Save the Dates: June 21-24 2013: ConTessa

Hey all, Jill here. And this is awesome:


ConTessa is an fully online, fully free, gaming convention. Another neat aspect: It is run entirely by women; the panels and games and events are all hosted by people who self-identify as ‘she’.

Now I know that the idea of a female run gaming convention will make some of you out there groan – you don’t want to be part of, or go to, a gaming convention that’s just going to be a bunch of Anita Sarkeesians throwing around feminist lingo trying to make male gamers feel bad about themselves, sapping the joy out of everything you hold dear*. Well, fear not, because, as part of their mission statement (or, well, their “about” statement):

ConTessa is a free 4-day online apolitical gaming convention featuring the many women who play, create, and love games of all stripes.

What do we mean by apolitical?

There are a lot of opinions out there on gender issues, and the subject almost always results in heated discussions and flared tempers. For good reason, too, the stakes aren’t exactly small. We want ConTessa to be an oasis in all of that heat, a place where we can come and just be women who game rather than being women who talk about being women who game. While critical debate has a time and a place and a purpose, ConTessa is none of those. ConTessa is completely neutral ground.

ConTessa’s goal is to change the world through example and exposure. We want to give women who run, write, design, play, talk about, and create games a platform for them to talk about their passions, and we want to show other women why we like gaming so much by introducing them to the games that we love and showing them how we play them. Anything that falls outside of those goals doesn’t belong in ConTessa.

The basic litmus test for whether or not your event is suitable for ConTessa should be to answer the following question:

Is my topic likely to generate conversation of a positive nature, or is it likely to generate conversation of a negative nature? 

In general, the following things are always ‘political’ and should be avoided:

  • Events that focus on criticizing works.
  • Events that focus on discussing gender-specific policies or the right or wrong of policies in general.
  • Events that focus on the negative aspects of being a woman in gaming.

For example, a panel created to talk about what artwork the panelists find the most sexist would be rejected, however a panel created to talk about the panelist’s favorite pieces of artwork, and why they love that artwork so much would be approved. Similarly, a panel on the sexism women experience in the gaming industry would be denied, but a panel on women’s favorite stories about being in the gaming industry, or their inspiration for working in that industry would be approved.

It is incredibly easy for women to find negative messages about themselves in this world. The importance of keeping ConTessa positive can’t be overstated. If you have any questions about whether or not the event you want to run violates our apolitical policy, drop us an email to We’d be happy to answer any of your questions and may be able to help you format the event you want to do in a way that remains positive and apolitical.


While the more political topic of women in gaming is a serious issue that should be discussed, ConTessa makes no claims to want to talk about it – and for good reason: it’s a minefield and would not create a fun, safe, environment for women to hangout and talk passionately about why we love games, and what we love about it, and share it with other people (men and women and gender queer) without worrying that anyone’s fun is going to be ruined by lamenting about lack of female protagonists, or harassment, etc…. (or being harassed)

The con itself is being run through google+ hangouts, which is a fantastic way to do things IMO – I run a Pathfinder game on hangouts, and have used it to meet people halfway across the world, and country, and just down the block when you want to hang out but are too lazy to take a shower and get dressed.

There are some fantastic panels and games being run, that you should check out.

Each event has a time slot on a specific day, and the hangout will run for that time (g+ does an awesome job of adjusting the time zones for each individual person, so if I set a time for 4pm EDT, someone in Seattle will see it set for 1pm PDT).

Might I recommend checking out I’m a 30 Year Old D&D Noob – moderated by Laura Tomaja, one of the players in my Pathfinder Game, with other panelists, including myself, discussing the entry level of D&D (and table top gaming in general) and what’s it like to enter into the hobby at an older age:

As a seasoned player, you might not understand how daunting it can seem for someone in their 30s to start playing, with no prior experience. How do you find a game, when none of your friends play. What’s it like to start with a complex rule system. How badly did we screw up the first few times. What GM in their right mind would want to watch college-educated adults fail this badly? Part story, part humor, part education.

I’d also (highly) recommend So You Wanna’ Be a GM – a panel hosted by myself, giving the new GM tips and tricks to get out there and GM their hearts out

Maybe you’re an experienced gamer but want to move onto the “next level” – maybe you’re a n00b but really like the idea of shaping an interactive story. Maybe you’ve seen Chris Perkins DM a variety of live D&D games on youtube and think “Maybe I can do that…”

Well, you can totally do that.

I want to help you with some tricks and tips to get your GMing off the ground and make entering the world of Game Mastering a little less intimidating!

I hope you come check it out!



*This is not meant as a commentary on Anita Sarkeesian or the work that she does – I hope you read it as glib and not serious.

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 13:14 by Jillian Pullara · Permalink
In: Around the Intertubes, Events, Gaming · Tagged with: , , , ,