Gen Con 2014 - Day 0
I arrived early Wednesday afternoon and had an hour or so to kill before I started taking care of swag business for the Stink. I swung through the old part of the ICC to check out how crowded the registration area was. There were a lot of people and a substantial line, but the line looked to be moving pretty quickly. Still, I was glad that I ponied up to have my badge and tickets sent to me.
I noticed another short line at the coupon book pick-up. While I almost never use the coupons and wasn't going to bother even getting one this year, I noticed they were giving away some sort of bag. I hopped in line and soon walked away with one of the messenger-style bags they were giving away. Sure, they were cheap, but they were free and so much more useful and durable than the plastic swag bags from years past. Over the next five days it would serve me well, keeping my hands free and freeing me from worrying whether the plastic bag would give out under the weight of one more purchase. Kudos to whoever at Gen Con decided to give these out.
Veteran attendees probably all experience this phenomena - there are people you see every Gen Con, year after year, that you recognize but have no clue who they are. It took me five minutes to spot my first one.
One of the perks of collecting the Stink swag donations is that it lets me peek inside the Exhibition Hall during set up while I am making pick-ups from exhibitors. I've previously likened it to getting to peek under the Christmas tree. This year the Christmas tree was bigger than ever, with the X Hall totaling 30 aisles.
Something about Gen Con makes me a little less introverted than normal. Maybe it's being surrounded by thousands of people that get the same things I am passionate about. Plus we have a common topic to use to start up conversations - the convention. One conversation might lead to a job opportunity (no, not in the gaming industry) - nothing may come of it, but if so it will be another example of gaming leading to great things in my life.
The Stink set-up went off smooth. I was forced to miss the last Mavens (the group that puts on the Stink) meeting, but everyone else already knew what they were doing and had several years of practice. The generosity of Gen Con and the exhibitor donors made my job easy.
The only hitch we ran into with the swag lines was people stopping to decide what color of a certain item they wanted, forgetting there was over a hundred people waiting behind them. Occasionally I would have to prod someone along, but all in all it went really well.
In addition to meeting a few friends I see every Gen Con, a gaming friend from high school came to visit so we were able to catch up. I think one of the best things that could be said about our hobby is that it forges friendships, especially for people that might otherwise find a hard time meeting people and making friends.
Every year my friend @Knharter plays host to some out-of-town friends and Wednesday night has a get together that has been dubbed N-Con. So after the Stink I bee-line it there. There's always an opportunity to game, especially since some of the folks are game designers, or like this year I just socialized. But after a couple of hours I headed some so I could be up bright and early for Day 1.