Article: Becoming a Professional Con Artist

My name is Rhiannon, and come August 14, 2014, I will be a professional con artist.

Oh, don’t worry. It’s not as serious as all that. I will be attending Gen Con, a four-day-board-game convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from August 14-17. Some fool let me have a press badge, so I will be there to film, play games, interview, play games, host an event, play games. I’m mostly going to play games.

In any event, this is my first board-game-focused convention. I went to PAX East back in April and wandered aimlessly. (An even bigger fool asked me to be on a panel discussing language in board games.)  While it is my understanding that PAX East has a growing board game presence, the convention is predominately for video games. It was an experience all the same.

So, here I am, none-the-wiser for my trip to Gen Con. As it is my first board-game-based convention, I figured I’d write about preparing for it. I thought about having my inaugural “Voice from A Broad” post be all about my likes and dislikes from a gaming perspective, but I think you’ll come to see that well enough from this post. Oh, and in case you missed it, I’m based in the US. New Hampshire to be exact. And, I’m a female. So, I’m “abroad” as in its traditional definition and “a broad” as in I’m trying to be clever (this won’t be my last failed attempt so prepare yourself now). I’ve digressed. This will also happen a lot.

Things I Know about Gen Con

It is a four-day convention. Fairly self-explanatory this one. The convention lasts for four days. I may even have enough time to do all the things I haven’t planned on doing.

It is in Indianapolis. The closest I’ve been to Indiana is memorizing the words to Gary, Indiana from The Music Man (the Robert Preston version, I do have some standards). I hear downtown Indianapolis is a nice place. I’m driving like a champ, so I’ll get to see a bunch of other places I never have seen before either.

It is all about board games. Its slogan is the awfully presumptuous – “The Best Four Days in Gaming”, but at least their heart is in the right place. Having been to another four-day-gaming event, I’d beg to differ, but we shall see.

There are tons of exhibitors. It is a convention after all. There will be loads of exhibitors. And, when I say loads, I mean they have an unnaturally small font on the Exhibitor Hall Map. The plus side is, this should make wandering aimlessly much more exciting.

There is a ton of people. I think the average attendance is somewhere between 45,000-50,000 people. That’s a lot of people. I don’t normally like people. This will be interesting.

There are food trucks. My husband went to Gen Con when I was nine months pregnant. He sent me pictures of all the amazing food he was eating every day. He’s lucky I didn’t make some crazy-hormonal-filled decision to divorce him right then and there. I have no clue what food trucks will be there this year, but here’s an article about the trucks that were there last year. Drool.

Things I Wish I Knew about Gen Con but Didn’t

There’s a system for signing up for events. Yeah, so, apparently there’s a pretty convoluted system for signing up for events. From what I gathered, you can see them beforehand and create a wish list. Then, there’s a magic time when all wish lists are submitted. Based on how fast your clicking abilities are when the bell tolls, you are assigned a number. That number determines when your list is processed, which secures (or not) your tickets to events. I had heard tell of these “wish lists” but had no idea I actually had to use them to get into things. Remember that whole wandering aimless thing? Good thing that’s my style because it’s what I’ll be doing.

Anything about the housing process. My husband stayed 10 minutes away from the convention center where Gen Con is held. Because I foolishly left him in charge of securing my hotel for the week, I am also staying 10 minutes away from the hotel. I’m not 100% on this, but I do believe there is another “get in line” process similar to the event system, so there’s no guarantee I would’ve been able to stay in the reserved housing block anyway.

My Game Plan for Gen Con

Wander aimlessly. Aside from my event, I will be wandering around talking to people, making friends, filming, throat punching anyone who tries to get in front of me in the Panamax line. You know. The usual.

Run an event. Speaking of my event, I am one half of Spooning Meeples, and we are hosting The Game Reviewers Live Board Cast Friday night at 6:00 pm. We will be playing a yet undisclosed game with some of your favorite board game media folks in what can only be described as epic shenanigans. If you want to get a feel for what it will be like, check out The Resistance Board Cast we did a couple of months ago. Otherwise, I hope to see you there! (If it’s not your thing, that’s cool too. Go play some games!)

Stand in line to buy games. I’ve been told that I’m going to be a game mule for a local gaming event but have not been given that list yet. There’s a geek list of games being released at Gen Con. Two that I absolutely must have are: Panamax and Five Tribes. Strike that! I would like to add Longhorn to the list. I was just wondering what happened to this game since last Essen the other day.

Demo some games. Other games that piqued my interest while perusing the Gen Con geek list:

I’m not sure if these will all be available to demo; truth be told, I didn’t read the list that closely. I think most of them will be there to demo however. If I’m blown away by the demo, I will probably end up buying it. I like shiny things.

Play some games. I like playing games, so that’s probably what I’ll be doing most of the time. If you’d like to play games with me, come find me. I love games and will play anything once, but in the interest of full disclosure, please note that I unapologetically bring sass and snark to the table.

That’s the Plan Anyway

This is my design, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. I was initially bummed I missed event registration because there are so many amazing things happening at Gen Con that I would love to be able to attend. Now that I’ve had some time to think about it though, experiences are what you make them, and I plan on making my first Gen Con a memorable one.


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