It's just over three weeks to Gen Con Indy 2009, and a few months ago, a first-time attendee asked me for advice attending the show. I rattled off a ton of off-the-cuff advice for her, and now I've distilled it down into a short series of posts. Here's Part 1: Before the Show!
- If you're looking to buy stuff that is brand-new at the show, figure out how the company is selling it well in advance. Some of them sell X copies each morning, some try and sell them all the first day, some ration them other ways.
- Don't bring your laptop. If you do, leave it in your room each day. You're not going to use it, there isn't a ton of free wifi around, and you're not going to use it.
- Don't bring many gaming books. If you're going to play X game, bring the X core book, but that's it. I knew someone who brought is ENTIRE Shadowrun collection to Gen Con one year, and he carried it around in a giant rucksack. That was stupid.
- But do bring your phone charger. There's an AT&T store in the mall. You'll probably want your digital camera and charger, too.
- The Embassy Suites has a free breakfast if you're staying there. They have a free happy hour, too.
- There is a CVS about three blocks from the convention center. It is your best bet for inexpensive bottled drinks, snackfood, cigarettes, Red Bull, and condoms. The hours are awkward, though:
Tues-Fri: 6:30am - 6:30pm
Sat: 8am - 6:30pm
Sun: 9am - 5pm
Edit: Daniel Perez has a great point -- the earlier you do your shopping at the CVS, the less likely they are to run out of stuff. Buy everything you know you'll need on Wednesday if possible.
- Bring comfy shoes. This seems like a no-brainer, right? If you're wearing a costume or something like that, keep a pair of your regular shoes in your bag for long-distance walking.
- Bring twice as many pairs of socks as you'd normally wear. You're walking a lot and it will be grossly hot and humid.
- Hand sanitizer. Bring a bottle. Use it. Offer it to your friends whenever you use it. You don't want to get sick at or after the show. The dreaded "con crud" can be defeated!