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Dice Goblin Games opens hobby store, grill in Cumming
Dice Goblin
Dice Goblin Games recently opened at 1532 Market Place Blvd., Cumming.

Nathaniel Whitley and Dennis Robinson got into gaming at a young age, each picking up hobbies and playing favorites like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering and more.

Now, years later, they have partnered with friend Paul Schmidt to create and open Dice Goblin Games, a gaming store that sells games, cards, dice and food.

In colloquial gaming terms, a dice goblin is a “person who collects lots of dice and likes the shiny, click-clack math rocks.” Both Whitley and Robinson agreed that it was a fitting name for the store.

“We all love dice,” Whitley said. “It’s like holding little gems in your hands. It makes you feel like a dragon.”

Dice Goblin Games also has a grill component, complete with Breads of Holding, or burgers, and a variety of Side Quests to choose from.

Whitley said there used to be rules against serving food and alcohol during gaming events, but the rules were amended in the last few years.

“When they amended the rules,” Whitley said. “That’s when we started to consider this a real opportunity and viable concept.”

The ‘concept,’ as Robinson explained it, was born from seeing gaming-enthusiasts at Whitley’s other store, Vendetta Games, bringing in food and snacks from places like Wendy’s, Burger King or any other eatery close by.

Dice Goblin
Dice Goblin Games will soon add wine, beer and mead to its menu, letting gamers socialize and drink together over a game of Yu-Gi-Oh! or Dungeons & Dragons.

“I started out by just playing at Vendetta,” Robinson said. “And when I went in, I noticed all the guys there with bags of food from different places. And so, I just said to [Schmidt], ‘Why don’t we do that? Why don’t we serve food?’”

Whitley said that customers and gamers can buy a burger and “level it up” by adding cheese, veggies or condiments. Sides such as fries and onion rings can also be purchased at the tavern-style bar.

When deciding on an aesthetic for the store, Whitley said they wanted a mixture of “tavern vibes plus Nerd Mecha.” All the tables at Dice Goblin were handmade and hand-stained by staff to give a rustic feel, and artwork commissioned by local artists lined the walls.

Each of the tavern tables is big enough to host a variety of different games, built for classics like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer, plus trading card games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. But above all, each table is equipped to host groups of friends familiar and new alike.

“I was the generation of malls and movie theaters and food courts — the typical mall rats,” Robinson said. “That doesn’t really exist anymore. There aren’t arcades, nobody hangs out in the mall anymore, kids don’t have nowhere to go or nothing to do.”

“We will play any game that someone wants to play,” he said. “If someone wants to come here and play it, I’ll support it.”

Dice Goblin
D20s line the wall in all shapes and sizes, coming in the forms of traditional "math rocks" or huggable pillows.

Robinson said that he is a licensed special education teacher and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has seen the emotional toll being separated from friends has had on children. He said that he believed games were beneficial for people to help build social skills and improve upon them. Plus, “it’s just fun to hang out with your friends.”

“I have seen people come in many a time that are scared to interact with people, shy or just skittish,” Whitley agreed. “[Dungeons & Dragons] especially is like putting you together with a group of people that are going to enjoy the same thing as you for four hours a day once a week. You really start to develop close friendships through that, so it’s a huge therapy tool and a huge boon to their ability to be social creatures.”

Whitley said that he “could not even describe” all of the “amazing things I’ve seen at the table, especially the friendships formed.” He encouraged anyone that was curious about gaming to stop by Dice Goblin for a “chat.”

“Come down and talk to us, hang out,” Robinson said. “If anybody ever needs a place to just be, come hang out with us.”

Dice Goblin Games has been open for less than a month but has already seen familiar faces. Whitley is an owner of Vendetta Games in Dahlonega, and he said that he’s seen some of their customers from there stop by.

“We’ve actually seen a lot of our regulars already,” Whitley said. “We are located a little closer to them now, so it provides them with an outlet closer to their house.”

Dice Goblin
Level up a bread of holding (burger) by adding cheese, veggies or condiments. Other purchasable dishes include onion rings, fries and cheese sticks.

Though Dice Goblin Games has been open for a while, Whitley said they are holding off on their grand opening until they receive an alcohol license. The “tentative plan” is to serve beer, wine and mead, “again, to go with the tavern feel of the place.”

“I can’t wait for the grand opening. The selfish part of me wants to show off all of our accomplishments, because it’s been a journey,” Whitley said. “But I think that the thing I draw the most from is just meeting all the people. I always talk to everyone who comes in about it. It is just the wildest trip getting to meet everyone because there’s so many unique personalities.”

“That’s what we’ve been trying to push,” Robinson agreed. “That personal touch. I’ve had people call and ask, ‘Is it OK if we just come by and hang out?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, that’s what we’re here for! Please come pick up a game, hang out, we don’t care. We’re just excited you’re here.’”

Regarding the future of Dice Goblin Games, Whitley said that they want to “maintain constant availability” for events like Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigmar, Magic: The Gathering, Commander, trivia and more.

Currently, Dice Goblin Games is accepting applications from Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters that would like to host games at the venue. Whitley said they will have a DM reward program with benefits and “a nifty space to run things.”

To learn more about Dice Goblin Games and follow their journey, visit Dice Goblin Games on Facebook.

Dice Goblin Games is located at 1532 Market Place Blvd., Cumming.