Gen Con Community

Derek's Soapbox

Event submission has begun!

Event submission began on February 3rd and in almost 2 weeks we’ve already received more than 1300 events. It looks like our new cyclical event review and placement schedule has really worked at getting people to submit events earlier this year. I don’t have the numbers on hand, but I’m almost positive that it took us more than 6 weeks to get to this point last year.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Confused by “cyclical event review and placement cycles”? Wondering why so many other people submitted their events early? You might want to take a closer look at the Event Host Policy (and this forum post explaining the submission process).


I’ve spent the past week reviewing almost all of those events. In fact, I spent all day yesterday reading events while listening to 101 different cover versions of “Stairway to Heaven.”  It made for quite the surreal experience.

A lot of events have come in already but I wanted to take a quick moment to go over some common mistakes and give some quick tips.


Changes to item… & Returned for Correction

First off it should be understood that I have to make minor (or not so minor) tweaks to a fairly large number of events. When I go through and review events, I’m basically checking three things:
  1. Is everything filled out properly?
    Are all right fields filled in the right way? Is round 1 of a tournament an entry round and is the final round advancement-only? Did you fill out your name and mailing address if you asked for special pricing? Stuff like that.

  2.  Is everything clear and is there any repetition/redundancy?
    Do you say the same thing or duplicate information across multiple fields? Is the description clear enough to understand?

  3. Is everything spelled correctly and is the grammar intelligible?
    This is pretty straight-forward.

If I can make quick, simple changes to fix any apparently problem I find, I do so and you’ll get an automatic notification about what I tweaked. If it’s more complicated, affects a large number of events, or I’m really not sure what you originally meant I’ll send it back to you for correction.


The important thing to remember is that I’m not always right. Sometimes I didn’t quite understand what you were trying to say or I don’t know the game well enough or I wasn’t clear enough in my explanation to you about what was wrong. Just because I changed something in your event doesn’t mean it’s set in stone or how you did it “isn’t allowed.” Make sure you’ve read the EHP and event submission form instructions to see if any rules have been broken but if you don’t like a change I’ve made or are confused about a comment, don’t hesitate to email or call me to find out what’s up.


Maybe I changed the game system to something I thought was clearer and I was wrong or I removed some duplicate information from your description that you really wanted there because lots of people miss it.


Sometimes I’ll also see something that seems like a problem but I won’t change it, I’ll just send you a note about it. Usually this happens on something I’m unsure about or isn’t a big deal, but could be clearer.


Again, just remember that the event submission process is basically a dialogue between me and you (the event organizer). Feel free to speak up.




Alright, let’s move on to common problem fields.


Gaming Group/Sponsor

If you have a sponsor or part of a gaming group, put their name here. If you don’t – just leave it blank.  It’s not a required field, so you don’t need to put in your own name, Indie, or None if you don’t have a group or sponsor.



If you’re running an RPG or LARP (or anything similar) do not put the name of the game in the title. Seriously. Don’t.


If you’re running “Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil,” then that is your title – not “Dungeons & Dragons: Return to Temple of Elemental Evil.” Similarly, “Werewolf: the Forsaken – Let’s Go Kick Some Vampire A$$” is not acceptable.


Don’t put the GM or scenario author name here either. This is the title of the game session – and that’s all that should be in it.


Event Description

Don’t list the game system here either – that’s what the Game System field is for (more on that below). Aside from spelling and grammar problems (double-check that before you submit your event!) the biggest problem with event descriptions tends to be duplicate information.


Don’t include your gaming group or sponsor, or your GMs. Don’t include the game system or rules edition. Don’t list age or experience requirements. Don’t say “materials provided.” Don’t say “advancement only.” Etc.


Basically, don’t duplicate information that another field specifically exists for.


There can be exceptions to my “don’t duplicate!” rule, but they’re relatively rare. Sometimes you do need to really re-iterate something that you’ve had problems with in the past. I usually just remove as much duplication as I can, though. If I cut something you really, really want there, email me and we’ll figure it out.


Game System & Rules Edition

These can be the two trickiest fields. First off, if you’re running  a game, they are required. Just because you’re running a board or card game and the title of the session is just the name of the game doesn’t mean “N/A” will be accepted. Where this can get complicated is with Rules Edition and RPGs/LARPs (or any custom game).


As a general rule of thumb, try to use official form as much as possible and think of those two fields are reading “_____, ______ edition” (with Game System being the first blank and Rules Edition being the second).


Game System is pretty straightforward except with RPGs or a game where you use a rule system from one game to play the setting of another. Things can get a bit wonky then. I recommend that you use Game System for the actual system: Dungeons & Dragons, d20, Vampire: The Requiem, Nobilis, etc. If you are running a specific setting, like Planescape or Forgotten Realms then include that information in the description.


That’s a guideline, however. Game System is a common field people use to search for and sort events, so put what you think your players are most likely to look for you event under. If I change the system in your event and you’re concerned, just let me know.


You don’t need to include “edition” in the Rules Edition field and I very much prefer absolute and official edition numbers: 1st or 5th or 3.5 instead of “current” or “old.” Relative edition terms (like “new”) aren’t as clear and can potentially confuse a player who isn’t following the game’s releases – and with D&D this can cause a lot of confusion. If you submit a D&D game with “current” as the edition people will register for it before Indy – but by then a new edition will be out. Be as exact as possible.


If your game has only ever had one edition, just list 1st. It is the first edition, after all. Sometimes a number just won’t work, though, like with Vampire: The Masquerade, Revised edition. Sometimes you’ll want to list rules variants or options added on, like a GURPS supplement you’re using or a Hero System version. Maybe you’re running the d20 edition.


Just try to use the official spelling/terminology whenever possible and remember to read the two fields to yourself – “(game system), (rules edition) edition” – to make sure it sounds right and you should be fine.


Tournaments: Round Type

This is the most common mistake when submitting tournaments, so make sure to double-check this field.


If you want people to be able to register and buy a ticket to this round, choose “Entry Round.” An entry round should also be designated as round 1 in Round Number for this Submission.


If they need to have completely a previous round before they can play, choose “Advancement Round” (and the round number should not be 1 unless this is a special invitation-only event). This will automatically set the price to $0 and prevent anyone from registering for it.



Biggest piece of advice: Double-check everything!

Man, that got long. Hope you’re all still awake.


The last thing I want to say is: double-check your event and if you have a question, ask. Gen Con isn’t a faceless corporation whittling your round event to fit in a square peg – it’s just me thinking something doesn’t seem quite right and tweaking as best I can.




No Comments

About Derek Guder

I'm an Event Programming Manager here at Gen Con. My pet projects are the anime & flim events, as well as eGame fun-time, but I also supervise overall gaming event (submission, placement badges, etc.).

I've been going to Gen Con for years as a GM for Eden Studios, running demos of WitchCraft and All Flesh Must Be Eaten that I'd written with "Derek the Elder" and the "Man in the Chicken Coat." It was great sitting down with a bunch of strangers, handing them pre-generated characters (each with their own hosts of secrets) and then sitting back to watch the chaos ensue. Ah, those were the days...

I got into convention work at Anime Boston. I was one of the founding members and with a small group of other dedicated fans, we were able to pull off a wildly successful event: in our first year we have almost 4000 attendees show up and had to close registration and turn people away on Saturday morning, mid-way through the convention.

Ever since then I've loved working at a convention. I almost can't even go to a con anymore unless I'm working in one capacity or another - I just don't know what to do with myself.

So now I'm out in Seattle, but I'm an East Coast boy through-and-through. I grew up all over New England and went to school at Boston University. Seattle's beautiful scenery and weather (c'mon, that ain't rain, it's just a damn light misting) still seems a little unnatural. Where's the snow? The humidity? The sudden drops in temperature? Well, maybe I only actually miss the snow.

© 2014 GEN CON, the Gen Con logo, and The Best Four Days in Gaming! are trademarks of
Gen Con LLC. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.
Code of Conduct