6 + 2 + 1 = Happy Conventions

With Gen Con almost upon us, I feel it’s only fair to do my yearly reminder of the 6 2 1 system. If everyone follows these three simple rules, it’ll help make everyone’s convention that much better!

I do a number of conventions each year and while they can be an amazing and wonderful time, it’s easy to get caught up in all the new releases and meeting people and demos and events and everything else. Someone years ago mentioned to me the 6 2 1 plan for conventions, and overall I’ve found that it helps to keep it in mind.

6 is six hours of sleep in a bed. Getting sleep is a crucial part of conventions, despite you wanting to spend all of your time playing games. I say “in a bed” because your body will thank you for sleeping properly and doom you for trying to just power nap in a chair.

2 is two real meals. Eating is something I’m really bad at remembering to do at conventions. I get too caught up and busy, then when I realize I’m hungry, I haven’t really eaten anything in far too long and my attitude and disposition are impacted. Take time to go to a food court and sit down and eat. Go to a restaurant. Take a break from the hustle and bustle in the convention center and sit down for some food. Build your energy back up, you’ll need it.

1 is one real shower. I love a lot of things about our hobby, but the negative stereotype around gamers has a bit of truth to it. We’re going to be packed tightly in an area with not enough air conditioning. We’re going to do a lot of walking and as time goes on, you will sweat. Taking a shower can help your body aches from all the walking and game carrying. And to preempt the joke, deodorant is useful, but does not replace a shower.

So during a convention, please try to 6 2 1 every day. It’s simple, and seems obvious, but making a mental note and following through on it can make everyone’s convention better.

In addition to the 6 2 1 rule, I have some other tips.

  • Water is important. Get a refillable bottle or collapsible cup and drink lots of water. I know that pop or energy drinks have sugar and caffeine, but your body will get worn out and you’ll need more water than you realize.
  • Taking a short break half-way through your day and switching your socks for new ones can make a huge difference for how your feet feel.
  • Try to set up a budget ahead of time, but leave room for finding deals and things you weren’t expecting. Some amazing deals can be had at conventions, but if you buy them all, you won’t have money to get the other things you want and you won’t be able to get everything home.
  • Taking time to sit down and play games you’ve purchased can be a great opportunity to relax a little and it lets your body calm down from all the running around.

Once I started keeping the above tips in mind, I found I was having better conventions. I had more patience and was able to enjoy myself quite a bit more. When I to back to my room at the end of the day, I don’t feel dead. I’m tired, sure, but it’s a good feeling, not one of exhaustion.

I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you have for conventions, as I know Gen Con is going to be bigger than ever this year!


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