Friday, June 14, 2024

GobbleCon 2023 Bids a Fond Farewell

For the past several years, Thanksgiving weekend has meant one thing to tabletop gamers around the California Bay Area: GobbleCon. This convention, organized by the same team behind KublaCon, featured three days of gaming at the Burlingame Hyatt Regency SFO.

The convention consisted of three main areas: a large open gaming room, tables for larger games lining the halls, and a large room for RPG organized play. Of course, the hotel itself also had plenty of table space for anyone who wanted to sit down for a casual game with friends, or to take a meal break.

The main room was the open play area, which was filled with tables for gaming. GobbleCon’s game library had a wide range for players to choose from, including classic fan favorites and hidden gems. Staff members were also at the ready to introduce players to a new game, and players even had a chance to win a selection of games after playing them.

Last year, GobbleCon expanded its game room offerings with a booth from Gamescape, where attendees could buy games and accessories. The store’s booth returned this year, bringing a fine selection of games along with staffers ready to introduce them to new players.

However, for those who wanted new games at a less-than-new price, there were some good options as well. A table near the check-in offered free games, either donated by attendees or staffers, for people to grab and enjoy as they passed by. Additionally, Saturday afternoon featured a flea market, where attendees could sell their old and well-loved games to new homes, as well as handmade gaming goods.

Outside the main rooms, several tables were set up for larger games, as well as a Protospiel area. There, players could try out upcoming games from local designers, provide feedback, and become a part of the creative process.

And of course, there was the organized play room. This room was split into two halves: one for Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League, and the other for Pathfinder and Starfinder Society. Players came from all over to meet up, take on adventures in the Forgotten Realms or Golarion, and create new stories. Organized play is a unique kind of RPG experience, as it allows players to bring their characters between adventures and locations – many players came with characters they’ve been playing and leveling up for years, ready to take on new quests with a different party.

Location-wise, the SFO Hyatt provided plenty of rooms and parking, as well as a dining area with a snack bar and restaurant. Attendees who wanted to avoid hotel prices for food could walk a few blocks in either direction to eat at a local establishment, or order delivery to the front desk. However, the hotel was a bit more crowded than usual, due to the Northern Californa DeMolay convention held on the lower floor.

Sadly, this was to be the last year for GobbleCon. Although many attendees have returned year after year for a weekend of games, the overall turnout was still on the smaller side. However, while the convention may be ending, it will carry on in spirit as the organizers shift to KublaCon Fall, a smaller sister convention to the larger KublaCon. So while the turkey-themed mascot may not be returning, with any luck, the games won’t be going anywhere.

So long, Gobbles, and thanks for all the games.

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