Not my last though.
It was my first gaming con, and my first con in some years (I had been to San Diego Comic Con a decade ago when some college friends were living out there). Needless to say I learned a few things, and remembered others.
1) Time is finite but you can over commit.
- I totally overbooked myself at certain points. Running from one end of the con to the other to get from one event to the next without any real buffer time was not fun. Consecutive events in the same place are hard to plan early, too. Leaving a little time isn't always a bad thing. Generics work well for jumping into a panel, and from what I saw panels don't fill up as often as I figured they might.
2) Water is good, and so is food.
- Leaving time to move around also leaves you time to grab a snack or a meal or a beverage. Especially a beverage. It's easy to get yourself dehydrated, which only makes you feel crappier in the long term. Bring a water bottle and fill it often. Bring some snacks just in case. I found a big breakfast went a long way but by 5 pm I still wished I had had a bite earlier in the afternoon.
3) Demos are fun, but they aren't always easy to get.
- I wanted to try the new Deadlands: Reloaded LCG but I never got the chance, part of that was the time problem, and part of it was availability of demos. I think I was looking in the wrong place, but I don't know. Maybe next year I'll figure out the demo thing better.
4) The Exhibitor/Dealer Hall opens later than I expected and closes earlier than I expected.
- My only other prior big con was SD ComicCon and the dealer hall was open dawn to dusk and beyond. At GenCon the hours were 10 am to 6 pm. I had booked so much stuff in the middle of the day that I only really got time in the hall in fits and spurts until Sunday. Since there is so much going on, and the people to space ratio is the most dense here, I didn't see nearly everything. Next year I'll make a point to give myself floor time so visit the vendors and get some demos.
5) The people are pretty awesome.
- Yup. Seriously. I didn't have a people related negative experience for four whole days. That's some kind of crazy record or something.
6) Con games are a mixed bag, but there is some awesome in that bag.
- I played 5 RPG sessions totally almost 14 hours over the four days of the Con. My worst was "just" fun (not in a bad way, just not as epic as the others) and the best was the stuff of legend. I also made a point to try new games, which was well worth it.
7) You are never safe from the awesome impulse purchase bait.
- Seriously, the only way to not buy something is to avoid the dealer room or not bring any form of cash or electronic payment. Not that I regret my purchases, but I'm not entirely sure I have a use for a couple of them in hindsight.
So yeah, in the final analysis I'm going to make every effort to go again next year, and hopefully it'll be even better than this year's.