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Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

Last post 05-13-2014 6:33 AM by marimacc. 450 replies.
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  • 01-14-2014 10:53 AM In reply to

    • daveculp
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    repto:

    2. We keep wanting to come down to Indianapolis for a real vacation--not just four intense days of gaming. We usually come into to town on Wed. and leave on Sunday. Last year I tried to register for a room for Mon-Sun. and I ended up getting dumped into some hellish, nightmare limbo land that caused me to lose out on booking a room in the downtown area. This despite having been on the housing site within 10 minutes of it going live. I sat on hold for over 2 hours on the phone [long distance] trying to get through to Customer Service (yes, I did leave voicemails too), while I tried repeatedly to find a room. At the time, I couldn't figure out why the heck I couldn't find a room ANYWHERE… turned out I couldn't find one because you *can't* book through GenCon housing for that many days. [note: After a month of desperate phone calls and emails, I was able to get into the Sheraton in the downtown area, thanks to the help of two terrific women at the IN Visitors Bureau]. Could GenConLLC please post a disclaimer about how many days you can book for on the housing FAQs page or include info in their generic housing email?

    I use it as a family vacation and last year we came in on Monday and left on Sunday.  I didnt have any trouble, I got in to the housing site, made my choice and reserved all within a few minutes.  We plan to come in on Sunday this year, we might end up staying Sunday night at a airport hotel though.

  • 01-14-2014 3:09 PM In reply to

    • atstepchild
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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     There are only a handful of room downtown that even accomodate 5+ people. Some (not all) of the Embassy Suites rooms and some of the other hotels have larger suites. Maybe a thread just on that topic would be helpful, if there isn't one already out there.

    The MotoGP is way out of GC's control since it would be the Indy planners who arranged that wonderful overlap. Luckily, they are not scheduled for our week this year (unless they change it at the last minute).

    This year, I will try to have nothing 'scheduled' for early on Tuesday for a change. I might (might) even see about coming in town Monday night or not having to leave at the crack of dawn. 

    Quote from Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, p259 ... Tas and Tanis talking after Tas says a prayer for the massacred Gully Dwarves.
    "It was good of you to think of that," said Tanis. "None of the rest of us did."
    "You're busy thinking big things," said Tas. "I keep track of the small stuff."

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  • 01-15-2014 7:53 PM In reply to

    • repto
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    daveculp:
    repto:

    2. We keep wanting to come down to Indianapolis for a real vacation--not just four intense days of gaming. We usually come into to town on Wed. and leave on Sunday. Last year I tried to register for a room for Mon-Sun. and I ended up getting dumped into some hellish, nightmare limbo land that caused me to lose out on booking a room in the downtown area. This despite having been on the housing site within 10 minutes of it going live. I sat on hold for over 2 hours on the phone [long distance] trying to get through to Customer Service (yes, I did leave voicemails too), while I tried repeatedly to find a room. At the time, I couldn't figure out why the heck I couldn't find a room ANYWHERE… turned out I couldn't find one because you *can't* book through GenCon housing for that many days. [note: After a month of desperate phone calls and emails, I was able to get into the Sheraton in the downtown area, thanks to the help of two terrific women at the IN Visitors Bureau]. Could GenConLLC please post a disclaimer about how many days you can book for on the housing FAQs page or include info in their generic housing email?

    I use it as a family vacation and last year we came in on Monday and left on Sunday.  I didn't have any trouble, I got in to the housing site, made my choice and reserved all within a few minutes.  We plan to come in on Sunday this year, we might end up staying Sunday night at a airport hotel though.

    Oh man, you were lucky or I was terribly unlucky! I could not figure out how the entire housing system locked up on me within minutes of housing going live. I was on hold to customer service for ages (left multiple desperate voicemails on my cell, while sitting on "live" on the house phone waiting to get past "hold"). I tried different browser windows. Restarted my computer. Tried getting online from my iPad. No luck. Each minute I was getting more and more stressed out. By 2 hours out I *knew* we'd never get a room in the downtown housing block. It was a horrible day!

    Days later, I was told that the reason I couldn't book a room was because I was trying to go for too long of a stay… that Gen Con only could get rooms for Tuesday through Monday night. If it IS possible to get a Gen Con room for a significantly longer stay… why wasn't I able to book a room?

    Yarrgh. There be beasties in those woods. I'd advise ye to be a wee bit careful what ye be chat tin' about.
  • 01-16-2014 7:02 AM In reply to

    • KatTsunade
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    repto:
    daveculp:
    repto:

    2. We keep wanting to come down to Indianapolis for a real vacation--not just four intense days of gaming. We usually come into to town on Wed. and leave on Sunday. Last year I tried to register for a room for Mon-Sun. and I ended up getting dumped into some hellish, nightmare limbo land that caused me to lose out on booking a room in the downtown area. This despite having been on the housing site within 10 minutes of it going live. I sat on hold for over 2 hours on the phone [long distance] trying to get through to Customer Service (yes, I did leave voicemails too), while I tried repeatedly to find a room. At the time, I couldn't figure out why the heck I couldn't find a room ANYWHERE… turned out I couldn't find one because you *can't* book through GenCon housing for that many days. [note: After a month of desperate phone calls and emails, I was able to get into the Sheraton in the downtown area, thanks to the help of two terrific women at the IN Visitors Bureau]. Could GenConLLC please post a disclaimer about how many days you can book for on the housing FAQs page or include info in their generic housing email?

     

    I use it as a family vacation and last year we came in on Monday and left on Sunday.  I didn't have any trouble, I got in to the housing site, made my choice and reserved all within a few minutes.  We plan to come in on Sunday this year, we might end up staying Sunday night at a airport hotel though.

    Oh man, you were lucky or I was terribly unlucky! I could not figure out how the entire housing system locked up on me within minutes of housing going live. I was on hold to customer service for ages (left multiple desperate voicemails on my cell, while sitting on "live" on the house phone waiting to get past "hold"). I tried different browser windows. Restarted my computer. Tried getting online from my iPad. No luck. Each minute I was getting more and more stressed out. By 2 hours out I *knew* we'd never get a room in the downtown housing block. It was a horrible day!

    Days later, I was told that the reason I couldn't book a room was because I was trying to go for too long of a stay… that Gen Con only could get rooms for Tuesday through Monday night. If it IS possible to get a Gen Con room for a significantly longer stay… why wasn't I able to book a room?

     

    You have to book the shorter stay and either call the Housing people or once the actual bookings go through to the hotel, the hotel, and ask about extending your stay.This year a different company than IndyGO or whichhaveyou are handling housing this year. 

     

    Throw in some wit and sarcasm here and ramblings of kitties.


  • 01-16-2014 7:18 AM In reply to

    • atstepchild
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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     Something to keep in mind is the non-prime nights (Thurs-Sat night) are not likely to sell out in 30 seconds or less. Get those locked in, then go back and get the other nights. Since I book directly through the hotel sites, I can see what is available, and not rushing. I get messages if it is full one or more of the days I select, so can change it. The Housing Rush doesn't have time for that (unless you go in a day or even 2 hours later and look through the remaining slots). If you have 'special needs' like certain rooms at certain hotels, consider booking your 'emergency rooms' even if they are not ideal, then cancelling them after you get what you need / want through the housing site. That way, you have SOMETHING to fall back on.

    Quote from Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, p259 ... Tas and Tanis talking after Tas says a prayer for the massacred Gully Dwarves.
    "It was good of you to think of that," said Tanis. "None of the rest of us did."
    "You're busy thinking big things," said Tas. "I keep track of the small stuff."

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  • 01-16-2014 7:21 AM In reply to

    • daveculp
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    I contacted the new company about longer stays. They have NO inventory from Sunday-Sunday and a limited inventory Monday-Sunday. They said the same thing, book the shorter stay and then email or call to see about having it extended.  I was very impressed with the timeliness of their answers.  I was able to get a reply back within a couple of hours. 

     

    I will probably stay at a cheap airport hotel on Sunday since we get in late afternoon on Sunday and then move my family to our official Gen Con hotel Monday morning. 

     

    The new company turns out to be formed by and staffed by former members of the Indy housing bureau and uses the same software (Passkey) as before.  We probably wont notice much of a difference.   

  • 01-16-2014 8:27 AM In reply to

    • CraigG
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    atstepchild:

     Something to keep in mind is the non-prime nights (Thurs-Sat night) are not likely to sell out in 30 seconds or less. Get those locked in, then go back and get the other nights.

     

    Are you sure? In 2012, when I booked the Embassy Suites for Thurs-Sun (I assume by "Sat night" you mean Sunday check out), it sold out within a few minutes. I'm sure some people on the waiting list were able to get rooms, but initial registration sold out quickly. I imagine the majority of people who book hotels come in on Thursday. This will be the first year I actually book Wednesday night.

    I would like to hear officially if Wed-Sun is harder to get than Thurs-Sun for the connected hotels. Maybe I'll post that question separately.

    Craig The Stout
  • 01-16-2014 1:55 PM In reply to

    • MrShiny
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    Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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     Thee has been lots of talk of an app (unlike the sham last year) and I agree.  That is because unlike Gen Con of olde - when they just had a magic marker list of sold out events, the list is too long.  Even the screen that used to show sold out events were not very useful as they tool longer and longer to scroll (I always thought they should show whichever is less - either sold out or not sold out).

    But with some events not in the book at all this year, an app is vital. 

    We run very popular Call of Cthulhu events that generally sell out the first day.  Still, we often have no-shows.  Some of these are returns, so while they would be available to purchase, they wouldn't show in the book (and if sold out events are eliminated, they wouldn't be in the book at all).

     Others are just simple no-shows.  We are often able to fill these with players holding generics or tickets from other events, but if there is no real record on site that the game event exists, it's easy to imagine some folks that might have found it in the past won't now.

    The app would show them that tickets were available, or even if sold out where and when the game is (moral of the story - if you want to play a sold out game, try just showing up!  You'd be surprised how good your odds are).

    So I'd love a good app.  Things are getting to big to manage well without it.  Things it should do well:

    1) tell me what games in a given time frame have availability and where they are

    2) tell me what games are going on soon and where (regardless of availability)

    3) let me look up where a vendor is in the hall (being able to "drop a pin" on certain vendors would be awesome!)

     

     

     

     

     

  • 01-16-2014 6:57 PM In reply to

    • atstepchild
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    Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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     I did, in fact, mean that Thurs - Sun sells out immediately, but Wed and before, not so much. Book your big 3 nights, then go back for the others. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

    Quote from Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, p259 ... Tas and Tanis talking after Tas says a prayer for the massacred Gully Dwarves.
    "It was good of you to think of that," said Tanis. "None of the rest of us did."
    "You're busy thinking big things," said Tas. "I keep track of the small stuff."

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  • 01-16-2014 9:29 PM In reply to

    • repto
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    Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    MrShiny:

    So I'd love a good app.  Things are getting to big to manage well without it.  Things it should do well:

    1) tell me what games in a given time frame have availability and where they are

    2) tell me what games are going on soon and where (regardless of availability)

    3) let me look up where a vendor is in the hall (being able to "drop a pin" on certain vendors would be awesome!)

    MrShiny:

    let me look up where a vendor is in the hall (being able to "drop a pin" on certain vendors would be awesome!)

    YES! YES! YES! Tie it to a map (Google Maps does it!) and I'd die happy!
    Yarrgh. There be beasties in those woods. I'd advise ye to be a wee bit careful what ye be chat tin' about.
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  • 01-16-2014 9:31 PM In reply to

    • repto
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    Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    atstepchild:

     I did, in fact, mean that Thurs - Sun sells out immediately, but Wed and before, not so much. Book your big 3 nights, then go back for the others. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

    So I shouldn't try to book Wed through Sat night in one fell swoop??
    Yarrgh. There be beasties in those woods. I'd advise ye to be a wee bit careful what ye be chat tin' about.
  • 01-17-2014 3:22 PM In reply to

    • atstepchild
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    Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    Wednesday should be fine to book, but I wouldn't go much before that. Those who use the system would give more first-hand experiences, I'm just going by what I see posted on the forums for the last 6 years.

    Quote from Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, p259 ... Tas and Tanis talking after Tas says a prayer for the massacred Gully Dwarves.
    "It was good of you to think of that," said Tanis. "None of the rest of us did."
    "You're busy thinking big things," said Tas. "I keep track of the small stuff."

    www.fatdragongames.com/ Cardstock models at great prices... by one of our own.
    www.kentuckyfriedgamers.com/ Friendliest forums on the web. Just Downhome Fun. YEEEHAAWWW!!!
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    Gamers After Dark is for gaming adults looking for an upscale, higher quality party experience. We work to bring people together in a secure, non-threatening environment. Contact me if interested in details.
    Who's Yer Con, April 17-19, 2015
  • 01-18-2014 3:19 PM In reply to

    • marimacc
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    CraigG:

    atstepchild:

     Something to keep in mind is the non-prime nights (Thurs-Sat night) are not likely to sell out in 30 seconds or less. Get those locked in, then go back and get the other nights.

     

    Are you sure? In 2012, when I booked the Embassy Suites for Thurs-Sun (I assume by "Sat night" you mean Sunday check out), it sold out within a few minutes. I'm sure some people on the waiting list were able to get rooms, but initial registration sold out quickly. I imagine the majority of people who book hotels come in on Thursday. This will be the first year I actually book Wednesday night.

    I would like to hear officially if Wed-Sun is harder to get than Thurs-Sun for the connected hotels. Maybe I'll post that question separately.

    Well, this is what I can say. Wednesday inventory is ALWAYS more limited than core nights of Thu, Fri, and Sat. Does that make it harder to book Wednesday? Well, it might depending on demand at that particular hotel. I can't really say, and I don't think anyone can really, say if Wednesday is "harder" to book at one or another hotel. It really just depends on supply and demand at that particular hotel for that particular year.

    I can say that in years past, when I have come in on Wednesday and even earlier, I've ended up staying at a much cheaper hotel a little further out, and that's totally doable.

    If you want to stay several days prior to the con at a particular hotel, you can try and make a seperate out of block booking for those rooms, and then ask the hotel to merge them so you don't have to switch rooms. That's always a possibility.

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  • 01-18-2014 3:58 PM In reply to

    • CMagel
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    I came in on a Thursday the first time I attended GenCon.  From there on out I always came in on Wednesday... I also didn't use the housing program and just got my hotel through 'normal' means.  I'd rather pay another $20-$30 a night and be where I want to be (within 2-4 blocks).

    A lot of people don't understand that if they plan on staying at a further out hotel and renting a car they probably aren't saving that much monetarily (car rental and parking), are losing time in doing it (driving time), and you don't have a nice close base of operations to power nap and drop off bigger purchases.

    Back in the day I had to be sneaky about booking outside the housing block (the hotels didn't seem to like it for some reason - even though I was paying more) but these days with online booking there's no need.

    Cory Magel

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  • 01-19-2014 1:47 AM In reply to

    • NDGeekboy
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    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

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    CMagel:

    A lot of people don't understand that if they plan on staying at a further out hotel and renting a car they probably aren't saving that much monetarily (car rental and parking), are losing time in doing it (driving time), and you don't have a nice close base of operations to power nap and drop off bigger purchases.

    If you're rooming by yourself, which I often do, staying further out actually does save money. Last year, I spent about $75/night (including tax) for a full week (about $525-550 total) plus rented a car for the week for $200. With parking of $20/day (and just five days downtown), that totals $825-850. I probably paid about as much as some folks downtown and I had two or three more days than them.

    Regarding the drive time, it really doesn't bother me. In fact, I prefer it. In the morning, it's time to wake up and psych myself up. At night, it's just decompression time. If I need a power nap, I can crash in my car for a little bit. Sure, it isn't the most private place, but it fits my bill. And I'm not a big buyer, but I can still just stow that stuff in the car.

    What's affordable and what works is all really a matter of needs and perspective, and it's all going to vary from person to person.

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  • 01-19-2014 9:21 AM In reply to

    • SteveSpikes
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    Re: People with disabilities and the Exhibitors' Hall

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    The original topic to this thread was "Gen Con 2014: Improvements and Ideas".  Well here's one that may help those with disabilities, permenant and temporary.

    I am one of the many disabled persons who feel that we are being left behind when it comes to "entering the race" for getting into the Exhibitors' Hall, and getting our hands on the hottest games debuting at Gen Con that year-- especially on Thursday and Friday.  You have the VIGs, who pay for the privilege of gaining early entry into the Exhibitors' Hall.  Why not allow those with disabilities enter the Exhibitors' Hall 10 - 15 minutes before the masses that seem to trample those who find it difficult to get out of the way.

    One solution is opening the side entrances to Halls "H" and "J" early to those with disabilities.  To ensure that abled-bodied persons don't "jump the gun" and gain entry with those with distinctive disabilities (and the caregivers to those attendees that have them), when attendees get their badges through the mail or at Will-call via the "Special Services" window at the convention center, there needs to be a special notation on the badge of the bearer.  This can be a sticker or a punch put on badge at "Special Services".  Those who get their badges through the mail need to get the notation at the Special Services window when they arrive at the convention.

    People with disabilities are gamers too, and should have the same opportunity to have the same Gen Con experience as their able-bodied brethren.



  • 01-19-2014 9:56 AM In reply to

    • dballing
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    Re: People with disabilities and the Exhibitors' Hall

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    My understanding of the ADA (I'm not a lawyer, I just enjoy the topic of law in general) is that if someone CLAIMS a disability, you have to take it at face value, and cannot question folks about the details, etc.

    This was a bone of contention for Disney parks who - recently, reluctantly - stopped doing their "disabled go to the head of the line" because it was being gamed too often, and abused, and they were (essentially) powerless to stop it.

    I ask this because if Disney couldn't figure out a way to prevent abuse, what stops me from (being a total dick and) saying "I've got a disability, I need early access too"?

    If GenCon tries to "validate" legitimate from illegitimate disabilities, it seems like it's opening them up to nightmarish levels of hassle.

  • 01-19-2014 10:44 AM In reply to

    • marimacc
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    Re: People with disabilities and the Exhibitors' Hall

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    SteveSpikes:

    People with disabilities are gamers too, and should have the same opportunity to have the same Gen Con experience as their able-bodied brethren.

    Absolutely Steve, I agree 100% and you might have seen this section about disability services on the website, but let me just requote it here in case it might help someone else:

    "What type of aid do you offer to attendees with disabilities?

    Gen Con has a Special Services kiosk onsite to service anyone who is disabled or requires special assistance. Attendees visiting this kiosk can purchase badges and event tickets there or have their Will Call packet(s) collected from Will Call and brought to them at this location.

    When visiting the Special Services kiosk, you will be issued a wrist band to wear throughout the duration of the show. This will notify staff that you have a disability and qualify for special assistance such as expedited admission (bypassing lines) or reserved seating areas for specific events. Simply speak with anyone wearing a staff shirt to request assistance particular to your needs."

    So anyone who requires special assistance can get a wrist band which allows then special assistance at certain events. I guarantee Gen Con is very committed to helping those attendees that need special assistance. In addition, Gen Con will provide you with an attendant badge should you need one. And no, Gen Con does not in any way require any paperwork for validation of your disability.

    I know that the time of accommodation varies per event. For the costume contest, there's a separate disabled line, but you have to get there at least before general seating starts, maybe earlier. I know for things like waiting in line for author signings, where it's a first come first served type of thing, someone will hold a number in line for the person who can sit or lie down elsewhere if need be, and they'll be alerted when their number comes up. So the manner of accommodation depends somewhat on the event, I guess I'd say.

    I can also say that Gen Con has multiple people stationed at the Exhibit Hall entrance when the door opens, stopping people from running and looking out for safety issues. So that, if you were up there at the front of the crowd trying to get into the Exhibit Hall, and I don't know how early you'd have to get there for that, I can guarantee they'll be looking out for you and making sure no one tries to unsafely cut in front of you.

    So, anyhow, if it's an accommodation that you feel you need, I certainly think you can email Gen Con. However, I just wanted to make sure knew that you could get a wristband already, and that you could wait at the entrance to the Exhibit Hall if you need to, and there is staff there to help you enter safely.

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  • 01-19-2014 11:09 AM In reply to

    • CMagel
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 08-24-2013
    • Seattle
    • Gamer Apprentice
    • Points 4,652

    Re: People with disabilities and the Exhibitors' Hall

    Locked Reply Contact

    It sounds silly to say it, but the ADA protects rights too strongly in some situations, i.e. to the point that anyone can claim disability without proof.  That is really what ruins it for those who really are diabled.  Places (like Disney) that would like to provide special accomodations above and beyond what they are leagally bound to stop doing so because they get abused by non-handicap people.

    The same thing is true with service animals. People can bring a dog into a restaurant, grocery, or even a hospital and the staff/business is not allowed to ask for proof it's a service dog.  I see people abuse this all the time and personally know someone who claims this (friend of a friend).

    I'm really curious if proof of a handicap is not required then how could I possibly be given a ticket for parking in a handicap space with my car?

    Anyhow, I agree it would be great to see special consideration for truly handicap people at GenCon, but until the 'rules' set by the ADA are not ripe for abuse I'd probably forgo it too.

    Cory Magel

    - When the Game Master smiles, it's already too late.
  • 01-19-2014 12:32 PM In reply to

    • garhkal
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-04-2006
    • Game Theorist
    • Points 14,936

    Re: Registration issues, Housing concerns Re: Gencon 2014 improvements and ideas.

    Locked Reply Contact

    NDGeekboy:

    CMagel:

    A lot of people don't understand that if they plan on staying at a further out hotel and renting a car they probably aren't saving that much monetarily (car rental and parking), are losing time in doing it (driving time), and you don't have a nice close base of operations to power nap and drop off bigger purchases.

    If you're rooming by yourself, which I often do, staying further out actually does save money. Last year, I spent about $75/night (including tax) for a full week (about $525-550 total) plus rented a car for the week for $200. With parking of $20/day (and just five days downtown), that totals $825-850. I probably paid about as much as some folks downtown and I had two or three more days than them.

     

     

    True, the cost may be (cash wise) worth it, but the time investment and hastle to get a parking spot sometimes may not be.


    CMagel:

    It sounds silly to say it, but the ADA protects rights too strongly in some situations, i.e. to the point that anyone can claim disability without proof.  That is really what ruins it for those who really are diabled.  Places (like Disney) that would like to provide special accomodations above and beyond what they are leagally bound to stop doing so because they get abused by non-handicap people.

    The same thing is true with service animals. People can bring a dog into a restaurant, grocery, or even a hospital and the staff/business is not allowed to ask for proof it's a service dog.  I see people abuse this all the time and personally know someone who claims this (friend of a friend).

    I'm really curious if proof of a handicap is not required then how could I possibly be given a ticket for parking in a handicap space with my car?

    Anyhow, I agree it would be great to see special consideration for truly handicap people at GenCon, but until the 'rules' set by the ADA are not ripe for abuse I'd probably forgo it too.

     

    I've talked to several cops about that issue myself, and it IS a bone of contention.  But on the disabled parking spots, you DO get disabled license plates/hanging signs you are to use.  BUT often its NOT the person who is disabled who is driving and abusing that privelage that is what gets people irked..

     

     

    It's not who you kill but how they die!.
    You cannot shoot what you cannot see, and
    You cannot dodge it if you do not know it is comming!!!
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