For many, Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend meant shopping for the approaching holidays. But for tabletop gamers around the Bay Area, it meant something else: GobbleCon.
The convention returned to the SFO Hyatt for another three day weekend of games. Board games, card games, tabletop roleplaying games – as long as it involved gathering friends around a table and playing, GobbleCon had it.
Check-in was simple enough, with organized lines moving quickly. The staff was more than familiar with the process, and as it was still relatively small, there wasn’t much of a need for extensive amounts of rovers and roaming staffers. As all the attendees were there to play games and have fun,
the weekend went by without a hitch from an attendee perspective.
The convention also had one new addition to its staff: a mascot character. Throughout the weekend, attendees could often see the GobbleCon turkey walking around, getting cheers (or gobbles, as the case may be) and hugs from attendees.
Perhaps the biggest draw of the event was the organized play. This encompassed Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League, as well as Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society. The Adventurers League size has grown significantly since the last year, taking up nearly twice the amount of tables as before, while Starfinder and Pathfinder Societies still had a more than respectable turnout. Throughout the weekend, players took their characters through the city of Waterdeep, into the darkest of dungeons, or off through the cosmos.
Saturday night, the Adventurers League players partook in a multi-table adventure called an Epic, “Chaos in the City of Splendor.” Several groups of players, each with their own Dungeon Master and coordinated by the event’s organizers, undertook multiple missions to earn points for their team or to sabotage other tables. Running an Epic is no easy matter, but the game was a success and the players had a wonderful time.
Outside of the organized play, there was a game room with a massive library. Players could borrow games or bring their own and set up a small flag to invite other attendees to join. Friendships were made (or broken, if anyone took a game of “Munchkin” a little too seriously) and good times were had all around.
In the halls, players could also sit down at the Protospiel table. This was where game developers could show off their prototypes, testing out the rules and mechanics while hopefully reaching new customers.
Beyond that, there was even an area for large recreational games like a bean bag toss or Connect Four. It was a nice way to decompress after more intense tabletop games and just relax.
One other nice addition was free chocolate, including many beautiful displays by Aida Opera Candies. It should go without saying that free chocolate is always a plus, and it kept the attendees both happy and sugar-high.
Speaking of food, there were some options around, although they were not necessarily cheap. The hotel restaurant was always available, but with usual hotel restaurant prices (AKA about twice as much as you’d pay anywhere else). Across the street was I <3 Sushi, a Japanese restaurant with decent prices and good food, including takeout options. Slightly farther down the road was Max’s Diner, and those willing to go further out of their way could find more affordable options elsewhere. Of course, frequent attendees are used to that by now, and budgeted for food accordingly.
While there was no dealer’s hall, it did have a Swap Meet. Several tables filled with attendees selling their old games, rare expansions or well-loved rulebooks. The vast majority of games for sale were older board games, but there were also good options for RPG handbooks or adventure paths, as well as the occasional hidden gem.
Overall, GobbleCon 2018 was great fun for all who attended. Whether they went for the RPG organized play, to test out the games they’re working on, or to sit down with friends and strangers to play a round of Red Dragon Inn, good times were had during the Thanksgiving weekend.