• Critical Grind Gaming

Road to Gen Con - Convention Prep

I’m excited! Are you excited!? Gen Con’s 4-day passes are almost completely sold out for the second year in a row! The doors open in 8 days, from when I’m writing this, and it’s going to be EPIC! This is my third year at Gen Con and I am beyond thrilled. We are bringing a couple people this year who have never been and I’ve been thinking about all the things a newcomer might need to know. I know there are dozens of great sites, blogs, tips, and resources out there for convention prep. As a person who loves lists, I wanted to make my own.


Even Gen Con's website says it's going to be EPIC!

Convention Prep:

As I mentioned, the doors open in just over 1 week, so I’m assuming most of you already have your preparations in place. Just in case you don’t, or if you’re still working out some fine details, here are some of my tips for preparing for the convention.

  • Plan your events ahead of time. Obviously the events are already live for ticket purchasing. If the events you want are still available, what are you waiting for? If you’re not picky and like to sign up for whatever is left over, now is your time. Make sure you’re leaving time between your events to get there.


  • Make a schedule to take with you. If there are specific events your doing, people you’re meeting up with, or entertainment you want to check out, write it all down. Use a piece of paper, phone or tablet, GoogleDoc, or pick up a ConQuest Journal. (Check out my review of those here.)


  • Create a list of Anticipated Games to buy or demo. BoardGameGeek.com recently released this list and I have been referencing it for my list for about a week now. It is constantly being updated and there are so many great new games to look out for this year. List of Gen Con 2018 Preview.


  • Didn’t get your badge or tickets shipped to you? If you’re picking up at Will Call, try to pick up on Wednesday. Even if you don’t make it in until late Wednesday night, go in the middle of the night. There are no lines.


  • Follow companies on Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the big three. Follow Gen Con for relevant Con information. And follow your favorite game companies. They will announce things at their booths.


  • Leave room to bring things home. If you’re driving: leave room in the car. If you’re flying: most flights allow everyone one carry-on for the overhead compartment, one personal item for under the seat in front of you. If you’re checking a bag, even better. Checked bags have 50lb limits. (invest in a baggage scale like this one.) Carry-ons do not have weight limits. Just make sure you can lift it above your head without hurting yourself.


  • You don’t HAVE to stay downtown. The hotels downtown can be crazy expensive. If you want to save a little money for more games, or food, stay outside of the downtown area. We have never stayed downtown. We’ve always stayed within 25-30 minutes from the city and we have saved hundreds of dollars doing it that way. We find places for less than $100 a night. This year, we found an AirBNB apartment we’re splitting with a couple friends.


I hope these tips are helpful for you. Please feel free to comment with your favorite ways to prep for Gen Con! I'd love to hear them.

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