GenCon reschedules, hoping that increase in availability of vaccines mean that hope and sunlight are on their way.
GenCon, the largest, longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America, may be dippings its toes in the waters of optimism as they reschedule their annual event. Caution over the COVID-19 pandemic has closed convention after convention since the virulent disease forced us all into self-imposed isolation. From the statement of convention board chairperson Peter Adkinson, it appears that GenCon is doing everything possible to hold a real, in-person event this year.
They’re not completely back, of course – and the limitations on public gatherings and good old fashioned common sense have placed limits on the possible. Now that vaccines from various makers are beginning to be broadly available, though, hope and sunlight appear to be on their way.
A Message from Gen Con’s Co-Owner and Chairperson of the Board
Friends, it’s been a long year. I know you’ve been wondering what will happen with Gen Con this year, and I can tell you that we all share that feeling. Today, we’re excited to announce our plan of action.
We are moving Gen Con 2021 to September 16-19, and holding it as a combination of three concurrent events: our in-person convention in Indianapolis with a lower attendance cap, a robust schedule of livestreaming and online gaming through Gen Con Online, and local events at games stores through Pop-Up Gen Con.
This is the plan. Based on guidance from the CDC, recent announcements by the federal government, and the projections of public-health experts, we believe there is significant cause for optimism for a mid-September convention to be held with reduced attendance and some smart modifications. If that changes and the experts tell us we need to shift course, then the plan will change.
We want to give you options so you can choose how to participate in Gen Con this year, be it in Indianapolis, at your Friendly Local Game Store, or at home from your favorite chair. If you have a badge now but don’t feel comfortable attending in person, I totally understand. You can either roll your badge forward to next year with a price-lock guarantee or get a refund in dollars or system credit.
Dates for badge, hotel, and event registration will be announced soon once we can nail down some additional details, so stay tuned to our newsletter and social media accounts to keep up on the latest news.
Those of you who have been with us for many years know that attending Gen Con means witnessing gaming history. When we gather for The Best Four Days in Gaming™, we share in a peak experience that sets the tone for trends in game development and creates a bright light of passion that we carry back to our gaming groups and communities across the U.S. and the world. When we look back, we can see how far we’ve come, and as we look forward, we’re ready for the next adventure.
After the success of Gen Con Online last year, we know that the magic feeling of Gen Con can translate to a virtual format. It’s not a substitute for the in-person experience, but rather an extension of it. Just as many of us have learned how to run our RPG games over video chat or play board games on one of the incredible virtual tabletop platforms that have been developed, we’re learning how to adapt the convention experience to flexible conditions.
Gaming is changing, and so are we. This will be a Gen Con unlike any other, and the way we emerge from this period of tragedy will carry us into a new future for Gen Con and the hobby we share and love.
After so many months of uncertainty, I remain hopeful about the future. I’m excited to get vaccinated, travel to Indianapolis, and stand once more upon the hallowed grounds of the Indiana Convention Center for a celebration of the games and culture that bring us together.
I hope you’ll join me.
GenCon Co-Owner and Chairperson of the Board
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