August 27, 2012
I decided to go to GenCon two days before I actually went. The idea had sort of been tossed around in blogs I read and the board game night that I participate in. Basically, people were just mentioning in passing that they were going and it sort of got stuck in my head as a possibility. I wasn't really doing anything else that Saturday and my hot wife was going to be busy all day doing some Zumba training, so I thought, "Why not?"
I had never been to any sort of gaming convention before and figured it might be an interesting experience. Plus I plan on being somewhere other than Indiana a year from now so it might be my last chance to go to the "biggest gaming convention in America." While there, I met people from Canada and Australia - people who take this thing as a big deal and spend a lot of time, money and effort attending every year. I felt kinda bad that all I had to do was just drive an hour south on a whim to get my GenCon experience.
It's hard to describe what happened during my Day of Gaming. It wasn't some revelatory "Where has this been all my life?" thing, but it was a positive experience, and I'm certainly glad I went.
Being vastly overwhelmed by the event listings online, I did an uncharacteristically small amount of planning before attending. I stuck to what I knew and looked up a couple board game tournaments - Agricola and Puerto Rico. And the Puerto Rico one was pretty much a whole day thing if I made it to the semifinals and finals, so I decided to just stick to that and then see what else would come my way.
Arriving at 10 am, I pounded out the mini Agricola tournament (managed 2nd overall because my hand of occupations and improvements was utter trash in my second game), and then at 2 I quickly lost my first game of Puerto Rico (mainly because I started out in a bad position and my head was still in Agricola mode - by the time I got my head on straight, it was too late to recover). So it was, like, 3:30 and I had the rest of the day ahead of me with no plan.
So first I visited the True Dungeon, though the there really wasn't much to see in the visitor's area. I would have liked to try out an adventure, but, alas, that is one thing you have to plan for months in advance. Also, at the same time, it sort of felt like the more money you cough up, the better you'll do in the dungeon, which isn't really my style of game.
Then I checked out the exhibition hall, which was totally overwhelming. I walked around in a daze for a long time before settling on a game to demo at a booth. And what a game it was. Legacy: Gears of Time is a truly kick-ass game, and I quickly bought it after playing a couple rounds. It should be getting stocked in game stores soon, and though it would take a long time to explain, I would highly recommend it.
Anyway, there were Smash Brothers tournaments to be watched after that and then games of Descent, and I eventually headed home around 11 thoroughly satisfied. I meant to make it back to watch the final round of the Puerto Rico tournament, but never quite found the time. Oh well.
I feel like I would have had a significantly better time if I had gone with a group of gaming nerds. While I do enjoy wandering around by myself quite a bit, the event seemed very much more of a social thing, and I never really tapped into that. I mean, just walking down the halls, I saw lots of groups of people playing games I was interested in on the floor, but I didn't really know if it was kosher to approach a group of strangers and ask to join them. I guess I'm just not that kind of person.
Another interesting observation I had was how many gaming nerds all share the quality of needing to feel superior to everyone around them. Obviously I too share this quality somewhat (notice how I needed to justify my losses in the board game tournaments), but it was pretty wacky have so many "superior" people all grouped together.
Me at the Will Call booth getting my badge: "Can I get a chord for my badge holder?"
Guy behind the booth: "I don't know, CAN you? The correct word to use is MAY. MAY you get a chord for your badge holder."
Ahahahaha, I love you Will Call Guy. I can just imagine you being a prick to everyone you come across all weekend long, and it brings joy to my heart.
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