Because the Culture Wars have now spread to every imaginable location, board and tabletop games have been going through their own difficulties in recent years as players who have traditionally been excluded in the game have fought for greater inclusion, in turn facing increasingly severe levels of opposition. Over the past week, attendees of the huge Gen Con show have been receiving harassing messages from what appeared to be the conventions' employees.
Some attendees have shared racist and sexist messages they received before they even arrived at the event (which runs from today, August 4 until Sunday, August 7), some of them from show staff and security, others from fellow participants. Heres Monte Cook Games LaTia Jacquise getting text messages from someone falsely claiming to be part of the shows security team:
Kelsey Danger, the show's safety consultant, has provided another example, this time a message aimed at enticing viewers to avoid the program:
Gaming! Has exclusive ultra-fast wireless technology to ensure that your mouse is faster than you are, can be sued alongside special software for exceptional customization, and has 11 buttons to mess around with, a hyper-fast scroll wheel, and RGB lighting as well.
The organizers of Gen Con have issued a statement since, saying, "Although I've never met anybody before," "Always feel free to speak."
Were aware that there are instances of harassers who try to impersonate Gen Con attendees and staff via text and email. We encourage you not to contact them, but rather report any concerns...
Some speculated that someone inside Gen Con was involved in the decision, but Gen Con later denied this, claiming that none of the attendees affected had provided their telephone numbers to the organizers. Instead, it appears that everybody who was expected to be at the industry's largest North American event was targeted, along with anyone who responded or commented on tweets about the topic.
If you or someone you know was affected, the Gen Cons email address guide above is a good one to pass on. Hateful tweets should of course be reported immediately.
Gen Con is held every year in Indianapolis, and is the largest tabletop and board games event in North America, for both industry members and supporters. The last pre-pandemic show in 2019 attracted nearly 70,000 attendees.