JP On Gaming

Monday, April 6, 2015

[Rant]ish Should Gencon Break up?

I realize it is a Monday and that you are all excited but this has been on my mind all weekend.

I have been thinking about Gencon recently as a number of people have mentioned to me that they did not plan to attend because it became too big. Now being a first timer in 2013, Gencon was always "that big" to me.

Probing deeper into their motivations a few trends quickly became apparent.

First it had become so big that to merely go from one site to the other required some quick travel (I'm not talking about people located in the same room like 5e or PFS. Having tried to go from NeoExodus to Legends of the Five Rings on a last minute decision sucked. So I can see their point.

Next people don't have time to talk or meet as they fill their schedule with a large number of events. Well, dear attendee, *You* filled *your* schedule. No one forced you.

Another one was the hotel situation. It has gotten so bad with everything disappearing in under an hour. This year was even worse. With rooms going for the price of presidential suites. That is a big big minus. If the con is to grow it needs to have a way for people to attend.

But perhaps what made me think about this the most. "I can go to Gencon and play the same adventures OR I can attend four to five regional cons. Why would I go?"

Dear readers I could not find a flaw in that logic. It was flawless. True. I spent more for Gencon then I would've at five smaller local cons.

So I had to ask myself: Is Gencon too big? Should it break off into a few smaller pieces? Years ago they had a GenCon SoCal which folded after a few years. I'm not privy to the internal workings or the exact numbers as it folded the year I planned to attend. I wonder if it might be worth looking into a "second Gencon"? A eastern/central/western might be options. I may be partial but having something in Denver or Las Vegas or Salt Lake City might work too.

Then comes the 'when' question. Early November? March? I don't know. But I think either might work.

Perhaps making Gencon smaller by moving traffic to other venues might keep it fresh. Plus it would allow for more play opportunities overall. I started this post seriously trying to come up with a proposed solution, but I find myself in a situation where I'm not really sure about the choices one way or the other.

I don't think it can maintain the level of growth it has seen these past few years and I'd rather see it break up as it grows rather than as it shrinks.

I remain unconvinced on both sides of the equation...



  1. But equally, part of the draw of GenCon is its size. If you want to play something, it is being played somewhere at GC. The hotel situation is a problem but it has been like that at Dragon*Con for the last decade or more and people manage. I am not sure what the best solution would be, though I would love to see a proper "GenCon South".

    1. I KNOW!!! That's what's making this so problematic! Too big is a major pain, too small has issues...

      GAH! No good/ easy way out!!!

  2. The other thing I can see is that GenCon is contracted to Indy until like 2020..or something like that. So depending on how the contract is worded that may not even be an option until after then. They looked into it when the whole law thing started up, you know the law i'm talking about i'm sure. I think it would be nice to have at least one more somewhere it could still stay large but give others who would like to go but cant afford to get there or the ungodly hotel cost a chance to go.

  3. The problem is that GenCon can't make attendees go to a smaller version at an alternate date so long as the original remains... Too, publishers have gotten to where they time their releases exactly with GenCon, creating incentive to go...

    Its not just GenCon though, I had more trouble getting a Hotel at Origins this year than ever before and had to settle on one not beside the Convention Center. I think the hobby is just growing and thus the Cons are all growing. GenCon is the worst, but its not alone.

    Also, I suspect part of the problem will self-correct at some point as people start realizing there are, in point of fact other Cons they can go to much cheaper.