Is GenCon Over-Crowded w/ Massive Long Lines for Everything?
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Posted by bobvilla cinnibar

cinnibar wrote:
Oh, can't forget the consignment store line at the auction!
Getting into the auction is easy, just walk in.  Getting into the consignment store area means standing in a slow moving line depending on the time of day.  They only let so many into the store area at a time, so you have to wait for enough people to leave before you get to geek out on the offerings.
 
Fair enough, but I don't really go to the consignment store unless I'm trying to kill some time and don't want to go back to the hotel. I've noticed in the last few years its pretty much the same stuff in the consignment store every year, you might find a hidden treasure so I won't discourage anyone from going but the last 3 years I haven't really seen anything new.
 

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Posted by ryric

I find the auction consignment store is generally worth a peek, but I collect old BECMI adventures and supplements. I try to go later in the evening on Thursday or Friday, usually the line can be navigated with only about a 10 minute wait or so at that time.

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Posted by father bloodlust ryric

ryric wrote:
I find the auction consignment store is generally worth a peek, but I collect old BECMI adventures and supplements. I try to go later in the evening on Thursday or Friday, usually the line can be navigated with only about a 10 minute wait or so at that time.

Yep, I love that place. So many great old books.

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Posted by alukeman

If you have ever struggled with the insanity that is San Diego Comic Con (which is exactly like what the OP described), you will know that Gen Con is an absolute dream.

The show floor will be crowded on Saturday.  But you will not have to wait in line to get a ticket to wait in line to get the chance of doing a thing.

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Posted by aldctjoc

Heh... I sorta wanted to answer the title question with "Yeah! That's what makes it so much fun!!" :)

But seriously, I can't add anything new, so I'll just emphasize what others have said: Sure, there are lines. But they don't feel excessive at all. Occasional exceptions exist - last year's line for the Terry Brooks autographs seemed pretty long to me, and there seems to be a serious line whenever stars do their autograph tables - but for every one line that's long there are a half dozen or more that are nonexistent, and I don't mean that the event has no participants, I mean that everyone gets in quickly and easily. 

Seriously, it's a lively con, but "overcrowded" is a bit of an exaggeration. Damn busy and well attended for sure, and that takes away from any leisurely atmosphere that characterizes other events. But I wouldn't call it overcrowded. 

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Posted by san_fan_49

I stand in line for the burlesque shows to sit towards the front, usually at least an hour ahead of time, maybe more, but that is about the only thing...well that and food.

I remember getting done with a magic tournament around 1 or 2 in the morning last year and trying to go to Steak & Shake for dinner (the only real thing i could find open at that time) and there was like a 30 minute line out the door for takeout and for dine-in....I went hungry that night.

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Posted by bobvilla san_fan_49

san_fan_49 wrote:
I stand in line for the burlesque shows to sit towards the front, usually at least an hour ahead of time, maybe more, but that is about the only thing...well that and food.
I remember getting done with a magic tournament around 1 or 2 in the morning last year and trying to go to Steak & Shake for dinner (the only real thing i could find open at that time) and there was like a 30 minute line out the door for takeout and for dine-in....I went hungry that night.
The Noodle company extends its hour to 2 or 3 am during Gencon I think, I know I've hit it after 1am before. Much better food with a wider choice and you practically have to pass it to get to Steak and shake from the convention center. Getting a seat even at that hour may have been tough but getting take out wasn't too bad maybe 20 minutes.

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Posted by brotherbock

It is surprising that more restaurants in Indy don't take advantage of literally a couple thousand people looking for food after 1am.

Edit: and beer, but that may be an ordinance issue. 

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Posted by ryric

To give an example of a well-managed line, I have early exhibit hall access due to Trade Day. On Thursday morning last year, all the early access people lined up to get in and it was easily a couple hundred people. The entire line got through the doors in 10 minutes or so. It was very smooth going.

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Posted by johnnyrotten brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
It is surprising that more restaurants in Indy don't take advantage of literally a couple thousand people looking for food after 1am.
Edit: and beer, but that may be an ordinance issue. 
I believe The Ram stays open 24 hours through Sunday morning, IIRC, but their lines are quite long almost anytime of day.  One tip for most of the restaurants is instead of the "walk up" take out order, call in an order for pick up.  It still may be 45 minutes to get food, but you can continue gaming instead of waiting in line.  

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Posted by ploveking

If you walk a block away from the convention center (but not to the mall), there are plenty of good restaurants with no lines at all. You can walk to hooters or the claddagh, eat your meal, walk back, and see the same people still in line at the RAM. Kilroys, or the spaghetti factory.

  We all walk so much during gencon, I can't figure out why our radius outside the convention center is so small. 

 Also, in 10 years of going to gencon, I still have yet to eat at the ram. Stood in line twice, but got bored waiting and went elsewhere.

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Posted by trace_sl ploveking

ploveking wrote:
If you walk a block away from the convention center (but not to the mall), there are plenty of good restaurants with no lines at all. You can walk to hooters or the claddagh, eat your meal, walk back, and see the same people still in line at the RAM. Kilroys, or the spaghetti factory.
  We all walk so much during gencon, I can't figure out why our radius outside the convention center is so small. 
 Also, in 10 years of going to gencon, I still have yet to eat at the ram. Stood in line twice, but got bored waiting and went elsewhere.

Agree with this, only time I have been to the RAM is on Wednesday, it is madness the rest of the time.  You can easily go a few blocks and have a good meal.  You also see lines at the food trucks.   

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Posted by roundtop

In 2010 I ate at the RAM. went right past the line. How I did it? Was on my own so I could take a single stool at the bar. They were playing big trouble in little China on the big screen. Food was alright.

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Posted by ironsphinx

Me and a couple friends did the same thing a couple years back. They were playing Dredd on the screens at the bar. :)

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Posted by garhkal

Brotherbock
Oh, there have been some epic lines in years past. Will call, event ticket, badge reg. They're usually fixed the following year, as something went pear shaped to make the long line happen. But they have happened. You'll also find long waits for celeb signings and the like. For me those are a non factor, so I don't spend time in those lines. But they can happen. 
My personal experience as I mentioned above is also not one of long lines. The only line I stand in every year is will call. If that's fast, then I am not in lines much. But I don't go to the very popular things. My nephews had a bit of a line for their boffer weapon build event last year, I remember that. 

And even with those lines sometimes going from the counters all the way down the hall past the entrances to the exhibitor hall, they are (well for the past 2 years) have been swift to get through. 
firvulag wrote:
Will Call has always been a nightmare which is why I always recommend having your stuff sent...but I know there's those of you who will swear by will call.
Again...avoid will call like the plague!!!  Ignore me at your own peril!!!

I am not sure when you got there, but i know last year i got into the line when it was close to the hall C entrance, but i still took less than half an hour from THERE till i got my badge and tickets..
father bloodlust wrote:
For the opposite side of this argument:I've always done Will Call. Always will - I'm paranoid about accidentally leaving my crucial stuff behind. I've done it since my first GenCon in 2011. And I have to say, it's really not so bad. Just plan on spending maybe a half hour or so there (at most, in my experience) and either talk to the people in line or bring a book/music/your distraction of choice.

Exactly.  Heck, i love chatting with the people in line, finding out what they are there for, where they are from etc..  Good way to meet new people.
qwaserity wrote:
Are you attending by yourself? If so, I want to point out another "feature" that has yet to be mentioned...
When you dine, sit at the bar. I see large groups that wait an hour for a table while I go in, get a seat, eat and leave before they are even seated. The food trucks negate a lot of the waiting but if you feel like going out to dine don't be afraid to sit at the bar.

And if you Do get a table and its just you, Let the server know you are open to having other's sit down too..
octaviancmb wrote:In my experience the worst queues (in no particular order) are for the exhibit hall, seminars, will call, food, bathrooms, the use of generic tickets to get into events, and Guests of Honor (signings).
In recent years it's also become progressively harder to move around on Saturday afternoon since there are so many people trying to navigate everywhere at the same time. Hopefully the expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium will reduce this trend by spreading us out more. That said, the area around and inside the exhibit hall is going to be crowded always given how the con has grown.

I think some of that issue is the past few years we have had scheduling issues which had us going on at the same time as other stuff downtown.. 
kochanski wrote:If you do Will Call, it looks like people say the lines are long but move. If you can get in the day before the event, especially if you have stuff that starts first thing on Thursday morning. You can do will call on Wednesday and make sure you have all your stuff in advance.Then pick up a copy of the catalog and check your event tickets and do a reccy of where all of your events are. Walk all around the convention center, learn the entrances, where the bathrooms and food courts are. Find the skywalks to the connecting hotels for events in those locations (really helpful if it rains).

I will second both of those.. If you can, get in Wednesday afternoon, get your stuff (and check into your hotel), do a walk around, to ensure you know where all your events are (especially if spread out), and take the evening to have a GOOD meal and good night's rest..
kochanski wrote:
Lunch and dinner times can be crunch time at food trucks and restaurants, but if you go out at off times, you won't wait as long. Big crunch time for restaurants is right after the exhibit hall closes. If you duck out a half hour before, or wait a couple of hours after, you will have less of an issue

This is why i bring my own grub..  Things like those Tuna and cracker packs, pretzels, nuts, trail mix.  Heck even some pop tarts...
kochanski wrote:Be prepared to be flexible in your food choices, there are lots of places to eat but there are lots of gamers in town.

Exactly.  There's 3 subways within easy walking distance.  One in the mall food court, one on the opposite side of the Westin, and one in the Hyatt regency/Nationwide building...

Cont' next post!

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Posted by garhkal

ploveking wroteGencon events are ticketed. If you have a ticket, and show up 5-15 minutes before start time, you will get in. At those other conventions, space is limited and there are no reservations, you have to wait in line if you want to fit into the room. I like the gencon approach better, but I know people who disagree with me. They then complain about lines at their events.

And even for many RPG/TT/Mini ticketed events often you can still jump in with Generics..
brotherbock wrote:
It is surprising that more restaurants in Indy don't take advantage of literally a couple thousand people looking for food after 1am.
Edit: and beer, but that may be an ordinance issue. 

Agreed.  Heck i am shocked that the only McDonalds i knew of downtown (not in the mall food court) disappeared/closed down 3 years back.  And besides Steak and shake, the only other place i know of is the Ram for late night snacking..
 

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Posted by ryric garhkal

garhkal wrote:
Agreed.  Heck i am shocked that the only McDonalds i knew of downtown (not in the mall food court) disappeared/closed down 3 years back.  And besides Steak and shake, the only other place i know of is the Ram for late night snacking..
 
I was surprised when that McDonalds closed as well. Now there were some lines, especially for breakfast. That place was packed every morning. I guess being super busy one week a year wasn't enough to sustain the place.

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Posted by suburbaknght

For years we did call-ahead ordering, mostly at Noodles & Co., for takeout.  Last year they discontinued it during Gen Con.  I understand that customers in line get upset when someone walks by, gets their good, and walks back out, but doesn't it make sense to encourage more people to do call-ahead and schedule time to get their food rather than get stuck in a two-hour line?

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Posted by garhkal

I also never can get people who get peeved at others for using their brain and calling ahead to make either a reservation, or calling in their orders, so they can just walk in, get it then leave..

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Posted by kidlidar

You talk about the food trucks...Last year I went out to the food truck area Thurs around 2:30pm.  There were still riduculous lines and some of them were waving people away and even telling people in line that they were not going to be able to serve them.  Not to mention I ended up waiting in line for hotbox pizza, and paying $7 (I think) for a slice of pizza that was cold.  When I tried to address the issue they wouldn't even talk to me, and just ignored me like I was not there.  That was after I had waited in line for over 30min on the 1st day of the con.  I figured I'd give them a second chance and tried again the next day at 3pm, only to wait in line for almost an hour, finally got to the booth, only for them to tell everyone they were out of food.  My wife and I had to walk 3 blocks to find a place to eat even at out of peak times, (she is wheelchair bound which means I had to push her) and we still had to wait quite a bit for a table.

For the record, I didn't have a problem with the line for will call, like other people say, the line was long, but my friend and I went through it in about 30 minutes at around 11:30 Wed night.

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