Sunday, May 10, 2015

How to plan a schedule for Gen Con

For those of you not in the know, Gen Con's event list "drops" tomorrow. I've been going to Indy since 2005, and have some idea of what to expect and how to navigate the process. Here's how I do it:
  1. Download the program catalog (on your phone, hopefully). Usually* they post it here:  This is in an Excel format. (* last year they did not post the program files in the downloads section.) This allows you to use downtime to scan for events that you want to play.
  2. Find events. Lots of events. Find duplicates of games you really want. Keep the event number's handy.
  3. Prioritize your events! We will get to the Wish List soon, but while you are looking through the events list, make sure you note event numbers. Make a top 5 list for each day. Don't worry about overlapping times at this point.
  4. Make a spreadsheet with all of this information. Here's what our group spreadsheet looks like:

    The colors on the right are broken down to type of 'event.' The left column of colors is: Food/Drinks (breakfast/lunch/dinner/bar time), Exhibit Hall (you will want to schedule time for this mammoth nerd sale), RPG/Game, True Dungeon (a high priority for our group, and something that has to be coordinated between 10 different schedules), Pool time (you won't see this on my schedule for GC, but my friends enjoy it.), Workshop, Electronic Games, Other, and Logistics (travel time, for example.)

    The colors on the right are the important ones at this stage. Red is a top priority event. Most lists have True Dungeon, You Too Can Cthulhu, D&D special events or other things that can only be done at Gen Con.
    Yellow is a medium priority event. In my case, this year, you will see Lords of Waterdeep World Championships, Munchkin, and other games that I can play at home, but enjoy enough to find competition.
    Green is labeled as "Space Filler." These can be low priority events, or nap time, or screw around time.
  5. Find the Wish List on the Gen Con website. (It's probably on the drop down menu under your name in the upper right hand corner. It's not live yet, so I can't be sure.)
  6. Populate your Wish List. Using your highest priority events as your highest number wishes. If you want You Too Can Cthulhu, you should put all of the YTCC events that you could possibly attend as your highest priority. For example (from the 2014 list):
    You Too Can Cthulhu - Black Letter - Cthulhu Raids AgainThursday 8am - noon
    Friday 8am - noon
    Saturday 8am - noon

    Would be listed at wishes 1, 2 and 3. You will probably not get any of them in your cart come registration day (they are VERY popular.) You will have the option to 'release' any tickets that you don't want back into the system, too.
    Last year the wish list limited people to 50 events. This sounds like a lot, but really when you are fighting for a spot in a popular game, they go quickly.
  7. Be online about 11:30 next Sunday, signed in and ready to submit your wishlist. Pray for a low number.

Although the list isn't public yet, my priority list will look something like this:
1. True Dungeon
2. True Dungeon
3. True Dungeon
4. True Dungeon
5. True Dungeon
6. True Dungeon
7. D&D All Access
8. AEG Board Game Night
9. - 12. Random RPG that looks fun
13. Munchkin
14. Lords of Waterdeep World Championship.

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