Travel idea: GenCon – GenConIndy Gaming Convention 2014

Gaming enthusiasts look forward to visiting Indianapolis, Indiana each year for the annual GenConIndy extravaganza, known as “the best four days in gaming.” This is prestigious entertainment at its best, where you can have that rare opportunity to meet and interact with an entire community of gamers, entrepreneurs, retailers, and sponsors who share the same fascination for all types of gaming. You can face real competition in live action role-playing games (LARP) and tournaments, challenge your opponents on board and electronic games, visit exhibits for product demonstrations, and be among the first to hear about the latest innovations in gaming. Above all, it is a place to renew old friendships and make new ones, a place to play your favorite games and learn to play the ones you may not have tried. Previous attendees described GenConIndy as invigorating, intoxicating, surreal, and similar in many ways to a huge amusement park (see GeekDad website).

GenConIndy features an endless variety of hobbies, as well as science fiction, adventure, miniatures, and fantasy games to play, observe, or purchase. Some are familiar favorites and traditional GenCon classics such as True Dungeon and Play by Mob, while others are brand-new releases on display by various gaming promoters and distributors. In addition to the big sci-fi fantasy and art show, workshops, costume contests, anime, celebrity guest appearances, and product demonstrations, there will be numerous new and exciting events, games, and exhibits at the upcoming GenConIndy in 2014. Tables in the open gaming hall, and at some hotels in the housing block, fill up rapidly as gamers gather from early morning until late at night to play old favorites such as Rampage or the newer Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. Although casino gambling is not allowed, there will probably be a few playing no-stakes poker.

Another attractive feature of GenConIndy is SPA, activities for your spouse who may not be an avid gamer and wants something to do while you are off somewhere checking out the games and exhibits. These include arts and crafts, Irish dancing, self defense, walking tours, etc. GenCon offers fun for children too, with a Family Fun Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall, where they can play games or participate in other activities. Parents who need child care can contact Sitters to the Rescue in the Convention Center for services during the day.
Avg Rates – $12/hour.

It’s definitely not too soon to start planning for the August 14-17, 2014, convention at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pre-registration has closed for the most part; however, regular registration can be accomplished online in early 2014, or at the convention center and some hotels. Each individual must purchase a badge for admission to the Exhibit Hall, Art Show, and any other public events. A family of four can buy a Family Fun badge for $30/day, or the Family Fun Package for $40, which includes eight extra tickets to use for special events. Children are free under age eight, but must be accompanied by an adult, registered by name, and wear an identification wristband for security. Online ticket purchases for the non-public events are sent to Will Call kiosks for pickup at the convention. Trade Day is set aside for networking among retailers, distributors, manufacturers, licensing agents, and the press. All potential attendees must meet specific qualifications to register.
(Note: Visit gencon.com for up-to-date registration hours and locations, events, prices, travel arrangements and assistance, and other information for 2014, usually available in January.)

Each year, GenConIndy offers a block of hotel rooms with reasonable rates for attendees registering online. E-mails are sent to registered attendees with the requisite housing access code to use in making reservations in the housing block. If no rooms are available, however, finding accommodations in Indianapolis should not be difficult since there are a number of downtown hotels near the Convention Center. The Hyatt Regency, Westin, Canterbury, Conrad, and the Marriott are conveniently located and priced from $285-$350. Some offer group package rates and special rates for GenCon attendees (hotelplanner.com and geekcityguides are good sources of information).

Gamers can “geek out” with GeekNationTours for an interesting and different way to do the convention. The theme for the tour in 2014 will be Science Fiction, and participants have the opportunity to play the new Stronghold game with the owner and designer of Space Cadets Dice Duel. Take a 2-hour reality trip on the Artemis Spaceship and join the Kentucky Fried Gamers group for refreshments on an evening pub crawl. Evening gatherings are part of the fun where everyone gets a chance to socialize, if they choose, and rehash the day’s activities, as well as do a bit of gaming among themselves. GeekNation can also arrange registration for you via Skype in the spring of 2014 and assist in making travel plans, or advise and coordinate other excursions for you in Indianapolis.
Tour Price: $1,775/dbl, $2,600/single. Includes a fun-filled schedule of activities, four nights’ accommodations at the JW Marriott, airport transfers, GenConIndy badges, Welcome and Farewell Dinners, and other extras.

Gaming is a huge part of culture and a favorite pastime for many of us here in the U.S., just as it is in almost every country in the world. From the initial gathering of war game fans in 1967 at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, attendance at GenConIndy has increased dramatically over the years. More and more people have discovered, visited, and returned to the second-largest (Penny Arcade advertised as first) and most successful consumer games and hobbies convention in North America. Visitors to GenConIndy have brought in more than $47 million to benefit the economy in Indianapolis. Sponsors such as Mayfair Games, Paizo Publishing, and Wizards of the Coast have set world records in gaming developments and attracted more than 2,500 gamers at the convention to their events alone. Whether you decide to go by yourself, with family, or friends, you will find there is something for everyone to enjoy, young and old, in the amazing world of entertainment at GenConIndy 2014.

Sharon L Slayton

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