Interested in running a game or hosting an event at Gen Con, but not sure where to begin? You've come to the right place! This handy guide will get you started. Please note that while this information is useful for those new to hosting events for Gen Con, it is geared primarily to running events for the Gen Con in-person convention hosted in Indianapolis, Indiana.
If you have any questions, shoot us an email or visit our forums. Make sure to sign up for the EO/GM mailing list to receive announcements and important information.
Anyone can run events at Gen Con. You do not need to pay for event space.
Instead, your players will usually be required to purchase a ticket to your event. The price starts at $2 for every two hours, though some events (like seminars) are free. You can charge more if you want to try to make some money from your event, and you only need to pay for space if you want to run free games or demos.
Every event must be submitted using our online system. We will review it, approve it, and/or send it back for correction, and then give it a location. You are required to turn in tickets to track attendance.
That's it, in most cases. Things can get more complicated depending on the nature of the event, but that's how the basic process.
Whether you are a company, a gaming group, or an independent GM, there are two broad reasons to run games at Gen Con:
There is no better way to get people excited about a good game than to let them play and experience it for themselves.
For companies, running events allows you to expose more attendees to your game (they see it when browsing events, walking around the convention, etc.) and to have a place to send interested attendees for more information, so you can keep your booth focused on sales and short demos. Having a schedule of events at your booth allows you to hand over a flyer with some additional information about the game along with an invitation to try the game out during your scheduled events. Events also provide a substantive way to engage with the community established around your games. Even a single event can help make a convention special for your fans, both new and old.
For gaming groups and independent GMs, events are how you share a game you love with your fellow attendees, and hopefully convert some of them to new fans. It’s also a great way to guarantee that you have a chance to play a game you love at Gen Con, especially if you don’t often get to at home.
For everyone, running games can get you free badges to attend the convention, and independent GMs and gaming groups can earn hotel reimbursement. For full details on badges and hotels, refer to the Event Host Policy.
You must read the Event Host Policy.
This document explains just about all the rules and regulations you need to be aware of in order to run events at Gen Con.
Not every policies applies to every event, but it is important to read through the full document. If you have any questions or are confused at all after familiarizing yourself with it, just drop us an email and we'll be happy to walk you through it.
You (and only you) are responsible for your events.
We are here to help and want to make your event dreams come true, but it's up to you to make sure that your event is accurate and correct, and you are expected to check up on your event throughout the year to make sure everything is good, confirm your location, etc.
At the very least, you should check your event after submitting it, before event registration begins, and before the convention as one final check.
If you have any questions at all, email us or visit the GM forum. If you don't get a response in a timely manner, try again or call us directly to follow up.
Don't assume that we got your message or that things are just going slowly. It's better to follow up than to have something slip through the cracks.
Make sure to sign up for the EO/GM mailing list to receive announcements and important information.
The first thing you need to do is just sit down and think about your event.
If you are going to run multiple events, you need to review the schedule as a whole to balance your available staff. Some more things to consider:
Once you've got an idea fleshed out for the event you want to run, you'll need to submit it for review. More information on event submission (important dates, links to the form, etc.) can be found on the EO/GM page.
Once you have filled out your event details, we will review your event, find a location for it, and change it to Active status so everyone can see it when event registration begins.
You should get an email notification whenever your event is changed or approved, but just in case you should make sure to check back on your EO/GM Dashboard regularly to confirm its status.
Gen Con may need to make changes to your event when we review and/or place it. Usually these edits are for the sake of clarity. We may also cut down on the maximum number of players or change the time you requested. This is usually because we simply don't have enough space for you, or because we have historical data that suggests lower attendance for that type of event than you might expect.
If you ever have any questions or dispute any change to your event, just let us know. We're more than happy to go over it with you. Maybe you have better data than we do, or we misunderstood what you were trying to say. We're not always 100% right.
When you run your event, remember three things:
Three weeks before the convention, the Event Messaging Tool will be enabled on the Event Details page for both Gen Con Indy and Gen Con Online events. Only the EO, GMs and registered players for your event will have access to the tool, and it may be used for any last minute coordination or communication between you and your players.
The "Message to Registered Players" from your event submission will be pinned as the first post in the Event Messaging Tool for that event. Any posts made by an EO or GM will send out an email notification to the ticket holders. Be sure to monitor the messaging tool periodically to review any messages from players. If you are also participating in Gen Con Online events, this will be essential to your ability to share platform logins, direct links, and/or any other information needed to get your online event started
After your game, make sure to turn your tickets in.
You can get envelopes from GM HQ or any event HQ, and you just need to fill out some basic information about your event (most importantly the game ID and number of tickets). Even if you aren't asking to be paid for your players, your tickets are proof that your event happened, and serve as your attendance record. If you don't turn in your tickets, then you don't get credit toward badge or hotel reimbursement, and next year we might not be able to find you space if we don't know how many people played. Tickets are very important; they are the primary factor in how space is assigned in future years.
If you qualify for badge and/or hotel reimbursement (see the Event Host Policy for details), you also need to send an email to [email protected] to specifically ask for reimbursement. Make sure to include your name and a list of the events that you ran, so we can check on their tickets.
And that's it, now you can start planning your events and get the jump on submission and location assignment!