If you know me at all, you’ll know I like to be organised and prepared. I like to have a plan. This is as true in gaming as it is real life.
I recently booked tickets to UK Games Expo—the first large con I’ll be attending for quite some time. I immediately started a list of things to do (get new business cards with my new job title, plan meetings with freelancers I’ve never met before, plot the seminars I’ll be attending and so on).
My thoughts have also turned to what to take with me. Some stuff is blindingly obvious—dice, a pencil and so on—but other stuff is perhaps less obvious. Essentially, I want to have as much time as possible at the con meeting people, having fun, savaging the dealers’ hall and so on as possible. I don’t want to waste time queuing for food, wandering about trying to find a plug point and so on.
Here’s a brief rundown of some (perhaps) surprising things I’ll be taking with me to remove as much of the hassle from wandering the convention as possible.
Merino Wool Socks
Merino wool socks are awesome. Merino wool naturally wicks away moisture from your body (so they don’t get sticky), doesn’t smell and is way better than cotton at regulating your temperature.
If you’ve spent any time at conventions you’ll know that after the first few days things can get rather ripe. Of course, you should shower and perform basic personal hygiene, but merino wool socks are a great way of battling con funk.
Darn Tough is my favourite brand of merino wool socks. Even better, they offer a lifetime money back guarantee on all their socks. If they get ripped or worn out, simply return them for a new pair. How awesome is that?
Merino Wool Clothes
(See Merino Wool Socks, above.) Merino wool t-shirts and so on are awesome. There is no other word to describe them (except expensive). Again, merino wool dries insanely quickly, doesn’t require ironing and is crazy light.
The last time I went to a convention, iPads were a rarity. I suspect, this time around almost everyone will be clutching one—there is no better way to transport all your character sheets, books, reference manuals and so on.
The downside is battery life. If you play a couple of four- or five-hour games and your character is on your tablet you run the risk of killing the battery. Taking a portable battery (and the relevant cables) means you are virtually immune to the nightmare of a dead battery.
I’ve got a couple of portable batteries, but the most powerful one is even capable of charging my laptop. That’s (probably) overkill for the convention but you can easily pick up small and lightweight batteries to charge your tablet.
In the rush to get to the next game or seminar, I don’t want to neglect my unending health and vitality. Essentially, I don’t want to eat nothing but crap for three days. (Although I’m quite keen to eat some crap). So, I’m going to take with me a decent supply of healthy(ish) snacks. This will not only keep my lean, finely honed body in tip-top shape, but it will also save me some cash (which I can spend on healthy, life-affirming booze). I’ll be taking a mix of Clif Bars (marvellously some come with caffeine), beef jerky and fruit and nuts.
I’ll also be taking an insulated refillable drinks bottle (I’m a big fan of Klean Kanteen) so I can enjoy hot and cold drinks. Imagine the horror of being stuck in a five-hour game with a cold coffee.
No Affiliate Links
In case you were wondering, there are no affiliate links in this post. I get nothing for recommending these products/companies. Any specific product I mention above, I own and love.
What Do You Suggest?
What have I missed? Is there something beyond the norm I should take to the con? Let me know, in the comments below, and help me have a better time at UK Games Expo!