As Gen Con 2013 starts next week I would like to take this opportunity to add yet another “prep for Gen Con” checklist that so many sites publish. The difference is mine is painfully specific and based on years of real experience. Trust me, use this list to prepare and your convention will be much more pleasant. Ignore my advice at your peril and suffer. Here is the list in all its glory!
1. Wear comfortable shoes (one year we put in 12 miles hiking around the convention over three days.)
2. A jacket or other cold weather gear. Forget weather.com, the important temperature is the one in the convention center and the surrounding hotels and I can state unequivocally state that they all have one temperature: Arctic. Seriously, the AC is cranked and if your ballroom is not full of gamers to fight the frost, you will freeze solid.
3. Painkillers. Prescription or over the counter will make your life easier when your legs ache from hours of hiking or a fatigue-induced headache blossoms.
4. Antacids. Food is often fast and greasy at Gen Con. Prepare for the repercussions. Speaking of which…
5. Food. Pack snacks because eating at the convention is often expensive or inconvenient. Fast food places near the convention often sprout long lines at lunch time, so do not count on a “quick” snack at “Steak and Shake” between rounds. Food trucks add to the variety of food available, but again you may be on the other side of the convention center and only have 3o minutes to eat before the next event. This tip also provides a competitive edge as you can gulp protein bars to fuel you during long games and watch your starving opponents wither!
6. Water. Bottled water is expensive and you will quickly run up a big bill if you buy it on site. Indianapolis tap water is tolerable, but barely. Either bring bottled water with you or come up with a way to make tap water taste better. Cheap water filters (Brita) work well. My cohorts and I are using hiking water filters and backpacks with water bladders to stay hydrated during the day and save us from buying water.
7. Empty space in your backpack. Arguably the most important item to bring. Nothing. You do not need every supplement for your game or huge stacks of books. Go digital or leave it at home. Bring the bare minimum to get the game done and nothing more. Every gram of weight in your bag is just more misery.
8. Hand Sanitizer. Yes, I sound like your mother but in all seriousness “con crud” is no joke. The vast number of people in tight quarters, many with questionable hygiene make this a lifesaver. Gen Con is a giant petri dish.
9. Free time. There is a temptation to schedule every minute of the convention. This leaves no time to try the “oh, that looks cool” games you find by accident.
10. Cash for impulse shopping. You never know what you will find in the vendor area.
That is it for now, I may add some more as the convention draws closer. Good luck and see you in Indy!
Trask, The Last Tyromancer