Gary Con XII Cancelled Due to the Increased Risks of COVID-19
As I said yesterday in a post about the public health emergency in Wisconsin, I would be posting an update within the next 24 hours. Gary Con is more than just a gaming convention, it is a celebration of the life and works of my Dad, Gary Gygax, and his love of gaming. The spirit that permeates Gary Con is one of close knit camaraderie. And its that intimate atmosphere that has helped us grow so rapidly over the past years as more and more of you bring your friends and family to celebrate with us in the beautiful little resort town of Lake Geneva. As most of you know, this was my birthplace as well as the place where Dungeons & Dragons was created, in my first home on 330 Center Street.
As I was saying, Gary Con attendees are our larger gaming family. And our highest priority has to be taking care of people and especially our family. The incredible staff, volunteers, and game masters, Gary Con has been proud to host the celebration of Gary’s life with a continued emphasis on creating fun, friendly and high quality gaming experiences for our attendees. It is with that priority in mind that we have decided, after many hours of internal deliberation and consultation with the Grand Geneva leadership, that we should cancel this year’s physical event. We decided that the health and well-being of our gaming family comes first. We continued planning and did everything in our power to make Gary Con run as normal, we are convinced that following both government guidance and our own judgement concerning the COVID-19 virus is the best course of action. I know this is very disappointing to all of you, as it is to us. We have invested hundreds of hours into bringing this celebration to life, and we will not see all of you at the Grand Geneva with smiles on your faces, rolling dice and forging friendships. That is our real payment for the efforts put in between each Gary Con. We understand that this will impact all of you. You have taken vacation, made travel arrangements, prepared games and are looking forward to seeing your friends. It also impacts our exhibitors, staff, the entire staff at the Grand Geneva, and the local community. It is not a decision we have made lightly; it is a decision based entirely on keeping people safe and healthy. We all wish that there was a viable option that allowed us to celebrate together in person as we have for the past 11 years. But this year we have to pivot to an all virtual celebration
The Grand Geneva Resort has been very supportive of our efforts every step of the way, and they continue to be a great partner to us. They are releasing all rooms today at 7:30 pm without any cancellation fee. Any reservation fees collected will be refunded and should be credited back to you within about 72 hours. Anyone that wishes to re-book a room at the Grand for that week will be able to do so by calling the Grand Geneva. The Gary Con room rates will be honored.
Your patience is appreciated during this time as we finalize the necessary details and logistics of how to go forward. We will have more concrete information by the end of next month. To the greatest extent possible, we currently plan to offer the following for attendees affected:
- All attendees with a GCXII (2020) badge will receive a discount for GCXIII (2021) badges. We have to assess the financial impacts before we can tell you what the discount percentage will be for 2021. If you bought this year’s badge via a GM credit, we will roll over your badge credit for GCXIII.
- Gold, Platinum and Diamond badge holders will be guaranteed first access to their current badge level. For example, if you were a gold badge this year, you will get priority registration for next year’s gold badges. We have to figure out the best way to do this so bear with us.
- We will mail swag bags to Gold, Platinum, and Diamond level badge holders if we have an address. We are going to bring in a part of the GC Staff to work over the weekend of March 26-28 to pack and ship the items. We will use the most economical shipping to do so, so it may be some time before packages arrive. For this reason, we are asking all attendees to update their badge information on TTE to include their address. To do this, please log into TTE, click your name in the top right corner, scroll to click your badge for Gary Con, then click “Edit” and select “Yes” for sharing private information, then enter your address. If you have trouble with this, please fill out this form instead.
- We will reimburse those attendees who paid additional funds for events, such as for RPEX.
- We will get all GCXII swag up on the Bazaar by March 17th. We will have big discounts on Gary Con merchandise, so please make sure to go the website and shop at the Bazaar. It’s one of the ways to help us recover from the damage inflicted by the cancellation and you get cool swag.
We also would like to offer the same level of great gaming experience for everyone. This will take place via Virtual Gary Con, an enterprise in its second year. Badges for Virtual Gary Con are separate, but they are included free with your GC badge and can be retrieved at this link. Every single virtual player and GM will receive a virtual swag pack of materials worth $60+ donated by generous sponsors.
- If you were scheduled to run events in person and had registered enough events to earn GM rewards, we will be evaluating options to show our appreciation.
- If you are willing to GM over the free Roll20 platform or another platform of your choice, please look at the Virtual Gary Con getting started guide. We will be releasing a rewards structure for virtual events soon.
- If you are interested in playing an online game, you can sign up for events at this link.
- We are currently working with our special guests to see who would be able to run virtual gaming events over the weekend. Please keep your eye on the schedule online to see what becomes available!
We understand that running virtual events might be new for many attendees, so we encourage you to use the Gary Con Facebook Group Mentorship tabs, Gary Con forums, and Discord channel to support one another. If you have run virtual events before, please chime in to help others learn. We hope to have more resources up on the Virtual Gary Con TTE page soon as well.
We would also like to acknowledge that Gary Con is not the only entity affected by this decision. We have very generous sponsors and dedicated vendors. If you are planning to make gaming or art related purchases, please consider supporting our sponsors and vendors as they will be losing significant income with all the cons that are cancelling. Additionally, we will not be able to host our auction benefiting Extra Life or the Wounded Warrior Project so please consider making a donation. The Geneva Lake Museum has also just invested significant resources in an exhibit dedicated to Gary Gygax, so please consider supporting them as well.
We thank the Grand Geneva for partnering with us to work through this situation, as well as our sponsors, exhibitors, Guests and attendees. It is important to understand that the Gary Con team remains committed to this event. We will celebrate GC XII virtually and with your help, we will be able to return next year to celebrate the life and works of Gary Gygax. We are determined to see Gary Con return, thrive, and run long into the future.
Luke Gygax & the Gary Con Staff
Thank you for putting safety first. This is a horrible situation and out of your control. I will really miss the con but I fully understand and praise your strength in making this hard call. I look forward to Gary Con next year.
Thank you David. This was a difficult decision and we are working through the best way ahead under trying circumstances.
Hello, This was to be our first time at GaryCon. I am sad it is cancelled. We will be there next year!! Please let everyone know what we can do to help your family out.
Paula, Merri Ann and Dexter
I’m sad to hear this. As a 75-year old diabetic, I was pretty worried about it, though still planning on attending, but now I must thank you for moving to protect me and the other Legends, all of whom are about as old as I am.
I certainly plan to attend Gary Con XIII next year – or “Gary Con XII B” some time later this year, if you can set one up. I suspect Gary Con is not going to be the only gaming con cancelled by the epidemic: Gencon, Historicon and Origins will have to face the same challenges, and the epidemic is only going to get worse over the next several months. Your decision means that Gary Con will not be remembered as the place where hundreds of gamers were exposed and turned loosed to take corona virus back to their home towns. The motto could be “take Spotted Cow home with you, not Corona.” Maybe you and Grand Geneva can apply for some of the money President Trump has just announced will be available for small businesses that are hurt by the epidemic. My best wishes to you all.
Hi David. It was a tough call but you are right. None of us wanted to be responsible for causing the spread of this disease across multiple states. Who knows how many lives would be impacted and even some ended. After weighing the potential outcomes the decision was clear.
Virtual Con? Wouldn’t be too hard to setup, made one for my work once because we’re international.
Yes we had a virtual component that is now the main focus. VTT.garycon.com. We are over 600 events now!
Tough decision but had to be made. Disappointment aside, its better to have everyone healthy and back in 2021 more eager than ever. I know I’ll be there.
Thank you for your support. It means a lot to the staff to hear people express this sentiment.
You made your saving throw and you will survive and flourish again! I love this Con!😱🤧😷🤔🤗🌞
[…] a long post, Luke Gygax explains why he and the organisers had come to this […]
Although, I’m am certain what a difficult, painful decision this was. However, many of the attendees are over age 60 and have health issues putting them at high risk. I was looking forward to attending, but I have many health issues, as I mentioned in my e-mail to you, so I would not have wanted to chance fate. My late husband, Duke Seifried always said he had Duke luck. Well, I don’t. I don’t buy lottery tickets for a reason! I hope to be well enough, health-wise to see you and the many other friends of Duke I met last year and who were so gracious to me.
Thank you for your great consideration of all concerned.
What a gracious letter. I am one of the many older (75) and at risk (diabetes) attendees you mention. I was debating the wisdom of going to Gary Con, and possibly bringing home something much worse for my wife than “a lousy T-shirt”. I deeply appreciate your support, and congratulate Luke on cancelling the con. I hope to see you again, when all this is over, at Gary Con XIII.
May God bless you.
We will be happy to see you in Lake Geneva next year!
Brent if you can’t participate in VGC then fill out the refund request form and we will take care of you to the best of our ability