Gen Con Community Manager Kelsey Desrosiers on What’s New for Year-Round Gen Con Community on Twitch and Discord
Hi, fam! Welcome to the first edition of our monthly community update. Within these hallowed blog walls, you’ll find out what’s happening in our community, get the latest in news and announcements, and find out more about us. Since this is our first post, I’d like to start with that last piece.
Many of the questions I’ve consistently seen from our community are about who we are, how we got here, and what’s important to us. Before I was brought on as the Community Manager, I was curious too; I had an image in my head, which I suspect many people also have in their mind, of what the team looks like.
If you’ve been to Gen Con in person, you know it’s a huge, well-oiled machine. The attendance for 2019 was over 70,000 strong with a veritable deluge of new games, vendors, exhibitors, events — it’s almost overwhelming in scale. I have some experience on the event production side as a professional LARP organizer, but my events were much smaller in scale, and even that took a whole lot of effort and labor. So I imagined that the Gen Con team was huge.
Nope. It’s literally 15 people. Fifteen! The whole team!
Fifteen people initiate, organize, and launch Gen Con every year. One of those 15 people is answering your questions and emails, working on updating your event, or getting you set up as a vendor. Of course, the convention itself is supported by a slew of contractors, and our Event Team who help make sure the good ship Gen Con stays afloat while it’s at sea, but there’s still a ton of work that’s being done over the course of the year to make a convention happen.
When I got hired to help out for Gen Con Online in mid-July, they were in the middle of redesigning an entire experience with a limited budget, a desire to still make a space for folks to play, and a dream. That’s a mind-boggling amount of work for such a small group, especially to create something in the time frame of a few months. The phrase “being scrappy” gets used a lot, and it’s an accurate depiction of how the team has changed and redirected their resources on the fly.
But perhaps more to the point, they are 15 humans who genuinely and deeply care about creating a space that people want to be in — one where you feel welcomed, excited, and engaged. Ultimately, this team wants to create the space that you want to be in, whatever that space ends up being. As someone who has worked for large corporations and small franchises alike, I’ve been humbled to work with a group of humans who really care about what they’re doing and the way you as a community interact with it.
To that end, I’m going to be introducing you to more of the Gen Con team over the coming months so you can learn about them, too. You’ll find out what their passions and hobbies are, what their piece of the Gen Con puzzle is, and what their dreams are for the future of Gen Con.
For Gen Con, creating not just a convention, but a year-round online community, is something new. We realized that our goal — creating The Best Four Days in Gaming — needed to be supported by making a space where you felt heard, where folks who traditionally haven’t had a place in the gaming community were not just welcomed, but celebrated, where you could find a space to play games, meet new friends, and discover new games and ways to play together. So like you might expect, we’re going to be carving a lot of this path together and learning along the way. I’ve already learned a lot about you just from Gen Con Online!
What I can tell you is that I am genuinely excited to build our community with all of you and I am excited for what’s to come.
Here’s to the future of Gen Con.
What’s Happening Around the Gen Con Community?
First-Ever Community Gaming Weekend
We’re kicking off our first weekend of community gaming on Labor Day weekend, Sep 4-6. We heard your feedback from the community survey and from Gen Con Online — you want to play games, but you aren’t sure how to connect with folks, and the opening gaming area we ran during Gen Con Online didn’t accomplish what we needed to. So we’re trying something new.
If you swing by our Discord, you’ll find information on running and playing games during our Community Gaming Weekend. There’s a whole calendar you can use to keep track of the games you’re playing and running and a reminder system to make sure you don’t miss something you’re scheduled for.
You’re also welcome to schedule gaming at other times, but we’re making a weekend of it so folks can set aside time to make themselves available to run or play games. And if you do run games over the Community Gaming Weekend, you’ll get a special piece of Discord flair as thanks for helping us test this bad boy out. We may even have some folks from the Gen Con team running and playing games that weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for some special game sessions.
To learn more about the Community Gaming Weekend, hop on our Discord server and take a look at #community-gaming-faq.
Gen Con TV and Other Streaming News
Outside of convention hours, we have year-round programming for you to enjoy. One of the pieces of feedback I consistently saw was asking for a gaming news program — and we actually already have it!
TableTakes is a weekly livestream that goes over all the news in the tabletop gaming world! You can watch it on Twitch every Friday at 5 pm Eastern to catch up on what’s been happening. You can also catch up on past episodes on YouTube!
Our Twitch schedule also includes This Game Gets Dicey at 4 pm Eastern on Wednesdays and The Brothers Murph at 9 pm Eastern on Mondays, both of which feature playing and running board games for you to watch and chat about. We also realize a ton of you enjoy streaming board games, art streams, cosplay, and lots of other nerd hobbies — so we’ve added a new #going-live channel for you to share when you’re live on Twitch for the rest of us to come and watch with you too.
What’s Next for Gen Con?
We know you’re eager to hear what’s happening next year for Gen Con. The good news is that we’re working on it and we’re pretty excited. The bad news is that we’re not ready to make any announcements yet.
Keep your eyes peeled on our social media, our newsletter, this blog, or the Discord and you’ll be among the first to hear announcements and updates!
*icon credit: @omoulo