As I reflect back on Gen Con 2018, I am also looking forward to Gen Con 2019. After an event as big as this that I plan to repeat, I like to take notes while things are still really fresh in my mind. Taking notes and making plans for next year now enables me to focus on facts more than fuzzy memories. If you are planning to return to Gen Con next year, I encourage you to do a similar reflection. Each year I find this process useful and it allows me a document to refer to next year as event draws closer.
As this year was unclear for Gen Con, next year is even foggier for us. Our daughters have now finished a year of college and leave in less than two weeks for their sophomore year at Taylor University. They are both seriously considering options for summer internships in 2019. If they were to be accepted into the programs that interest them, they likely will not be available to attend Gen Con 2019 with us. Next year is also Angie and I’s 25th Wedding Anniversary, so we are planning a large trip for that. We have to decide if we can afford the time and costs of the anniversary trip and Gen Con in the same year. So with our daughters’ summer 2019 plans unknown, cost of college, and unknown amounts of freelancing between now and then, we are hesitant to commit to all of Gen Con 2019, but definitely plan to attending at least the weekend. If we do attend, here are things I am mulling over:
My wife, Angie, attended the entire week with us this year. Yet again, the Gen Con staff were very accommodating to our needs, and we have contacts to use for next year. The Special Services desk provides such wonderful and friendly assistance, making the process of picking up and returning tickets so much simpler for us with the wheelchair. The SpringHill Suites continues to be amazing as an accessible hotel, so we would plan to stay there again and have already spoken with Gen Con Exhibitor Services as to how to reserve an accessible room next year. As I thought last year, reserving the hotel through Sunday night really helped, so we will plan that again next year. It allows us to take our time after booth clean-up to finalize packing and relax a bit after the convention is over. The two challenges we had this year regarding Angie’s health were comfort in our hotel room and hydration. As for comfort, Angie spends most of the afternoon in our hotel room napping and relaxing while my daughters and I work our booth shift and during setup/tear down. The hotel bed and sofabed are not very comfortable for sitting hours on end. We are looking at purchasing a folding zero gravity chair to bring with us for in the room. This would allow Angie to relax more comfortably and provide more support for her back and hips. As for hydration, Angie struggled with some dehydration after the con so we need to do a better job of keeping her hydrated during the convention. Looking at bringing better hydrating drinks to help.
This year I finally broke down and bought some expensive walking shoes and they were worth every dollar spent. I came through Gen Con with tired feet, but no pain or numbness. So, I will be using these shoes or buying higher quality shoes from now on for attending Gen Con. I really like these shoes when I go for walks as well, so likely will work into our budget a new pair of these quality walking shoes periodically.
As I stated in My Gen Con 2018 overview in more detail, this was a bittersweet year for us as it was my final year managing the Modiphius Entertainment booth. I took some time to pass my experience and knowledge onto Sam and Chris and will still consult with them likely as the event draws closer next year. Now that I have had time to reflect back on Gen Con, it was the right time for the change for us. Modiphius was great to work with, but it was time to change our relationship. Change is hard, but sometimes it is good for everyone involved. Time for my family and I to experience Gen Con in a different way and look for new opportunities. My daughters and I are still very interested in working in a booth, so we are talking with other publishers about possible ways for us to continue to be involved on the Exhibitor side of Gen Con. What does that mean for next year? We are not sure yet. Could mean my family and I are just attendees next year at Gen Con. Or it could mean we volunteer in a booth rather than manage a booth, which will be quite a different experience.
The game night and meetup we helped host again on Saturday evening was as wonderful as ever, so that will continue as a tradition. And letting someone else been the primary host really helped me focus on Angie having a good time. Definitely will continue the evening and having someone else lead again. I really enjoyed our various meals that we scheduled well before Gen Con. Having them scheduled ahead, even if we had to adjust because of closed restaurants, made things much more relaxing. We didn’t have to wonder about meals or when we would meet friends we really wanted to see. That said, we still didn’t see everyone, which is normal at such a big and busy event. By not managing a booth next year, we should have more time to meet with people and spend time with them.
Same as relationships, by focusing less on booth management, I am hoping we can have more time to do some gaming at Gen Con. What I am hoping we could sneak in in 2019 is some roleplaying at Gen Con with friends we only see at the convention. Might not even be an official game, but a game we play an evening in our hotel. I have so many friends I only see once a year, so having an opportunity to spend hours playing a game with them would be wonderful.
And the big reminder again:
FUTURE T.R., DON’T GO TO WORK THE DAY AFTER GEN CON! REST AND RECOVER. I listened to past self and followed that advice this year and it was glorious. I will do that from now on.
Well, that is what I have made note of so far. What things have you made note of to do better or at least differently at Gen Con 2019?