Days of Knights celebrates 30 years with day of gaming
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 04:11
While Homecoming festivities occurred throughout Newark on Saturday, university alumnus Anthony Pellicane played European board games like "Agricola" and "Ticket to Ride" in the back room of The Days of Knights on Main Street.
Pellicone, 33, of Kennett Square, Pa. was a participant in a board game tournament, one of the events commemorating the store's 30th anniversary, where many gaming enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the store's longevity.
The Days of Knights on Main Street was established November 1981 in order to bring the hobby of gaming to Newark.
John Corradin, 61, co-owner and manager of Days of Knights, has been an avid gamer since he first played Dungeons & Dragons in graduate school at the University of Florida.
"When I came back to Delaware, nobody played Dungeons & Dragons," Corradin said. "So I was up here and I had this great new game that I loved and wanted to play, but there was nobody to play it with."
Corradin said after he found someone with an interest in the game, they were able to recruit a following of people who were going to play with them on a regular basis.
"The problem then was there was nowhere to buy this stuff," he said. "One of my friends said he wanted to open up a store that would commit to selling D&D stuff and asked if I wanted to invest, and I did."
Corradin said for a year after the store opened the business was failing and he decided to step in try to prevent the store from closing.
"I was looking at the fact that—hey—I'm going to lose what my initial commitment was, or I have to do something about it," he said.
Corradin said he was able to save the store after he managed a deal with a friend who worked for a distributer to allow them to extend the store a line of credit. He also went back to investors and asked them to reinvest.
He said most of the investors recommitted to the business and it developed into the store it is today.
Today, the store's shelves are filled with board games and dice for games like Dungeons & Dragons. There are also decorated chess sets and fantasy art books.
Rose McFassel, 17, a senior at Milford High School, said she became interested in the shop this summer while on campus taking classes for college credit. While walking down Main Street one day, she decided to enter the shop and see what was inside.
"I have always been into Dungeons & Dragons and card games so the store interested me," McFassel said. "There really isn't anything like it near where I live so I really enjoy coming here."
She said the variety of games at the shop provides gamers with many possibilities for entertainment.
"I think it's kinda cool that there is a place where there are games that I've never even heard of," McFassel said.
She said while mainstream society favors video games, there will always be a place for board games.
"It is kind of like the issue with Kindles and books," she said. "Sure Kindles are cool, but books will always be around."
Corradin said even before video games were popular, games would evolve and change. He said in the beginning there was only one role-playing game, or one card game. Other businesses began creating other games and new games began appearing on store shelves.
"However, the biggest change had to have been in board games," he said. "There used to be just one or two board game companies, but now there's a lot more and with them came so many new variations of games."
Pellicane, who became interested in gaming after he was introduced to the shop by a friend, said the shop is home to a board game club which allows its members the ability to try out all different kinds of board games without having to pay for them.
"It also gives you an opportunity to try them out with real people," Pellicane said. "I would never have bought any of the games if I didn't have people to play them with."
He said he prefers board games over video games because board games are more social. He said he believes this is why shops such as Days of Knights should be supported.
"It's pretty rare these days," he said. "You have to try to be supportive of the store because they provide the atmosphere that this hobby needs."
Terry Masten, 34, of New Castle, also participated in the board game tournament. He said he has been coming to the shop since he was in high school. He said the only way the shop has really changed is in the games it has on stock.