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One of Raine's biggest hobbies has always been gaming. It all started with an Atari and spread out to Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons. As an artist, Raine takes pride in painting models for games as well as making his own terrain. He's also been a writer for many years, working both in the journalism industry and writing pieces of fiction. He decided to create Initiative : Tabletop as a platform to talk about all things gaming that he simply thought were cool, and reviewing games became a part of it!

Gen Con Housing – Beating a Broken System

Gen Con Housing banner

The weekend has passed, and with it the kickoff of one of the most anticipated events in Gen Con’s history: housing registration. Each year gamers gather ’round their computers and wait for the second hand on their clock to hit noon. Gen Con’s servers are wrecked with thousands of people trying to get their hotel rooms squared away for the biggest tabletop gaming convention of the year.

This year, as we announced, Gen Con made changes to both the badge and hotel registration systems put in place so many years ago. Attendees used to gain a housing access code once they purchased and paid for an eligible badge. Once housing registration went live they would use the code to access the housing portal in a first-come first-served basis. Now, many attendees had problems with the system freezing, getting kicked out of line, and the like, but many others saw success with it.

This year the system would throw you into a random queue as you sit waiting for your turn in line to access the housing portal all on your own. The system was supposed to make things “smoother” for attendees when they accessed the housing portal. Now that housing registration has kicked off, what’s the verdict? From what I’ve heard, including my own personal experience, the system is anything but smooth.

When I was sitting and ready to go at noon I was thrown into the queue. “Finding your place in line. This could take a moment,” was the message that flashed on my screen when registration went live. I waited for almost 15 minutes, and nothing changed. I reloaded the page and was met with a THREE HOUR waiting period before I had a chance to access the housing portal. Now how does that work out? After waiting all morning Gen Con told me just to sit and wait longer. Now I get having to wait in line, but how did they break that up?

After waiting and calming down I got into the portal. Every downtown hotel room was taken, and I learned that they disappeared within the first hour of housing opening. What’s more is that I found out another piece of information that really dug into my skin: some people, who were ready to go at noon, went to get into the portal they were, like me, told to wait for 3 hours. Others, however (that I witnessed), that accessed the Gen Con site a half hour later were met with 20-minute wait times. Now how is that fair at all?

At least with the older system, most of the ones who were ready at the gate were rewarded with their choice of hotel rooms. This year the odds were stacked against us. On one hand I’m happy because I at least picked up a room at a nice hotel 12 miles away from the convention. On the other hand, my jimmies are rustled because of the way the system was set up this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Gen Con and I’ll have fun this year attending if it kills me. I just feel like the company needs to investigate the housing registration system and try to implement one that, I don’t know, works. I know this is a bit over the top, and I don’t rant too often. With that said, how about some feedback? How was your experience with housing this year? What would you change if you could?


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  1. Gen Con 2016 Badge Pre-Registration and Housing Info Now Available | Initiative : Tabletop - December 29, 2015

    […] Gen Con organizers to try and get all their ducks in a row. Now, as you could clearly see with news from this past year, there were a lot of attendees quite unhappy with the new housing mechanics for Gen Con 2015. In an […]

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