The Road to GenCon 2014

I’m on the road to GenCon 2014. In seven hours I’ll be in Indianapolis, rendezvousing with friends, checking into the hotel, picking up my registration pack … and getting reading to roll some dice. As I wrote a few months ago, this is my first trip to GenCon since 2007. A lot has changed since then — from what I’ve heard, the convention has gotten even bigger than it was then (and it was hella big then, having outgrown Milwaukee a few years earlier).

I have to admit I was half-dreading GenCon last week — not because of the convention itself, but because of all the work I had to get done to actually go to the convention. I work at a college, and August is one of our busiest times of year. Taking a week off to go play games was a luxury I felt I couldn’t afford in previous years.

I couldn’t miss this year though. This is the year that Wizards of the Coast is releasing Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, other wise known as my gaming group’s last, best hope for peace in the Edition Wars. And frankly, I need this — I need to get away from work, family, and all the accompanying stress, and just geek out for a few days.

Indeed, I think one of the biggest mistakes over the last few years — at least from a sanity perspective — was falling out of the habit of going to conventions. Big cons, little cons, it doesn’t matter — they both provide a much-needed vacation from reality.

So I’m on the road to GenCon. That road includes a few detours to visit family in Indiana, but I’ll get there on Wednesday and rendezvous with friends friends from my monthly gaming group (unfortunately, none of the Blackrazors were able to make it to GenCon this year).

Schedule-wise, I’d hoped to get the D&D All-Access Pass, but unfortunately it sold out in milliseconds. I was able to get into most of the official D&D games by buying individual slots.

Looking back at my event wish list, I was only able to get into about half the games I was looking to play. I’ve got sessions setup for Firefly, Dragon Age, and 13th Age. I’ve also got a game of Elder Signs scheduled, and I plan on playing some pick up Castles & Crusades with my friends.

I wasn’t able to get into GURPS, FATE Core, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Marvel Heroic Role-playing, or Amber Diceless. There’s still a chance I might be able to get into a pick-up game, but it looks like most of these will have to be played on another day.

I decided to pack light for the convention, or at least lighter. The only rulebooks I brought were for Savage Worlds because they’re light and easy to carry. The heavy rulebooks — specifically the Pathfinder core rules — are on my iPad, as are the Dragon Age, 13th Age, and D&D Basic rules.

Complementing my rule books I’ve got a bunch of pens, the obligatory bag of dice, and a hardcover notebook.

Electronics-wise, I’ve got my iPad for rules. I’m also bringing my Nintendo 3DS, less for playing and more for StreetPass connections (particularly for Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem: Awakening), and my MacBook, which I’m using for blogging. I’ve used my iPad for blogging, but it’s a pain, and my MacBook is so light that I barely notice it.

You can follow my GenCon exploits on Twitter at @NukeHavoc. If you’re looking for me in person, keep an eye out for the guy wearing a Blue Claws or Lake Monsters baseball cap.

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