1) Dice. No true gamer leaves their precious D6s and D20s at home. You’d be amazed what you can MacGyver with those polyhedrons.
2) Zombie Dice. This quick and fun group game will help you to idle away the hours, as it were, waiting in line to meet Wil Wheaton, the crew from Blizzard, and the fine folks from Wizards of the Coast. You don’t really want to strike up a conversation with those nearby…do you?
3) Picture Taking Device. Yeah, this could be called a camera but let’s get real. Many people have smart devices such as iPhones, Droid phones, and tablet computers (we’ll come back to that one). Those devices can take pictures. Bring one of those or a camera to record the exact moment your jaw dropped from meeting Frank Mentzer.
4) Snacks. No gamer can exist without food. We may be used to the local pizza shop and Chinese food restaurant. At a con we may not have those luxuries so it is best to bring a small snack with you. Something like trail mix or mixed nuts works best. That is healthy and gives you sufficient protein to keep you energized.
5) Nice Smelling Spray. Who hasn’t heard the jokes about the dreaded gamer stink (G.S.)? But, the fact is that many people in a crowded place will exacerbate the mingling of body scents. Do everyone a favor and come to the con well groomed. Just in case, bring a small vial of deodorizing spray. Think of it as a magic potion if that helps.
6) Character Sheets. It doesn’t matter what type of gaming con you go to. The chances are high that you can play a game of D&D just about anywhere. Print out some character sheets so you can play in D&D Encounters or a pick-up game. You may make some new friends and find new ways to level your character.
7) Friendly Attitude. People get cranky when they have to wait, spend money, and spend time with lots of other people. Putting a smile on your face will go a long way to easing the burden of con negativity. Industry guests will appreciate the happy fan begging for an autograph and your fellow gamers will think you’re one nice bloke.
8) Money. Money. Money. Don’t bring rubies, gold coins, or those tokens from the LARP you attended last weekend. Nothing works better than those hard-earned American dollars. Vendors won’t sell you miniatures for Monopoly money. Trust me on that one.
9) Walking Shoes. Cons like PAX, Origins, and GenCon are HUGE with long lines. You will be walking a lot. Sturdy and comfortable walking shoes will be your best friend at the end of the day. I know exercise is anathema to many gamers. Don’t worry though, because this is one of those exceptions where it is gamerly acceptable to exercise. The other times are racing to the counter for a new Magic: The Gathering release or elbowing your way to the front of the line to meet the Perry Brothers.
10) Tablet Computer. Bet you thought I forgot about the tablet computer. I’m not going to come out and say iPad but we all know what I mean. You need something portable that you can use to check in on Foursquare, follow on Twitter, and like on Facebook. Plus, you know you want to blog about the sneak peek you got at the upcoming Blood Angels codex. Sure, you could use a smartphone to do most of this. Somehow, playing Angry Birds on that tiny screen is not very satisfying. Bring the iPad…I mean tablet computer and you won’t regret it.