Hoo boy. I am home from attending my first even Gen Con and my mind is still spinning from the absolute frenzy of it all. I had actually never attended any convention of this size, so I had no clue at all what to expect, other than a whooooooole lot of people.
First of all, you should know I am a hard-core introvert. I prefer my couch, peace and quiet, and calm conversation to… well, anything, really. I don’t even attend gaming conventions in my own small town because I know they’ll be noisy and crowded. Just looking at pictures of the crowds from past Gen Cons was enough to bring on a not insignificant level of anxiety. I know how I react in dense crowds like that, and I can’t say I was excited to be in the middle of all that chaos. That being said, I knew I wanted to be up close with this amazing and rich community at least once. And with Fasa sponsoring my attendance, this might be one of the few chances I’d get to do so.
Now that I’m home and reflecting on it, I can truthfully say it was an experience to remember. If you’ve never been to Gen Con, I’ll describe it to you as I did to my mother; it’s like the Superbowl of table top gaming. Tens of thousands of people converge on downtown Indianapolis over four days to try out the newest games and innovations, learn first-hand about the products they’ve been hearing about all year, meet up with people they only know from their online interactions, and, above all, celebrate a shared love of the hobby.
I didn’t actually participate in any games or demos, though I did watch over some shoulders (hopefully without being too much of a creeper). Having never been before, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in terms of signing up for events like game demos or seminars. I felt the need to wander and take in as much as I could. Also, staying on the move helps me feel less squished. I walked the vendor hall a lot and met some truly fantastic people. I also sat in on parts of the table top games my partner ran over the weekend. He ran three different Earthdawn sessions, and I’m honestly really proud of him. He did great, despite his first-time Con GM nerves. Honestly, I was perfectly happy just to watch other people enjoying the games that I have had even a small hand in creating. What can I say, I’m a people watcher. It brings me joy.
If I make it back next year, maybe I’ll take more time to enjoy some games for myself, or perhaps take in a seminar. Even with all my wandering, I would say I still missed at least half of the convention. Also, those three pieces of advice that everyone tells you are ABSOLUTELY VALID. Stay hydrated, bring snacks, wear comfortable shoes. I would also add this one; pace yourself. If you’re able to attend more than one day and can spread things out a little, take your time. Find a place to sit to grab a short break when you need it. Don’t push yourself past your energy limit. When you’re drained and try to keep going out of FOMO, it only makes the next day that much more difficult. Take care of yourself. It’s been a week that I’ve been home and I’m only just starting to feel like myself again.
As for Demonworld, I did get to watch a few minis demos that were being held, shake a few hands, and get a little instant feedback from players, which was fantastic. I also managed to find a few quiet corners and get some writing done as I watched the masses. I want to be able to come back in the future and say that I’ve contributed something to this community. Table top gaming is a tremendous and deeply rewarding hobby for me. Being able to give something of myself to enrich it, even in the smallest fashion, gives me pleasure I can’t sufficiently describe. So, for now, my first goal is to catch up on lots of sleep, maybe get a foot massage, and then crack the knuckles and get our next book ready for layout.
Peace, gamers. Ttys.