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Gen Con 2021 delayed to September, with in-person convention, online events

The United States’ largest tabletop convection hopes to run in-person gaming events

A busy room from Gen Con 2021 full of stalls and people wandering between aisles

Gen Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the United States, has been pushed back to September of this year, following consultation with public health experts and community feedback. Announced yesterday on the Gen Con website, the convention, originally scheduled for the first week of August, will run from September 16 to 19, as a hybrid of reduced-capacity in-person events and livestreamed online content. Badge and event registration details are yet to be announced.

A schedule of in-person events will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, alongside concurrent livestreaming and remote, online gaming activities. Local game stores across the globe will also participate through accompanying pop-up events. Gen Con says the in-person portion of the convention will involve fewer attendees, and, although it will include a limited form of in-person, events are likely to be adapted and modified into a format that conforms with social distancing requirements.

Although Gen Con is currently optimistic that the event can be successfully held, like all large-scale gatherings, current plans are open to alteration as the pandemic, and advice from public health officials, changes.

In a blog post on the Gen Con website, Peter Adkinson, co-owner of Gen Con, wrote: “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”.

In the announcement, Gen Con said efforts will be made to ensure relevant safety measures are met, including reducing the number of attendees.

“We will limit badge sales based on maintaining social distance and safety requirements as required by public-health regulations, while also taking into account individuals who rolled over their badges from last year”.

“Priority for attendance will be given first to attendees who donated or rolled over their 2020 badge, and then available to all. If we believe that we can safely hold the convention for additional attendees, we may offer additional waves of badge availability,” the statement added.

If you already have a Gen Con 2021 badge (which acts as an entry ticket ) after rolling it over from last year’s cancelled convention, but cannot, or would prefer not to, attend Gen Con this year, you can choose to roll it over to Gen Con 2022. You can also refund the badge, for a fee, or convert it into credit.

Badge and event registration dates have not yet been announced. Expect more event details, particularly how in-person gaming will function in the socially-distanced convention, alongside these dates.

Usually held annually in the first week of August, Gen Con is the largest tabletop gaming convention in the US, and attracted its largest audience of 70,000 attendees in 2019. The event usually consists of a variety of events and activities, including publisher showcases, panels, tournaments, and casual gaming.

As with many large conventions across the globe, last year’s in-person Gen Con events were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the difficulties associated with running the large gatherings while abiding by social distancing requirements. They were replaced with the free-to-attend Gen Con Online, which featured livestreamed events, remote gaming activities, and other virtual events.