Gen Con, Geek.Kon, and GrandCon
Hello everyone, today is all about the conventions I am attending. I live in Illinois, which means most of the conventions I attend are in states adjacent to Illinois. Hopefully someday I will be able to travel to the coasts to attend the amazing conventions out there, but for now I will be talking about the ones I know and love. The conventions on the list today are Gen Con, Geek.Kon, and GrandCon.
I really couldn’t ask for a better start to my convention blog post than the infamous Gen Con. To top it off, it’s not just any Gen Con, but the 50th Gen Con! As promised, I will provide some basic facts about it to help you decide if you want to attend someday.
Where – Indianapolis, Indiana
When – late July – Early August
Size – Huge – in excess of 50,000+
Price – Extremely expensive: $225-250 hotel/night + $20 parking/night + $90 earlybird badge or $120 standard badge
Content – All about board games and RPG’s, but you can find almost anything.
For me Gen Con is a mixed blessing. It is so big everyone gets lost in the crowd. Hotel and parking are extremely expensive: expect $250+ per night for a room. Parking is an add-on at the hotels, or you may find yourself parked a quarter mile away for street parking. In addition to the cost of badge and hotel, Gen Con is a pay-to-play convention where you pay a minimum of a $2 ticket for each game played. If you are willing to spend a large portion of your time as either a volunteer or a GM, Gen Con will cover ¼ of your hotel room and your badge. So theoretically if you have a group of 4 to share a room, you can attend Gen Con (almost) for free. Despite all of those expenses you do have the opportunity to see more at Gen Con than almost any other convention. The vendor hall is ENORMOUS and there are tons of indie games and prototype games available to demo. Basically every game imaginable is being played. I highly recommend checking out the Gen Con games library to browse an incredible selection of games you can try for free. There are countless events going on and you will never be at a loss for something to do. Except for sleep.
Where – Madison, Wisconsin
When – typically late August
Size – 1,500 – 2,000
Price – Reasonable; around $120 hotel/night with free parking + $30 badge
Content – A general convention with a bit of everything
I found Geek.Kon last year and it is a gem hidden in Madison. Good hotel room rates, free parking, and a ton of cool things going on. This medium-sized convention is large enough to have some cool things, but not so big that you get lost. Geek.Kon is held in a hotel which makes it especially convenient if you stay on site. It’s a general convention that has a board game room, movie screening rooms, karaoke in the evening, panels, tons of cosplay, and an amazing video game library. The video game library was a highlight for me. They had tons of old and new consoles set up and you could check out any game you wanted to play from an amazing selection, including some I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. It goes 24 hours non-stop so sleep is at a premium.
Where – Grand Rapids, Michigan
When – early to mid September
Size – medium, probably around 2,000
Price – moderately expensive, $150–170 hotel/night + $35 badge
Content – Board games and RPG’s
This will be my first time at GrandCon. From my personal research it seems like a great place to try new games and meet people. I will run demos of both my board game and RPG there. I will also run a Legends of Draxia tournament. GrandCon is at a convention center, so your hotel is at a separate location. The ones at the city center nearest the convention were really pricey, so we’re staying a few miles out and driving in each day. I will provide a more detailed review after I attend it next month.
I attend many conventions and will eventually review each one. Listed below are some of the cons I routinely go to, and expect to visit again. If you want to meet up with me at one, feel free to check these out. Editor’s note: Check the Event Calendar for an updated list of confirmed conventions.
Archon Late September Collinsville, Illinois (St. Louis area)
Gamehole Con Early November Madison, Wisconsin
Midwinter Gaming Convention January Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Capricon February Wheeling, Illinois (Chicago suburb)
Gary Con March Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Nexus Game Fair May Milwaukee, Wisconsin
ACEN May Chicago, Illinois
Origins June Columbus, Ohio
Here’s to Epic Dreams and Epic Ideas,
Lead Game Designer
Mythica Gaming LLC
Don’t forget to check out our latest Kickstarter – Legends of Draxia: Corrupted Mana!