Gen Con 2017: Day 0

It has begun again: Gen Con, the best four days in gaming (tee em). This year, of course, is the 50th instantiation of that hallowed gathering, and no one really knows just what kind of madness to expect. It seems to be off to a smashing start, but the crowds have yet to truly roll in.

My Gen Con experience began as all do with travel. Indianapolis is just close enough to Pittsburgh to think that driving to the show is a good idea. Unfortunately, when your air conditioning dies halfway across Ohio, and the temperature outside reaches the lofty heights of the mid-90s, you start to regret not taking to the air when you had the chance.

Thankfully, we reached Indy without losing too much of our body weight through our pores. And of course, along the way we indulged in that holiest of all roadside attractions: the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Once in Indy, we checked into the Westin and then made our way to the convention center. Signs proudly announced that all badges were sold out, and inside, the will call line stretched yet again down the concourse. I left Jamie in that line to pick up her event tickets while I headed to GM HQ to pick up our badges. As an Industry Insider, I was able to bypass the line for GM badges and grab our packets quickly. By the time I returned to Will Call, Jamie had just finished getting her materials. Kudos to Gen Con for handling the crush of day 0 attendees so swiftly.

With badges and tickets in hand, we took a moment to enjoy the cool, conditioned air of the Indiana Convention Center. I ran into +James Walls and his family as I searched for the VIG lounge, then Jamie and I headed off for our traditional dinner at PG Chang's at the mall. Once we'd finished there and returned to our room to drop off our meager gains, it was nearly time for that other Wednesday tradition: the Diana Jones Awards.

The DJAs are the one chance for many of the games industry professionals who will be hustling for the next four days to come together, relax, and catch up with each other in an extremely loud cowboy-themed bar. It's also their opportunity to recognize their own and name the best thing (of any kind, really) in the previous year(s) of gaming. This year, the award went to Gen Con itself, a move which certainly surprised no one and for which no one would blame the shadowy cabal behind the DJAs.

At the event, I got to chat with some folks as usual. I also got to meet a few for the first time, particularly +Christopher R. Rice and +PK Sullivan, and got to have delightful conversations with both. It was the first DJAs I've been to where I didn't feel hopelessly lost or out of place, and I left well before my emotional energy had been completely drained. I had to retire, however, to be rested for day one, which as I type this, looms large ahead. A sold-out show for Gen Con's 50th year: it's going to be a madhouse, a madhouse. But it will certainly be a thing to behold.



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