GenCon – What to Bring

GenCon – What to Bring

GenCon is getting close, so I have a post scheduled to come out tomorrow about the different gaming options, but I think that it’s good to talk about some things to bring when going to a convention and what I’m thinking for GenCon.

Now, I’m going to quickly gloss over some things that should hopefully be fairly obvious, but I’m not sure always are. First, clean clothes for every day, so even plan an extra set or two of clothes. This means all of your clothes, but I don’t want to see someone wearing the same thing every day. And this also means cosplay. It might be a cool looking outfit but it will start to smell, don’t wear it every day. Toiletries are important as well, deodorant, anything you need to shower and brush your teeth. This ties in with the clothes, and we should talk about another good rule for a convention.

The rule is known as the 1-2-6 rule, though I’ve also heard it said as 1-2-3 rule, but I think 1-2-6 is better. What those numbers stand for is the number of showers (1) you should take per day, the number of meals (2) you need to eat per day, and that doesn’t mean a granola bar for breakfast and lunch, an actual meal, and the number of hours you should sleep per night (6). All of these numbers are a minimum, another meal per day and another hour or two of sleep would be great for a lot of people. But this ties in with the hygiene which is why I wanted to add it to the post here.

Image Source: Stronghold Games

But let’s talk about some less obvious stuff, or stuff that is more apt to be forgotten:

  • Water Bottle – GenCon this year is doing reusable cups to save on waste which is awesome, but plan on bringing your own water
  • Hand Sanitizer – You don’t have to obsessively use this, but using it some will decrease your likelihood of getting con-crud.
  • Phone Charger/Extra Battery – You’re not apt to forget a phone charger, but unless you’re planning on going back to your hotel room or where you’re are staying, pack that along.
  • Snacks – Now, this one is a bit trickier, some of the places don’t allow outside food in, though snacks are generally not frowned upon. It’s more things like meals, but bring along a granola bar.
  • Pen/Pencil/Paper/Dice – Now, this is more for if you are playing a role playing game that you’ll want to have those. As a DM at a con, I always provide those things, but never assume that someone will remember them.
  • Small Games to Play – You’re going to have down time, you’re going to want to go out and grab a meal/drinks with friends, bring along some small games to play with people. I’m going to be bringing along Welcome To…, Criss Cross, and Second Change, most likely. But all of those games can play a large number and are easy to teach and they have a small footprint, especially Criss Cross.

Now, I’m sure there are more things that you could think of for bringing along. And that list is more stuff for at the convention itself and the hotel/where you’re staying. There’s also how you’re getting there. You might have to think about audio books for a car drive or podcasts. Maybe you want to bring along some travel games or something like Criss Cross could even be played on a plane if you wanted to.

Final thing I want to talk about is your con bag. And by that, I mean, what sort of backpack, satchel, briefcase are you going to be bringing to the convention to carry those things, above in, plus any games, knickknacks, RPG stuff, or whatever else you might pick up at the con. Be courteous about the size. Don’t go with something too big or something that you won’t be able to control well. Don’t bring along a duffle bag that is going to be swinging away from you. Also, don’t bring along four bags, don’t have a backpack on your back, a satchel slung over your shoulder, and a rolling suitcase with a laptop bag sitting on that. You probably don’t need all that stuff, but you also won’t be able to control all of that and are going to be bumping people with the suitcase and then when you turn to see who you hit, hitting someone else with your backpack. Now, you might want to buy a big game and that might be your reason for wanting to have everything. A lot of dealers will have extra bags for you, so you don’t need to bring along everything yourself. But also, it’s fine to have to actually carry a game itself, just plan when during the day you’re going to get a game. And consider taking it back to your vehicle/hotel if you have one near by, at some point in time, so you don’t need to carry it all day.

There’s a whole lot more that I could recommend I’m sure. But it can be overwhelming. So I think this is a good start, and you’ll know what else that you need. I recommend that you make a list, which I need to start, and when you are getting close, such as right now I have my badge, make a specific spot to collect GenCon/Con stuff and add to it as need be.

What did I miss that you think is important to call out? Is there anything you normally bring that you find you never use? Is there anything that you wish that you’d brought? Let us know in the comments below.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at
Follow us on Twitter at @NerdologistCast
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.