Rob McAllister had big plans for Dungeon’s Gate, his game store in Ankeny. He filled his shelves with new board games and science fiction novels. He planned game nights and dedicated half the space to tables for Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons players.
“We planned to open up to customers in March,” McAllister said, laughing. “Great timing, right?”
Half a year later, McAllister is finally celebrating the opening of Dungeon’s Gate with “Geektoberfest,” a Saturday event he hopes will gather the local gaming community for the first time since he opened the store in July.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, all eyes are on Iowa. Get updates of all things Iowa politics delivered to your inbox.
“We wanted to do something in the fall, just as a way to celebrate our store opening,” he said. “We’re going to do a lot of prizes and some discounts, but also … we want to try to connect with the community a bit more.”
Dungeon’s Gate began as an online retailer in October 2019. McAllister combined his background in software development with his childhood love of Dungeons and Dragons to create the store, which sells everything from children’s games to complex strategy puzzles.
“There’s definitely a huge percentage of the population who, when they think board games, they think Monopoly,” McAllister said. “But there are thousands of new board games that come out every year.”
After a successful online launch, McAllister and wife Melissa signed a lease on a physical store at 301 N.E. Trilein Drive. As COVID-19 shut down stores in March, they focused on their online sales and eventually opened for in-person customers in late July.
McAllister hopes the Geektoberfest event allows tabletop gamers and board game fans in Central Iowa to connect with one another. Dungeon’s Gate has several tables where players can meet and try out new games, but COVID-19 concerns have limited in-person interaction and community building.
While waiting for in-person play to be safer, McAllister has created a Dungeon’s Gate community on Discord, an online messaging platform popular with gamers. Iowans have used it to meet each other, he said, and to play games remotely.
The store also has hosted small-scale weekly game demonstrations to advertise new games and let customers try them out before buying.
“There are people that come into the store that are new to the area, or they want to try out a game but they don’t have friends that are local,” McAllister said. “We want to try to connect those people together.”
The store will be open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. for Saturday’s Geektoberfest. Books will be 20% off and customers may enter to win a gift card or a copy of the wargame The Elder Scrolls: A Call to Arms.
Your subscription makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Ankeny game store celebrates opening with Saturday ‘Geektoberfest’ event