Gen Con, the US’s largest tabletop gaming convention, has announced that it will not take place this year, because of the ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place, it will hold a virtual convention during the original show dates.
The convention was originally founded in 1968 by Gary Gygax (known originally as the Lake Geneva Wargames Convention), and has run continuously since then in Wisconsin and Indianapolis, Indiana. This year’s show was set to run between July 30th and August 2nd, and up until recently, organizers had indicated that they would hold this year’s show, despite the cancelation of high-profile shows like San Diego Comic-Con.
In its announcement, Gen Con’s organizers noted that they “cannot in good conscience host a gathering of thousands while doing so could threaten the health of so many.”
Like you, we eagerly anticipate Gen Con every summer as a time of fun, connection, and celebration of our shared love of tabletop gaming and geek culture. We hope that the world will look different by August, but after closely following the development of the COVID-19 outbreak, having discussions with our partners in Indianapolis, and in keeping with guidance from the CDC, we can’t see a clear picture of how soon it will be safe for all of us to gather again. The only responsible choice is to cancel the convention this year.
The convention will return in 2021. Organizers say that 2020 badge (scheduled for August 5th-8th) holders will have their passes transferred to next year’s show , but that they can request refunds if they wish.
In place of the in-person event, Gen Con says that it will launch a virtual conference called Gen Con Online, which will feature “a slate of events and programming you can attend from the safety of your devices.”