My first GenCon was amazing. For those of you who have never been, it is the ultimate one-stop shop for gamers and sci-fi/fantasy authors.
GenCon was a sea of geekdom. The Indiana Convention Center is a massive building in downtown Indianapolis. People of all ages from infant to elderly roamed more than 8 hallways much like this one. I can equate the experience of roaming these halls to nothing I have ever experience before. Not only that, but everyone you brushed shoulders with was a kindred spirit: someone else who loved role playing, board games, video games, card games, books, and more just like you.
As seen in the concourse hallway, there were rooms on the right that held board games and video game centers for a variety of games and gamers. The exhibit hall on the left was just as long as the hallway and filled with hundreds of booths of vendors with games set up to test-play, artwork to sell, books to buy; you name it and more than likely it was nestled in some booth in the exhibit hall. Outside of writer symposiums I spent a good deal of time all weekend just roaming the exhibit hall and I’m certain I still didn’t see everything.
For those who are fans of role playing games such as D&D, there are tabletop games galore available to meet new people and find new adventures. There was also a special section in the back of the convention center, True Dungeon, where fans of D&D could walk through real taverns, dungeons, and more while solving adventures. While I didn’t have time this year to participate, when I return another year I will not miss the opportunity. For fans of Magic the Gathering there are a variety tournaments and pick-up games with great prizes along rows and rows of tables. For Catan fanatics there was an entire corner of the exhibit hall where a wide variety of Catan games were available to play. In the gamers hall there were life-size boards for tournament fun.
Some people got into the GenCon spirit and dressed in costume fare. There were superheroes and angels and demons, anime characters and steampunk and Star Wars. The list goes on and on.
My experience at GenCon was incredibly rewarding. Not only did I get to feel a sense of acceptance and understanding from other people like me, but I was able to meet authors who share the same visions and passions as me. I came home with free books and autographs and opportunities that never would have come to me had I never attended GenCon.
Be prepared for GenCon 2014, August 14-17. While you can wait until the end of June 2014 to buy your passes at a discounted rate, hotel rooms book fast. If you plan ahead properly you can book a hotel room that doesn’t penalize for cancellation. If you are even thinking about attending next year I highly recommend looking into hotels soon.
As for me and mine, we will be at GenCon 2014.