300px-gen_con_indy_logoPromoted as the original, longest running, best attended, gaming convention in the world, Gen Con is Mecca for us gamer types. It calls to us, speaking to the soul of the gamer. It is a pilgrimage, I am told, we all have to make at least once.

This is my year. I’m going to Gen Con.

I’m no stranger to genre conventions.  I’ve been to my share of gaming, comic book, and science fiction conventions.  Gen Con will be far and away the biggest of such of events I’ve attended.  It’s huge!

And really, quite daunting.

Seriously, I’m a little intimidated by the catalog of events listing more than 5000 opportunities to do cool things.

Lady, you're standing in the way of those cool posters...!

On Twitter, I see folks talking about what they’ve registered for and such.   Unlike other cons I’ve experienced, event registration begins EARLY!  Additionally, most of the games are pay-to-play.  In the current catalog, more than 1500 role playing games are offered and 50 of those are listed at no-charge.  1400 of those games are reasonably priced between $2-$6.  Other games are more expensive – up to $20 – and while I am certain there are reasons such as game length to warrant additional dollars, I’m not sure why one four hour game is more expensive than the other.

I’m sure this will become more clear as I immerse myself in all things Gen Con.

But really, it’s a lot.  I sought help from my peeps on Twitter.

RPG podcaster Chris Hussey suggested, “Only sign up for a couple of games. Save your freetime for the Exhibitor’s Hall and the demos within.”

Meg from the Brilliant Gameologists recommended, “Look at the catalog and see if there is anything that catches your eye. If so, go for it. Otherwise, don’t worry.”

“My advice for Gen Con,” My buddy Josh offered, “Buy a couple of event tickets, buy a few generics, play lots of demos in the Exhibit Hall.”

Generics?  I don’t know what that means…

Jeremy, a fellow Texan, had a lot of advice. “Schedule some games. You’ll regret it if you don’t play, and it’s an important part of the experience. Also, it adds some structure. Leave plenty of time to look and hang out, but without 1 or 2 things planned each day it’s easy to get overwhelmed and do nothing. Lastly, always carry a couple generics…”

Crap! There’s that ‘Generics’ again! Apparently this is important.

Jeremy went on, “They’re cheap and you never know when you’ll stumble across something you want to do or find someone you want to bring with. Worst case, make someone’s day if you have some you don’t need and they want to play with you.”

So generic tickets can be used at the game table for ad hoc events or games you haven’t pre-registered for?  I think I understand.

John shared some wisdom: “Gen Con awesomeness = Playing games that you normally wouldn’t get a chance to. Gen Con awesomeness = Not playing too many games… so that you have time to shop and see the sights.”

Rich recommended, “Anything with Furries is gold as well as alternative lifestyle panels… not like I’ve been to GenCon – but I will stand by my choices.”

I’m studying over the event list… and pondering.