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Gen Con 2015 breaks records, doubles attendance from 2010

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

This year's Gen Con, the 48th annual tabletop gaming convention, was the most well attended in the event's history, up more than nine percent over 2014's convention. The convention organizers, Seattle, Washington-based Gen Con LLC., said the convention has doubled in attendance since 2010.

The turnstile attendance at this year's convention was 197,695 with 61,423 unique badges sold, stated a press release issued today.

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"Gen Con 2015 also was the first time that the convention held more than 400 exhibiting companies," the release continued. Convention sponsors included Mayfair Games and Paizo Inc.

"Another year, another life-changing Gen Con," said Adrian Swartout, CEO and owner of Gen Con LLC. "While it always seems impossible, the global Gen Con community continues to find ways to keep coming up with new, bigger ideas on how to make each Gen Con the best yet."

Earlier this year Gen Con, which has a contract with the city of Indianapolis through 2020, wrote a formal letter of protest to the governor of Indiana over SB 101 — also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. At the time, CEO and owner Swartout wrote that "Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. ... Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy."

The bill was later passed, along with alterations designed to limit it's perception as a vehicle for legalized discrimination.

In today's press release the mayor of Indianapolis Greg Ballard joined with Gen Con organizers to celebrate the event and what it means for his city.


"[Gen Con] is always a fun time in Indy, and this year was no exception," said Ballard. "Gen Con is an important contributor to Indy’s economy, and more importantly, a great partner organization. The entire city enjoys this convention, and I was delighted to once again welcome Gen Con to Indianapolis."

"It’s clear that Indy gets Gen Con and Gen Con gets Indy," said president and CEO of Visit Indy Leonard Hoops. "Gen Con is a one-of-a-kind cultural event that energizes our city and drives more than $67 million in annual economic activity."

In 2011 the Indianapolis Convention Center increased capacity to more than half a million square feet of floor space, adding on roughly 200,0000 square feet of floor space at a cost of over $275 million, the Indianapolis Star reports. That addition was intended to not only serve Gen Con and its annual legions of attendees, but also to court the return of the annual NRA convention, which will visit the city in 2019 and 2023.

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