August 4, 2015

GENCON

GENCON

On Scale

We got to Gencon on Wednesday to get a jump on things, and have a day to adjust before we dove into a weekend full of Sol demos. We walk in the front doors of the convention hall and it doesn't seem too crazy. Small bunches of people in snarky t-shirts wandering around.

"Let's just get our badges."

We walk to the entrance of the line labeled "Will Call". Doesn't seem bad, just some white satin cloth over a couple of snaking guiderails. No problem. But someone stops us as we try to go in.

"Can't go in here, you have to go to the back of the line."

And he points us back further. We see another line veer around a corner. Someone is guiding the line in batches across the walkway so it doesn't block the thoroughfare.

"It starts somewhere around that bend" he says.

Okay, no problem. Just around the bend. So we follow around the bend, and in one revelatory moment we see the LINE. It goes on forever. It is like a river of people, throngs of humanity spilling in every direction. In another hallway called the "Crossroads" there is another couple of ushers letting packets of the line through, making sure the line doesn't block traffic. This line has USHERS. And we keep going. And going. And gooooooooooooing. This hallway is huge, and the line stretches its entire length. We walk what must be the equivalent of five city blocks and still no end.

"Holy crap."

Finally we see it. The end. There are a couple of volunteers in bright lime green shirts waving people there.

"The end! You've found the end!"

No, this was just the beginning.

GENCON

It was an eye-opening introduction to Gencon, the largest gaming convention stateside. We spent the entire weekend boggled by the sheer scale of the thing. Everywhere we went we were confronted with it. Want a table to play a game? How about THOUSANDS? Want to go to the bathroom? Sorry there is a parade of costumes going on right now that is blocking all passage. Want some food? So do 61,423 other people!

It was pretty impressive. And overwhelming. I know we missed 99 percent of it. But it was still awesome.

Sol at Gencon

GENCON

We went to Gencon with a single purpose: demo Sol as many times as possible. And we did a pretty good job! 25 demos over 4 days (for comparison, Gamestorm and Kublacon both came in around 10 demos each). In the process we met a bunch of great people. Some of them may be you!

GENCON

One very different thing about Gencon from the other conventions we've been to was the lack of official open gaming tables. Every table in the main hall was scheduled for something. When we asked information and volunteers where the open gaming was, they were befuddled.

"You mean the Wil Wheaton talk?"

No, no we did not.

We spent the first two days in the game library... because that was the only place it seemed like we could play a game we had brought. The problem with the game library was that it cost "tickets" to go in. Everything at Gencon cost tickets! It was like the Fair of games. Luckily, there were enough people milling around that were open to playing a random game about the Sun exploding. Thanks all, and great to meet you!

Then, thanks to a tip from our friend Matt from Panda, we discovered that we could after all play our game in the main event hall... we just had to schedule it with the hall "HQ". So many lessons.

GENCON

Man that place was insane.

Takeaway

We knew we were getting in way over our heads even thinking about going to Gencon. But at the same time, we just wanted to see what the hell was going on. Sometimes it is good to do things that you are not ready for in order to rise to the challenge. Thanks to everyone we met who made that process worthwhile.

Until next year!

GENCON

Tags: Sol gencon madness convention