Tallghost

What are your essentials?

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I'm headed into Gencon this month, and looking forward to the fun of it all.

During the normal year, I have to limit my minis purchasing to trips to the city and my FLGS (very rare) and parachute dropped care packages from the good folks at Reaper. I use my once yearly convention stops (sadly Reaper Con is a bit too far away) to stock up on mini supplies.

My question for you all is this: What do you consider essentials for the hobby? What things would you stock up on at the con?

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The only essentials you need:

 

 

You dont even need to leave the house... ;)

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To the best of my knowledge there's nothing at GenCon you can't get online --with exceptions which I will get to. And in fact, the selection is often quite thin due to a limit on how much the vendors can cram into their van. The advantage is seeing things in person. To avoid getting overwhelmed I shop online first, make a list and take it with me to the vendor's booth. Then I can hold the mini and decide if it looks as good as the photo.

 

There are rare con-only deals like the one Reaper has. I think sometimes DarkSword has special stuff.

 

The exceptions... once in a while a vendor shows up with some kind of store inventory sell off. They'll have out of production minis at reduced cost, usually in bins or boxes on the floor. Keep an eye out and be ready to buy on the spot because it will be gone an hour later. I don't know why I am telling you this, it should be "Ignore that box under the table..." :) I have found some awesome deals this way. Theys how up less and less often though.

 

If you're into clickies or D&D plastic it is sold in bins, again, good to have an idea what you are looking for before getting stunned by the choices.

 

IronWind Metals has been showing up with loose bins of raw metal, it varies from year to year. Last year they had dinosaurs, Shadowrun figures, and a bin of fantasy stuff. Also, I think mech parts. Not my game so I wasn't paying attention.

 

One year someone had tubs of wooden laser cut bases by the pound. Good deal if you needed them.

 

My advice is to set a budget, bring cash and be on the lookout. Most vendors do take plastic, but nothing will get you service like waving a handful of twentys.

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I'm a little stingy about shipping, so I try to stop making online mini purchases of anything I know will be at Gen Con in April or so unless I need it before then. I've got a pretty big collection, so I've trimmed my purchasing quite a bit. But now I find that I'm often interested in more expensive boutique or larger miniatures, so just a few figures can take a goodly chunk out of the budget!

 

Some of the stuff I personally consider essential might not be at the con. (High quality brushes, porcelain palettes, stuff like that.) Sometimes a vendor that also sells historical miniatures shows up, so occasionally it's been an opportunity to pick up some more unusual basing materials and so on.

 

If you like to research before you go to the show, you might find this link handy. I like to make a list of my must-see booths, so if I haven't made it through the whole hall by Sunday morning, I can run around making sure I've seen the stuff I was most excited about. Though unfortunately far too many companies are a little lax on updating their web pages, so this doesn't always help the planning as much as I would hope! (But you can at least figure out what kind of company each is!)

 

http://www.livingdice.com/7020/gencon-2012-exhibitors-and-vendors-link-list-with-descriptions/comment-page-1/

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Thanks for that list Wren. This is my first time going and this will help me narrow down what I'll be looking at.

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Glad it helped! There's a map of the exhibit hall area here, so you can figure out where your must-see booths are in advance, if you want.

 

http://files.gencon.com/exhibit_hall_map_2012.pdf

 

If you haven't spent much time on the Gen Con forums yet, you might want to poke around a little bit. There are threads with tips for newcomers, good restaurants to hit, stuff like that. My number one tip (and it took me two years to really get this right) is comfortable shoes and socks. It is a lot more walking and standing than you probably think that it is. ;->

 

I hope you have a great time, it's quite an experience!

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I'm mostly taking classes Thursday and Friday then doing a panel Saturday, so pre-planning is something I really need to do, and after the disappointment that was Comic Con I'm looking forward to a smaller Con where you aren't constantly getting yelled at for looking at a vender's booth (you're not allowed to stop in the exhibit hall, which makes shopping hard) or expected to wait in line for 4+ hours to get into anything.

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I think you will find Gen Con a pleasant surprise to that. While the exhibit hall can get a little busy in terms of making it quickly through the aisles, there is generally room to stop and look, and in the larger booth areas, room for you to move inside and get a good look at things. Vendors definitely want you to stop and look! If you can, Thursday and Friday are better days to browse the hall, though in recent years traffic has picked up a fair bit on those days. There can be a wait to get into demo games, but a lot of the games are also run as ticketed events, so you can also try to play them that way.

 

While I haven't been to Comic Con, I have a few friends who have and I've watched some of the coverage. It seems to be modeled on the west coast con model where everything is paid for with your badge, but you have to line up and hope you get into the events that you want. Gen Con is an east coast con, where events are ticketed. You sometimes have to pay a little extra, but you know you're getting in. Lots of tickets are free, and there are some free unticketed events like musicians and spontaneous game shows and stuff in the halls. The advantage of ticketed is you have a spot if you have a ticket, and you know you're free to go do something else if you don't. I have a firm policy of not standing in line for anything at Gen Con for more than 10-15 minutes. There is always something else going on that I would also enjoy doing! I've only broken that rule a few times, to stand in line to see Wil Wheaton speak, and occasionally to try to get some super limited item on sale in the hall.

 

For the free things, you don't usually need to actually 'buy' a ticket in advance. There are lots of seminars and stuff like this. It's just if more people than the venue can hold show up, those who have tickets are guaranteed access. You can still sign up for stuff at the events registration website and pick up the tickets at will-call. They've also put out the show book in pdf form now, so you can look through that for additional activities that don't show up on the registration like fan films and anime events. There is an open play area, a board game library, a play test room and several other places where you can just show up and have fun, too.

 

Also for stuff that is ticketed, and sold out, you can always try with generic tickets. (Generic tickets are worth $2 each, you need an amount equivalent to the ticket price for the event.) It is not at all unusual to have no-shows, even for relatively expensive events like painting seminars. You'll know in the first 10 minutes of the event whether there's room for you or not, so you won't waste a lot of time if it truly is full.

 

You also need a generic ticket per entry if you'd like to enter any miniatures in the painting contest. Which I encourage you to do! There are several manufacturer sponsered awards in addition to the Gen Con awards for the main categories. A link to the information packet and pictures from a past year is available here - http://www.kjdundon.net/

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I've been to Gen Con once and a few smaller events and was wondering if it is a breach of etiquette to spray people with air freshener?

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I've been to Gen Con once and a few smaller events and was wondering if it is a breach of etiquette to spray people with air freshener?

 

I have been wondering the same - however in my local area...

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It's really not as bad as it used to be. Sure, in any gathering of 25,000 people there's going to be a few who perspire more than normal and a few who forgot to shower, but for the most part it's not a problem today. 20 years ago, in Milwaukee the convention center used to shut the AC off over the weekend. At Indy they run it so hard you might want to bring a hoodie. I know once the sun goes down the hotel conference rooms where games are being held become positively arctic.

 

I make a habit of bringing a pack of tic-tacs with me and sharing them generously. It's friendly and it solves one of the issues.

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That's for the info Wren. Cons aren't my thing normally so it's all pretty much new to me. I got lucky with the classes I wanted (even got into yours), even have an extra I'm giving to a friend that decide to go at the last minute, but said friend will find the generic ticket info useful as I know there are game events he wanted to get into.

 

An anecdote to the AC thing, when I was at Comic Con I helped set up a booth in the morning before they opened the doors and the exhibit hall had to have been in the upper 50s lower 60s. Once that hall got full it felt like the mid 80s just due to the amount of people.

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Thanks for taking my class, I look forward to meeting you! I try to prep a few extras for each of my classes to accommodate a couple of people with generics, because classes sell out so fast.

 

That's funny about the AC thing, because the one time Gen Con AC is a little inadequate is on the day before (Wednesday) in some areas, including in the exhibit hall. I feel so badly for all the people stuck in there doing a lot of manual stuff with no AC!

 

I don't ever really recall having a problem with BO at Gen Con, with one exception. We rarely go to the TCG area, but one time we did, and there were some fragrant people there. I suspect some people just start doing one eight hour tourney after another and forget the importance of stepping out to freshen up now and again...

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