A first-time attendee contact us today with questions. Here is a heavily edited version of that conversation to help other folks who are attending their first U-Con!
First Timer: I’m wondering how the games work, here. I’ve never been to a gaming convention, so it’s new to me.
U-Con: Hi! First convention? We are honored!
First Timer: Looking at your schedule, there are a ton of games I want to try to play. Obviously there are only a certain number of available spots at each game. Do you have to pre-register to play those games?
U-Con: To play a game, you need to things: a con badge and an event ticket. You need a badge so you can participate in U-Con activities. They’ll be available for purchase tomorrow. To play specific games (or attend specific events), you need to purchase events tickets for them. You can play events on the days where you badge is valid. If you are coming more than one day, snag a Weekend badge, as it will save you money. To play a game, you don’t have to pre-register, but almost all of the games have limited space (number of players). Therefore, for games you definitely want to play, buy event tickets for those specific games as early as possible.
First Timer: Can I sign up for specific games/times once I pre-register? And am I charged for those reservations? Do I pay at the time of the game, or is it included in the pre-registration badge?
U-Con: Yes, once you pre-register, you can sign up for specific games. You are charged at the time of purchase – this is not included in the pre-registration badge. You have to three options for specific games: an event ticket for that game, generic tickets, and a “Play Games All Weekend Ribbon.” Some types of games, like board games and miniatures, are conducive to playing wherever there is an open seat. If you don’t care what games you play, then pick up a “Play Games All Weekend” Ribbon, which lets you sit down at almost any table with an open seat. Generic tickets work the same way, but you use them as you go. It usually takes 2 tickets to play a four-hour game, so if you think you are going to drop in twenty or more hours of games, get the ribbon.
U-Con: If there are specific games you really want to play, the U-Con Staff highly recommends that you use our website to select tickets for those specific games. You will pay for them and your badge ahead of time, but if something comes up, we’ll refund them up to the Wednesday before the convention. Just email us.
U-Con: When online registration is open, the website has buttons for adding tickets and badges into a shopping cart, and when you have everything you want, you enter your personal information into the form and send us your order. Then the site sends you to PayPal to pay for it. You can use your normal PayPal or a credit card. We can also take check payments by snail mail.
First Timer: I will definitely be getting a weekend badge. I’m mostly interested in board games. There are quite a few games that I am eager to be able to play (Scythe and Blood Rage, for instance) so I think that just reserving for the games I’d like to try is the best bet. Would I still be able to sit down at an open table to play if something catches my eye that day?
U-Con: If there is an open seat, then yes, absolutely! However, priority goes to those who pre-purchased the actual tickets for that event. You will also be able to make purchases or refund tickets onsite as well. We recommend purchasing a few “generic” tickets which allow you to sit down at events with open seats for the equivalent cost, unless you have a “Play Games All Weekend” ribbon, which acts like unlimited generic tickets.
First Timer: How much is the ribbon? I couldn’t find a price online.
U-Con: The ribbon is $15 and generics tickets are $1.50. Some events may require multiple generics. The prices for both generic tickets and ribbons will be available under the “additional items” link or the “misc” tab of the website. You can see the prices while preregistration is open, and the information is always available on our main website’s “Convention Information” page.
First Timer: Excellent. This is a tremendous help! Thank you! I am currently putting together a spreadsheet of all the games/times that interest me. I will be ready to go for getting everything ordered tomorrow. Thank you VERY much.
U-Con: You are welcome!
First Timer: Looking at the schedule though, there are intriguing games being played at all hours, so I don’t know how much free time I will actually wind up having.
U-Con: When you have free time, look for game tables that have green road cones with the U-Con logo on the side. The individual gamemasters use these to denote that their game has an open seat and they want people to drop in and play!
First Timer: Ah, nice!
U-Con: Also we have a games library you can browse and play for no additional cost. There isn’t necessarily going to be anyone to teach you a particular game, but feel free to grab a game to play. Don’t forget to get a green cone so others know they can join! The games in the library are listed on our website.
U-Con: And generic tickets are refundable up until 6pm on Sunday!
First Timer: The ribbons are non-refundable?
U-Con: That is correct. So you have to make a value judgement. The cost of the ribbon is $15, which in generic tickets is equivalent to 10 2-hour of games over the 3 days of the convention. Usually we find that if we’re getting more than a couple specific tickets, generic tickets are the way to go to fill out those few free time slots.
First Timer: I think I may just pick up a couple generic tickets to go along with my reservations, and then if they aren’t used, refund them. I doubt I will have enough free time (after reserved games) to warrant the price of a ribbon, anyways. Now, if I just got a bunch of generic tickets and did not reserve specific games/times…those could very well fill up, correct?
U-Con: Yes, it is possible those events will fill up. Also, a few of the game with the creator tickets are priced slightly differently and will require the specific tickets. Those will probably fill up during preregistration anyway.
First Timer: I had my eye on the **** with the Creator session. So thanks for that heads up!
U-Con: Great! We are pleased to help. Let us know if you have any further questions.
First Timer: Thanks again. I will absolutely do that.