It’s time, my friends! With the Georgia St. Kickoff Party last night, Gen Con 2016 is officially here! Normally, this week, I’d have a ton of posts listing great events, places to eat around downtown, and games I’m looking forward to playing at this year’s Gen Con! Unfortunately, 2016 hasn’t been a normal year, so I’m just now really getting a chance to take a look at what’s going to be going on this weekend. That’s right, for another year, this Geek is going to be attending the Best Four Days in Gaming here in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana! Since 2013, I have been incredibly fortunate enough to be granted the ability to visit the convention as a member of the press, and I’ve taken advantage of it to do everything from play games, to interview almost the entire cast of LARPs: The Series. I’ve also accumulated some experience between that, and other conventions in the Indianapolis area, that some of you might want to know. So, here’s my rundown of posts by myself, and others, pertaining to Gen Con, as well as folks to look out for while at the show!
First, let me say that by no means am I an expert at Gen Con. I still can’t wrap my head around events, and it’s all just too big for me to really comprehend, sometimes. I have gone a whole day without eating, which caused me to miss evening musical performances as friends drug me to get dinner, and I still haven’t figured out the best places to park that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. However, I have picked up a few things, and I’ve written about them, over the years! Here’s a selection of a few posts you might want to check out!
- Convention Tips & Tricks Parts One and Two – Written last year, after Indy Pop Con and before Gen Con, these blog posts cover a lot of good, basic information, and had a lot of really good feedback and tips from blog readers, which is why I had a part two! If you don’t read anything else, read these posts!
- Interacting with Costumers/Cosplayers – Costumers and Cosplayers really bring their “A” Game to Gen Con. Almost every one of them will be thrilled to talk to you about their hard work, or let you take a picture, MOST of the time. Here are some tips and advice, written back in 2012, that is still very useful. Huge props to Matt Hofmann for the “letter” that prompted this.
- Handicap Awareness at Gen Con – Written by local author Hans Cummings, this is a great read on sharing your space with our fellow Geeks in wheelchairs and mobility devices.
- What is there in Indianapolis? – I really can’t talk about our beautiful city any better than the fine folks over at Visit Indy! Places to eat, other downtown attractions, you can find all of the information here!
Now, while I believe Visit Indy does the best job talking about our city, I do still have a couple of recommendations for places that I hit at almost EVERY downtown convention, but especially Gen Gon!
- Coffee at Bee Coffee Roasters – Located right in the Pan Am Plaza building near the corner of Georgia St. and Capitol, this is where I get my coffee fix. Solid cup of joe, and they opened today at 6:30 AM, and they will be open until 5:30 PM on Sunday. If you need caf for your late-night gaming session, THIS is your place!
- Scotty’s Brewhouse – Not right by the convention center, but still within easy walking distance! Scotty’s is a local chain restaurant that pretty much thrives on burgers and beer, and it’s good burgers and beer! They normally with with Paizo to have a Pathfinder theme during Gen Con, they run science fiction, fantasy, and comic book movies on their monitors instead of sports, and they have free D6’s for those who order off their Gen Con menu (while supplies last). This is normally a Saturday night tradition for me and my friends from Hero’s Emporium.
Now, of course, there are the events at Gen Con! I don’t do much in the way of panels, or events, but I still have a couple of “Must Hit” things!
- Thursday at 6:30 PM – A Capella with the El33ts! This is a local group, that performs A Capella versions of video game music! I caught them last year, and I’m really looking forward to this year’s show! ($2 Event Ticket)
- Friday at 7:00 PM – League of Xtraordinary Programmers! I wrote about it, I gave away tickets, you KNOW I’m going to be there! Food, drinks, games, and tech, all brought to us by TechPoint! Visit the link for info!
Finally, there are the people and the booths I need to check out. There are hundreds of booths there, but I only have a few that I absolutely need to visit. Please note that most of these are for locals, with the exception of one or two!
- Hans Cummings – Located in Author Alley, Hans Cummings is a local author, and fellow “Best of Indy” nominee. He has a few book series out, and I really recommend you take a look, because I’m sure you’re going to find one you enjoy! Before all my spare time was taken up by blog posts and homework, I started Wings of Twilight, and I keep chomping at the bit to finish it and continue the series! Check him out!
- Little Guardians – Another entry in Author Alley. Lee Cherolis and Ed Cho are putting together a fantastic fantasy comic for all ages! They currently have three volumes of their book out, and will be more than happy to talk to you about it! I have Volume One, and follow their webcomic religiously. Plus, Lee and Ed are fine, upstanding gentlemen!
- Zombie Daisuke – Over in the Anime Marketplace, keep your eyes open for Z! Z is an artist with a lot of cool things, and don’t we all like cool things?
- Vision 3 Games – One of Indy’s game developers, I had written about Incredibrawl when it was in beta, but I haven’t talked to them much, since. I need to change that by visiting them at booth 161!
- BCW Supplies – Purveyors of fine supplies for games, especially card games! They are located out of Anderson, and I have been hoping to meet them for a while! They’ll be at booth 1559, and I’m hoping to take a look at their new card sheets for Star Wars Armada!
- Action Phase Games – Another local game designer, that I’ve never really found the time to talk to! Completely my fault, and I’m looking to correct this by visiting them at booth 2301 to talk Aeon’s End and Retreat to Darkmoor!
- Modiphius – While not a local company, this is the group that I ran the press release for a few weeks ago, that’s making the new Star Trek RPG! I’m hoping to talk Trek with them over at booth 2737!
- Dodeca System Games – I know their Hipster games have shown up in the Kickstarter section of Tuesday Tidbits, and they’ve been following me for a while on Twitter. I’m planning on meeting them fact to face, and talk their games, at booth 2903!
- Nights of Yore – This is a new role playing system, with a Kickstarter that launched just this past weekend. I’m planning on dropping by booth 2941 to see what they’re all about!
Finally, there’s me. Normally, when I’m at a convention, this is what you’re looking for:
Yeah, I’m not really going to stand out at Gen Con. I’m a bald man of weight with facial hair, and a tendency to wear a fez, a Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and a backpack. However, if you DO see the right bald man of weight with facial hair, in a fez, Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and a backpack, make sure you say hi! Also, I might be letting the fez rest on one of those days, so it you think it’s me, but I’m not in a fez, it still might be me!
As always, keep an eye on my Twitter feed! I’ll be taking frequent rest breaks, and when I do, I’ll tweet where I am. If you want to drop by, tell me why you enjoy being a Geek in Indiana, or just say hi, feel free!
Stay safe, have fun, and remember: We’re all in the con together, so don’t be a dick!