What do we do at ConTessa?
ConTessa is a gaming organization dedicated to making tabletop gaming spaces more diverse by bringing marginalized-led events to conventions all around the United States. We run innovative and unique tracks featuring games, panels, workshops, and seminars led entirely by historically marginalized people, yet open to attendance by anyone. Our event runners are volunteers who pick their own games and content, making every ConTessa event as unique as the ConTessans who run them!
Photo Credit: Angela Murray
Photo Credit: Angela Murray
Where To Find Us
We Strive to Build Safer Spaces:
We only run events at conventions with a comprehensive harassment policy / code of conduct already in place.
Whenever possible, we run all our events in dedicated rooms or areas we designate as safer spaces. These are often quieter and calmer than the rest of the convention.
Staff members and volunteers are always on hand to help out with anything from a forgotten pencil to a problem player.
ConTessa GMs have access to our board game library, as well as GM tools like dry erase map boards, markers, office supplies, pride flags, and snacks, as well as privileges to use any of our tables not currently scheduled for games.
Eligibility Requirements for Leaders
We often use the terms ‘marginalized’ and ‘minority’ to describe who is appropriate to lead a ConTessa event. These are catch-all terms meant to describe who we’re looking for without building a giant list of identities. By and large, these terms presently apply to non-binary or GNC people, women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, and disabled people. We never require you to ‘prove’ your eligibility, and it is against ConTessa rules to question a leader’s eligibility.
Unless otherwise specified, all events marked as ‘ConTessa’ are open to leadership by anyone considered marginalized. Events marked ‘ConTessa Women’, ‘ConTessans of Color’, and ‘QueerTessa’, however, are limited in leadership to those who fit within those groups. It is, of course, possible to fit in every one of these groups!
If you have a question as to whether or not you would qualify as a leader, feel free to send our staff a message asking for clarification. Our goal is always to be more inclusive than exclusive while still maintaining identity, so we’re always open to talking to anyone who might feel like they should belong, but aren’t directly called out.
Attendee Eligibility Requirements
Our Eligibility Requirements are only applicable to the overall lead of the event being registered. Players, panelists, additional moderators or co-GMS, and of course audience members can be anyone.
A Brief History...
ConTessa was founded in 2012 to offer a space where women could run the games and panels that fit their interests in a public way so as to inspire, educate, inform, and empower other women like them. Our work led to a gold ENnie in 2015, a Diana Jones Award nomination in 2016, and an increased number of women creating gaming products and freelancing throughout the industry.
After four years, and hundreds of events at our own online conventions and at in-person conventions like Gen Con and U-Con, we realized the appeal of what we do spread further than women, so we opened our requirements to include and support all marginalized people so we can spread the love, support, and empowerment even further. ConTessa is now comprised of our overall organization that creates events led by any marginalized person as well as three branches to target individual needs and groups: ConTessa Women, ConTessans of Color, and QueerTessa.