Founder's Forum #2: Well, That Escalated Quickly…

Hey everyone!

Welcome to Founder’s Forum #2. I know, I know, it’s been well over a month. The last time I looked up, it was early February. Then, someone hit the fast forward button and it became April! The ConTessa staff and I have been working very hard on a great set of events all the way through August. It’s been an unexpected whirlwind of an experience, and we’re really excited about everything coming up.

The Last Few Months

We started off 2015 with a bang by running two mini-conventions - one for games, and one for panels. The new format was a joy to pull off, and worked well. We’ll be running these types of events (and more) once every few months from here on out, as well as individual one-off events throughout the year. It’s great to be able to tell people who can’t make one event that they’ll soon get another chance to play!

February Game Weekend

On February 21st & 22nd, we ran nine games over the course of the weekend with some very fun and interesting groups. There were werewolves, and Rat Queens, baby dragons, and Storm Troopers, and more!

Spring Loaded

On March 17th, we ran Spring Loaded - an entire day of scheduled panels on a broad range of topics like cosplay, an introduction to GMing, playing against type, freelancing, game design, and a whole lot more. We ran ten panels, most of which were back-to-back, providing ten hours of excellent advice, information, and commentary.

Liz C Joins the ConTessa Staff

Ariana and Sarah gushed about Liz C so much, I finally asked her to become staff! She joined our crazy little group just after the Spring Loaded event (which she also participated in). She has a fantastic personality, is funny as hell, a great person, and does some amazing work. Check out her game, Witch. Witch just finished a run on Kickstarter, well exceeding Liz’s goals with a whole slew of stretch goals unlocked. Welcome, Liz!

The Blog Kicks Into High Gear

Sarah, Ethel, Ari, and a whole suite of other writers have turned the blog into a well-oiled machine producing some amazing content, great advice, and fantastic interviews. Be sure to follow us on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook so you don’t miss anything!


The Next Several Months

Spring Break 2015 - May 16th & 17th

This will be another online gaming weekend. Add your game to the list of offerings ASAP. To make sure all of the games have a chance to get a full complement of players, we’ll be closing down registration on May 9th, so don’t delay! The earlier we get your event set up, the more likely we can find you a plethora of players.


Ari & Liz Take Over Virtual ConTessa During Gen Con - July 30th - August 2nd

Ariana and Liz will be taking over ConTessa’s virtual activities while Gen Con is going on. Even if you can’t make it to Gen Con, you can still participate in ConTessa events! Virtual games and panels will be the fare so everyone can join in on the fun.

More details to come as we get closer to the actual date. If you’re an early planner and want to get your game in, now, new game submission for this event is already open!


ConTessa@Gen Con - July 30th - August 2nd

We started out with a small, simple goal for Gen Con: Get 6 women to run games at the same time one night, then have a little get-together. Then it became 8 games, then it became 10 games, then Gen Con got in touch with us and asked… want more? Our amazing staff then took about six weeks to dredge up a lot more.

We’re now up to about two dozen events including a keynote address and speeches by leading women in the industry about women’s leadership, a workshop on designing your own system for women only, panels, a charity board game event, two LARPs, and about 20 RPGs to be run at the same time, overtaking the Gen Con tournament hall.

After that, we’re still planning a party at the house we’ve rented for the weekend.

Gen Con events are in the process of being finalized. Once complete, we’ll be releasing the entire schedule. Unless the schedule change (knock on wood), we’ll be running a majority of our events on Thursday with the possibility of a Meet & Greet brunch on Sunday to see everyone off after the convention.

We’re still taking new events for our Gen Con offerings. If you’d like to run a game, seminar, panel, LARP, any other event, or just volunteer to be another set of hands to get everything done, drop us a line at We’d especially like some events with mini-based games, as well as collectible card games.

If you’re a game company that runs a booth at Gen Con, and you’d like to help out, we’re also looking for people who will carry fliers with our schedule and general information about ConTessa. To coordinate, please contact us at


What Comes Next

What comes next? The ConTessa events for this year’s Gen Con were all pulled together within about a six week period through the combined efforts of the ConTessa staff. That’s a pretty short time to pull off an event the size of what we’re planning to do. So, we asked ourselves… what can we do with over a year to plan?

Hopefully by this time next year, Indiana will have gotten their act together and fixed that horrible law. That’s what we’re counting on and hoping for. For Gen Con 2016, we hope to expand our reach even more and partner with other groups that promote diversity in gaming.

We’re also looking at what it would take to rent a couple of houses near Gen Con to supply women with subsidized housing for the convention while creating a retreat atmosphere. Stay tuned for more details as we work this out throughout the year.

We’re also looking to branch out into other in-person conventions, but we’ll need more staff and some form of a budget to get there, so it may take a little time for us to start reaching more than one convention. We have faith, though, and a staff that’s capable of pulling off a whole lot of magic.

After August, we’ll have another game weekend in October, and another Panel Day in November before taking a break for the holidays and coming back with a whole new set of events for 2016.

We’re definitely running at full speed, and the staff is often stretched to the limit to make sure we can pull it all off as planned. If you’d like to lend a helping hand (and you identify as a woman), please drop us a line at No experience necessary! We’ll teach you everything we’ve learned about running amazing events!

Founder’s Forum is an at-least monthly column written by the founder of ConTessa, Stacy Dellorfano. Here, she waxes poetic about all things ConTessa. If you’d like to have Stacy address one of your questions, send her an email at