DJA_Excellence The winner of the 2017 Diana Jones Award is Gen Con

In the estimation of the Diana Jones Award Committee, the most excellent thing in tabletop games last year was Gen Con, which celebrated its 50th annual show this summer. To talk or write about how Gen Con is a crucial pillar of the hobby, the community, and the business of tabletop gaming is to say only what’s obvious to anyone who’s attended it. But even so, things that go without saying must occasionally be said.

Gen Con is a game convention. It was originally organized in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, by Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax. Moving to progressively larger venues and cities as the gaming hobby has grown, Gen Con has spent the last fifteen years in Indianapolis where — under the stewardship of CEO Adrian Swartout and because of the amazing enthusiasm of its attendees — it has now pushed another city to its sell-out capacity.

The show has grown by leaps and bounds — and especially over the past several years — to become the largest tabletop gaming event in the entire world. Much of this is due to its astute leadership, which includes Peter Adkison, the winner of the inaugural Diana Jones Award in 2001.

As Peter is often the first to mention, though, the lion’s share of the credit for the show’s recent growth should go to Adrian Swartout, the company’s co-owner and CEO. Adrian retired at the end of this year’s Gen Con, handing over the reins to the company’s new president, David Hoppe.

This year, the show sold out for the first time ever, marking the pinnacle of the event’s popularity, which shows no sign of abating. As the de facto home of the Diana Jones Award, which hosts its award ceremony the Wednesday evening before the show kicks off every year, the committee hopes that Gen Con will continue its upward advancement for generations to come.

In the world of gaming, Gen Con is where the most exciting events happen, the most anticipated releases come out, the most cherished friends and partners are seen all in one place. Publishers’ release calendars revolve around it. Gamers’ vacation schedules orbit around it. For many, to simply mention the month of “August” is — first and foremost — to invoke this annual tradition.
In a time when branding has devolved to self-parody, Gen Con’s assertion that it’s the Best Four Days of Gaming are a refreshing and absolute truth.

The Diana Jones Award Committee is proud to declare that Gen Con exemplifies excellence in gaming, and to award it our trophy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.