Game Store Spotlight: Dicey Business

We have visited many game stores and cafés, and have enjoyed being at just about all of them. We especially like the relationships we’ve built with the stores that have supported us by stocking Mathemagician’s Duel. There is, however, a special place for us and in our hearts for Dicey Business.
When Bill and I started out and were preparing to release Mathemagician’s Duel, we were searching for local stores and just dropping in, trying to sell them on the pre-order of the game, while also looking for a place we could hang out at and use as a bit of a “home base”. Bill mentioned that he had driven past a plaza with a game café in it near the Meadowvale GO station. I also used to live in that area, but had no idea of which place he was talking about. I knew of the plaza, but not of that store. So, one day we got together and decided to visit. Meeting and talking to the owner, Kellen, we learned that they’d only been open about 18 months, and that Kellen was really chill and open to all sorts of ideas. Bill and I liked the idea of working with him and work out some mutual promotion.

One of our early visits to Dicey Business!

We went back a few times to hang out and play games, and realized that we really like the grilled cheese sandwiches! We also met Adonis, who kinda worked there, we think? Or didn’t but just helped out when he was there? We weren’t totally sure, but what did know was that Adonis is awesome. He is outgoing, loud and friendly, and excited about everything, especially, it seemed, about having fledgling game designers hanging about in the store. Adonis greets everyone like a friend, and helps direct new gamers in the door to a table and explains that they can grab a game and start playing, order food over at the kitchen area, and pay on the way out. And if Bill and I are there, he also points us out, and tells them that we are game designers and suggests that they go ask us what we were working on and see if they could playtest out latest game! Sometimes the customers politely say “okay”, and then go about keeping to themselves and play their games, but often, people’s curiosity gets them to come over and talk to us, based on Adonis’ endorsement. We got many people we didn’t know try Mathemagician’s Duel and to playtest Sinoda and Say What, Now? this way. If you go back through our Instagram and Facebook photos, you’ll see how many of the pictures have red tables and brown bench seats in them. These are all from Dicey!
Adonis also likes to try our games, even though we was really bad at Sinoda, which is why we named it after him (it’s Adonis backwards).
And he loves art and drawing, and encourages others who do so as well. He has done fan art of the characters from Mathemagician’s Duel, and hosts drawing nights at Dicey for artists to sit together and draw and chat.

We also met Debbie, who is the most constantly friendly, attentive, and easy-going restaurant worker I have ever met. She takes care of everybody as best she can, to make sure that everyone is having the best time they can. Really, it’s like hanging out a friend’s house, where your friend is a great host, and Debbie is that friend and that friend’s mom at the same time.

Just as my daughter discovered and decided that she enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons, we were told (probably by Adonis) that a group was starting a D&D campaign there one evening a week and were looking for players. I took her there and she made a character and joined the group. She was the youngest at 13, but the others welcomed her and she had a great time, and it was her favourite day of the week.

Kellen was the first store to pre-order Mathemagician’s Duel and when it was printed, shipped and then arrived in January, managed to sell out his first order in a week, and has reordered twice since. He also allowed to use Dicey for a launch party for the official release of Mathemagician’s Duel, and stayed open for 24 hours for us so we could participate in the Extra Life for Kids game marathon.
He and Adonis made a cute “Game of the Month” sign for Mathemagician’s Duel, and we joked that we should make a sign like that as a promo for every store that carries it, but glue a copy of our game to the frame.

Game of the Month
Which month? Every month.

We became concerned during the lockdown due to COVID, because this is a business I wanted to survive. My family tried to help out by getting a take-out lunch every week and encouraging others to do the same.
During the closure though, Kellen took advantage of not having the area full of people to make some updates and renovations. The kitchen area got moved, expanded and upgraded, and other work to pretty up the place got sorted out. To be honest, although it was functional and cozy, early on it didn’t seem quite “finished”, and sometimes a was a bit cramped with the number of tables in there. Now the tables are better spaced and storage areas are hidden away. And Kellen did all the work himself with help from friends.
Another thing he did himself was to build a patio area in the parking lot when the government announced it was okay for restaurants to serve patrons again. It seemed to pop up almost overnight, and we could go and sit and enjoy food and drinks (especially the chocolate milkshake, which my family loves!) and games at Dicey Business again.

Dicey patio
A parking lot patio for safe dining!

Dicey Business just celebrated their 3rd anniversary, and we hope that there are so many more! Check out their Facebook for updates on all of their specials and events.

You can see why we love to go there, but why should you? The food is good and the café is cozy. There are lots of games and the people are great. What more do you need? Escape rooms? Okay, they have those, too. If you are in The Greater Toronto Area, or just passing through, bring your family and/or friends by for a lovely evening of fun.
I hope we see you there!

One response to “Game Store Spotlight: Dicey Business”

  1. Just got Imhotep, Agricola and Tiny Epic Zombies last week from Dicey. Agricola is a bit of a beast for setup but a great game once you get over the learning curve. Tiny Epic Zombies is fun, a bit fiddly but still a good zombie bash up. It has Meeples you can customize as you play with weapons and things. My favourite would have to be Imhotep. It has a theme but it is more of an abstract game. Some take that and lots of planning ahead. The rules are straight forward and make for lots of strategies. Just what you want in a game.

    Dicey Business is a great place. I have fond memories of the drawing nights on Thursdays. So fun seeing everyone and their creativity. Many Thursdays I would stay late and work on game design ideas like many of the late nights we spent there. Hope that comes back soon. I’m sure it will.

    – Bill –

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