Here are some DOs and DON'Ts for attending Board Game conventions that I've learned over the years:
- DO bring small snacks. You will often find yourself getting hungry in the middle of a game, and will not want to leave in the middle of it.
- DO bring your own copy of a game if it is something you absolutely want to play. I always like to join a Battlestar Galactica game at each con. When I showed up for the scheduled game, there were already more than enough players. But since I had my copy of the game, we were able to set up 2 games to accommodate everyone.
- DO wander the room and find random games to join, even if it's something you have never heard of. My favorite game of this con was Ascending Empires. I had never heard of it, and I joined simply because it looked interesting. I normally would never have played a dexterity game. But I enjoyed it so much that I recently bought it for myself.
- DO try to meet and talk with game designers, or even play a game with them. It's a great way to get some insight on the development of your favorite games, and maybe even get the inside scoop on upcoming projects. Also, if you know which designers will be there, bring a game of theirs to have it signed.
- DO check out some of the games from the Game Library. This is a great opportunity to check out those games that have been on your radar but you aren't sure about purchasing just yet.
- DON'T forget to use proper personal hygiene. This includes bathing, wearing deodorant, and clean clothes. You'd think this would be a given, but there always are a few people each year that you can smell from across the room. Gaming may not be a physically strenuous activity, but you will still stink after 14 hours of non-stop gaming. And Axe body spray is not a substitute for a shower.
- DON'T hover too close over a game in progress that you are not involved with. There is nothing wrong with taking a look at what other people are playing and maybe asking a couple questions. But respect people's personal space and respect that they are engrossed in a game and would appreciate minimal interruptions. I was in the middle of a BSG game when a random person walked up and started standing right over the shoulders of other players. Then he started picking up various pieces and looking at them without asking. The worst part was when he reached right in front of me to move one of the cards on my playing area to read it better. It was totally rude.
- DON'T walk up to a game in progress and start offering unsolicited strategy advice. If you want to play that game, then sit down and play something. Don't go around telling other people how they should be playing.
- DON'T forget to allow time for eating and sleeping. You may feel like you want to play games for 20 hours straight. But you'll quickly fade without some proper rest and nourishment.
- DON'T join an experienced game if you are a noob, unless you are invited to do so.
- DON'T leave a game you just finished without helping to pick it up, or at least offering to help.
And most importantly: DO have fun, and play as many new games as you can!