Gen Con 2019 is over. This was my third year in attendance and it was the best so far. Last year doesn’t count, because If you recall, I was recovering from a broken leg and using a borrowed wheelchair in order to enjoy the con. It was rough. If you are interested you can read about it here.
The first year I went was 2017, because I won the four day pass at the Techpoint League of Extraordinary Programmers event the year before. That first year, I didn’t sign up for games or panels. Instead, we spent most of our time on the con floor. It was overwhelming. I had never been to an event with so many people and it took a lot out of me. I enjoyed myself, but I knew when I returned I would have to plan my time and activities differently to make it through all four days.
As I said earlier, last year doesn’t count. I was in a wheelchair, on pain meds, and frankly don’t remember a lot of it. We had plans, but many of them went out the window. This year, we planned things so that each day we had a couple of games or panels to break up the time on the con floor. We kept saying in the months leading up to it that we needed to look at the events and decide what we wanted to do early, but we ended up doing it just a few days before the event. I definitely see the advantage of signing up early, but I do tend to procrastinate, so next year it probably won’t be much different.
There are always people you know are at Gen Con, but you may or may not run into them. This year there were close to 70,000 people and it was hard to spot familiar faces in a crowd. There were people in the convention center (it is HUGE), Lucas Oil Stadium, Georgia Street, in events in ballrooms and panel rooms at the convention center and surrounding hotels. We did run into a lot of people, and some people we ran into several times over the four days.
This year we had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with someone we hadn’t seen since high school. If you have the opportunity to connect with someone like that I highly recommend it! Shared interests, some shared history, catching up, ad just enjoying the company. There were also some locals we ran into briefly, but of course while we love seeing them, we can see them anytime.
I think it would go without saying we played games, but not a lot. Part of it goes back to not planning ahead, but the other part of it was doing the panels gave us less time to do things in between. There are a lot of things I am thinking about doing differently. If you have any suggestions, please share. If you do, I also want to know the rationale behind your suggestions. A lot of my decision making is to reduce anxiety and to break up the time I am on my feet so I can make it through all four days.
Looking ahead to 2020, and my fourth Gen Con, I have a few goals.
- Review the event calendar when it is released, create a wish list, and try to get event planning done more than a month before the convention.
- Remember to take more pictures, especially selfies with friends I run into.
- Play more games. Pick-up games, the game library, ticked events, it doesn’t matter.
- Attend more panels, maybe even trade day panels, if that is possible on a press badge.
- Cosplay more, even if it is just inspired by characters and not full on costume.
- Finally, I need to step out of my comfort zone more.
I’m not sure what all that final goal entails. Will it involve stepping away from Tony for a while, to attend a game or panel by myself? Will it involve a bingo sheet of tasks, like “take a selfie with a stranger”, or “Don’t let Tony lead the conversation”? The issue is, I have anxiety, and while I manage well enough with medication and coping strategies, I feel like I avoid things I might really enjoy because I think it might be awkward or I might look dumb. Most of the time, I enjoy quietly listening to Tony and our friends talk, and only really speak up when I have something to say. At the end, though, I feel like I was invisible or that people think I am weird or anti-social. I know I am not alone. I know that I am not REALLY invisible and that people enjoy my company, but my brain is not always kind.
I have more thoughts, you might get another Gen Con 2019 post out of me, but for now I will let you resume scrolling. Have an awesome day!
Note: Gen Con 2019 coverage was sponsored by FlexePark. Based out of Central Indiana, FlexePark is looking to make parking suck just a little less for everyone, by encouraging businesses to open up their lots after hours for affordable paid parking. Get more information at about.flexepark.com, and we want to thank them for their support! Their sponsorship allowed us to pay for Lyft, parking, food, and some dice over the course of the show!