This time tomorrow three buddies and I will be hitting the road for GenCon! For those of you who don't know, GenCon is one of North America's largest and longest running gaming conventions. It has also become the clock that the gaming industry sets its watches to with many publishers and developers either saving their release dates to coincide with the event or bringing along demos of upcoming goodies to show to the masses. From their website:
Gen Con Indy is the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world!
For more than 45 years, Gen Con Indy has set the trend in gaming and has broken attendance records. Last year, more than 134,775 turnstile and 41,000 unique attendees experienced Gen Con Indy.
Featuring game industry veterans, award-winning authors and artists, jaw-dropping costumes, thousands of events, a growing Family Fun Pavilion, and the newest games on the market, Gen Con truly is The Best Four Days in Gaming™!
Gen Con is more than just a convention, however. It's a passion, a community, and a unique experience that keeps people coming back for decades.
Flashback: August 2012It's 2am on a Wednesday night, I can't sleep. I have already spent several hours sorting through my Warhammer room (a vestigial name, I hadn't played a game of Warhammer in there in years) and I'm not happy with what I've found. Games I've never played, list for armies that I'd never fielded and half-finished projects piled on top of half-started ones. I found myself in a room full of potential gaming with little actual gaming to show for it.
Dissatisfied, I go back upstairs to evaluate. What's the point of all this stuff? Am I a gamer, or am I just a game voyeur? What about real hobbyists, people who actually paint their models, play their games and take pride in their work, what do they do? I decide to find out.
One hour and a dozen Google searches later, I hammer out a quick message to my friend Cheech before turning in for the night: "Dude, GenCon?".
Present Day: August 2013
A year has gone by since our-last minute, ill-planned four-man journey to Indianapolis. Last year we had only eight days to get ready for the road trip, and we allotted only a single day to explore the hall. Our research over the course of the week was less about "what shall we do there?" and more along the lines of "what is GenCon?". All of the events were booked weeks before I even first hit the website, as well as every hotel within half an hour of the convention hall. Still, as we stumbled bleary-eyed into our car for the return trip on the Sunday morning, we knew we ha participated in something special.
This year will be different. We hit the website as soon as it went live and got our badges, we signed up for the events we were looking for and we are planning on being there for three full days, Thursday through Saturday. We know what we want to see and we've booked it, but we have also set aside a bunch of time to roam around and enjoy the con without the lethargy of an all-night drive on our backs.
If you're going to GenCon, maybe I'll see you there! Who else is going? I plan to spend as much spare time as I can in the Achievement League. I'll be the (only?) guy wearing a Stinkmunk name tag. I will also be endeavoring to tweet the things that are awesome while I'm down there, although that's a new thing for me and as such is subject to failure. I can be found at @TheStinkmunk.
Thanks for reading.