Who We Are & What We Do
ConTessa is a gaming organization dedicated to making tabletop gaming spaces more diverse by bringing minority-led events to conventions both virtual and in-person. We run innovative and unique tracks featuring games, panels, workshops, and seminars led entirely by marginalized people, but open to attendance by anyone. Our event runners are all volunteers who pick their own games and content, making every ConTessa event as unique as the ConTessans who run them!
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.
Our events are always well-attended, often sell out, and are amongst the safest and most diverse spaces in tabletop gaming conventions today. We never go to conventions that don’t have an active, reliable, and well-laid-out harassment policy, and we empower our leaders to take control of their table and event by always having staff members or volunteers around willing and able to back up any leader’s request to remove a disruptive attendee regardless of the reason.
Who Qualifies as a Leader?
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 having to get into too many specifics so we can avoid getting into the nitty gritty pain of deciding who’s in and who’s out. By and large, these terms presently apply to: women, people of color, queer people, and disabled people.
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.
Who Qualifies as an Attendee?
Most ConTessa events are open to attendance by anyone regardless of identity, and we often include non-marginalized people to sit on our panels. The only identity requirement we have is for the leadership position.
Interested in helping out? Everything helps! Run games, volunteer at our events, play games, participate in panels, purchase our merchandise, donate to our cause, contribute to our blog, or become a staff writer or event coordinator. You can find all the details about how to help us out on our 'Get Involved' page.
See What People Are Saying About Us
Check out our Testimonials page for all the great things people have said about us! Here are some of our favorites...