Gen Con 2012 – Our Epic Adventure

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I discovered Gen Con last year even though it has been going on in Indy for the last 45 years. Then again I only really discovered board games about two years ago so I guess it was ok.

My son was almost 3 years old at the time so he went with my husband and I on Saturday to check it out. We had a great time but I had NO idea how much there was at this convention until this year. O. M. G. there was TOO much to see even though we had four days to see it. I was lucky enough to get a Press Badge this year because of this site so I went all four days and I still didn’t see everything.
I spent Thursday walking around and exploring on my own. It can be overwhelming if you have never been there or only went one time the year before. I had no idea where to look, what to look at or for or what to do. I found the vendor hall and the game area which are the two main areas to go to while there. The vendor hall was filled with booths of game demos, things for sale and art exhibits. I was so lost…LOVED it all but so so lost.

I tried a few games and looked around for a couple of hours but I wound up feeling like there wasn’t much to do for just me. I didn’t know how to get in on games and I had no idea what games were in the game hall without looking at signs and banners. I felt lost and in over my head. Since I had the press badge I knew I would go all four days and see and do as much as I could but I also knew that without a tour guide or someone to go with I wouldn’t have much fun. Gen Con is a 2+ group event unless you have been going for years.

Friday I decided to take my son for a couple of hours to see what he thought of everything. I figured I would show him around, try a few kids games and see if he liked any part of it. I expected him to enjoy himself but I didn’t expect him to LOVE being there and playing games and hunting down various costumes to take pictures of.

We only spent 3 hours there on Friday but he had such a great time looking around and trying out games that I took him back Saturday morning. We got there a little before 10 am. and didn’t leave until around 10 pm. There was SO much to see and we still didn’t see everything in all that time but we had such a great time.

I keep saying that so I suppose I will explain. My husband dropped us off so we didn’t have to worry about parking and I had a back pack with snacks and things and an extra bag with a game we purchased the day before. He really wanted to play more games so we made sure we had the others with us.

The Gentleman wore super hero costumes all three days that he went. Saturday he wore his superman shirt and his bright red cape and everyone thought he was superman lol. He was asked for his picture several times and made me chase down people in various costumes so he could get a picture with them, but I digress. Back to the game part!

There were tons of games for kids and an area for kids to do crafts, play random games, make mask or sword fight with large noodle like “swords”. Vendor booths with game demos meant for kids were in the area nearby and that is the area we spent most of our time during those three days. I think we played every game possible for kids there and some were meant for kids older than him.

I will be writing about a few of the games but not in this post. They will have their own post. This one will already be long enough without adding game explanations to it too. I do need to mention a few of the vendors though, mostly because they were REALLY nice and patient and had great games. One was a vendor called Smart Games which had TONS of puzzle games. We love puzzle games, especially logic type ones which they had a lot of. I think we spent the most time at this booth and the men that were running it were very nice and patient with well everyone really.

There was a booth with a game called Set which was kind of like a kids version of rummy and a lot of fun. The lady running it showed my son how to play, which was nice since it took some explaining and patience. The game was fun and my son loved getting the “points” circles but I will post more about that game another time…soon. Another booth had games meant for 8+ but the people there showed us how to play and I helped adjust it a little so the Gentleman could play too. No one minded which was awesome.

When we weren’t playing games at vendor booths, or grabbing lunch or snacks we were wondering around and looking at or for costumes, or looking at various art works and booths. We even had snacks so we could play a few games we bought.

The atmosphere is like nothing we have ever experienced before. Over 40,000 people were there during the convention and most on Saturday…well probably anyway. I am not usually one to be comfortable in large crowds and especially not with one of my children but Gen Con is its own world entirely. That many people and I NEVER came across a rude or unkind person. Not once. No wait…there was an excited 8-10 year old boy who bumped into us while running to something and didn’t say sorry. So ONE, one person out of all the people we walked by, bumped into or met.

Every time we were bumped into the person looked back and said sorry or excuse me, every person in a costume paused to take a picture when asked and was happy to do so, every vendor was patient and understanding…this convention restored my faith in humanity. No that isn’t a joke it seriously did. I have been in crowds of less than 20 people and encountered more negative human behavior than in all of Gen Con. This is truly a convention worth checking out…even for just a day…and especially if you have kids.

“Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!”
~ Dr Suess

Author: sandyz