Gen Con Report: Part 1

I am back from Gen Con 2015. This year's con was amazing, the best in the last few years. I'm interested in seeing the attendance numbers. I would be surprised if there were less than 60,000 people, yet the show didn't feel any more crowded than last year. (As I wrote this post, the official numbers were released: 61,423 attendees, with 197,695 turnstile.)


Wednesday was travel day. I attend Gen Con with friends, and we typically carpool from the Pittsburgh area. This year, our group included one member who flew in from Boston, so the trip began with picking her up from the airport.

The drive to Indianapolis generally takes about 7 hours including a stop for lunch. We also throw in a stop at a large outdoor sports shop in West Virginia because it's along the way and who wants to go to West Virginia if they don't have to?

I had left much of my game prep to the last minute this year, so I took advantage of the ride to complete the last few pregenerated characters for my Games on Demand offerings. More on those later.

Upon arriving in Indianapolis, we checked into the JW Marriott. Our room on the 19th floor gave us quite a view of the convention center area. The JW is a perfectly good hotel, but I'm glad I got the group rate, as they were advertising non-block rooms for $800 a night.

After a light dinner at the food truck roundup on Georgia Street, I made my way to the Diana Jones Awards. This is the big industry get-together before the show proper begins, and it's also an awards ceremony celebrating excellence in gaming. This year's winner was The Guide to Glorantha, published by Moon Design.

The Diana Jones Awards are a strange experience for me. They are the biggest example of something I ran into a lot at Gen Con: a space where I feel like I'm welcome but not particularly wanted. The DJAs are held in a bar which rapidly becomes crowded with industry folks. I don't mingle well and I don't drink, so bars are generally uncomfortable. Basically, I spent a few hours watching for people I recognize but don't feel too intimidated to speak to, saying hello, maybe chatting awkwardly for a moment, and then wandering away. I don't go to the Awards "with" anyone, so I don't have anyone to retreat to and always feel like I'm interrupting someone else's group or conversation.

Eventually, I left the DJAs and returned to the convention center to pick up my badge and tickets from Will Call. Every year, the Will Call line gets longer and longer, and while Gen Con does a good job keeping everything moving, it still takes a while to get through. We're considering having our materials mailed to us next year.

To Be Continued

This post is long enough. I'll continue tomorrow with the events of Thursday. See you then!

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