Friday, 14 March 2014

GenCon 2014 - The Detail (So far!)

I had planned to do these as different posts but in the interest of actually making a post alongside the interest of there being other things I want to blog I'm going to condense all of this together.

More after this break!
1) The booking experience.
Gen Con Tickets - that was fine.  In fact it was entirely painless.  Even with their "funky" friend system I was able to buy my ticket and +Greg Barr's ticket with no problem.
Flights - We decided rather than waiting for the potential for them to go down in price we'd book them early.  So flights from Edinburgh to Indianapolis via Philadelphia (US Airways) were booked.  That's flying out on Tuesday the 12th August and coming back on Monday the 19th.  Plenty of buffer time either side of the con to relax and get settled in.  The booking of the flights was the easy part.  The making sure that US Airways had received the right information from the Travel Site that I used was a bit more tricky but we've got there now...  I think!
Accommodation - This was fun... Plan A was to book "official" accommodation through Gen Con itself which turned into a bit of a nightmare.  Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong.  Fortunately that wasn't the only plan I had.  Plan B was an apartment 2-3 blocks away from the convention centre.  Plan C was a hotel out at the airport that had free cancellation.  As Plan A was falling apart (or more precisely just not working at all) I sorted out Plan C and pushed on Plan B.  The apartment owner however wasn't interested in letting me confirm booking at that time as wanted to wait a couple of weeks (something to do with only taking bookings 6 months in advance).  So 2 weeks of teeth gritting later we had our apartment confirmed.  Plan C hotel got cancelled and Plan B was the new Plan A.

2) Why Tuesday to Monday?
Other than the time to acclimatise and settle in?  Well this is a holiday and an experience all in one.  I want to savour it.  I want to explore Indianapolis a little bit.  Especially seeing as we have the apartment, I want to get a feel for the place and know that I can relax when there.  Not just the con itself but the city the con is in.
It also removes all elements of rush from the experience.  The Tuesday evening will likely be a wander and some food.  The Wednesday will be a "pick up badge / pack etc" day and maybe some pick up games but most likely getting a feel for the venue, the eateries and so on.  The Thursday to Sunday will take care of themselves.  The coming home on the Monday was more out of necessity.  There was no real option to come home on the Sunday unless we left pre-noon which wasn't desirable.  It means though that again there's no rush.  We can enjoy the end of the con and relax before the journey home begins.

3) What I want to play - RPGs
D&D 5th Edition, Atomic Robo, Star Wars (Age Of Rebellion and Edge Of The Empire) and maybe some other stuff but until I see that events list it's hard to really quantify.  Probably would like to play some Dresden Files too, if only to expand my Fate knowledge.

4) What I want to play - Others
Greater Than Games will have Sentinels of the Multiverse goodies no doubt and will be demoing the miniatures/board game version called Sentinels: Tactics which I'm intrigued to know more about as very little has been revealed so far.  They'll also have Galactic Strike Force stuff there which if it hasn't hit UK Retailers before then I'll likely be picking up at Gen Con itself.
I'd like to try out a lot of board and card games when there plus some games I've previously overlooked might get another change e.g. L5R CCG. Suspect I'll be spending a lot of time in the dealer booth areas getting demos of stuff.  Other than that it's hard to say as no doubt there will be a few things that catch my eye when there which brings us to...

5) What I want to buy - Budget and Priorities
Budget is still to be confirmed but whatever I buy needs to fit into my suitcase (dimensions still to be confirmed).  Not just from a size perspective but also a weight perspective.  23kg is the max weight of any 1 bag.  If I only plan on having 1 bag in the hold then that's a bit restrictive weight wise.  A 2nd bag would however cost $100 to add to the airfare.  Not a big deal I suppose but not my preference...
Priorities though budget wise are probably t-shirts and likely some of the Offworld Designs official con goodies like the hoodie and the bag...  Both of which I'm tempted to buy now but when the shipping is > $70 I think again...
Other than D&D 5th Edition stuff I'm not sure what my buying priorities are as yet.  The con is still 22 weeks away so it's hard to see what will be there to buy other than EVERYTHING of course!

6) What I want to experience - Talks / Seminars / Presentations and Films / Auction / Diana Jones Award
I suspect that I will spend more time in these sorts of things than I will playing games.  That's just my gut at present and based on how I've approached other conventions I've been to.
I really hope that Zero Charisma will have a showing at Gen Con as I missed the chance to see if on a big screen in Glasgow recently due to illness and can't buy it digitally in the UK as yet....
I want to sit in on some of the keynote stuff that will be happening.  Specifically interested to hear what the big publishers are going to talk about.  Not least of which is how Wizards Of The Coast plan on approaching D&D 5th Edition.

For the other "Getting Ready" elements of Event booking in May and Packing - Overall and Day2Day I'm going to leave these for now until I we get closer to May and I have a clearer view of what I'll need to take with me!

7) Who to see - "Celebs"
This one currently isn't really stimulating any real thought.  I'd like to meet Wil Wheaton if only just because and obviously down to us sharing the same birthday (29th July).  Other than Wil I don't really know!

8) Who to see - UK Peeps (Bloggers / Podcasters)
There's a plan to have a RPG Bloggers Alliance meetup at Gen Con which I think would be ace.  Similarly I'd be interested in meeting up with other peeps from the UK that are making the trip.

So, that's the detail.  So far.

Any suggestions on how what I should be thinking about for Gen Con?  Anything that I've missed or need to really not under-estimate?  Other than the fact that there will be upwards of 50,000 other people there of course!