Gary Con XII Cancelled Due to the Increased Risks of COVID-19

Gary Con XII Cancelled Due to the Increased Risks of COVID-19

March 13, 2020 0 By Melf

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. We will reimburse those attendees who paid additional funds for events, such as for RPEX.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. If you are interested in playing an online game, you can sign up for events at this link.
  4. 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