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 great games including traditional roleplaying games, indie story games, freeform live-action roleplaying (LARP) 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 Sign Up page or by volunteering to Run Events, GM in Games on Demand, or Join the Wolf pack. 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.
  • 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 2017 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!

Big Bad Programs

BigBadConProgramCover2013The program is complete. Here’s all the deets about Big Bad Con!

Big Bad Con 101: Little Red’s Must Have List!

You’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 Alameda County Community Food Bank 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 (PDF)

Directions: Here is a link to the hotel on Google Maps. Lost on the road. The Hotel’s number is: 510-635-5000

Contact Information: In a bind and need to contact us? You can tweet @bigbadcon 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.

At the con

Hungry? The program has a list of nearby food; you can also access a Google Map of nearby eating here.

Where to go? Hotel check-in is in Building 1. The convention is in Building 5. You can find a map of the building on the hotel page.

Parking. Parking is complimentary for all attendees. If you are staying at the hotel, your room key will get you in and out of the lot. If you’re commuting to the con, we have passes at the registration desk, just ask for one when you get your badge

Internet. Unfortunately building 5 (where the con is) does not have wireless access. Wired internet access is available in the rooms for $12.95/day or you can get free wireless in the hotel lobby, restaurant and bar.

Registration: If you signed up before 9/30 (either paid admission or volunteered) your badge will be ready for you at the door. If not weekend passes are $50 and one day passes are $25. You can purchase these at the con registration desk.


Sign-ups: Many games have already been filled through online sign-ups. Online game sign ups close 9/30. To get into any games after that, just put your name down on the game sheet at the registration desk (Under the “Wolf Den” Banner). 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 Boardroom II and play what you want, when you want it. The organizers will show available game times, systems and GMs on a whiteboard inside the boardroom.

Open Gaming: All the game slots full and nothing to? Head over to Open Gaming in the Empire Room, where we’ll have awesome games running all weekend!

Content Policy: The con is 18 and over; we expect games to cover the gamut of gonzo silly to very mature themes. More detail is on our content policy page.

Schedule: The game schedule is online here as a PDF or Google Doc.

Surviving at the Con

Sleep, eat and shower. 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 Chase 2012 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!

That’s Dr. Wolf to you

The Wolf is putting on his stethoscope to do some good in the world.  He feels guilty after all the houses he’s blown down and grandmothers he has eaten.

As of today it is official, Big Bad Con is a charity event.  Here are are the charities it will support, and how!

Doctors Without Borders Poceeds from the convention will go to Doctors Without Borders.  Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in nearly 70 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.  In 1999, MSF received the Nobel Peace Prize.

So, if you pay to attend Big Bad Con, you get to game AND help people in need. You are an action hero!

The Woodsman is going to round up a barrel to fill with non-perishable foods for the Alameda County Food Bank.  The ACFB has a network of 275 strategically placed member agencies – food pantries, soup kitchens, child-care centers, senior centers, after-school programs and other community-based organizations – the Food Bank distributes enough food for 300,000 meals weekly.

Not only will you feel good knowing that your old can of bean is feeding someone who needs it, but the The Wolf is also giving out “Feed The Wolf” achievement pins to anyone who donates!

How Do Game Signups Work?

We want you to have maximum access to games at Big Bad Con. Here’s how we do it:

  • Event submissions are open from early April through mid-August.
  • Events are posted to the site as soon as they’re approved, so attendees have plenty of time to see all their options.
  • Game signups for Big Bad Con will 9/8 at noon PST, using our Signup Phase System, detailed below. Note that this year to accommodate people’s different work schedules phases II and III will not be on later Saturdays.
  • To sign up for an event, go to the event page, for example Verify your 2018 Big Bad Con badge, and if there are spaces left, click Book Now at the bottom.

Not enough games? Too many games?

  • We’re proactive during signups! If a game fills up quickly, we’ll try to add additional sessions. If a game isn’t filling up, we’ll promote it through social media.
  • If you have open slots on your schedule, never fear! Swing by the reg desk at the con to see what games still have open slots. We also have Games on Demand—just stop by for new games starting every two hours! And we’ve got open gaming running all con long!

Our Signup Phase System

Not everyone is available the moment signups open. So we’ve instituted Signup Phases, approximately one week apart:

  • Phase I (TBD) — Everyone can sign up for a maximum of 2 events.
  • Phase II (TBD) — Everyone can sign up for a maximum of 4 events.
  • Phase III (TBD) — Event signups have no maximum limit.

A few things to note:

  • Games held in the Teen Room are open only to teens for the first two weeks of registration. After which, they are open to everyone.
  • Events marked All Ages are available to all attendees, including teens, but they do not get priority.
  • Events you’re running don’t count against your limit.
  • Some specific events (Wolf Chase, panels, workshops, large larps) don’t count against your limit either. They are listed below.

Quota Exempt Events

Quota exempt events will be posted once the schedule is up. These do not count towards your event maximum.