Zechs gives you a newbie perspective on Indy's HUGE gaming convention, Gen Con 2012!
I've always heard a lot about Gen Con. “You haven't gamed until you've visited Gen Con.” “'Zechs you think this is good you should visit Gen Con.” “Dude you should really come to Gen Con!” So I had a choice this year. I didn't want to visit my local Wizard World Chicago (or Chicago Comic Con) this year. Why? Well my reasons are twofold. One, it really is becoming a Trek Con instead of a comic book one. The other is that I HATE wearing bracelets for more than four days straight. Cons are for badges, not stupid badges you cannot take off until the con is over. This is a CONVENTION, not a prison. So I decided to do what many have asked of me, I FINALLY went to this year's Gen Con.
Of course there were small hurdles to go through like making sure my car was up to snuff, finding a hotel close enough (Note to those who wish to attend to this event, get a hotel room EARLY, namely May. Do not wait until June or else you'll be stuck in a hotel that's very far away from the convention center). Then there's the fact that I was a literal fish out of water having NEVER been to Indianapolis before too. It all amounted to quite a list of hurdles to jump through.
Thankfully, in the end I didn't have too much trouble. Traveling from Point A (Chicago) to Point B (Indianapolis) wasn't a problem. Transportation to the convention center itself was a little bit harder. I got lost on Wednesday looking for my car which was parked in the underground area out on Illinois Street. Luckily a kindly parking attendant helped me with my woes. Other than that I had no trouble at all. It was easy getting to any point around the convention center. Restaurants were a PLENTY around the area. I had no issues in finding some good grub in between gaming stations.
So what about my gaming experience? I loved it! The best advice I can give is even if you fail to register for a game and can't well due to it being sold out well I had the same dilemma. To correct it again, like the hotel, you'll either have to apply early or go with the hidden secret of Gen Con to newbies, the Generic Ticket. What the ticket does is if someone doesn't show for an event that was registered, you can use the numbered amount (if an event was $4 you use two $2 Generic Tickets). With some not showing up or the Game Master has more than one version of the game (and it's VERY LIKELY they will). So those who think they have NO chance of getting into an event, if I might quote a certain blue lantern, “ALL WILL BE WELL!” I got into every single “sold out” event I wanted and played (Munchkin, Last Night on Earth, and RISK). The humorous joke is in the end, I got to play every single one I wanted. The ones that I had to drop were the ones I later filled in thinking I had no chance to attend (namely one round of Lunch Money and I had to bow out of an UNO tournament even though I was winning so I could play some RISK 2021 A.D.).
The gaming itself was extraordinary. Every game I played was memorable. I got into a draw in a game of Risk against some VERY experienced players. It was a draw between me and another after we wiped out the other two players and if we continued it another hour, past the limit allowed, I would have inevitably won given I controlled most of the map.
I played games in a three player game of UNO that had horrible, but hilarious luck and an adorable small child rooting for her father to lose so she could get him to another event. A “four” hour game of Munchkin going over the limit due to well... “Munchkiny” moves from me. WHAT? I can’t help it. It's the spirit of the game of Munchkin. So I made the game memorable as heck and the other players will no doubt remember that nasty fool who extended the game. What did I do? I used a card from the deck (specifically from Munchkin Blender) that moved the game past its Level 10 limit, pushing someone had to win the game by being Level 11. Then finally there was Last Night on Earth were I witnessed a player using his Priest character to become a man of the cloth “who kicked arse for the lord” with a chainsaw, annihilating THIRTEEN zombies all by himself.
Though for all the fun I had, yes there were some minor hiccups at the convention. The biggest being the second Risk 2021 A.D. Game, which had the GM deciding to change a rules he had previously established the prior night, rolling over me, the seasoned Risk player first. Then he wiped the floor with the poor two rookie players, going as far to toy with them and win his own tournament. The other slight snag was the Goldeneye tournament I was hungering to be a part of. What happened was they only had one system (the other broke) and decided to change the event into a TIME challenge, instead of opponents facing off in a Death Match. So I dropped out. What can I say? I want to face players. I don't want to make a mad dash to do things. Sure there is skill involved, but where's the thrill of it really? If I wanted to be the best time I'd play the game and post it on the Playstation Network. I want to see if I'm truly the best Goldeneye player.
So what about other geeky events other than my own interests? Well I can safely say that Gen Con has that pretty covered. It has vendors or companies who are selling just about every game and expansion you could ever want. Then things get extra nerdier with stuff like a Doctor Who booth that had Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks, Cybermen, and Judoon) here, foam swords, and wooden furniture crafted to your geek obsession. Then there's watching what others are doing to amuse themselves like witnessing some dudes craft together a HUGE dragon made of balloons, people blast each other in mechs via the wonder of viral reality, meet new people, and fully indulge in my nerdiness.
So what about stuff other than gaming? Well I went to some events for the sheer hell of it like going a Klingon Opera and the two Cosplay Deviants events that were there. All three were hilariously amazing events. Though I think I might be scarred for life after now hearing Gollum from Lord of the Rings have an orgasm. I might join the new religion that was founded in one of the events above, which was the Church of Vodka.
Overall, this was an absolutely stunning convention. The convention easily took it's tag-line quite literally with: “no game was left behind”. Gamers got to game and I was left highly satisfied. For a five day event (yes I consider Wednesday part of the event since it was an adventure onto itself to attain it), this was satisfying from beginning to end. I'm sorely tempted to do this again next year because I had that good a time at the convention. Although next time, I will so get my tickets earlier than late June. I'll also so plan what events I'm participating in so I don't waste any money. Other than that, I couldn't have planned this more perfectly. So here's for Gen Con 2013 to come much sooner!