I suppose I better post my thoughts on gencon 2016 before I lose them.
First and foremost, it was great fun.
I went with 3 other people, two of whom I knew casually from game night. The most pleasant surprise was that we all got along great and spent almost the entire convention together as a group, laughing and making jokes, etc. It was the first gencon for all of us.
We all drove down from Champaign, IL (about 2 hours away) on friday morning (2nd day of convention) and left on sunday evening. We stayed in an apartment that was found on airbnb, about 10 minute drive from convention center, which cost $160 per night total (which we split 4 ways).
Gencon was very big and the exhibit hall was quite crowded. The whole place has a disneyworld vibe to it. But the hallways and other rooms were fine, and most of all everyone there was just in a good mood and happy so it was a pleasant experience, even for someone like me that doesn't love crowds.
Lots of great people watching opportunities and tons of people dressed up as their favorite game/tv characters (cosplay is the term for that).
We played a bunch of demo board and card games (Bloodborne, Monarch, Not alone, Kaleidos
, Herorealms, etc.) Nothing all that memorable (though Kaleidos is a perfect give for my nieces so i'll be picking that up). I got some free promo cards for a couple of the board games I like (Boss Monster, Star Realms). I picked up my copy of Evolution Climate
that I had kickstarted. We also spent some time in the game "library" playing board games that I knew how to play and could teach. We also attended a few events, two live youtube podcast recordings from some popular game reviewers (The Dice Tower with Tom Vassel
, and Shut Up and Sit Down
). I got a chance to talk with my favorite board game playthrough channel folks (Game Night
). We tried a session of Pathfinder RPG since one of the other people is interested in GM'img that, and that was fun too.
But really the thing that stuck with me the most, the most lasting impression though of the whole experience, was just the very positive vibe I got from seeing so many people who might otherwise be out of their element, letting their hair down and being themselves and having so much fun with kindred spirits. While it's certainly true that being a nerd/geek has become so much more accepted/embraced than it was once upon a time, I could still sense the excitement that all of these people around me felt at being in a place where everyone was so accepted, and so much in their element. Lots of asperger-spectrum folks just thriving in the environment and talking with each other in the language of board game fanatics, etc. I found it all quite uplifting. So if you are one of those board game (or rpg, videogame,etc.) nerds that isn't often surrounded by like-minded people, I cannot more highly recommend you go to something like Gencon and experience what it's like to be around so many like-minded people. And if your proclivities lie elsewhere - find an alternative convention to attend, it really is quite special to be around your own kind for a weekend
ps. We'll almost surely go back to Indianopolis for the Aug 17-20th 2017 Gencon, and hopefully a few more of you DC folks will join us.