We did it the easy way, this year; we committed to the trip early enough to pre-reg, and got our badges through the mail, so we never had to stand in line at all. Big plus, that. We checked into our hotel at about 8:30 (Eastern) on Saturday night, and then blodged and waffled and didn't get to the site until about noon. We had made tenuous plans to meet with some long-lost Michigan friends who were facilitating a LARP in Union Station, so we started there with a self guided and not particularly legitimate tour. We found our friends, and had a small reunion. Dementia has not seen Scott B., Tim W., or Wendy W. since (best guess) October of 1999; I have had remote contact with Tim, and have seen Scott a few times along the way. We made very tentative plans to get together later, and then headed off to the dealer's room.
The dealer's room was not as loud and as crowded as it had been last year, in spite of increased attendance, but it was still loud and crowded enough to wear on me. We made our planned stops, greeted various friends, and got out.
The Union Jack on Broad Ripple Avenue may just be our favorite pizza place; it's too bad the commute is so daunting. The pizza is REALLY good, though, and the building is friendly.
On the way back to the convention, we stopped in at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, to visit their sculpture garden, and particularly "Funky Bones", a sequence of fiberglass benches made in the shape of a giant skeleton.
Went back to the convention, re-connected with the Michiganders, and hiked over to Monument Circle for ice cream. All told, a very good day, if a bit on the expensive side. Definitely one of the best GenCon experiences I have had since the early days, when there was no internet, and it was all kind of magical.
GenCon baffles me. The thing has been going of for 47 years now, and I have attended more than half of them, to one extent or another. I have played VERY few games there, and most of my best experiences have been peripheral to the con itself. I have often returned home with graves doubts as to whether the experience was worth the time and expense, and have told myself I would never go back more than once. And yet I DO go back...
Part of it is that I know that GenCon is a major high point of the year for several of my friends. Part of it is the (absurd but apparently unshakeable) belief that, since I enjoy gaming cons, I should be able to enjoy THE gaming con. The trouble is, it is just too BIG. It is something like 25 times the size of the event that I attended at UW Parkside back in the late 70s, when it was mostly a trade show. These days, it takes (slight, but constant) effort not to run screaming from the dealer's room, and the event program is so huge that don't even bother to open it. (It is worth noting that while I am more functional than I was in the old days, I am actually considerably less sane; self-knowledge is a frightening thing.)
Someday I will figure it out, maybe. In the meantime, the pizza is still REALLY good...