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GenCon Day One: Rhyssa’s Journey into Geekdom

A day-by-day wrap-up of my visit to GenCon Indy this year with Grimwell, The Muse and their children and CmdrSlack and his fiancee. These wrap-ups have also been posted over at GamerGod along with Grimwell’s and CmdrSlack’s observations.
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I was apparently the only one of our group who managed to arrive at our hotel in Indianapolis without any sidetrips or delays. Mapquest gave me an estimated 4 hours from my door to the hotel and I’ll be damned it it wasn’t almost exactly 4 hours, including the usual reconstruction BS around I-80/94 and through to I-65 in Indiana.

Still, I arrived at the hotel by 3pm and had time to settle in a bit before heading to the convention center with Grimwell and family for our badges. We only waited an hour in line before registration opened up, and once that line started moving..hoo boy! We cruised through the process in no time flat and were back at the hotel, ready to head out to dinner.

After a good night’s sleep, we were at the convention center slightly before the 10 am opening, were greatly disappointed by how quickly CmdrSlack and STBMCS got through the line and then headed off to the main hall. The groups split up and headed out on our own agendas. I decided on a methodical approach and started in the corner with the 100 level booths. I wasn’t looking for any particular vendors at this time, just taking in the atmosphere.

I haven’t been to GenCon in two years, since the final event was held in Milwaukee. This location is much nicer, IMO. I’d heard the horror stories of the first Indy con, but they’ve had two years to debug things and it shows. There are the usual con “issues,” like paying $2.50 for a bottle of water. Still, the sheer size of the vendor hall is good to see, since it’s possible to walk both ways in the aisles without being too cramped. Of course, that will no doubt change once the masses of people really start arriving on Friday.

This is the first time I’ve “worked” the GenCon. Previously, I simply looked for booths that interested me and went on my way. Now though, I was more cognizant of the types of vendors that come to the show. If I didn’t know better, I would assume that collectible card games (CCGs) form the entire market. If the game companies weren’t selling or demoing CCGs, then the retail dealers were there buying/selling/trading CCGs. I had realized that there were a lot of CCGs that came out overall, but the sheer number of them surprised me once I paid attention.

I had to take several breaks because walking slowly on a thin carpet over concrete is not conducive to anyone’s comfort. The breaks were good for going over the assorted swag I had gathered though, mostly consisting of business cards and free catalogs, although I did manage to score a free set of D&D dice (green) and a couple of luggage tags from the NGage booth. The swag bag given to everyone included a free 6-sided die to use for a discount at the Crystal Caste booth. Of course, hitting Crystal Caste and Chessex were high on my list because it’s been three years since I’ve had new GenCon dice, and that is the prime reason for coming here. I overdid my CC visit though, and ended up spending $30 on dice and map markers. Still, I got a free backpack out of the deal, so I guess I came out ahead.

I managed to accomplish my first day goal of walking all the aisles, and tomorrow my intent is to hit some select booths again for more detail visits. I’ve taken plenty of pictures so far, and found a few that ended up a bit blurry despite the care I took to stand still. I’ll retake those shots so that the readers can get more of the feel of the convention without being here.

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