Interview: Rad Lad Games Opening Soon in Mahomet
Rad Lad Games is planning to open on Mahomet's Main Street in August. Part tabletop games store, part venue to play your favorite games or try new ones, community, and coming together are at the heart of owner Andy Clodfelter's vision. Stocking the best in Board Games, Collectible Card Games, Roleplaying Games, Miniatures, Toys, and more are just part of the experience Rad Lad Games plans to offer. As Clodfelter explained to VCC, "It’s not about what you play – It’s about being together." Read our interview about Rad Lad Games below!
q+A: RAD LAD GAMES COMING SOON TO MAHOMET
Q: For people who only think of tabletop games as classics like Monopoly or Scrabble, can you explain a bit about how huge the market has gotten and how games have really expanded their offerings over the years?
RLG: Absolutely, it’s easiest to explain like this. Think about the example of Monopoly – a game that was created in 1904. That means this game has existed in SOME form for 117 years (which is remarkable given how well it's stood the test of time). Now – think about the first video game you ever played or even the first album you ever listened to – how much has the video game technology or recording studio equipment advanced since the first one you experienced? Now imagine THAT – but 117 years of ideas, experimentation, creativity, computer graphics, 3D printing, and experience with what works and what doesn't...and it's easy to imagine how much things have changed. This isn't to say that games are objectively "better" than classics like Monopoly (just like with the video game and music examples), simply that there are SO many more options and they have had decades to grow and advance.
So not only has the industry grown to include collectible card games, board games, roleplaying games, miniature games, trivia games, party games, and so many more...but there are a nearly infinite number of choices for any age group. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that board games are for kids or "family games" - but in reality - more games these days are made for adults than any age group.
Q: With the pandemic keeping a lot of us home, some of us rediscovered the joys of tabletop gaming or tried new things while socially distancing. What does it mean to get to invite people back together to play in person?
RLG: It's truly exciting for me to think about people who either rediscovered their love for these games or discovered them for the first time but have NOT had the joy of being able to play in person yet. Because even though with many games you could find some groups via various digital platforms or apps online - it just doesn't fully capture the experience of playing in person - so getting to see people experience this for the first time will be remarkable. The laughter is one thing that is irreplaceable - I can think of nowhere I have laughed harder and more often than sitting around a table with a group of friends playing a board game or an RPG (role-playing game). So getting the opportunity to watch people come back together after a year and a half or watching many people come together for the first time is an absolute gift.
While technology and social media have physically separated us over the past 15 years - tabletop gaming has been a continuous way to reunite us. Gaming stores all over serve as an incredible place to not only meet up with friends to play - but meet people with common interests - when maybe you always wanted to play D&D or Magic or Warhammer - but could never find anyone else who played. I can personally say that I met many of my closest friends while playing at a store - and I am certain that our store will be that for many as well.
Q: How will Rad Lad work as a store and venue to play games?
Rad Lad Games is essentially divided up into two parts - the store and the gaming area. The first 2/5 of the building is the store itself and the back 3/5 is space for gaming. So if you just want to stop in and browse, you can just pop in and out. Or if you want to stick around a while and play - we have plenty of tables to sit down at (currently looking at seating for between 25-40 depending on table arrangements), including a more private backroom as well.
It is free to come in and use the space/play any time that we are open - aside from special events or tournaments which will specify associated costs to participate.
Q: What sort of vision or dream led to you opening Rad Lad Games?
RLG: I have always enjoyed tabletop games to some degree at various points in my life and have grown more and more interested in the past several years. However, the main reason I decided to open Rad Lad Games is that the tabletop gaming community as a whole is genuinely one of the kindest, most welcoming, and accepting communities I've ever witnessed or been a part of, and I can think of no better job in the world than getting to serve and be around them every day. I spent over a decade working in the insurance industry, saving for years to do the very thing I am doing right now. As I am writing this, the store hasn't even opened yet - and let me just say - it was worth every moment of those 10 years - just to be where I am today.
Q: Given that you grew up in the area, what does it mean to open a business that reflects your passion in a place you've called home for a long time?
As someone who grew up in a smaller town (Monticello), I am excited for the opportunity to open this store for not only Mahomet and the greater C-U area - but Monticello, Seymour, Fisher, Mansfield, Farmer City, White Heath, Bement, Gibson City, surrounding towns, and every small-town kid who just wished they had a fun place to meet with their friends in their hometown. The business is located on Mahomet's beautiful historic main street directly next to Russell Park and will be easily visible/accessible during upcoming Mahomet Events such as the Mahomet Music Festival (August 27th-28th, 2021) and Mahomet Soda Fest (September 18th) - both of which we will be doing some sort of fun giveaways, so feel free to stop by if you're in town (even if it's just to cool off for a bit).
Find Rad Lad Gaming on Social Media and online
The Grand Opening for Rad Lad Games is Saturday, August 21st, 2021 - doors opening at noon, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony beforehand. Follow Rad Lad Games on Facebook and Instagram @RadLadGames to keep up to date on news and scheduled events - or visit their website.