Thousands of tabletop gamers came to Indianapolis over the weekend for Gen Con. The annual four-day convention has been called the largest of its kind in North America and now officials are looking to expand the reach of the event.
Organizers expect another record-breaking year with more than 60,000 people buying tickets to this year’s convention. However, as the convention continues to grow, Gen Con President David Hoppe recognizes some are unable to make the main event.
“We do hear about a lot of people who want to come to Gen Con, and would love to come to Gen Con, but if you live on the west coast or maybe up northeast or way down south, it’s a long journey,” says Hoppe.
So he came up with the idea to create pop-up locations around the U.S. and UK for gamers unable to make the main event.
“The goal is to deliver, winds up to be a relatively small fraction of the hundreds of games that are released here at Gen Con, and have those shipped out to independent/hobby game retailers around the country,” he says. “So that they can display and demo those games and bring a little bit of the Gen Con experience into their local store and into their local community.”
These smaller events were placed in independent game stores, something Hoppe felt was important.
“It’s really at the hobby game store where you can go in and learn to play games, participate in tournaments and leagues, and really find community, frankly, that you just don’t get in a big box retailer,” he says.
Hoppe says the number of tickets available for the first year of pop-ups was capped at about 2,000, with each location offering about 50. While still waiting for the final numbers, he says more than half were pre-sold and hopes to expand the pop-ups next year.