Tips for New EOs and GMs

Welcome, New Game Masters & Event Organizers

Are you interested in running a game or hosting an event at Gen Con, but you're not sure where to begin? Here is some basic information to help walk you through the process.

If you have any questions, just email us or visit our forums.

Make sure to sign up for the EO/GM mailing list to receive announcements and important information.

Some Ground Rules

Just about anyone can run events at Gen Con. Gen Con doesn't charge for the privilege.

Instead, your players will usually be required to purchase a ticket to your event. The price starts at $2 for every 2 hours, though some events (like seminars) are free and you can charge more if you want to try to make some money from your event.

Every event at Gen Con must be submitted using our online system. We will review it, approve it and/or send it back for correction, and then give it a location. You are then required to collect tickets and turn them in to us so we know how many people attended.

That's really it, in broad terms. Things can get much more complicated depending on the nature of the event, but that's the basic idea: anyone can submit events, your players buy tickets, you collect those tickets and then you turn them in to us (at GM HQ).

Your Responsibilities

You must read the Event Host Policy.

This document explains just about all the rules and regulations you need to be aware.

Not everything applies to every event, but it is important to go through it. If you have any questions or are confused at all after familiarizing yourself with it, just drop us an email and explain what's up.

You (and only you) are responsible for your events.

It's up to you to make sure that your event is accurate and correct, and you are expected to check on your event throughout the year to make sure everything is good, confirm your location, etc.

At the very least, you should check your event after submitting it, before event registration begins and before the convention as one final check.

If you have any questions at all, email us or visit the GM forum. If you don't get a response in a timely manner, try again or just call us directly.

Do not assume that we got your message or things are just going slowly. It's better to follow up than to have something slip through the cracks.

Make sure to sign up for the EO/GM mailing list to receive announcements and important information.

Plan Out Your Event

The first thing you need to do is just sit down and think about your event.

  • What is it that you want to do?
  • How many people do you really think will show up?
  • What do you need to run the event (e.g. space, supplies, etc.)?

Lay out the plan for your event. If you are going to run many different events, you will want to look at them as a group as well to make sure that you have scheduled them in such a way that they won't conflict and you'll have time to take a break between them.

If you are a group running a lot of events, this is where you really need to take a close look at scheduling.The "smoother" you can make your schedule (i.e. spread out instead of having all your players together at once), the easier it is to find you a good location.

Submit your Event

Once you've got an idea fleshed out of what you want to run, the next thing to do is actually submit it so we can review it. More information on event submission (important dates, links to the form, etc.) can be found on the main EO/GM page.

When submitting your event, keep in mind that your event listing is often the only chance you have to attract players, so be as exciting and dynamic as possible. And no, typing in all caps does not automatically make something exciting.

Your title and description should be clear and concise, giving potential players a hook to attract their attention and a reasonable description of what to expect. Avoid duplicating information found in any other fields (such as the Game System, that has its own field) if at all possible.

Once you have filled out your event details, we will review your event and then find a location for it before we make it Active so everyone can see it.

You should get an email notification whenever your event is changed or approved, but just in case you should make sure to check back in every now and then to confirm its status.

Gen Con may need to make changes to your event when we review and/or place it. Usually these edits are for the sake of clarity. We may also cut down on the maximum number of players you requested. This is usually because we simply don't have enough space for you or because we have historical data that suggests lower attendance for that type of event than you might expect.

If you ever have any questions or dispute any change to your event, just let us know. We're more than happy to go over it with you. Maybe you have better data than we do or we misunderstood what you were trying to say, we're not always 100% right.

Running your Event

When you actually go to run your event, remember three things:

First, the local event HQ is there to make your job easier. Check in with them to let them know that you're there and are ready to run (in case any players show up asking about your game) and let them know if you have any problems. If someone is at your table or you can't find your space, don't worry about solving it yourself, and don't just move your game to another table, check in with the HQ and let them handle it.

Second, make sure to collect tickets from all of your players. It is very important that you turn your tickets in after your game and you should get tickets from everyone, if applicable. If your event has a cost, accepting tickets from some players but not others just isn't fair, and you don't get credit for them anyway. Don't forget that everyone at the table (including you!) needs to have a valid badge too. No one wants to have to stop your game to check.

Finally, you should run your event as you submitted it. That means running with the rules, setting, scenario, location, time, etc. as described. If your players are willing, you can make some adjustments, but they probably signed up for your game because they wanted to play what you actually listed and changing it too dramatically can very easily frustrate your players and ruin their fun. Don't change anything without their OK.

The Aftermath

After your game, make sure to turn your tickets in. You can get envelopes from GM HQ and you just need to fill out some basic information about your event (most importantly the game ID and number of tickets). Even if you aren't asking to be paid for your players, your tickets are the proof that your event happened, and serve as your attendance record. If you don't turn in your tickets, then you don't get credit toward badge or hotel reimbursement and next year we might not be able to find you space if we don't know how many people actually showed up. Tickets are very important, they are how we figure out how to assign space.

If you qualify for badge and/or hotel reimbursement (see the Event Host Policy for details), you also need to send an email to to specifically ask for reimbursement. Make sure to include your name and a list of the events that you ran, so we can check on their tickets.

And that's about it, now you can start planning your events and get the jump on submission and location assignment!