Gen Con 2017: Day 1

I'll start by saying it: Thursday felt like Saturday. The crowds are certainly higher, and I can only imagine they'll continue to grow. That said, let's talk about how the day went.

I began by walking +Jamie Stefko to her first game, which was located on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. I've never been out to the stadium before, as the convention had only expanded into it in the last couple years. I believe this was the first year they held events on the field.

The big feature there, however, was the pop-up museum of gaming history behind the facade of the Horticultural Hall, Gen Con's original home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I stayed here only briefly, but it looks like a well curated, if small, glimpse into the hobby's past.

This sleepy guy lives in the museum.

But I had other places to be. As an Industry Insider, I had a ticket for early access to the exhibit hall, and I certainly wasn't going to waste it. Of course, like everything else at Gen Con, a couple hundred people had the same idea several hours earlier than I did. Thankfully, the line was well managed, and once the doors opened at 9:00, we all were able to file in quickly.

The line wrapped around that wall on the right. That's the door waaay over there.

I'm very glad that I got this time to navigate the hall before it filled up too much. I have a feel for where the major features our now that will serve me when I venture back in over the rest of the convention. But the biggest plus to my early access was getting to the Paizo booth before the line stretched out too far. I was able to pick up one of the top items on my list — the Starfinder Core Rulebook, which I heard sold out only a couple hours after I was there.

I wandered the hall for a bit, then returned to my hotel room to deposit my purchases. By that point, Jamie had finished her game, and we went to Steak'n'Shake for lunch. Then it was back to the exhibit hall so she could look around for a bit and I could pick up one or two things I avoided early to let the lines die down.

Round 1. Fight!

Then it was time for my first Industry Insider panel. The topic was Creating Periodic Content, and my excellent co-panelists were Jaym Gates, Harrison Pink, and Darcy Ross. Everyone had a unique perspective on the topic, from Jaym's view as a fiction editor to Harrison's work in episodic video games for Telltale, to Darcy and I more on the independent blogger/podcaster/YouTube space. Thanks to them and everyone who came for making it a great first panel and helping me feel a little less out of place with this whole Insider thing.

We returned to the hotel room for a bit after that to rest our feet and look over the stuff we'd acquired so far. Then it was time for the last event of the day: running my first game. I ran a GURPS sci-fi blockbuster about a team of space marines dropped onto an irradiated colony world and swarming with robotic alien worms. My players were wonderful, much fun was had by all, and nobody even got an arm bitten off. I wish I'd remembered to take pictures of it.

After the game, I remembered that I hadn't eaten anything in 9 hours, so we headed off to Primanti Brothers for big sandwiches. That's right: I traveled 8 hours through the face-melting Ohio wasteland only to end up eating at Pittsburgh's premiere artery-filling station. Still. It was a good sandwich.

Let's see what Day 2 can bring.


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