Big Bad Con 2020 – On the road again!

We’ve signed the contract and we’re very excited to announce the dates and location for Big Bad Con 2020!

October 22-25
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
1333 Old Bayshore Hwy
Burlingame, CA 94010

2019 was our biggest and best year ever. Between the Babble On Equity Project, the scholarship program, and the Kickstarter stretch goal guests we gave financial and logistical assistance to over 70 folks to help them attend Big Bad Con. We had over 600 events and nearly 1,000 attendees. The POC Meet & Greet was an enormously successful industry event that helped several folks find mentoring, freelance work, and even full time jobs.

2019 was also the year that we stretched into every available space the Walnut Creek Marriott had to offer, and even then there were times when folks couldn’t find a table to play a game or sit and chat. This year in reviewing our past growth we realized we either needed to cap our attendance and allow fewer folks than attended in 2019 (shrinking the con) or find a new location that could sustain our growth. When reviewing locations we evaluated them based on the following factors:

  • Guest room rate
  • Parking fees
  • Event space available
  • Cost to the convention
  • Available social gathering spaces
  • Food availability (in the hotel, nearby, and delivery)
  • Physical accessibility
  • Likelihood of maintaining power from PG&E
  • Eagerness of the hotel staff to host a convention

After several months of reviewing the attendee feedback, meeting with the board and with the staff, we signed a contract with the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, which offered us the best room rates for our attendees, has over four times the event space that the Marriott does, regularly works with gaming conventions, and is thrilled to have us.

What’s next

With the hotel settled, we still have a lot of work to do to prepare for the Kickstarter, event submission, and the growth and development of the con. In the coming months, we’ll send out updates as all of these come together.

This year will be Big Bad Con 10. We’re filled with hope and excitement for what’s to come!

How does this all work?

Red_narrowInterested in Big Bad Con and have questions? Here’s the place to get answers. Of note, we also have a lot of resources at the bottom of the page in the FAQ section, and if you ever have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us with the contact form that is down there as well. Now, onto the information!

Who can attend Big Bad Con?

Big Bad Con is focused on creating a welcoming space for players of all stripes with a huge variety of events including traditional roleplaying games, indie story games, freeform live-action roleplaying (LARP), panels, workshops, and board games. We invite all gamers ages 13 and up to attend. For more information about our age requirement and for great cons for younger gamers, see our Age Policy.

What are your Community Standards?

We want you to have the best time you possibly can at Big Bad Con. However, if having that fun comes at the cost of someone else’s safety, happiness, or comfort, you must stop. Period. If something comes up and you need to report an incident email, call or text (510) 646-0073, or speak to any staff member. For more, see our Community Standards page.

How do I sign up to attend Big Bad Con?

Two steps, with a few options in the middle:

  1. Create an account (Click “register”over on the right and enter your username and email address, you’ll be emailed a link to set your password)
  2. You can get a badge to attend by either purchasing one on the Attend page or by volunteering to Run Events, GM in Games on Demand, or Join the Rangers. Generally speaking we’re looking for 8 hours of your time split across two shifts.

How do I get into games and events?

For scheduled events, all of our signups are done online. It’s important to note that we don’t use a shuffler or lottery system, so make sure to watch for the announcements (we send them via email to all badge holders and over social media) on when game registration is going to start. Here’s our roster of Events.

Once you have a badge (see above), you can sign up for events once registration goes live. We use a quota system to meter out the number of games anyone can sign up for at a given time, in order to reduce the rush to the computer and make the process more flexible for everyone. For more information on the sign up process and the quotas, see How Do Game Signups Work?

Once you arrive at the con, game signups will still be online and can be done from your mobile device, but we’ll also have a few kiosk computers you can use as well. You can also stop by a game as it’s starting to see if any spots have opened up. Especially on Sunday mornings, some folks opt to sleep in, which might mean an open spot for you!

Games on Demand offers games all con long that don’t require (or even allow) advance signups. You can just show up and play. First, check out the Games on Demand schedule for when games start. Then, stop by at least 10 minutes before the games start to see whats on offer and get a boarding pass from the host. On the hour the host will call up the boarding pass groups. When they call yours, head up and select from the menus of available games, and start playing!

Panels, workshops, special events, and open gaming are also running all con long. For most of these events, while you can sign up in advance, there is typically room for whoever is interested, so just come by and drop in!

What should I bring to Big Bad Con?

Big Bad Con collects food for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County as part of our community outreach. The FBCCS provides food to over 190,000 people per month. You can support them by bringing out non-perishable food (especially items on this shopping list) to the con. We’ll have collection barrels at the registration desk.  For more information on our community outreach see our Charity Information Page.

Beyond that we ask that every attendee come with an open mind and an eagerness to try new things. We have a huge array of games ranging from very traditional to brand-new experiments being playtested. We encourage you to try them all.

Notably you will not need to bring any specific gaming paraphernalia or prior knowledge of games. Or GMs will make sure you have everything you need to play!

How do I get to the con?

Big Bad Con is hosted in the Walnut Creek Marriott. Depending on where you’re coming from, we there are several ways to get to us.

  • Driving: The hotel is right off Interstate 680. Get driving directions here. Note that parking is normally $23/day, but the convention rate is $10/day.  Not all of the valets may be aware of the rate reduction but the hotel staff will make sure you’re billed the discounted rate.
  • Flying: You can fly in to either Oakland International Airport (OAK) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO), whichever had better rates. Both airports have BART (subway) stations attached to them, so you can hop on a train and go to the hotel!
  • Public Transportation: If at all possible we recommend taking BART to get to the Hotel. The Walnut Creek Station is a 12 minute walk, or you can call the shuttle service (925-934-2000) for a pickup.

For more information about getting to the hotel and to book a room, check out the Hotel page.

I’ve arrived. Now what?

Once you get to the hotel, head down via elevator or the stairs to level B1, where the Big Bad Con registration desk is. We’ll have signs up and greeters in the lobby as well in case you get lost.

At registration they’ll give you your badge, a program, and offer you to play in Big Bad World as well as add a pronoun ribbon to your badge. The friendly folks at reg will also answer any questions you have about the con and help you sign up for games or find your way around. You can always spot a staff member by their yellow handkerchief!

What should I do while I’m here?

Our options are plentiful. If you haven’t already signed up for events, or if you have some time open in your schedule, here’s just a small list of possibilities.

  • Look for open RPGs, larps, and board games. Click “Book Now” at the bottom of any event listing and you’re in!
  • Stop by the Panel room and drop into a panel, workshop, or special event.
  • Go to the Dealer’s room and find out the wares our dealers have to offer.
  • If you’re chatty, stop by the Tell Me About Your Character booth, and for a $5 donation that goes to Doctors Without Borders, we’ll enthusiastically listen to the backstory of your favorite character for five minutes. Or for $15, one of our artists will spend up to 15 minutes drafting an image of your character.
  • Stop by Games on Demand and see what’s on offer in the upcoming slot. If you’re interested, get a boarding pass from the host and when they call you up, hop in a game!
  • Come to the Board Games room and play one of our 70+ Play-To-Win titles. The rules couldn’t be easier: Play a game, write the names down of everyone who played on the slip of paper in the game box, and at the end of the con, we’ll raffle them off. You must be present to win!

I’m in a game or event. How do I get there?

We’ll have maps up on the wall and in the program, but it never hurts to get familiar with the layout in advance.

Marriott Floor-Plan-Master

The large board rooms host large larps, panels, the dealers room, special events, and board games. The private game rooms (highlighted in yellow) host RPGs and some small larps!

My stomach is rumbling. Where do we eat?

Starting in 2017 the hotel is offering special concessions to our guests. Nothing fancy here, but we’re trying to keep options close by and affordable. There’s also plenty of great food within walking distance of the hotel, and even more available if using the free hotel shuttle service (925-934-2000)! Here’s a map full of Big Bad Eats!

I’ve got issue or concern, how do I report it?

Let us know as soon as it is safe to do so. Email, call or text (510) 646-0073, or speak to any staff member.

Surviving at the Con

Don’t forget to the necessities! In the excitement of gaming it is easy to forget some of the basics. The 3-2-1 con rule is a good one. Every day you need at least 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower.

Up for little exercise? The Wolf Run 2019 is open to all who can stumble out of bed by 7AM. It’s our opportunity to not only get in some exercise, but also bring a little aid to the Ella Baker  Cnter, via the Crowdrise fundraiser!

Big Bad Con 2016: Preparing for your arrival!

extra-life-logoYou’re coming to Big Bad Con! Awesome. Here are some important Con 101 reminders:

Before you head out

Bring non-perishable food for donation. Big Bad Con will have a food barrel for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County at the registration desk. Please bring a can of something tasty for all the hungry folks in the Bay and we’ll give you a pin! Here is a list of food they are looking for.

Getting to the Hotel

Driving: The Marriott in downtown Walnut Creek is off Interstate 680. Here are driving directions.
Flying: Both the Oakland International Airport (OAK) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) are attached to BART (our subway system), so you can hop on a train and go to the Walnut Creek Station.
Public Transportation: We recommend taking BART to get to the Hotel. The Walnut Creek Station is a 12-minute walk, or you can call the hotel shuttle service (at 925-934-2000) for a pickup.

At the con

Hungry? The hotel resturant and bar are quite good, but there are also plenty of good eats nearby. See the map.

Where to go? The convention registration desk is downstairs at level B2. You can take an an elevator from the main lobby or walk down the steps near the bar. There is a map of the building on the hotel page.

Parking. Parking is valet only. The normal rate is $23/day but we have it reduced to $10/day for convention guests. Make sure the let the valet know that you’re with the con when you arrive.

Internet. There are two WiFi Networks available (one works better in the hotel lobby and guest rooms, another is stronger in the convention area), both of which are free to use.

Registration: If you signed up before Oct 5 your badge will be ready for you at the door. If not weekend passes are $50 and one day passes are $25. Teen weekend passes are $30 and $15 respectively. You can purchase these at the con registration desk.


Sign-ups:  Online game sign-ups are closed. To get into any games at the con, check out the game sheet at the registration desk (Under the “Wolf Den” Banner) and put your name down in an open slot. Like we did it on the website, all open games will be first come, first served. The current day’s games will be posted on the wall, and updated for the next day at 8PM.

Games on Demand: Stop by California Ballroom Salon B and play in any of the Games on Demand Games as they open up. The organizers will post available game times, systems, and GMs inside the boardroom. Start times are here, but remember to show up about 10 minutes early to get in a game.

Open Gaming: All the game slots full and nothing to? Head over to Open Gaming, where we’ll have awesome pick-up games available all weekend!

Community Standards

Policy: Everyone at the con (attendees, volunteers, vendors, staff, and GMs) must adhere to the Community Standards policy.

Age Policy: The con is open to all attendees 13 and older. Guests 13-17 will need waiver signed by a parent or guardian when they pick up their badge. More information here.

Surviving at the Con

3-2-1. In the excitement of gaming it is easy to forget some of the basics. The 3-2-1 con rule is a reminder to get a minimum of 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower each day.

Up for little exercise? The Wolf Chase 2016 is open to all who can stumble out of bed by 7AM. It’s our opportunity to not only get in some exercise, but also bring a little more aid to Doctors Without Boarders, via the Crowdrise fundraiser!

Contact Us

In a bind and need to contact us? You can tweet @bigbadcon, call (510) 646-0073, or send an email to Once you’re on site there will be staff members and volunteers in the registration area and open gaming. Just stop by and we’ll be happy to help.

Contract Signed! – Big Bad Con 2016 is on!

Outside at night

The contract is signed, scanned, and emailed to the Walnut Creek Marriott, who at this very moment is hosting FOGcon! Some of the awesome amenities at the hotel:

  • Three blocks from BART, and a shuttle service to pick up and drop you off!
  • Absolutely beautiful spaces to game and socialize in. A great lobby, several comfy nooks, and secret passages between rooms!
  • 4000 more square feet that we had at the Hilton!
  • Free Wi-fi for all attendees
  • Discounted valet parking for all attendees
  • All-gender bathrooms
  • 20 private gaming rooms
  • Over 100 restaurants in a 3 miles radius. Over a dozen in a 3 block radius. The hotel shuttle will take you to any of them!

What’s more is that three weeks after Big Bad Con 2016, we’ll sign a contract for 2017 so we’ll have the dates and rates locked in! More pictures and details here.

So excited for Big Bad Con’s new home. Stay tuned for some big announcements in our upcoming Kickstarter campaign!

A new home in Walnut Creek

Hello all,

First off, many thanks for all your support. I got a flood of emails, tweets, and personal calls from folks who wanted to help us find a new home. And it worked!

We’ve been talking with the Walnut Creek Marriott and it looks like they could be our new home for 2016 and on! I toured the hotel and loved it.

The Perks

  • It’s very close to BART. A 10-minute walk or a call to the hotel for a shuttle will get you there fast.
  • The space is just beautiful. See the pictures below. It’s a open floor plan with tons of little nooks for socializing. We’ve got board rooms big and small that can be partitioned off as needed, and with cool service passages between them, aka Jefferies tubes.
  • The bathrooms in the gaming areas are all ours! They will be all-gender access for the duration of the con.
  • 4,000 additional square feet including room for an exciting new addition to the con, to be announced soon!
  • 20 private game rooms–up from 18 at the Hilton last year.
  • Food! So many food options. In addition to the hotel’s own breakfast buffet, there are a dozen restaurants within a few blocks, and over 100 within a 3 mile radius. Even better, the complimentary hotel shuttle will drive you to any of them. I found a place 100 feet from the door that serves up a tasty breakfast burrito for $4.50. Not bad!
  • The hotel is willing to draft a contract for 2016 as well as hold the space for 2017 so there would be no surprise increases next year.
  • A full bar in the lobby, open from 11AM to midnight.
  • Free Wi-Fi for all guests.

Here’s what it will cost us. For the attendees:

  • Reduced room rates for con attendees at $129/night.
  • Parking is $10/day. That’s been negotiated down from their standard $23 daily fee. It’s also valet parking, so you don’t have to hunt for a spot!

For the con:

  • The space is roughly $3,500 more than the Hilton was. This is dramatically lower than quotes from other Bay Area hotels, and it includes more space and 20 private gaming rooms, so we’re getting more out of it!


Call to action

What do you think? Should this be our new home? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, or email thewolf at bigbadcon dot com.