As I approach another board gaming convention I'm often asked by others what they should bring. I have a google doc that I copy from con to con with a reminder check list of standard items I always bring to most cons. I've turned it into this blog post.
Pain meds - I go for the all day Alive type stuff
Power cords for phone/laptop/etc - I bring an extra power strip for my hotel room
Backpack - I have the same convention backpack from sometime in the 80s.
Battery backup for phone - convention centers seem to suck phone battery. The Anker quick charge ones are awesome. Like this https://www.anker.com/products/A1272011?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=anker_google_pla_us_1_A1272011-20&utm_term=anker_google_pla_us_1_A1272011-20&gclid=CjwKEAjwwOvABRC08aedoZ_lnTMSJACs_cbuavxXRld7iErhh7BHHk5M-8x5C_CfLSC20AZ9nki7ExoCeWbw_wcB
Badge holder - I have one from Gen Con from long ago - it has extra pockets for pens, holds a few tickets and a phone when it was smaller. It also holds buttons and I have a label on it with my twitter handle.
Mini stapler for ribbons on said badge holder - the sticky ribbons sometimes fall off, I have a mini stapler and staple them all on.
Water bottle - stay hydrated. Public drinking fountains are required by the building code just find them or ask.
Snacks - non perishable things like protein bars, granola, jerky, water mix ins, nuts.
Baby powder/Zink cream - lots of walking and sitting....
Dress in layers - as an architect I know how difficult it can be to control the temp in spaces with lots of people so be prepared for times when it is empty and cold and crowded and hot. I also take great pains picking out just the right nerdy t-shirts.
Con Specific Things to bring
BGG - Coffee for exchange
Origins - Table Cloth
Origins/Gen Con - red wagon to haul all my stuff around
Games to Bring
I usually bring a few games - some small ones for my backpack. Cribbage, maybe Wurfle Bohnanza or Royal Goods. Then some bigger games - not too many you will most likely be playing the new hot games people will be buying. In the case of BGG I'm bringing Terraforming Mars because it is pretty hot right now and I want to make sure I have access to a copy.
Plan Games to Play
Schedule some games with friends or not? Many cons have a play area where you can open play and put up a cone / flag system to say you are looking for players. Personally I tend to keep my schedule open but this does lead to times where I don't have anything to do. I take this time to check out the exhibitors halls, etc.
Check out the Library
Does the con have a games library you can use while you are there? Most have a list on line you can review before you go.
Check out the Events
Is there a book, maps, schedule you can get early and look at?
Make a list of friends to meet.
Do you have folks you've never met in person you can meet for the first time at this con? Make a list to help remember to find them. I've even put in a mug shot from their twitter account.