Our History

Read about our rich legacy of over 30 years of running tabletop roleplaying games for both youth and adults

About us

The Roleplay Workshop was created in 1989 to use the strengths of tabletop role play gaming to work with adolescents. As a teacher at Archway School in Oakland, Becky began creating the world of Abantey as a personal project. When her students found out what she was working on, they wanted to participate. She ran games as an extracurricular activity for several years, and eventually opened an independent business with both summer and school year programs.

In 2005, the programs expanded to offer evening gaming for older teens as well as adult program alumni. Over the years, the adult program has expanded, introducing not only non-alumni to our game, but also adding other role play systems, including CyberPunk, Serenity, and Burning Wheel.


An amazing audio piece for KALW by one of our alumni, Rafi Ronquillo.


A video about The Roleplay Workshop created by one of our amazing alumni, Cody Flowers.


Read real testimony from parents and students from our youth program.

From Players

The best education (and non-education) program I have ever been involved with, both as a student and as a employee. The world of Abantey really unlocked my appreciation for learning and helped me learn to work with my peers. Becky really knows the meaning of true education!

Scott L. October 30, 2016

Great people, great fun. It gave me several role models and friends. It really helped me grow as a young adult.

Colin F. October 30, 2016

From Parents

He may enjoy the Roleplay Workshop. They offer weekly day camps all summer, Mon-Fri all day (with optional extended care). You didn’t say where you live, but the Roleplay Workshop is on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. The games are creative and involve science and mythology, as well as a little math. My son and daughter have both been attending for years and LOVE it!

I think the minimum age is 10 years old, and goes up through 17 or 18. (There’s a separate teen table.)

love love love Roleplay Workshop October 30, 2016

How about the Roleplay Workshop summer day camps? I already posted information about them in the ”schools, preschools & camps” newsletter, but here it is again. As we’re all looking ahead to summer and finding activities for our kids/teens, I’d like to make sure everybody knows about a fantastic weekly summer program called ”The Roleplay Workshop”. The program is located in a loft above Dr. Comics and Mr. Games on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. (They also walk to a local park for lunch and ultimate frisbee games in the afternoon.)

Do your kids like fantasy, science fiction, or other imaginary worlds? If so, the Roleplay Workshop may be perfect for them. My two kids both started as soon as they turned 10 years old and this summer will be their 4th and 6th years attending. It’s their favorite summer activity! My daughter says ”Roleplay Workshop is a great place to have fun and express yourself.” My son says ”Roleplay Workshop is fun for beginning and advanced players.”

Sharon October 30, 2016

I wanted to remind everyone who is looking for something to do with their kid this summer that Roleplay Workshop (Abantey!) is around for fun, learning and entertainment. They’re short a few players to make good tables and it’s a great activity for kids. It’s a roleplaying game that teaches responsibility and that encourages thought, math skills and interaction. And it’s easy to learn and there is not a computer in sight! My son Alex loves it. Becky Thomas, who runs it, is a credentialed teacher and truly gifted with teenagers. Info is at www.roleplay-workshop.com or you can always contact me to find out more.

Jackie October 30, 2016

I heartily recommend The Roleplay Workshop in Oakland on Piedmont Avenue. http://www.roleplay-workshop.com/ Becky offers after-school, holiday, and summer camp programs. From the website, it appears the minimum age is 10. My two sons primarily went during school breaks and summer vacation. They always had a good time, it was reasonably priced, and Becky was always understanding and flexible.

Lois October 30, 2016

My son went to the Abantey camp a year ago and just loved it. The leader is really nice and enthusiastic, and the kids there all loved the game. I recommend it.

Linda October 30, 2016

My 13 year old son has been going to Abantey for 2 or so years. He goes during spring and winter break from school and as many weeks as he can during the summer (when he’s not at sleepaway camp and we’re not on vacation). He LOVES it. It is role play games…it is also learning math, learning about human character, how to become a better person….what do you have to do to evolve to another level…I actually don’t really understand it fully…I think you have to do it to understand it. My son spends time working in his Abantey workbook at home, he has discussions with his other Abantey friends about the different beings and characters they’ve come up with…. I believe it helps him do real life problem solving. Becky Thomas, the creator of Abantey is wonderful. I highly recommend it, if you can handle schlepping to Piedmont twice a day.

They go out during lunch and run around A LOT playing ultimate frisbee, in case you’re concerned about them sitting around all day. Try it for a week and see how your son likes it…. have fun!

June October 30, 2016

My son has been attending the Roleplay Workshop after school for about 4 years now, and loves it. It is run by Rebecca Thomas, who is an experienced teacher. It’s designed for kids 9 & up – with separate sessions for teens. It’s a place where the kids can create a character and then work with the others to solve complicated mysteries. See their web site www.roleplay-workshop.com for more info. Kids can sign up for 1 or more afternoons per week, and there are also school vacation and holiday all-day sessions. It’s held at the Dr. Comics & Mr. Games store on Piedmont Ave in Oakland, and kids come from Berkeley as well as Oakland. As the kids gain experience, there is also the chance to learn game-master skills. My son loves the program. I’d be happy to give more info if anyone wants more specifics. The phone number of the program is 510-654-3582.

RolePlay Workshop parent October 30, 2016

Whenever our older teen surprises us with his maturity, we attribute it to Becky and Steve’s example.

Carol R. November 18, 2016