This year’s Gen Con will require all attendees to wear masks and to have proof of vaccination.
In an announcement from Gen Con president David Hoppe, it was confirmed that visitors to the tabletop gaming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, will be required to both wear masks and have proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The announcement stated that the COVID-19 guidelines will remain the same as they were in 2021 for the sake of “the community”. Having received feedback from “exhibitors, GMs, attendees,” it has been decided that visitors must “always be masked while walking around the exhibit hall,” and that due to Gen Con 2021 the organisation team knows that “masking works.”
The announcement acknowledged that though many – if not all – COVID-19 restrictions have been removed from daily life in the USA, there is still a need for them at Gen Con 2022. “Not only are there many, many attendees,” explained Hoppe, “but the intimacy and interaction we share while gaming puts us in particularly close proximity over multiple days.”
It was also recognised in the announcement that several other tabletop gaming conventions “are dropping mask requirements,” - which could be a reference to the recent confirmation that visitors to the UK Games Expo would not be required to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination – but that the organisers of Gen Con 2022 “understand and respect that each convention has their own unique and complex set of factors to consider.”
Gen Con 2022 is a convention designed to present the best board games – and other tabletop titles, such as tabletop roleplaying games and miniature wargames – to the visiting public. The convention, which is set to take place from the 4th to 7th of August 2022 in the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, will play host to several notable tabletop publishers including board game giant Asmodee – which owns multiple studios such as Arkham Horror: The Card Game publisher Fantasy Flight Games – and the company behind Ultimate Werewolf, Bezier Games.
Last week it was announced that UK Games Expo – which is due to take place from June 3rd to 5th in Birmingham, UK – would not require its attendees to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination. In an email from the organisers behind UK Games Expo to Beasts of Balance designer Tim Burrell-Saward, which was made public in a Twitter thread, the reasoning for the lack of COVID-19 guidelines was attributed to the UK Government not requiring events to put any restrictions in place.
“At present, the [UK government, local council and venue] advice for all major events is that it is safe to proceed without any additional COVID precautions,” the email from UK Games Expo to Burrell-Saward stated.
In 2021, the organisers behind UK Games Expo initially announced that there would not be any COVID-19 safety restrictions at the event, before revising the decision and confirming that it would require visitors to wear masks and have proof of vaccination – or a negative lateral flow test on the day – in response to public backlash.
The organisers for this year’s Essen Spiel convention – which takes place in October in Germany – nor the organisers for PAX Unplugged, a tabletop gaming convention set to take place in Philadelphia, USA, in December, have yet to confirm any COVID-19 safety requirements.