New attendee, no clue
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Posted by inches

Hi there. I'm trying to figure out how events work. I never got an email saying anything about events going live, and when I always looked there seemed to be no information about what was going on.

I stopped looking after a while assuming I'd get an email announcing information going live. 

So when poking around the site today I found that there's a ton of events up now but most are sold out? I didn't even realize there was a paid ticketing system and pre-registration for things like this.

Did I miss an email? Am I just new and only returners know about what's going on?

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Posted by selene314

I've been attending Gen Con for 10 years, and for most of that time I did not buy event tickets until July. Many events are sold out, but many others are not sold out!

To choose events, I recommend downloading the Excel file from http://www.gencon.com/experience/find . Then you can filter out sold-out events.

I believe the "Badge Registration is now OPEN!" and "Event Registration is now OPEN!" signs on the front page previously gave the dates when they would open. There's also a news feed on the left side with this link to sign up for their weekly newsletter.
Unfortunately, none of that appears on the mobile version. I'm guessing that's how you never saw it.

Here is how the ticketing system works:

You need a Gen Con badge to get into some areas and to buy event tickets. If you want to spend all day shopping and playing demos of games in the vendor hall, the badge is all you need.

Most events have event-specific tickets.
A tabletop game could easily be limited to 4 people, so it wouldn't make much sense to let 100+ people form a line to get in. Gen Con has you buy tickets in advance, and you cannot have tickets to two events with overlapping times. 
Gen Con takes a fee for the space, and beyond that prices correlate to the host's cost to run the event. Not all events cost money, but they still have a $0 ticket that guarantees you a spot where attendance is limited. It's free to attend seminars and movies, to demo some new games or playtest works-in-progress.

You buy tickets online and pick them up at Will Call at any time during the con.
If you want to join an event for which you don't have a ticket, and it isn't sold out, you can spend "generic" tickets of equal cost.

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Posted by rogersba inches

inches wrote:Did I miss an email? Am I just new and only returners know about what's going on?

You must have missed multiple emails. 4/20, 4/23, 5/1, 5/3, 5/4 at least. Check to make sure that emails from customerservice@gencon.com aren't being eaten by your spam filter.

Also, see Gen Con's pages on Twitter and Facebook, as well as the Friends of Gen Con Facebook group.

There's also an unofficial Gen Con Survival Guide to help you with other parts of the con. Welcome! http://gen-con-survival-guide.tumblr.com/
 

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Posted by rong

Welcome to Gen Con! Although many enjoy Gen Con without a single event ticket (there is plenty to do), if there is a particular event that interests you but is sold out, you can choose to show up for the event with generics. If there are no shows (and it is not uncommon) you can take their place. It isn't a guaranteed seat, but it is an option if you have nothing else going on or really have your heart set on trying to get in to a particular event.

Just for clarity, Gen Con, to cover costs, does charge for events. I run RPGs of the 4-hour variety. Gen Con charges a minimum $4 for that ticket. I can raise the price of that ticket to cover my costs if I choose, but I can't lower the price of the ticket.

 

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Posted by parody inches

inches wrote:Did I miss an email? Am I just new and only returners know about what's going on?

You should also go to your Profile and make sure you are signed up for Gen Con's mailing list.  (It's at the bottom.)

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Posted by nascragman

Nascrag always has room!  if you like Pathfinder in a fun, rules-light/role-playing heavy environment. Check out our 39th annual tournament or our one round charity event.

WWW.Nascrag.ORG

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Posted by rhone1

Buy generic tickets and show up to any sold out events you are interested in. My guess is that you will get into most of them, if not all of them.  There are often "no shows" for events and many GM's running events will do what they can to make sure you can play.

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Posted by sethladd

Oh wow, I didn't receive any emails notifying me about event registration. This is my first time attending GenCon, and logging in today, I found so many things sold out :(

I checked, and my profile had disabled emails from GenCon (???). Why would that be the default? Sigh...

Anyway, too late now. Thanks for letting us know that we need to go into our Profile and enable emails. Maybe next year. :(

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Posted by aldctjoc

Don't sweat it! You mind taking advice from a random stranger on the internet?? Don't worry about having no events. I'm one of those who say it's actually a good thing to not have an event scheduled for your first time at Gen Con. That way, you're untethered and can go look at whatever you want and decide what you'd really like. And many times, you'll be able to join up with generics anyway.

Seriously! Don't worry about not having signed up for events. You'll still have a great, not just good time.

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Posted by sethladd

Thanks, I appreciate that.

I was surprised to see many games not actually scheduled. Any advice for playing a game that doesn't even have a scheduled event? (For example, I'd love to try Battle for Rokugan. It's new enough that I'd imagine/guess it's somewhere at GenCon? :) But not sure the strategy for finding games that aren't scheduled.

Thanks!

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Posted by aldctjoc sethladd

sethladd wrote:Thanks, I appreciate that.
I was surprised to see many games not actually scheduled. Any advice for playing a game that doesn't even have a scheduled event? (For example, I'd love to try Battle for Rokugan. It's new enough that I'd imagine/guess it's somewhere at GenCon? :) But not sure the strategy for finding games that aren't scheduled.
Thanks!

Heh, no, I don't have good advice in that area. I'm too blasted old school, so I'm usually caught playing well established RPGs.

But, you can keep an eye out on the event list. Believe it or not, not all events are processed yet; some may still appear. Also, a game you may see no events for may be on demo in the dealer hall. It just depends. That demo may or may not be a full game session, but even a limited shot can be a good taste. And I've been surprised before and actually played a full game to completion, with the booth staff actually encouraging it. Again, it just depends. My point is that you may be able to get at least a little bit of playtime with it there.

Also, there's going to be a pickup games hashtag on Twitter. I've never used it (I tend to busy up on just being with and playing games with friends), but I understand it works pretty well. Maybe you can put out a feeler and ask if anyone's going to run a pickup session? 

And honestly? Another reason I say that going in unscheduled can be fun is because it's sometimes the unexpected that you end up enjoying the hell out of. My own experiences at that are not very colorful or amazing, but I've known people who've never done old school D&D and fallen in love with it, I've heard of people who've never LARP'd before and are now hardcore about it, I've met people who've expected to game the entire time and discovered a cool author session... being without scheduled events can open the door to finding something crazy fun just by accident. So yeah, go look for that game. But keep rubbernecking around, because something you walk by might grab your attention and end up being worth it. :)

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Posted by cinnibar

Just checked, there are about 9k events that are not sold out.  Yes, most of the hot and popular ones are full..for those you should bring generics and try your luck if you want.  But there are plenty of options left if you want to try other games.

Don't worry too much about it.  Get a couple events as a new conventioneer, maybe an Escape Room?  Plan a lot of time in the Exhibit Hall, I recommend finding the Cheese Weasel ConQuest to give you a direction in that vastness.  You will have a great time.

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Posted by bwd72

Yeah don't sweat it.  My first year I didn't buy a single ticket in advance.  There is SO much to do that you can have a blast and never attend a single ticketed event.  Or, you can get generics and play quite a bit of stuff.  Plus there are demos everywhere, almost all the time.  You literally could spend all day every day in the Vendor hall demoing games and have a great time!

Enjoy, and welcome aboard!

-Brian

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Posted by ryric

I'll chime in with the others saying that having no ticketed events is not a big deal - you can easily play all day by just wandering around the dealer's room doing free demos. My wife and I tend to reserve a day for doing just that. FFG will almost certainly have a demo of Battle for Rokugan set up, but there may be a wait as FFG demos are quite popular. If you're socially brave you can wander around gaming halls and look for groups setting up and ask if they have a spot you could hop into - often the answer is yes, and no one will get mad for you asking. I've had plenty of fun games that were my friends + random strangers playing a game we brought. If you wander near some events you will get asked if you want to join in (NASCRAG comes to mind here). There are a lot of things you can just show up and do with generic tickets, like the board game library, and some things don't even require tickets, like the auction.

As it's your first Gen Con I'd highly recommend you budget some time just to explore...there's lots of stuff hidden away in oddball places around the convention center and hotels that you'll never see if you stick only to the main areas. If you arrive Wednesday it's a good time to go exploring before everything ramps up.

Tl;dr: Even with no events you will not be bored. You can literally spend all four days just in the exhibit hall demoing free games and have a full con.

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

Roaming the exhibit hall, you'll find plenty to do, but the hall is only open from 10am - 6pm, leaving plenty of time for events early & late.

There are still a number of events that have openings, and things change hourly.  The Eventdb change list is updated every 6 hours with new events & events that have had tickets returned, so you may find something you like has opened up there.

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Posted by jpederso

My advice to a first-timer looking for events: Don't forget the "Isle of Misfit Events" category.  I usually find a couple of cool-sounding events there every year.  

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Posted by derekguder

As a first-timer, you'll want to check to Event Ticket section of the general FAQ, as well as How to Find Events.

Specifically, there is an option for the online search to hide all events that are sold out, which should make it easier for you to find something exciting to play.

At the bottom of the How to Find Events page, there is also a link to event exports, and the Premier & Interesting Events export is a good place to start, since it automatically filters out sold-out events, though it only updates every 6 hours.

-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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