As I finish my Gen Con 2019 photo album and play the new games, I am already looking forward to Gen Con 2020. Gen Con is such a huge event and an extended family vacation, taking a lot of preparation, so 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 the event draws closer.
This year had many uncertainties to start. Early on, we were not sure if our daughters would be attending with us, as they hadn’t finalized their summer plans. In the end, their schedules were flexible enough that both attended Gen Con with us. They have already looked at their schedules for next summer and, as of right now, plan to attend Gen Con with us again next year. We also were working with Stronghold Games this year, rather than Modiphius. New booth layout, new responsibilities demoing games, and new people to work with. So there were a lot of unknowns when we started planning for Gen Con 2019. Those uncertainties changed to clarity as the convention drew closer and we ultimately had an incredible time this year. Working for Stronghold Games was a lot of fun, and we look forward to doing that again next year. Our daughters are also older and much more confident, so they spend a lot more time on their own at Gen Con, which frees up Angie and me to do more on our own as well.
Thoughts for next 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 continues to provide wonderful and friendly assistance, making the process of picking up and returning tickets so much simpler for us with the wheelchair. The SpringHill Suites hotel continues to be accessible and comfortable for us, and the staff are incredible. They really make the extra effort to make our stay wonderful each year. We would plan to stay there again in 2020 and I have already spoken with Gen Con Exhibitor Services as to how to reserve an accessible room next year. We found a way to make Angie more comfortable this year by purchasing a zero gravity chair (basically a recliner lawn chair). This was MUCH more comfortable for her to rest and nap in the hotel. We will definitely be bringing that with us on other trips, as well as Gen Con 2020. Angie suffered again from some dehydration, but not as bad as last year. We are looking to having her drink more gatorade or other electrolyte drink along with the water to assist in that. We also are contemplating a portable humidifier for the hotel room as she spends more time there.
The nicer running shoes really worked well again this year. I came through Gen Con with tired feet, but no pain or numbness. I bought a new pair already but they were not fully broke in for Gen Con 2019, so I used my older ones. I will have these new shoes ready in time for Gen Con 2020.
Working Stronghold Games this year was a lot of fun. For years, I have worked retail in the Modiphius booth and Chronicle City before that, where you get some conversations, but they are short. Demoing games for Stronghold Games meant I spent a lot more time talking and interacting with a few people at a time. I really enjoyed that time sharing games with so many people and talking with them about their Gen Con experiences. Glad I brought throat lozenges, or I feel my voice would have completely failed. As it was, it was cracking and low by Sunday. I need to look into voice exercises and perhaps better lozenges for keeping my voice strong. We also brought a LOT of snacks for the booth. Too be honest, too many. Next year we will bring them again to share with our fellow booth staff, but we will be more conservative in how many we bring. Along with the booth work, we helped work the “Rock and Roll and Write” launch party for Stronghold Games on Thursday night. Definitely want to do that again, but I need to find a way to make it more fun and comfortable for Angie if I am going to work during it. Something to think about. Perhaps bring another special guest to be with her while I work.
This was our first year attending Trade Day, and we will DEFINITELY be doing that again in 2020. With the Stronghold Games booth work being more flexible, my family was able to free up time on Wednesday to attend Trade Day sessions, and they were great. We so enjoyed sitting down with other educators and librarians to discuss gaming in academia. The sessions were very informative, and we made some great contacts at other schools. I am even considering submitting a workshop idea for Trade Day 2020.
The game night and meetup we helped host again on Saturday evening was as wonderful as ever, so that will continue as a tradition. Michael Riddle did an excellent job as the official host, which let me focus on Angie having a good time and getting some time to play a game myself. Definitely will continue the evening and having someone else lead again. As for meeting others, we took a much more relaxed approach this year, which was nice. We kept our schedule more open for impromptu meetings and possible meals. We still met so many industry and community friends, and didn’t feel our schedule was as forced and tight to meet up with people. The one challenge with game demoing meant I didn’t have as much free time to just chat with people who visited the booth. I might need to schedule some booth time where I am not demoing, but rather available to meet with people.
Because I was demoing games, I spent a lot of time playing games this year. More than ever at Gen Con. Add in the Saturday night meetup and my family demoed a game. I also did some roleplaying with my daughter Wednesday evening. What I would like to do next year is open up that roleplaying on Wednesday evening to more people. We tried this year but schedules didn’t work out, so we will try again next year.
And the big reminders 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. Want to add a new one. FUTURE T.R., TAKE OFF WORK THE DAY BEFORE GEN CON TO PREP. I think taking the Monday before Gen Con off would really help make preparations more relaxed and fun. Feel less stressed and last minute in the packing and loading.
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 2020?