7 Things I’ve Learned at Dice Kong

In late 2015 I decided to pack my bags and move to Cebu to pursue a position I’ve been eyeing at with the company I was working with. Despite the routine and the ever growing boredom, the newfound freedom gave me enough reason to trudge on with the said corporate job. Weekdays found me sleeping by 9 PM (I lived in an isolated house in Naga, alone.), but the weekends were always a thrill! Finally, I could go to the beach whenever I wanted!

I found out about the Cebu Board Game Society back in April 2016 whilst Google-ing for another weekend destination. Table Top Day was coming, and they had organized a Splendor (among other games) tournament that I was mighty interested in joining. I excitedly called Ian up and asked him to fly to Cebu for the weekend. He pushed through and it was then where we met the ever so popular Poy of Ballista Games fame. The rest, as they say, is history.

November 2016 saw the soft opening of Dice Kong Board Game Café – our collective dream, a home for all Cebuano board gamers, a haven for the young and young at heart. In the few months that Dice Kong had operated, I’ve learned countless lessons about the gaming culture, the ever changing social construct of society today, and what it means to build a business around something you’d love to do every day.

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  1. “There’s a board game for everyone.” – is a cliché that gets passed around at Dice Kong every day, and for good reason. I’ve heard plenty a skeptic say “board games are just not my thing!” or “they’re called BORED games for a reason (ha ha…)” and believe me when I say you should give it a chance! I’ve taught families play Halli Galli, couples play Hanabi, kids play Spinderella, officemates play Coup and students play Quelf. Hell, if you’ve been to Dice Kong you probably have seen our staff playing Splendor during the off peak! There’s no prejudice here, everyone deserves some fun.Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting
  2. “Society’s need for interpersonal interaction” – We live in a world where we’re all constantly hooked online. Everywhere you go, an ever familiar “DING” can be heard every few minutes. Phones and tablets are ruining everyone’s posture, even children! I’ll stop being pretentious here – I’m guilty of the same thing. While putting up Dice Kong, we decided against getting WiFi. We wanted a place full of genuine smiles, not emojis! Who needs a keyboard when all your family and friends are right in front of you?Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and indoor
  3. “Board games are not only fun, they can be educational, too.” – I remember playing with action figures and making up stories with them and my brother back when I was a kid. I remember “Langit, Lupa” and “Bantay Base” were the reasons why I was always late to class after recess. Developmental psychology suggests that the virtue of “Competence” is first introduced to us at the ages of 5-12. According to Erik Erikson, this is the age where “the child must deal with demands to learn new skills or risk a sense of inferiority, failure, and incompetence.” Board games promote social interaction, healthy competition, strategic thinking, among others. There are even games that help with math, grammar and spelling!Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting
  4. “There’s enough variety to keep you interested.” – People who know me may rarely see me play here at the café (mostly because I’m usually pretty busy, though. Sorry guys!). But people who do play with me know exactly what games to bring to the table. You can come to Dice Kong one day with a group of 10 and play party games all night, then come back the next day with 2-3 other friends and play Ticket to Ride, Pandemic or Witness. That game on the top shelf you’ve been eyeing at since you first came to Dice Kong but couldn’t find an interested playgroup as it takes more than 3-4 hours? You can post a note at our message board (right outside the restroom) and start your own!Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting
  5. “People love competition!” – Last month, we held our very first Jungle Smash monthly tournament with Ticket to Ride USA and the competition in the field was cutthroat to say the least. To be honest, we never really expected it to get that heated. It was a blast just seeing people do play after play that would never have even crossed my mind to begin with. We are just about to conclude the 2nd installment of Jungle Smash with Splendor and boy oh boy are the games just as intense! Stay tuned for next month’s Jungle Smash so you can start practicing!Image may contain: one or more people
  6. “Board games are now more accessible than ever.“ – Can’t find a good enough reason to buy that one game you’ve always wanted to play? Can’t find a copy of that game you’ve always wanted to try out with family? At Dice Kong, you get access to your library of more than 180 games all day for just 100 pesos. Hate rulebooks? We will be more than happy to teach you! Don’t know what to play? Let our staff recommend games for you!Image may contain: 20 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor
  7. “Teaching is just as fun as playing.” – In the few months we’ve opened, I’ve taught all kinds of players – from moms and their kids, to young professionals. And there’s probably nothing else I’d rather be doing right then and there than helping bring happiness to their faces. We’ve had return customers come in with a new group every day – teaching their friends the games we taught them. Now that’s a fulfilling job for you!

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