After Thanksgiving, many people choose to wait in line to buy discounted goodies until their wallets bleed, while others sleep away their Thanksgiving meals. This year, however, tabletop gamers made their way to Burlingame for the first ever GobbleCon, a new gaming convention run by the same minds behind KublaCon.
GobbleCon ran from Black Friday through Sunday, allowing attendees time to get their shopping sprees in before heading to the Hyatt Regency for a weekend of games. While three days for a first-time convention is often a bit of an overreach, GobbleCon’s staff is experienced, and had the history of its sister convention to give it a boost for the long weekend.
Admittedly, those who attended would probably have to attend more than one day to get their money’s worth, considering only full-weekend badges were available. Those who could only go for one day would still have to spend the full $50 for their pass, but hopefully single or two-day badge options will become available as the convention builds its name.
The hotel itself is no stranger to conventions, having previously hosted Animation On Display (AoD) and KublaCon in the past, and the Hyatt Regency has plenty of spacious rooms for gamers to set up in. Nearby food options were a little limited, with only a soon-to-be-open sushi restaurant across the street and a diner a few blocks away, but the hotel’s own restaurant offered good food at typical hotel prices.
Still, those are minor details compared to the core of the convention itself: games. Whether it’s board, card, or tabletop role-playing, the con was all about sitting down at a table with friends and strangers alike and having fun with games.
For that, they had some tables built with amazing sets for maximum engagement, with expansive dioramas and figures throughout. There were tables built for Catan (shaped in the typical hexagon of Catan lands), and a massive library of games for people to borrow and try out. A few tables were set up for game designers in attendance to playtest their latest works and introduce them to a new audience, making for a unique experience to try out something entirely new.
The largest room was filled with tables for attendees to start a game or join in one. There, people could organize campaigns for their RPG of choice, or sit down with whoever wanted to join them and play whatever tabletop games they had with them. On Saturday night, part of the room was dedicated to a swap meet, so that attendees could sell their extra or pre-loved games, books, and miniatures.
Of course, two of the most famous tabletop role-playing games were well represented, with Pathfinder Society and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League both running games throughout the weekend. Those are the organized play groups for the respective games, which essentially means that people can create a character and track their progress through multiple campaigns and modules held at any participating store.
Throughout the weekend, over a hundred combined players and Dungeon Masters sat down to roll the dice, and embarked on epic fantasy quests. Every table was welcoming and energetic, willing to bring in new players to join them as they explored ancient towers or cursed marshes (and pre-generated characters were available for new players upon request). There were even some new D&D modules available, with brand new adventures for the players to explore within the overarching story of the Adventurers League.
Overall, the first GobbleCon went off smoothly. It was well-organized, offered plenty for attendees to enjoy, and was made possible thanks to the dedicated effort of its staff and volunteers. For a first-year event it went remarkably well, and had a respectable turnout, especially for a holiday weekend. But then, what better way to enjoy a holiday than with a trip to the Forgotten Realms, an adventure through Golarion, and drinks at the Red Dragon Inn?