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Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

Last post 08-02-2012 2:05 PM by NascragMan. 147 replies.
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  • 02-02-2012 8:11 AM In reply to

    • Tom
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    On the foot care issue...I do triathlons, and I picked up some compression socks at my local running store last season to wear after the race. They keep blood moving up out of your feet and lower legs, really help reduce fatigue.

    They are also brilliant for long days of standing/walking (hmmmm, Gen Con), and for airplane rides. Big help. If you're on your feet all day, you'll feel tons better at night.

    You can buy compression socks at running stores or pharmacies--where they are sold for people with diabetes, for example. 




  • 02-02-2012 8:18 AM In reply to

    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    33. Try something you've never done before.  Not just a new game.  Maybe you're a table top player who's never larped.  Maybe you're a larper who's never done a mini-figs game (but make sure an army's provided).  Maybe you love board games but don't play CCGs.  Step outside your comfort zone and try a game type you've never done or only tried with one of the top brand icons (D&D, World of Darkness, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, etc.).

     34. It's not the games you play that make the memories, but how you play them.  Throw yourself into whatever you try.  Involve other players.  Let the person running it help you.  Don't focus on winning but on having fun.  Really.

    35. Most of us are geeks and so most of us are introverts.  We'd love to make new friends but we're all afraid to make the first move.  Strike up a conversation with a stranger and it'll probably work.  Good starters: Where are you from?  What are you playing this weekend?  What's been your best discovery about the con?

    36. Don't play the same way you do at home.  If you travel eight hours to GenCon to play D&D with your five buddies from home, you'll probably have a good time but you're potentially missing out on a great time.  Your whole group could try something new (see #33) or you could try D&D with whatever random pickup people are there.  Either way you'll get a new experience that you can take back with you.

    37. Don't stay in a bad event.  Your time is precious.  If you're not enjoying yourself, move on.  Make an excuse (the fake page is a classic for a reason) but go do something more worthy of your time.

    38. Noodles & Co. takes phone orders.  Download the menu and the phone number, call your order in, then bypass the huge line and go eat in one of the hotels.  It's cheap, it's reasonably healthy, it's delicious, and it's so much better than an hour wait in line.  You're welcome.

    39. Think outside gaming.  Watch at least one Film Fest event.  Attend a seminar on anything from GMing advice for beginners to the role of women in historical warfare.  Check out the Spa events for some things that you may have always wanted to try but never had a chance to (wine tasting, dance classes, and martial arts have all been featured in the past).

    40. If you're larping, don't go as nuts with costuming as you would back home.  The other players appreciate the immersion, truly, but more often than not it's a hassle.  Go with an item or two to acknowledge the setting and move on.  We're gamers, we have good imagination.

    41. Sleep.

    42. If you have a 10:00 PM larp don't sign up for an 8:00 AM table top the next day.  For that matter, if you have an 8:00 AM table top, don't sign up for a 10:00 PM larp that night.

    43. $5 parking on the other side of South and Meridian.  You're welcome.

    44. A more diverse gaming population means that yes, you may actually meet someone over GenCon.  Don't be afraid to talk to the guy/girl who catches your fancy.  Don't be a heel about it if they're not interested.  For the love of God, don't be That Guy.

    45. Remember everyone is hear to have a good time.  If you're courteous and extend even the smallest effort to help other people have fun, they will do more than the same for you.

    46. The deoderant rant has been done to death and, I have to say, it's wonderful that it's taken hold.  My personal hope is that this will be the year of mouthwash.  Listerine pocket sprays and strips are life savers.  Lifesavers are not (too much sugar, they make it worse).

    47. You can never have enough pencils.

    48. Be on time.  If I have a one-hour event starting at 1:00 PM, you can bet that I will be starting at 1:00 PM on the dot.  I'm not going to make the people who were on time wait for your, especially when it cuts into their limited time, and I'm not going to stop and recap when you do show up; you were late so it's your responsibility to catch up to the rest of us.  When you're late and expect the event to accomodate you you're telling everyone else there that you're time is more important than theirs.  No it isn't.

    49. Get some free business cards with your e-mail and/or phone number on them (thank you, Vista print).  It makes trading contact info much, much easier.

    50. Tip your servers.

    51. Choose your must-do events, then see what else fits into the schedule.  For me those are the events I'm running, Dana's 7th Sea larp, and the GenCon dance.  Serendipity fills in the rest and each year I have a better con than the year before.

    52. There is a White Castle two blocks south from the convention center.  They sell a Crave Case of 20 sliders and four boxes of fries.  No matter the temptation, no matter how far your drive home, do not order this.  You will regret it.

    53. Costumes are awesome and pictures of awesome costumes make everyone happy.  Please step out of traffic to take them.  If you block the aisle in the dealer room to take a picture I will be tempted to pull the camera out of your hand, force its strap over your head and around your neck, then slowly tighten the clasp as I rapid click images of the life draining from your eyes.

    54. Offer to buy your favorite game designer a drink or, if you're feeling really generous, lunch.  He or she'll probably take you up on it and give you some great stories and advice about your home game.

    55. Thank the people who run events you like.  Most us do it without payment and some of us even pay for the privledge.  Knowing that you had fun is the only reward we get.

    56. Keep an open mind.  One of the reasons GenCon gets better for me each year is I never go in with a conception of what the con has to be, so I'm continually surprised by new things.  Remember Erin McKean's adage about efficiency and serendipity:

     Efficiency is the ability to find what you're looking for quickly and effortlessly.  Serendipity means finding something you didn't know you were looking for because finding what you are looking for is too damn difficult.

    I like my women the way I like my swing dancing: fast, loose, and airborne.
  • 02-02-2012 8:35 AM In reply to

    • Tom
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    suburbaknght:

    40. If you're larping, don't go as nuts with costuming as you would back home.  The other players appreciate the immersion, truly, but more often than not it's a hassle.  Go with an item or two to acknowledge the setting and move on.  We're gamers, we have good imagination.

     

    Great additions, Suburba :)

    I will just say that costuming for an event for some people is an end to itself, so this is a definite YMMV. That said, it is a Convention, so people generally will understand that you can't make an all-out effort for every game you play. You might be in three games in one day, and three separate costumes would be a bit much :)

    BYOV, by the way, does not require costuming at all. We definitely appreciate them, sometimes do it ourselves while running them, but people in t-shirts and jeans are welcome and fit right in.




  • 02-02-2012 9:30 AM In reply to

    • Mike B
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    suburbaknght:

    48. Be on time.  If I have a one-hour event starting at 1:00 PM, you can bet that I will be starting at 1:00 PM on the dot.  I'm not going to make the people who were on time wait for your, especially when it cuts into their limited time, and I'm not going to stop and recap when you do show up; you were late so it's your responsibility to catch up to the rest of us.  When you're late and expect the event to accomodate you you're telling everyone else there that you're time is more important than theirs.  No it isn't.

    This reminds me of the only critique I have against NASCRAG... which is a magnificent event and a roleplayer's dream come true, but still...

    Several years when I was playing with The Stalyns, we made it to the third and final round. The third round is always the hardest, and mostly because you almost ALWAYS run out of time before you can reach the end of the story.

    What pissed me off to no end is that, despite the fact that we and many more finalists showed up on the dot, there were several fragmented teams who did not have all their members.

    Now, since NASCRAG is a COMPETITON, you would think this means that these teams are now disqualified due to the simple fact they didn't have their damn act together. No, we ALL have to WAIT 30+ minutes for these unprepared teams to get sorted out with the requisite players.

    I haven't played NASCRAG in the past 2 years but I really hope that unfair practice has been abolished. We ALWAYS had to rush through to get to the end when that extra 30 minutes would have let us finish the game comfortably.

    www.zombiesatemybuick.com - The most useless website on the Internet!
  • 02-02-2012 11:09 AM In reply to

    • DaRat
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    57. For mini painting classes, at least bring pen, paper, and a good #1 brush. Also helpful may be a primed mini relevant to the class, and a few paints just in case. Not all classes are hands on, and not all instructors will provide a good handout. Also, you might bring a sample of your work for the mid to upper level classes.

    58. If an event is full, but you really want to participate, show up early with generics and politely ask the GM to be on the wait list. Odds are that someone will not show or the GM will be able to squeeze you in anyway).

    59. Don't take more than 3 mini painting classes in a row: your brain will be mush and you won't remember anything anyway.

    60. Always ask permission before picking up anyone else's mini or terrain.

    61. Pack only essentials in your day bag, leaving room for purchases.

    62. Don't over schedule. Leave at least 2-3 hours each day open, if not more.

  • 02-02-2012 11:46 AM In reply to

    • Keeper
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    63 Give the Keeper dice. Buy him lunch he will tell you stories from Gen Cons long ago. It brings good luck.

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  • 02-02-2012 12:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    Forgive if this has been covered but-

    64. Throat lozenges, and staying hydrated are your friends. Especially if you're judging, your voice WILL cash out at some point. To avoid being reduced to Raistlin-speak, be sure to have water, and something to soothe the throat on hand always.

  • 02-02-2012 12:30 PM In reply to

    • john3103
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    Bubbagump Jr.:

    Forgive if this has been covered but-

    64. Throat lozenges, and staying hydrated are your friends. Especially if you're judging, your voice WILL cash out at some point. To avoid being reduced to Raistlin-speak, be sure to have water, and something to soothe the throat on hand always.

     

     

    Gargle some warm salt-water. Works instantly to rehydrate and without the need for numing agents.  Throat lozenges are great for sore-throats for cold however. 

    And while we're on the subject: WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN IF YOU HAVE A COLD. Con Crud is no joke. 

     

    Don't worry about things you can't change, and don't whine about things you caused.
  • 02-02-2012 1:39 PM In reply to

    • nmhall
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    john3103:
    WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN IF YOU HAVE A COLD. Con Crud is no joke.

    I'd say, wash your hands often, period. Even if you're not sick because you never know what cooties your fellow con-goers are carrying around. I had hand sanitizer on hand (; literally throughout the event.

    ~Nathan

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    @nmhall

  • 02-02-2012 2:46 PM In reply to

    • Tom
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    I go all-in on avoiding the crud.

    1) Eat vegetables during the Con.

    2) Drink lots of water.

    3) At least one Airborne or Walborne every day.

    4) Zicam throat spray ready just in case.

    5) Coffee in the morning, beer at night, and I'm all good.




  • 02-02-2012 3:58 PM In reply to

    • AlanS
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    Keepr:"Keeper Tip: As one who has Diabetic foot problems the ICC floor are the WORSE I've ever had to deal with. I've hiked Gettysburg with less problems So comy shoes, Foot powder, and rest them when you can."

    Wow.  Gettysburg.  I mean, I know you've been around a while, but.  Wow. Stick out tongue

    Alan S
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    the Relic yawned: now was Its dawn.
    Crowed at last, Its evil massed,
    to conquer fast, this planet vast...
    -Unknown
  • 02-02-2012 4:09 PM In reply to

    • Shalazar
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    51. Choose your must-do events, then see what else fits into the schedule.  For me those are the events I'm running, Dana's 7th Sea larp, and the GenCon dance.  Serendipity fills in the rest and each year I have a better con than the year before.

    Where will the dance be held this year?

    If it's easy, it's not good for you.
  • 02-02-2012 5:19 PM In reply to

    • Minami
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    suburbaknght:

    35. Most of us are geeks and so most of us are introverts.  We'd love to make new friends but we're all afraid to make the first move.  Strike up a conversation with a stranger and it'll probably work.  Good starters: Where are you from?  What are you playing this weekend?  What's been your best discovery about the con?

     

    Don't forget - Are you a forumite? Do you have any food recommendations? DId you see that person dressed as ________? And in the case of those of us in Gene's online game - this is where the vampires attacked the con goers in our online game in the forum. You don't see any weird looking people around do you? Stick out tongue

     

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  • 02-02-2012 5:19 PM In reply to

    • jmsetzer
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    Tom:
    * - Avoid the Klingon Restaurant, Kladdagh!, until they bring back Shepherd's Pie and Baked Brie.
     

    Heck, they didn't even have Bangers and Mash on the menu last year. What kind of Irish pub doesn'thave Shepherd's Pie AND Bangers and Mash?

    Checking out their website, though, there may be hope: both Shepherd's Pie and Bangers and Champ (you can add the Mash...ed potatoes as a side) are on their menu titled "2011-fall-winter-din." Let's hope they are still on their "2012-spring-summer-din." :-)

    "Failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't need one."
    --------
    Sir Alec Guinness
  • 02-02-2012 6:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    AlanS:

    Keepr:"Keeper Tip: As one who has Diabetic foot problems the ICC floor are the WORSE I've ever had to deal with. I've hiked Gettysburg with less problems So comy shoes, Foot powder, and rest them when you can."

    Wow.  Gettysburg.  I mean, I know you've been around a while, but.  Wow. Stick out tongue

    I LOLed.

     Also, based on the title of this thread, I was anticipating completely different tips.

    President of the Anti-Jackass Face Punching Squad.
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  • 02-02-2012 8:00 PM In reply to

    • Tom
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    jmsetzer:

    Checking out their website, though, there may be hope: both Shepherd's Pie and Bangers and Champ (you can add the Mash...ed potatoes as a side) are on their menu titled "2011-fall-winter-din." Let's hope they are still on their "2012-spring-summer-din." :-)

     

    Ooh, good call. It seems like maybe they have gone back to(wards) their roots. 'Champ', or 'champs' as I've heard it, are 'mashed', so that's good. Their baked brie and soda bread appetizer was awesome, but two out of three back on the menu is alright. And they've ditched all the TGIChiliBee's stuff that was all over their menu recently.

    The last time we were there the service was also *terrible*, so bad that we called the manager out and the whole mean was comped. But that's something that can also be turned around. Hmmm...worth a look again, maybe.




  • 02-02-2012 11:04 PM In reply to

    • NDGeekboy
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    suburbaknght:

    33. Try something you've never done before.  Not just a new game.  Maybe you're a table top player who's never larped.  Maybe you're a larper who's never done a mini-figs game (but make sure an army's provided).  Maybe you love board games but don't play CCGs.  Step outside your comfort zone and try a game type you've never done or only tried with one of the top brand icons (D&D, World of Darkness, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, etc.).

    LARPs? Oh my. That's a scary, scary idea.

    suburbaknght:
    34. It's not the games you play that make the memories, but how you play them.  Throw yourself into whatever you try.  Involve other players.  Let the person running it help you.  Don't focus on winning but on having fun.  Really.

    Yeah, I've usually found that a game is only as fun as the people you're playing with.

    suburbaknght:
    35. Most of us are geeks and so most of us are introverts.  We'd love to make new friends but we're all afraid to make the first move.  Strike up a conversation with a stranger and it'll probably work.  Good starters: Where are you from?  What are you playing this weekend?  What's been your best discovery about the con?

    True that. Last year the mall food court was packed almost solid. The one table I spied had two chairs and it already had one person. I asked him if I could sit there, and the next thing I knew, we were shooting the breeze. I usually don't do that (being the mega introvert I am) and it was his first con, but it definitely felt like a bonus moment for the weekend.

    suburbaknght:
    38. Noodles & Co. takes phone orders.  Download the menu and the phone number, call your order in, then bypass the huge line and go eat in one of the hotels.  It's cheap, it's reasonably healthy, it's delicious, and it's so much better than an hour wait in line.  You're welcome.

    Might have to remember that. I have to highly recommend Donato's Pizza, too. I don't know just how healthy it is, but it's good food.

    suburbaknght:
    41. Sleep.

    Sleep? What's that?

    suburbaknght:
    42. If you have a 10:00 PM larp don't sign up for an 8:00 AM table top the next day.  For that matter, if you have an 8:00 AM table top, don't sign up for a 10:00 PM larp that night.

    See 41.

    suburbaknght:
    47. You can never have enough pencils.

    And pens and paper and trail mix and...

    suburbaknght:
    50. Tip your servers.

    A genuine "Thanks" and a smile go a long way, too. As a pizza guy, trust me on this.

    suburbaknght:
    53. Costumes are awesome and pictures of awesome costumes make everyone happy.  Please step out of traffic to take them.  If you block the aisle in the dealer room to take a picture I will be tempted to pull the camera out of your hand, force its strap over your head and around your neck, then slowly tighten the clasp as I rapid click images of the life draining from your eyes.

    Um, please see 35.

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  • 02-03-2012 5:42 AM In reply to

    • Glory
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    NDGeekboy:

    suburbaknght:
    35. Most of us are geeks and so most of us are introverts.  We'd love to make new friends but we're all afraid to make the first move.  Strike up a conversation with a stranger and it'll probably work.  Good starters: Where are you from?  What are you playing this weekend?  What's been your best discovery about the con?

    True that. Last year the mall food court was packed almost solid. The one table I spied had two chairs and it already had one person. I asked him if I could sit there, and the next thing I knew, we were shooting the breeze. I usually don't do that (being the mega introvert I am) and it was his first con, but it definitely felt like a bonus moment for the weekend.

    By the end of the con, I have so many random phone numbers in my phone that just say things like "Pink Hair Girl - GenCon" or "Ascension group - GenCon." I love meeting new people and inviting new people to play games and things. Even the smelly people (well, mostly). It's so fun to just talk to people who GET it

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  • 02-03-2012 9:09 AM In reply to

    • AlanS
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    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    43. $5 parking on the other side of South and Meridian. You're welcome.

    Thanks.Smile  Now where exactly would that lot be?

    Alan S
    'Neath grass unkempt, on slopes windswept,
    where crawlers crept, the Relic slept.
    When nations spread, men fought and bled,
    and on the dead, the Relic fed.
    As time wore on, with mankind gone,
    the Relic yawned: now was Its dawn.
    Crowed at last, Its evil massed,
    to conquer fast, this planet vast...
    -Unknown
  • 02-03-2012 9:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Quickie Pointers, or What I've Learned After 8 GenCons

    AlanS:

    43. $5 parking on the other side of South and Meridian. You're welcome.

    Thanks.Smile  Now where exactly would that lot be?

    two blocks east of the ICC...the corner of South and Meridian Smile  

    $5 pay in advance, gravel lot.

    "There are a few things all hockey parents desire for their kids: That they have fun, they learn about character and teamwork. And most important of all… That they don't want to play goalie." -James Duthie
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