Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Getting to Gen Con

G

"Meet you by the troll in an hour, OK?"
"Synchronise your mobiles."

First exchange from our dream-fulfilling visit to Gen Con Indy last year.  The plan itself was simple.  We're a family of gamers.  Naturally we would want to make what amounted to a pilgrimage to gamer Mecca - Gen Con Indy.  Typically, it took on the scale and feel of a military operation very quickly. 

Heitlers do not travel well.  Like good wine, we get shook up and all the unpleasant sediment of our personalities rises to the surface.  Heitlers also do not travel light.  Previous excursions abroad have inevitably ended up with us buying an extra suitcase to bring stuff back.  I took all this into account before getting online and hunting for hotels and flights.

For a technophobe, I'm rather good at this.  I can riffle through pages of flight and hotel combinations with great speed and in due course came up with something ideal.  Flights that came and went at sensible hours, a hotel within walking distance and all within budget.  Only one stop - in Philadelphia.

I did not know that Philadelphia airport is a byword for awful.  We found out.  Apart from the long, long queues and incomprehensible announcements that are part of any airport experience, we met possibly the world's least empathic immigration official.  A ten hour flight followed by "Hey, your name is really funny dude, your mom must have been a crazy nazi-lover" did not go well.  Particularly as my husband is Jewish.  Realising that socking this guy on the jaw would achive nothing but a strip search, we kept schtum.  Which I've regretted ever since.

We made it.  We found the hotel.  The hotel was wonderful and the staff made us feel like their long-lost family.  Thank you Crowne Plaza.  Unfortunately, there were some things completely out of their control.  If you recall, last August America had an unrivalled heatwave.  It was hot in Indianapolis.  Hot to the point that our plans to spend a couple of days acclimatising and wandering about were scuppered.  Going outside was like being hit in the face with a huge boiling blanket.  Three days before Gen Con started and we wilted in the heat and wondered if we'd have been better off not coming at all. 

Deprived of wandering, we spent a lot of time in the Boar's Head icecream parlour.  A name that tickled me greatly.  I kept wondering what Falstaff would have made of a hot fudge sundae. 

Ice cream parlour

We also worked out that the convention centre was huge.  As in airport huge.  This wasn't rocket science, but it did get us thinking about how we could stay in touch with each other.  Cheap mobiles was the answer.  Got those and practiced communicating with each other.  "Hi, I'm eating pancakes, want to join me?"

All this background took us to the first morning and our mile long trek down to the main entrance.


Something about the ten foot tall troll, the abundance of ocarina playing elves, the shops of dice and the halls full of people talking about everything game told us we'd arrived.

"Meet you by the troll in an hour, OK?"
"Synchronise your mobiles."

We had the best time.  We'd go back.  Even through Philadelphia.

13 comments:

  1. I need to make it to Gen Con sometime myself!

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  2. So, so, so envious of you, Amanda - really I am. Why don't they hold these things in the UK once in a while?

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  3. This is an entire world I know nothing about, but am attracted to. One of these days when I have time on my hands...

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  4. That place sounds so cool! And I'm glad you had a great time, despite the troubles on the way. I can't believe someone would make such a comment to you about your name! Unbelievable!

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  5. I love Gen Con, but it's been a few years since I attended. The company has had a booth there in the quiet zone, but had to stop for a few years due to ill health. Hopefully we'll be going back next year for a personal visit, then the following year with a booth.

    Although Gen Con doesn't hit the UK, World Fantasy will be there in a year or so. Not a gamer con, but great for meeting authors of fantasy and science fiction.

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  6. It did take us over three years to save up for that trip, so we tried to make every second count. After all, even the bad bits can get turned into a story.

    World Fantasy sounds good, Terri. I shall look out for it.

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  7. I've never gone to large conventions, or any gaming ones. But I would love it. They sound so amazing.

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    1. Gwen, you should. It was so much fun.

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  8. Sounds like a grand time. I like the WBC in Lancaster PA

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    1. We normally go to UK Games Expo in Birmingham and enjoy it hugely. I won't make it this year, as we've got a Youth Theatre show going into the theatre that weekend. Sigh.

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    2. But I will.... We'll bring you back some dice.

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  9. Sounds like fun. Look forward to your challenge posts…
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Thank you for dropping by. I'm enjoying A-Z very much.

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