Gen Con News

Open Gaming at Gen Con 2021

How To Join in on Open Gaming at Gen Con Indy and Gen Con Online

What is Gen Con without picking up a game of Arkham Horror as strangers and leaving as new friends? One of the best parts about the Gen Con experience is open gaming, where you can pick up a game and meet new or old friends to have some last-minute fun. We’re happy to announce that open gaming will still be a part of Gen Con Indy this year, and this blog will teach you all about it.

Gen Con Indy 

Over 200 tables are reserved for open gaming in Hall A in the convention center this year — that’s an entire section of the Event Hall! This space has no scheduled events in it, and it is only for independent GMs and your fellow attendees to grab a table, find some new friends, and get some games going. It’s the very heart of Gen Con.

Open Gaming in Hall A will be available until midnight — which means games need to be finished and cleaned up by that time. But don’t worry, night owls! There is still open gaming from 10 pm to 3 am at Indiana Ballroom E in the Marriott, so you can head there if you think your game will extend past midnight or you need to move over when Hall A closes.

If you have a game and want to find some more people to play with you (maybe even see if someone can teach it to you) or if you are just looking for something to do and want to see what’s rollin’, stop by Hall A in the ICC or Indiana Ballroom E in the Marriott and see what’s starting up. You’re bound to find a couple old favorites and a few new gems.

These spaces aren’t scheduled with ticketed games, so you won’t find them in the event registration system; however, we do have a few tools for players to coordinate with each other!

Looking for Players and Looking For Teacher Cones

If you have the game you want to play but need a few more players to fill out the table, stop by the Hall B HQ in the ICC or Indiana Ballroom E in the Marriott to borrow an orange cone. Put that on your table while you’re setting up, and that will let any potential players wandering around the open gaming area know that you are looking for players. Once you’re full up, just drop the cone off back at the HQ and get playing!

If you are specifically looking for someone who might already be familiar with a game and ready to teach you, you can ask for a checkered flag at the Hall B HQ in the ICC or Indiana Ballroom E in the Marriott and slide it into the top of the orange cone. This will let everyone know you could use some help, and someone may step up and help guide you through playing.

Discord and the Open Gaming Forum

If you want to plan a pick-up game later on during the convention (maybe a few hours later the same day or the following day, etc.), you can make a post in the Open Gaming Forum 2021 on the Gen Con website. 

Just start a new post for each game session you want to run and provide much of the same information as you would if you were submitting a ticketed event to Gen Con: the name of the game, start time, how long it will last, description of the game, the title and description of the adventure/scenario (if applicable), and how many total players you want to recruit. 

If you have some gaps in your schedule later in the convention you are looking to fill, you can use the forum to see what is being planned and reply to each thread to “sign up” for it.

If you are going to start playing in less than an hour or so, you can post in the #lfg-indy channel on our community Discord. Just make sure to say what game you’re playing, how many more players you can fit, and where you are located in the hall, so folks can find you. 

This is also a great place to check if you want to see what games may be starting soon without physically going to the open gaming area.

Gen Con Online

Gen Con Online also has a dedicated space to find players in our Discord. If you’d like to play a digital game with friends, you can post in #lfg-gco and share information about what you’d like to play to seek out other players. There will be voice channels and tables available for use if you need them, or you can use another platform of your choice. You’ll also find posts from scheduled GM events who may be filling last-minute spots or advertising their upcoming Gen Con events, or you can submit your own events in the Gen Con Online event catalog.

Check back frequently on the channel to see what’s happening or start a game of your own to play!

Kelsey Desrosiers (they/them)
Kelsey Desrosiers (they/them)

Community Manager at Gen Con

*icon credit: @omoulo