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Gen Con’s Sell-Out Crowds Tests Indy’s Capacity

Table top game enthusiasts gather at the Indiana Convention Center. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)

Table top game enthusiasts gather at the Indiana Convention Center. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)

It’s projected to be another record-breaking year for the annual Gen Con gaming convention. Doors opened Thursday at the Indiana Convention Center for one of the largest conventions of its kind in the United States.

Last year’s 50th anniversary was a sell-out, but Gen Con President David Hoppe says the conference continues to grow this year.

“What we’re seeing is people are coming into Gen Con more and more. People are coming into the hobby,” Hoppe says. “Table top gaming is going more mainstream now and that’s being reflected here in our ongoing increased attendance.”

Growing crowds mean the convention needs more space. The convention has expanded  into Lucas Oil Stadium, but there’s still unmet demand.

“We’re also a little bit constrained by the number of hotel rooms that are available in Indianapolis, so we’re always working really closely with the city to try to get more inventory and get more people a place to stay because that’s always a challenge,” says Hoppe.

Indianapolis has hosted Gen Con for the past 15 years and officials signed a contract earlier this year to remain in the city through 2022. Hoppe says he plans to continue to work with the city to address the space challenges.

“We’re always looking at our options right, and we want to make sure we do the best thing that’s possible for the show and for everyone who wants to be here. Indianapolis is a great place and we love it here,” he says. “The city embraces us and does a lot of great stuff and we’re working really closely with everybody involved at the city to try to make sure it remains that way.”

Christian Minniear attended Gen Con for the past few years with his brother-in-law and friend.

“We go around and just pick out whatever sounds good to us,” he says. “We always get generic tickets, we don’t really go for specific events.”

Minniear drove from Kansas City, Missouri, but he says the drive is worth it.

“Even though there have been price hikes on the badges and things like that, I don’t think there could be anything that makes it not worth it to come back every single year,” says Minniear.

Gen Con runs Aug. 2 through Aug. 5. This year Gen Con will also be live streaming on YouTube and Twitch.​

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