This year's Gen Con trip was spur of the moment but even with a last minute decision to go we still had a blast. We booked a room about 12 miles outside the city that was very cheap. That is where the Con gets ya is the hotel fees. We then simply got a Two Day badge (or in this case to save money one Saturday badge and then a Sunday "family" badge). After that we simply drove in and parked in the Circle Mall garage for 20 bucks a day and saved a ton of money. A usual 3 day stay would cost well over 500 bucks. We came out smelling like roses at a 157 or so. However...not being connected to the Con via walkway or nearby downtown hotel can really limit gaming time.
One thing is most garages close at 2am. If you are any sort of serious Gen Con attendee you know damn well you will not be in bed at 2am or wanting to leave. Especially with all the open gaming going on. So that forces you to be out before the garage shuts down.
Secondly you have to remember to bring a lot of stuff with you each day and there is no going back once you do. Plus if you buy a lot of things you need to either truck em back to your car or deal with carrying them around. The key is to visit the Exhibit hall one day one, get your things and then get out then proceed on to the demo ballrooms or get your events lined up and game the rest of the weekend. We got 8 generic tickets with our badge purchase and we put them to good use.
Here is a hint: on Sundays a lot of people just do not feel like showing up for games they signed up for. Get some generic tickets and simply walk around the board game hall and look for lonely game company employees that had no one show up for the game they were supposed to play. Case in point Runewars for us on Sunday. Not one person showed so we used a generic ticket sat down, met a FFG employee and played some Runewars. In general I usually spend most of my time in the Pathfinder Hall or the Boardgame Hall meeting people and playing full games I signed up for.
Now on to the Exhibition Hall DEMOS I tried. Yes DEMOS. These are the times when you sit down and learn a new game or, if curious about a game, see how it works before deciding to buy. I managed to play a slew of excellent games that I had been dying to try and that includes Relic from FFG, Mice and Mystics from Plaid Hat Games, Conquest of the Planet Earth expansion from Flying Frog as well as Touch of Evil. Touch of Evil had me very curious and I spent well over an hour playing the game with ALL 3 expansions laid out in front of me. The consensus at that point was that I liked it so much I needed to have ALL of it. And that is what I did: