Avoid the Mid-Con Energy Drain Blues was originally written and posted the summer of 2009 for Northeast Wars’ web site. It is republished here for completeness’ sake.
It’s Saturday night of a three day convention. The group is two-thirds of the way through an epic Fantasy Flight Games production with tokens, special dice, decks of tiny cards and plastic models everywhere. Your turn is at least fifteen minutes off and you can feel yourself starting to doze.
How can you be crashing now? What could you have done differently? Here are a couple quick pointers to help better manage your energy levels at a convention:
- Sleep. It can’t be stressed enough: restful sleep is important to keeping your energy up. Some people like to cram as much gaming into a weekend as their body can endure, but there’s an argument to be made that the quality of one’s experience drops precipitously as exhaustion increases. Moreover, pushing yourself to excess can lead to uncontrollably falling asleep at inopportune moments, like right before that game you’re dying to play or even while sitting at the table in the middle of a session.
- Eat right. The stereotypical selection of gaming snacks has lots of carbs, sugar and salt — and even weirder stuff, if you’re into the energy drinks. They give a quick energy boost that fades sooner than later and often leaves the consumer dehydrated. Indulge in some Cheesy Poofs if you want, but balance them out with some real food: fresh fruit, unsalted nuts and plenty of water. A convention center with a grocery store in the vicinity — as the Essex Resort neighbors a shopping center with a well-stocked Hannaford’s — can be a real boon in procuring convenient healthy snacks like grapes, nuts and oranges.
- Vary stimuli. A recent article in Discover suggests that zoning out, that mental state where your mind wanders from the task on hand for a bit before snapping back, can ultimately be helpful. In situations like a gaming convention, where you’re expected to focus on the plays of other people around the table for four or more hours at a time, not inadvertantly going for a mental wander can challenge the keenest intellect. When the opportunity arises, take the time to let your brain relax with a little mental gray state, whether it’s during a meal break or lull at the game table.
[Discover article found via Lifehacker.]