Gen Con 2011

Gen Con Indy 2011 has come and gone.  I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it since I had no idea what to expect.  I knew there would be games, but would I care?  I was going to listen to authors talk and hopefully snatch a few autographs in the process.  But would it be worth the money in the end?

Why yes, it was!

The wife, Christine Johnson, me, and Saundra Mitchell

The wife and I started our trip out by heading to Indy a day early to have dinner with Saundra Mitchell and Christine Johnson.  The food was good…until I tried the cole slaw.  It was so bitter, I could hardly choke down a bite.  No one at the table could eat it!

But it was fun nonetheless.  I got to hang out with a couple of authors, chat a little…or since it was me, listen while they talked!  I did manage to be a little more vocal than usual, but that isn’t saying much.

The view from the more expensive hotel room

The hotel that night wasn’t bad as long as I could ignore the water spots on the ceiling and the stapled on wallpaper.  The pillows were about as fluffy as a piece of paper and well, the view wasn’t much to look at.  But it served.  It had a small fridge and a decent amount of channels.  This would surprisingly be much better than the hotel that was nearly three times the cost that we stayed at for the duration of the con!

Gen Con itself was like I expected.  Lots of people roaming around, careless as to who they plowed over.  Being short tends to have its disadvantages in places like these.  Everyone seems to be bigger than you and they never care if they plow right over you as long as they get to where they are going.  The exhibit hall was the worst.  Why people would flood the place at a run when the doors opened was beyond me.  The stuff wasn’t going to go anywhere!

The crowd, which nearly doubled in size after taking this, waiting for the exhibit hall to open

Thankfully, I didn’t spend too much time trying to make my way through the masses.  I ended up tucked in the two corner rooms upstairs where they hid away the author events.  Between panels, I could look down upon the insanity below.  It was hotter up there than other parts of the convention center, but at least it was a little quieter.

The panels themselves were interesting.  I was just happy to be there so I could learn how the things were run.  Being in the audience was awkward at times because I felt out of place.  I did learn a little from the panelists themselves.  I might have learned more if I didn’t spend so much time on the internet, looking things up.  So while some of it rehashed things I already knew, I did get something out of them and I’m glad I went.

Other than the panels, I did little else, which wasn’t as good.  I went to only one late night event, a sort of zombie casino where I quickly ran out of “zombies” to play with and ended up watching the rest of the time.  I hit up the author’s alley, which felt cramped and almost like Gen Con really didn’t want them there. Still, I got a book signed by Anton Strout and two more by R.A. Salvatore, so I wouldn’t call it a total waste.

The wife, me, and Anton Strout

The wife and me with R.A. Salvatore

All in all, I did enjoy the con, though I wish I would have gotten more involved.  Watching the people who dressed up was fun.  The broken shower in my expensive hotel room was not.  I learned a few things, mostly how to act when I’m actually on a panel, and I do plan on getting more involved in actual events the next time I go to a con, whether it is one for gaming or one that is entirely for writing.

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