Taking the Convention Experience Online With Gen Con

The Roll20 Team

The Roll20 Team


Perhaps, in a parallel dimension, I am waking up in Indianapolis this week. I’m stressed from months of work and preparation, but I’m filled with excitement to see it all come together. It’s the week I spend literally every work day of the year thinking about and working towards. It’s Gen Con week.

However, on the plane of reality that you and I inhabit, I’m at my desk in my apartment in Seattle. Among all the other things that are making this year kind of the worst — almost all of which are, of course, more important than gaming — this is the first year since Gen Con’s founding in 1968 that we won’t be meeting in person for the show.

But in spite of the circumstances: It’s still Gen Con week.

Due to the global pandemic that I’m sure you don’t need reminding of, we canceled Gen Con 2020 in Indianapolis. But we consider it our sacred duty to consecrate four days of the year for the celebration of our shared love of tabletop gaming and geek culture, so this Thursday through Sunday, July 30 – August 2, we’re hosting Gen Con Online!

One thing to be so grateful for is that we have the tools available to do this. Thanks to virtual tabletops like Roll20, livestreaming platforms like Twitch, and accessible video conferencing services like Zoom, we can connect and play with people all over the world. Nothing can replace the experience of attending a convention in person, but we’re doing the best we can to foster space for the excitement and connection that we all experience when we gather for Gen Con.

Again and again we’re reminded of the passion and ingenuity of the tabletop gaming community. Event organizers and GMs have stepped up in a major way, and filled our event catalog (and our hearts) with thousands of events using a wide variety of technologies and formats. One of the platforms our organizers are using for gaming events is Roll20, and if you’re reading this, you probably already know how to use it!

Video link: How to use Roll20 for Online Gaming | Gen Con Online

At the time of this writing, more than 25,000 people have already registered for Gen Con Online. We have more than 6,500 games and events in our event catalog, including lots of seminars, workshops, the film festival, the dance, the costume contest, and of course gaming. There are also hundreds of participating exhibitors, an online game store, a Discord server, a dance, pin trading, and four days of livestreaming content scheduled on Twitch.

The thing about Gen Con that makes it feel like nowhere else in the world is that essential feeling of people gathering around a shared passion and indulging in unreserved enthusiasm. It’s a feeling of excitement, recognition, and acceptance. So, this week, we’re inviting you to be the beautiful nerds that you are, just a little louder and a little more than you would on any other weekend of the year. Set out your (virtual) dice and minis, put on your elf ears, turn on your webcam, and prepare for geekery!

How to attend Gen Con Online

Register for your free badge on our website.

Add event tickets to your schedule.

  • Read the Events Tome of Knowledge for a full rundown on how events will work, then check out the event catalog!
  • Most events cost a base price of $2 regardless of length, though some are free, and others have higher prices set by event organizers to cover their costs. We’re donating a portion of the base price of every ticket sold to I Need Diverse Games.

Gather your party and prepare for adventure

Discover exhibitors, artists, authors, and more using the Looking Glass

  • We made a new visual discovery tool called the Looking Glass, where hundreds of publishers, exhibitors, artists, authors, and other partners have assembled links and content for you to engage with them — many including videos, products, livestreams, and organized events!

Hang out on Discord and Twitch

  • We’ve launched a Discord server as the central community hub for the Gen Con Online experience. Join the server to chat, connect, and find out about everything going on over the four days of the show.
  • Join us on Twitch for four days of livestreaming content across three Twitch channels, featuring live games, entertainment, seminars, game demos, and more!

We are so excited to carry on the tradition of The Best Four Days in Gaming for Gen Con Online, and we hope you’ll join us! Game on!

This blog was written by Jordan Augustine, Content & Marketing Specialist at Gen Con.

Roll20 is hosting more than 2,010 events at Gen Con this weekend. Here are a few that we’re particularly excited about:

The Roll20 Team Roll20

Roll20 is the all-in-one solution for organizing and playing tabletop games online, allowing you to play your games anywhere and share them with anyone virtually. With the ability to choose from a number of popular titles built ready for your virtual tabletop, your adventures are limitless and you can get started playing with little to no prep. Dive into advanced features like Dynamic Lighting or explore macros and APIs to add some extra depth to your game. Roll20 lets you play your tabletop games, your way.