Sunday, July 31, 2016

Last Minute Gencon Tips

I am taking a circuitous path to Gencon.  So, I am already packing.  As I do, I am remembering a lot of the tips that have served me well in my visits to Gencon.  Consider these some final, simple tips as you prepare for Gencon.

1] Clothing:  There seems to be a decent chance of rain in Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday.  Most of the events are indoors but you will likely have to travel outdoors between buildings for some events.  Rain is not really much of a hassle in my experiences at Gencon but pack accordingly.  If you have a long walk (say back to a non-adjacent hotel), you may want a light jacket.  Other tips include:
     a] Choose clothing for heat -- some of you are not accustomed to high 80s and low 90s, especially if you are going to be outside walking to meals and between events.  Personally, I will welcome the cool weather (coming from central Texas).
     b] Choose clothes that are comfortable to walk in.  There will be a lot of walking.  Take shoes that you can walk miles in.  I am trying a new trick this year and packing extra socks to change into midday.  I hear that a change of socks can be quite refreshing in the middle of what is likely 5+ miles of walking for the day.  I think my daily record is around 8 miles.
     c] Be considerate of others.  People like to show their colors at Gencon.  That is one of the great things about the convention.  However, be considerate of others.  If you plan to navigate crowds, avoid bulky backpacks or items you might knock in to other people.  Avoid any clothing that may not be considered appropriate for all ages to see.  There are a lot of kids around Gencon.  Save your explicit phrases, etc. for the night time when the kids have gone home.  I really sounds like an old fogey but I ask you to take it into consideration.

2] Gaming gear: Many games will provide what you need to play, but not all of them.  I recommend coming with a standard set of dice if you plan to play RPGs.  Boardgames rarely require you bring anything with you like dice, etc.  Bring some paper and a pen/pencil for notes.  Even if you are not playing games, there may be something you want to jot down that you see in the dealers hall, etc.  At the same time, don't worry about bringing a huge bag of dice.  That is just bulky.  Similarly, you probably don't need to carry around all of your RPG books with you at all times.  Some people like to keep a small set for pick-up games -- which is great.  Carrying a crate full of your complete set of Pathfinder hardcovers, however, will just make it hard to navigate tight spots.  Pick a few books and a small backpack.

The same principles hold for anything you want to get signed.  Try to avoid carrying a big stack of books around to get signatures.  Pick a few books at a time for signing.  This will ease the flow of people through a signature line (which the signer and the other people around you will appreciate) as well as making it easier to navigate to and from the signing.

3] Electronics:  The wifi in the convention center is unreliable.  That also means that if you leave your phone or tablet on "wifi" it will drain the battery fast.  I recommend a portable battery as well as your devices of choice.  As above, be selective.  You may not need all of your devices with you at all times.  Take only what you need and leave the rest in your room.

4] Cash, etc.:  It is hard to remember, sometimes, that cash is still legal tender.  Some vendors may not be able to take credit cards.  The venue charges quite a bit for their connections and even those may be slow to process.  I recommend taking some cash as a back-up if you plan to shop.  You may not want all of it on you at all times, but have it available if you find that perfect t-shirt at a vendor that can't or won't accept cards.

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