The GenCon Survival Pack

It’s been five years since I’ve been to GenCon. A lot has happened since then — the convention’s moved from Milwaukee to Indianapolis. I’ve had two kids. I’ve changed jobs. And I’ve found myself wanting to play games that aren’t Dungeons & Dragons.

I’ll end up carrying about as many books as I did for D&D, but it’ll be a much more diverse selection. In my backpack are five rulebooks: Savage Worlds which is used in about half the games I’ll be playing at GenCon, Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 3.5, Star Wars: Saga Edition, Godlike and Spycraft 2.0.

To this I’m adding:

  • my laptop, for checking my email at work and blogging the con.
  • my battered old dice bag
  • my Nintendo DS: for those odd moments when I have some downtime that’s not being spent reading
  • my iPod, which will include my GenCon schedule, loaded with podcasts and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (the latter just because I can)
  • A notebook, for jotting down random notes and keeping track of things in game
  • A fistful of mechanical pencils.
  • Hyperion, the science fiction paperback I haven’t finished yet.
  • A water bottle, for hydration and/or hosing down gamers who’ve forgotten to shower.
  • 3 foot tape measure

I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my GenCon badge (which came sans lanyard and plastic sleeve) and my event tickets. I’d thought about using one of my old GenCon badge sleeves, but alas, none of them are really up to the task. I’m hoping we’ll get a badge holder along with our swag on Wednesday.

My GenCon Food List

Eating at GenCon can be expensive. My game plan is to have one to two meals a day using the food I brought, and save my money for lunch or dinner (or late night, 2nd dinner) with friends. This strategy served me well when GenCon was in Milwaukee, and I expect it’ll work just as well in Indy.

Here’s what’s on the menu:

  • 12 pk Case Mountain Dew
  • Loaf of Multigrain Bread
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • Grape Jelly
  • Granola Bars
  • Water
  • Raisins
  • Craisins (dried cranberries
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Extra Strength Tylenol
  • Plastic Knives/Forks
  • Kettle potato chips
  • Sue Mix (trail mix made by my wife)

Miscellaneous Gear

And then there’s the miscellaneous gear that’s so essential to a successful con. Foremost among these is combination earplugs/blindfold kit that blocks out all light and sound.

When you share a room with gamers, it’s critically important to block out the snoring; my first GenCon was spent with two friends who shook the room with their snores, and I left the con one badly sleep deprived geek (what, you didn’t think I’d give up one of my games to go back and sleep in the room during the day did you?)

Ideally, I should probably have a small first aid kit for those freak gaming accidents, but I’m not quite that prepared this GenCon. There are the two sticks of deoderant, just in case one gets lost in the vacation shuffle (and GenCon is the one place you don’t want to be without deoderant).

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