INDIANAPOLIS (September 14, 2021) — Gen Con, the largest and longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America, returns to Indy this week, welcoming gamers back to the Indiana Convention Center (ICC) for The Best Four Days in Gaming™. The return comes after the convention’s organizers canceled the in-person portion of the event in 2020 and moved to an online-only format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gen Con Indy 2021 will feature over 350 exhibiting publishers and vendors (including more than 80 first-time exhibitors) and over 6,500 ticketed events, including games, entertainment, workshops, and longtime fan-favorites like the Costume Contest, Film Festival, and Magic: The Gathering events.
The event’s organizers expressed excitement for returning to an in-person convention but remain cautious, outlining a range of health and safety measures in a recent update, including a mask-wearing requirement for all attendees regardless of vaccination status and an attendance cap of about 50% of 2019’s attendance.
“We could not be more excited to return to Indy for Gen Con this year,” said Gen Con President David Hoppe. “Although this year’s show will look and feel different than in years past, the heart and soul of the event has always been the passion and enthusiasm of our attendees and community, and we can’t wait to reconnect in-person after so long apart.”
Gen Con 2021 will operate a smaller indoor footprint than in 2019, without Lucas Oil Stadium and with event space in fewer local hotels. Additional health-and-safety upgrades to ICC facilities include new, hospital-grade air filtration and nightly closure of the convention center to the public from midnight to 7 am for cleaning and sanitization. Gaming tables in event spaces will be spread further apart to encourage social distancing.
This year’s convention will feature a larger outdoor footprint, with Gen Con’s Block Party on Georgia Street growing to include Pan Am Plaza. The expanded outdoor area will include dozens of food trucks, the Sun King Beer Garden, outdoor seating, and an entertainment stage featuring performances by local musical artists throughout the weekend.
“Building on Indy’s success hosting more than 150 conventions and events over the past year, there is great pride in our tourism community as we welcome back Gen Con,” said Leonard Hoops, president & CEO of Visit Indy. “We appreciate the thoughtfulness Gen Con has invested in preparing to host this year’s event, keeping the health and safety of their attendees, Indy’s visitors, in the forefront.”
4-Day and single-day badges for Gen Con Indy 2021 are available for purchase in limited quantities via the convention’s website at gencon.com/indy for will-call pickup.
Thursday – Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm
Wednesday: noon – 11 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 7 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 7 am – 4 pm
The Indiana Convention Center will close each day from midnight to 7 am.
Gen Con 2021 introduces a hybrid convention format, with Gen Con Online virtual programming and Pop-Up Gen Con retail activations happening concurrently with the in-person convention in Indianapolis. Attendees are encouraged to participate in Gen Con 2021 wherever they are and however they feel comfortable — in-person in Indianapolis, online from their homes, or locally in their favorite game store.
Gen Con Online debuted in 2020 in place of the canceled in-person convention and returns this year with over 2,300 ticketed events, livestreaming on Twitch, and an online community on Discord. Registration and event tickets for Gen Con Online are available at gencon.com/online
Pop-Up Gen Con was introduced in 2019 and returns this year with over 200 participating Friendly Local Game Stores (FLGS) across the U.S. and a small number internationally. Participating Pop-Up Gen Con 2021 locations, including eight stores in the Indianapolis area, will offer sales and demos of new games from participating publishers. Registration for Pop-Up Gen Con and a map of participating stores are available at gencon.com/pop-up
Though the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic require a reduced scale and necessary health-and-safety restrictions and requirements, Gen Con’s organizers expressed maintaining an emphasis on celebrating the gaming community in planning Gen Con Indy 2021 programming.
Gen Con’s organizers announced a slate of fan-appreciation programming, including a special concert from hip-hop artist Nur-D on Friday at 8 pm during the Party on the Plaza, surprise swag giveaways, and opportunities to meet Gen Con mascot Genevieve the Dragon.
“We are reminded, over and over again, how special the community that shares this hobby is,” said Peter Adkison, Gen Con Co-Owner and Chairperson of the Board. “We are so grateful to all the attendees, exhibitors, and partners who rolled their 2020 badges and investments over to this year, allowing us to weather the storm and keep the Gen Con dream alive.”
Gen Con’s Opening Ceremonies will take place Thursday at 9 am Eastern with a welcome from Gen Con President David Hoppe and Co-Owner Peter Adkison, including a special performance by Nur-D and the ceremonial rolling of the dice for charity.
Gen Con 2021’s official charity partners are Take This, a mental-health nonprofit focused on decreasing stigma and increasing support for mental health in games, and Trinity Haven, a local nonprofit that provides safe, affirming housing for LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability.
Additional events over the weekend will support the charities, including the much-loved Cardhalla, where attendees build massive house-of-cards structures throughout the weekend before destroying it all for charity, and the slaying of the giant balloon sculpture.
About Gen Con
Gen Con is the largest and longest-running annual event devoted to tabletop gaming culture in North America. The convention, which began in 1968 in Lake Geneva, WI, takes place each summer in Indianapolis, IN. During the convention, attendees shop and demo games from hundreds of exhibiting companies and choose from thousands of ticketed events representing a wide array of board games, card games, roleplaying games, seminars, entertainment events, and more.
Media Contact for Gen Con
Stacia Kirby, (206) 363-1492, [email protected].