03 May 2022
We caught up with Mac and Carole about their Devon-based board game cafe.
How did Dice and a Slice get started?
We had both played board games since early childhood, and in fact, some of the games in the library are games I played as a child. While we were visiting family in Melbourne we went to a board games café there, and both thought it a great idea. It was discussed over the following year or so, and we came to the conclusion that we should give it a go if the right premises came up. Additionally, Dominick, our ADHD son, was becoming very withdrawn and we hoped that this would provide a therapeutic outlet for him.
Carole heard some gossip that the place we are in now was going to be available at a price we could afford – and seeing as you regret the stuff you didn’t do, more than the things you did, we thought we’d go for it. We rented the shop, painted it, stuck Snakes and Ladders on the ceiling, put in a small kitchen at the back and lots of Kallax units along the walls – and we were off.
I did want to call the place The Vulgar Unicorn, but Carole said no, which was probably for the best.
What’s it like being a FLGS in your area?
Ilfracombe is basically ‘the end of the line’ – you come here to be here, you don’t pass through on your way to someplace else. So it can be tough, especially in the winter. But we have a fantastic group of regular customers and the atmosphere this creates makes it all worthwhile. Plus, it’s usually quiet enough that the three of us don’t feel overwhelmed.
There are a couple of groups that meet regularly locally, and we have played with them on occasion. But most of the people who visit regularly play Dungeons & Dragons and we have become something of a hub for that. Occasional visitors tend to go for Monopoly, Scrabble etc. but we do introduce them to other games, usually with great success.
What have been your favourite memories?
There are many, but when we were just starting, a lovely guy called Raymond offered us a load of games for our library. Raymond was dying from a brain tumour, but we did not know this at the time. He turned out to be a lovely guy and loved a wargame. We host ‘The Raymond’s’ event in his memory.
What events do you run?
We run D&D almost daily, which includes running a frequent beginner’s course, for anyone just starting out. In addition, we host a Magic: The Gathering drafting event when a new card set comes out (and we can do so within covid restrictions), and occasionally we have a day dedicated to a particular game. We also host crafting groups twice a week, and for charity, we have a Gygax day celebration, Macmillan coffee days, and host ‘The Raymond’s’ on August Bank Holiday.
What’re your plans for the future?
In the future, we’d like to see more wargaming coming to Dice and a Slice. We’re hoping to fill the hole left by one of our local game groups that shut down because of COVID risks, and we’d also like to once again host homeschoolers once a week. In addition, we have teamed up with a local hotel to host D&D weekends, and our pilot weekend seemed to be very well received. We have a pool of DM’s to work with so can offer a variety of scenarios for all, from complete beginners to very experienced players, and we are now working on dates for 2022.
Interview by Charlie Pettit
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