Gen Con: The History of the World’s Oldest Tabletop Gaming Convention

Gen Con: The History of the World’s Oldest Tabletop Gaming Convention


Gen Con is the world’s oldest tabletop gaming convention, and it has been running for over 50 years. It’s a yearly gathering of gamers, industry professionals, and enthusiasts who come together to celebrate their love of tabletop games. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history of Gen Con, how it came to be, and how it has grown over the years.

The Beginnings of Gen Con

Gen Con was first held in 1968 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It was the brainchild of Gary Gygax, a game designer who is best known for co-creating Dungeons & Dragons. Gygax was looking for a way to connect with other gamers and share his love of tabletop games, so he organized a small gathering of friends in his hometown.

The first Gen Con was a modest affair, with only 12 attendees. The convention was held in the Lake Geneva Horticultural Hall, and the main events were a series of gaming sessions featuring various tabletop games. Despite its small size, the convention was a success, and Gygax decided to make it an annual event.

Gen Con Expands

Over the years, Gen Con grew in size and popularity. In the 1970s, it moved to a larger venue in Lake Geneva, and attendance grew to several hundred people. By the 1980s, Gen Con had become the premier tabletop gaming convention in the United States, with thousands of attendees from all over the country.

The convention continued to expand, and in the 1990s, it moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This move allowed for even more growth, and by the early 2000s, Gen Con was attracting tens of thousands of attendees each year.

Gen Con Today

Today, Gen Con is still going strong. The convention is now held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it attracts over 60,000 attendees each year. The event takes place over four days and features a wide variety of tabletop games, from board games to role-playing games to collectible card games.

In addition to gaming, Gen Con also hosts a variety of events, including workshops, seminars, and panel discussions. Attendees can meet their favorite game designers and industry professionals, and they can also participate in tournaments and other gaming events.

Final Thoughts

Gen Con has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1968. What started as a small gathering of friends has grown into the world’s largest tabletop gaming convention. It’s a testament to the enduring popularity of tabletop games and the passion of the gaming community.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of tabletop games or you’re just discovering them for the first time, Gen Con is a must-visit event. It’s a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, explore new games, and celebrate the joy of tabletop gaming.

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