I have a HUGE HUGE backlog of KS games, so I'm not looking for anything in particular at the moment and not planning on spending too much money there if I can help it, but I'm always on the lookout for good deals.
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Blackhawk
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:23 am

The parking deal is worth it. Unless you have a hotel next to the con, you won't find parking except at absurd rates. Long-distance hotel shuttles are ok for getting you there, but if you need to go back to your car for anything, they suck (and I've always had to go back to my car - usually to drop something off.)

For shopping, my musts are the CoolStuffInc scratch and dent shelves, where you can get really good prices, and the consignment/auction hall. The consignment portion of the hall is just the world's largest used games store. The items have different prices for each day, typically dropping in price the longer you wait - but if you wait, someone else may snatch something up. My advice is that unless you are desperate or want to experience the 'crush', skip the vendor hall for the first two hours on Thursday. You can get some of the good, limited stuff then (especially at the CSI scrach and dent), but it is an absolute mob. It subsides after the first couple of hours.

Sunday shopping will get you great bargains, but you'll only get bargains on what's left after 50,000 other people went over it. Last year, for instance, Miniature Market was selling card play mats for 5/$20. These places don't want to pay to ship this stuff home! It is very worth checking to see what you can find, but is not for must-haves.

And yes, the game library is amazing, and the location is... unique. Visit.
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baelthazar
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by baelthazar » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:39 pm

I am fairly confident I am going to go - for the first time in my life - on Thursday. I might consider going Friday, but I doubt I will have the time/money to do so. My main goal is to get there for the vendors, so I hear Thursday is the way to go on that.

Any tips and tricks? Since I am in West Lafayette, I can easily get down and back in a day. I think I am going to ride with some coworkers friends.

Anybody else going on Thursday? I would love to at least touch base and shake some hands!

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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by hentzau » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:07 pm

Not for me again this year. Summer camp with the scouts.
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:52 am

baelthazar wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:39 pm
My main goal is to get there for the vendors ...

Any tips and tricks?
Cool Stuff Inc has a scratch and dent shelf that has really good deals. The consignment hall across from the vendor hall has even better deals (it is usually listed on the map as 'auction', but is both.) Print out a hard copy of the map in advance (you can get it from their site) and note any 'must visit' vendors on it. You will be given a coupon book. Look through it. There are lots of bonuses and freebies. One tradition is that there is a coupon for free die from Crystal Caste. When you pick it up, buy the official GenCon dice set. They have a different set every year, they come in a tin, and there is an extra slot for the free die in the tin. While it is crowded, there usually aren't long lines for the vendors, save for a couple of big vendors (especially Fantasy Flight and sometimes Paizo.) Since you only have one day, unless you have something you absolutely must have there, skip them. In fact, I find the big publishers to be far less worth the time than all of the smaller publishers, craft places, indy publishers, retailers, and so forth. The big ones have exactly the same products you'll see on Amazon or their site, and for the same (or higher) prices.

Also, with the exceptions I listed above, GenCon isn't the place to go for discounts. There is lots of availability (usually), exclusive bonuses and promos and that sort of thing, but most booths charge full MSRP for their products. What it is good for is discovering new things, for various crafts and accessories you didn't know existed, and for the overall experience.

In more general terms, bring a water bottle (they have free fill stations everywhere.) Bring comfortable shoes you can stand on concrete for hours in. Bring a backpack. Bring pen and paper to write down names, games, etc on. Bring snacks (and meal bars if you don't want to waste your limited time waiting in concession lines.) If you're a caffeine drinker, consider a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans as a quicker, easier-to-carry alternative. Six or eight will solve caffeine withdrawal. One trick I discovered was to take a big manila folder and put something stiff in it. I use the back of a clipboard with the clip removed, a piece of cardboard or whatever would work, too. You'll get tons of free promos, cards, sheets, everything under the sun. They'll get bent up in bags. Just stick them in the envelope and keep it in your backpack. The stiffener will keep them safe. Bring hand sanitizer. 50,000 people have handled that doohickey before you. Many of them have less than stellar hygiene. Dress cool - it gets warm. And keep hydrated.
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Holman » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:57 pm

Once again I wish I could go, but the timing is precisely wrong. GenCon weekend coincides with Parent Day at my kids' summer camp.

They're there for two full months, and we've promised.
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Re: GenCon 2019

Post by Zarathud » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:04 am

Probably lucked out on the timing myself. My wife is undergoing a medical procedure the week before, and she expects to be sick of me by GenCon.

I still should be able to as long as she's recovering as expected, and I can get caught up at the office. It's going to be a pretty rough few weeks, even if everything works out.
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