Another GenCon has faded away, which means it is time for a series of “wrap-up” posts from yours truly. It was no surprise that GenCon was just as awesome as it was last year, but in a few different ways. There’s a lot to cover, so I’ll be breaking up this report into four posts.
The Night Life – Today’s Post – When the dealer room closes, a whole different GenCon appears. I discuss “GenCon After Dark” here.
The Bounty – Here I discuss my various acquisitions and the generosity of my fellow convention goers.
The Places – Here I discussed our accommodations, the GenCon facilities, and the general state of the convention as I found it.
The Events – Last Week – Here I discuss the various games, seminars, & panels I attended at the convention.
While many GenCon attendees are content to hang out in the various game rooms and play games day and night, those of us with events or specific daytime activities like to get out of the convention space and enjoy something a little different after the dealer hall closes. Here’s a rundown of some of the fun things Anna and I managed to do while enjoying the GenCon night life.
Although it’s a nine hour drive, from where we live, there’s enough excitement at finally arriving in Indy for GenCon, that you can’t help but leave the hotel and do something fun! This year, Anna & I were able to have a wonderful dinner with friends at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steak house. The company was awesome, the food amazing, and the whole experience a wonderful addition to our GenCon “routine”. While gamers on a budget might find the restaurant a bit expensive (it runs about $50 a person not including beverages), if you can save up for it, I highly recommend it. Come hungry, and be prepared to eat in true adventurer style (the meats are served to you on a SWORD).
While we could have probably slept the remainder of the evening (meat hangover, anyone?), we couldn’t miss the meet up over in the JW Marriot lobby for a Let There Be Games Event. Organized by Dave (The Game) Chalker, and Phil (Chatty DM) Menard, this event brought a bunch of online folks together for an evening of all kinds of different games. Anna & I ran into a bunch of folks we knew online, and played games like, “Dixit“, “We Didn’t Playtest This At All“, and several rounds of “Cards Against Humanity“. I don’t believe we back to our room until well after midnight, and it was a great way to kick off GenCon with an awesome start!
Over a year ago (if I’m remembering correctly), Anna & I were interviewed by popular RPG podcaster, Jenn Steen, of Jennisodes. When we heard that she was having a GenCon Evening Social, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet some great people. Held in the basement of the Rock Bottom Brewery, we were treated to a great meal, and had an amazing time getting to know even more people. I think most of the population of Canada was there, and trade in contraband candy bars was engaged in. At one point I battled Brian Patterson (d20monkey) in a gentleman’s game of Billiards (eight ball). We were pretty evenly matched. One bonus: Lyndsay Peters (DragonChow Dice Bags) handed out dice bags to all the participants. Great party AND a complimentary dice bag filled with some of the swag from the other RPG podcasts that participated in the event. Awesome time!
The evening started with a hilarious (and thoughtful) panel put on by Brian Patterson (d20monkey). Afterwards, many of us in the audience headed over to Scotty’s Brewhouse, one of the more popular “night spots” for the GenCon crowd. We were able to join many of our friends for some decent tavern food and adult beverages. Anna and I even picked up a complimentary d6 for ordering off the specials menu. My understanding is that if you ate at Scotty’s on each of the four days of the convention, you received a different colored d6 each day! Anna & I didn’t manage that (see above), but I still enjoy Scotty’s for getting into the GenCon spirit and making the evening out with friends an enjoyable one.
Our last night at the convention, Saturday evening started off with a Tome Show panel of which I was a panelist! The Behind the DM Screen panel went well, and I even had family members (other than my wonderfully patient wife, Anna) in the audience! After the panel, Mike, Jeff, and many of our audience members traipsed over much of downtown before arriving at a hotel restaurant that for the life of me, I cannot remember. I had a great time catching up with my fellow podcasters, and getting acquainted with Mike’s wife, Michelle. I wonder if Jeff will ever manage to drag his wife to GenCon? So many unanswered questions!
After dinner, I managed to weed my way through 1000 bikers (it was a mess) to catch up with my wife over at the JW Marriot. She had been invited to a Dread game led by Liz Bauman of The Illuminerdy and Character Generation. While too late to actually play, it was still amazing fun watching the others, and watching the story of a Depression Era carnival show go horribly wrong. It was a great way to round out our evenings at GenCon.
Well, we drove home. I only mention this, because as we were relaxing that evening at the house (again, after a nine hour drive), we saw the many tweets from friends that stayed that Sunday evening. I think Anna & I have both resolved to book an additional night at the hotel, so that we can hang out and “decompress” the convention with our friends. My understanding is that some great gaming happens Sunday evening, and we honestly don’t want to miss it.
More than anything else, the evening activities at GenCon are for getting together with your friends. Not only can you catch up with friends you normally only see online, you can meet new friends as well (GenCon has a way of doing that). Gaming is a blast, but if you get the chance, get out of the game room some nights and see what evenings at GenCon have to offer!
My Name is Randall Walker and This Is My Game
Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. R.M. Walker, who can be found in numerous places on the internet as “DeadOrcs”, is a long time gamer with some 30 years experience playing RPGs. Despite occasional forays into the bizarre, Randall has always come back to Dungeons & Dragons.