It’s been a while since I’ve attended a convention of any kind. Gaming and other geek conventions differ from writing conferences and business convocations in several ways. They tend to be a bit more fun and free-form. It’s easy to lose track of time, belongings or personal needs & hygiene in the encapsulated environment of a hotel ballroom converted into a parlor for the celebration of geekdom. And when you’re away from it for a while, as I was, it’s easy to forget a few of the basics.
Hopefully, this will be helpful for others as it could have been to myself, say, yesterday. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve got my butt-shades on.
Bring Your Own Food & Water
A few dollars spent at a grocery story can go a long way in extending your convention enjoyment. A few bottles of water, some snacks and the means to make easy food like sandwiches or maybe a salad will likely cost you the same as a meal at the local fast food joint. Not to mention the greater degree of control over your consumption means you can make healthier choices.
For the record, the next time I come to one of these shindigs, I plan on picking up a six-pack of water bottles, some baby carrots and almonds, a bag of chips or pretzels, a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly and marshmellow fluff. Because fluffernutters are awesome.
Gamers can be a fickle, impatient lot. Go over the convention schedule, know what you want to do and where you have to be at what time to do it. Otherwise, you may find yourself administrating an empty table.
If someone else failed their time-comprehension check or they have a loved one hacking up a lung, it doesn’t hurt to bring some entertainment of your own. A laptop or portable gaming system can amuse yourself, but conventions are supposedly social occasions. For the sorts of conventions I’m discussing, bring card games: Fluxx, Chrononauts, Three-Dragon Ante, etc. Feel free to toss a couple Magic decks in your luggage as well, just in case another planeswalker appears.
For Cthulhu’s Sake, WASH
This hasn’t been much of a problem of late, but I remember attending a few conventions where someone decided to keep the fun going all night long and neglected to take ten minutes to wash some of the funk off in the shower. It’s common courtesy to not stink up the joint, after all. I tossed a stick of deodorant in a plastic bag just in case I found myself rooted to a table for hours and completely lost track of time. That didn’t happen, but it falls under the “Be Prepared” rule.
Tomorrow I’ll give more thoughts on my current con experience, and Tuesday we unbox the Dungeon Master’s Kit before I subject my
victims players to its contents.