A Word from the Team

Back in March 2020, as shows were getting canceled left and right due to COVID-19, we at Indie Game Alliance were very worried about the state of the industry. We'd never run a show before, or even really done game streaming, and we had no idea what we were doing, but we decided to try to put on a show anyway. We'd learn as we went, put something together in two months' time and everything would be fine.

Turns out, it's a lot more complicated than that. We've been making steady progress, but the reality is that in the interim, everybody and their mother has decided to throw a virtual convention, and all right around our dates. BoardGameGeek is hosting a show three days before our weekend, The Game Crafter is hosting one on the exact dates of our event, and Origins is now hosting an online show two weeks after ours. Nearly every local convention we know of is transitioning to an online gathering, too. We were worried that if we didn't create Play Unconventionally, there would be no conventions -- and it turns out, there will be way too many.

Each of these shows, despite being announced after ours, are further along in preparations because the teams behind them have significantly more experience planning conventions and absurdly more resources to devote to them than we do. For these shows to succeed and make a positive impact on the gaming community, they need to achieve critical mass rather than have the audience fractured between dozens of competing events. While we can't control the entire glut of shows being planned, we can control one. Thus, we are making the sacrifice play -- in order to help the above shows and countless other, smaller events that need to be successful to grow their attendance, we have decided to cancel Play Unconventionally 2020.

Instead, IGA will use its time to do the kinds of things it is best at, developing new tools and resources to help indie publishers and designers succeed. We'd like to think we're among the best at that, so we'll put our time and skills to work on the parts of the industry that others aren't better equipped to tackle. We hope to have some new announcements on that front by summer's end.

We'll leave the Play Unconventionally Discord server running, as it's become a de facto lobby for online game playing and sharing of some incredible artisans' work. We'll turn the "exhibit hall" channel into a place where publishers can post links to their online shops and engage with their customers. We may still try to do a virtual publisher speed dating event at some point, once we've gotten all the details worked out.

We'd like to thank the folks that volunteered to help us run the show, as they've all been incredible. We also want to thank our shipping sponsor, D6 Fulfillment, and all of the vendors we spoke to before that who wanted to help but couldn't because of mandatory closures in their areas. We thank everyone who joined the Discord, signed up for the artist alley or exhibitor hall, or just shared our posts. We may not be running a con, but we built up a little community, and we're proud of that.

Most importantly, we hope everyone is still healthy and relatively sane in this quarantine, playing games and finding ways to maintain connections with the people and the hobbies they love. We strongly encourage our community to explore the online conventions listed above and any others, especially events held as replacements for local conventions that we all want to be able to come back stronger than ever in 2021 and beyond.