In second grade, two boys became best friends. The following year, they started playing Dungeons and Dragons together.
And they never really stopped.
A few decades later, friends Jared Scriven and Clay Fuchs turned their lifelong love of games into a game store/cafe called Dungeons and Javas in Colorado Springs.
However, it hasn’t all been fun and games so far.
The couple, along with Scriven’s wife, Candus, opened Dungeons and Java in May 2020, enduring months of slow business due to the pandemic.
But people showed up. They rented games from the store’s library. They bought games for Christmas presents hoping to help keep it open.
And that’s the case.
Every day Dungeons and Javas fulfills its purpose, which hasn’t been possible much in the past year. The shop offers a full slate of weekly events, including a Sunday family board game night and a regular Colorado Springs Board Game Club meeting.
People also come by chance when looking for a place to play a new game or paint Dungeons and Dragons miniatures.
Scriven said they do events through Zoom, but it’s just not the same.
“It was obvious during COVID what we were missing,” he said. “What I love about the game is getting together with your friends, laughing and having conversations.”
As people are able to do this again, they search for Dungeons and Javas.
The location off Austin Bluffs Parkway follows similar concepts like Board Game Republic in Denver.
And, yes, it is a dream location for gamers, whether friends or strangers.
Inside, a corner of the walls is painted to look like a stone dungeon. There are rows and rows of games to choose from.
Tables, which Scriven calls the “ultimate gaming tables,” are set up around the shop, complete with player pads and cup holders.
Often you will find groups playing Magic the Gathering, the card game. Or you might find Scriven playing a game called Zombacide.
There’s also a VIP games room with a library of digital cards and the ability to play music and sound effects.
And, to fill those cup holders, there’s a menu of coffee options called “potions” and Dungeons & Dragons themed.
So far, these details have helped build community.
“We wanted to have a game store where everyone felt welcome,” Scriven said. “And to be that place where people can go and be with their friends.”
And it’s a different experience than playing games at home.
“When you actually go to the store to play games, it allows you to disconnect and get away from whatever is going on in life,” he said. “It’s like an escape.”
Now that Dungeons and Javas has survived its first year and the pandemic, Scriven said he’s looking forward to the sequel.
“It’s like, OK, what’s the next level?” he said. “How can we make this even better?”