Gaming Together

The Be Excellent Festival wants to bring the local gaming community together

a puffin accompanies information about the festival
Filling a hole in the entertainment spectrum of Toledo, the inaugural Be Excellent Festival of Games aims to bring together fans of tabletop gaming

Tabletop gaming has become more popular in recent years, with board games and pen-and-paper adventuring gaining more notoriety. That was even before we were all kept inside due to the pandemic, which sadly got rid of an important aspect of tabletop gaming: the gaming convention. Some have come back, and some new festivals are just beginning, like this year’s Be Excellent Festival, a day of excellence that will bring together a community of local gaming aficionados.

First-Time Festivities

The Be Excellent Festival of Games is being run by Jenny Gagne, owner of Awkward Puffin Productions and festival lead. Though this is her first time leading this festival, she had previous experience at Lourdes: “As a former employee and alumna, I was familiar with the space in the Franciscan Center already and had some ideas about how it could host a small festival.” That festival will be dedicated to gaming and all the excellent things about it.

The new festival will take place on June 10 of this year at Lourdes University. While students are encouraged to come, the festival is looking to bring together many different gaming groups in the area. Gagne explained she wants the festival to bring the community together: “A lot of people have feelings of isolation and a lack of community, and I hope to help connect people through gaming. We have a lot of local game stores (at least 7), so I know we have the population with interest!”

Gathering to Game

Local game store Checkmate Games & Hobbies will be participating, as well as independent vendors. Not just local game players are coming to the festival; local game-makers will also be on hand. “We have several local published game designers coming, and I’m really excited for them to show off their hard work,” explained Gagne. These creators include Seabound creator Samuel Harmon and Free Radicals designer Nathan Woll, who will be on hand to demonstrate and play round of their games.

As this is a gaming festival, open gaming space is ready for any willing adventurer. Role-play gaming sessions using everything from Pathfinder to Dungeons and Dragons will be available. Other events will be announced over time, but even those not gaming-inclined will find something to enjoy. According to Gagne the festival has “recently connected with Paws and Whiskers, and there will be an adoption event happening in a side room. They’ve also agreed to run the concessions booth as a fundraiser.”

There’s a lot to get out of this first-year festival, and Gagne hopes it will do well enough to ensure future events. “My pie-in-the-sky hope is that people will have so much fun that they’ll want to team up and help turn this event into a full-blown weekend-long gaming convention. I hope that people make connections and look forward to the event every year.” Not only can you have a fun day of gaming at The Be Excellent Festival, you can say you were there when it started.

An events schedule and more information can be found at