How Events Work At Gen Con
If you are coming to Gen Con for the first time, welcome! The Gen Con team is glad that you're here!
If you’ve attended conventions before such as a comic or smaller gaming convention, you might be used to a model of having one large Exhibit Hall and a few main event stages. Gen Con operates differently from other conventions, primarily in that there are more than 15,500 events for attendees!
You may be surprised to learn that while Gen Con has an Exhibit Hall with 500+ companies, that’s only part of the Gen Con experience. Some attendees will participate almost exclusively in events, gaming around the clock, with only a few stops to the Exhibit Hall.
This web page includes basic information to help you understand more about how events at Gen Con work.
What is an Event?
Events make up a large part of the Gen Con experience. People come from all over the world to play games and participate in events during "The Best Four Days In Gaming!" Events are hosted by individuals, gaming groups, and companies, and are located in various areas throughout the convention center, Lucas Oil Stadium, most surrounding hotels, and even at locations around Indy. Events are scheduled for specific dates and times so you can schedule your convention-going experience and not miss a moment waiting!
Events run 24-hours a day starting on Thursday at 8 am and ending Sunday at 4 pm. Gen Con even has events on Wednesday to get you geared up and ready to go! Events run the gamut from RPGs, card games, and board games, to seminars, workshops, and crafts. There are even tours and entertainment events, big and small, too. Gen Con has something for everyone.
What is an Event Ticket?
An event ticket is your "pass" to an event. Unlike other conventions, where you may or may not get into an event after a long wait, Gen Con features event tickets which guarantee your seat at the table or at a venue. An event ticket allows you to play a game, listen to a seminar, see a band, etc.
Have your ticket? You're all set to attend an event!
Most, but not all, events at Gen Con require an event ticket to participate, not just your badge. You will need a badge in order to acquire your tickets. You can buy tickets for friends, too!
Most tickets have a small cost ($2) associated with them, but some are free and some cost more depending on the associated costs and demand for an event.
Why Do I Need An Event Ticket?
An event ticket guarantees you have a "seat at the table", it gives the bearer access to the specific event for which the ticket was obtained.
With that said, a few events do not have tickets, like the annual costume contest or the destruction of Cardhalla, for example. These events accommodate as many attendees as space allows. Some events do not require a ticket such as seminars, film, or anime events. However, to ensure you have a seat, it is recommended you acquire a ticket to these free events.
How Do Tickets Work?
Having a ticket to an event allows you access to that event. Tickets cannot be obtained for another event at the same time, meaning you can't buy a ticket to two events that are being hosted at the same date/time.
Most events allow you to get up to two tickets to the event, some allow you to buy even more, so if you're coming with a friend, you can get them in on the action, too!
At the start of the event, you turn in your ticket to the event organizer. They, in turn, turn the tickets into Gen Con. This is how attendance is tracked to any given event and how the event organizer gets reimbursed and can plan for future year's spaces.
Generic tickets cost $2 each and may be used in place of an event ticket, although they don't guarantee a seat at the event. Think of them as “carnival tokens." If there is an event you really want to get into but were unable to get a specific ticket for, you can use generic tickets to attempt access to the event onsite, if there are no shows or extra space.
Show up 10 minutes early to the event you want with generics, and you may have a chance of getting into a previously "sold out" event. You will need to have enough generics to cover the cost of the event you are attending, meaning if the event costs $6, you will need three generic tickets to cover the cost of the event.
Some events take only generic tickets; this is indicated in the event details.
It’s never a bad idea to have a few generic tickets, just in case you want to jump into a game. Generic tickets can be refunded as system credit, less applicable fees for use later or at another Gen Con.
How To Get Event Ticket(s)
You must have already purchased a badge in order to buy event tickets.
Event tickets can be purchased onsite, online, or through our mobile-friendly site at www.gencon.com. You do not need to buy tickets before you get to the show, but many events will sell out prior to the show. If you want to be a part of that event, it is recommended to register for events.
You could also decide to wait and see, but the Gen Con team encourages you to try at least one event. Your Gen Con experience will be that much more interesting and exciting; playing events is half the fun of attending!
How Do I Find Events?
Gen Con has a How To Find Events page, which explains in detail the various tools you can use to search events and how to create and use your Wish List.
Tickets can be refunded. You can refund tickets back to system credit before Registration closes, onsite up to 30-minutes prior to the event, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on refunds, check the Policy & Show Info page.