Just over twenty years ago being a nerd was the worst possible thing to be. Then the internet happened and suddenly the nerds became powerful. Powerful and almost cool in a way. From time to time these intellectual creatures would converge at gatherings such as Comic Cons, ‘Magic: The Gathering’ tournaments and ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres but the need for a grassroots gamer community has always remained.
To fill this void, three local entrepreneurs Alexander Kirley, William Dungey and Jeff Roloson opened a gaming café in Brantford on April 5th, 2015. The café is located at 436 Colborne St East just down the street from Maria’s Pizza. Although the Grand Opening was on Easter weekend and is across from a Catholic church; the founders decided to call it The Devil’s Bench. The slogan of their shop is Board Games, Coffee and Nerdery.
“It has nothing to do with a satanic cult, it is named after William’s dog. He is a little jack russell terrier and he is all teeth, legs and energy. He’s a little devil dog,” Alex explained. “He always sleeps under William’s work bench. So we called it ‘the devil’s bench’.”
This eventually became a banner the three friends formed under in online gaming clans for Starcraft, Warcraft and Counter-Strike. When they opened the cafe together ‘The Devil’s Bench’ became their brand.
The Devil’s Bench is open from noon to 10:30 pm Tuesdays through Sundays and has over 200 board games available to play at any time. A day pass is $5 and gives you access to the huge collection of games, lots of table space to play with your friends and a nice lounge area to drink coffee and read. They also have snacks and drinks available.
The variety of games in-house is astounding. Starting from simple family fun games up to a super complicated ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ campaign there is enough variety to satisfy any type of gamer who may be interested. Pen and paper RPG fans should note that the Devil’s Bench is currently developing and beta testing their own role playing game called ‘Post Event’. It is a mixture of ‘D&D’ and ‘Fallout’, a post-apocalyptic survival game.
The Devil’s Bench is WPN approved and hosts ‘Magic: the Gathering’ tournaments three times a week. “That’s our big draw,” said Alex “Brantford is so hungry for Magic tournaments and we are happy to facilitate those guys. Tuesday night we host a Standard format tournament, Thursday night is Modern and Friday night is Draft. Impromptu EDH/Commander games can happen at any time.”
The ambience of the café is almost like a non-alcoholic bar for gamers. There are video game livestreams happening on TV’s along the wall, they have free wifi and a bartender who is always willing to “talk nerd” about any topic from Lord of the Rings to old school video games. Think of this place like the sitcom ‘Cheers’ but instead of Sam, Norm and Cliff Clavin – you have Sheldon, Leonard and Howard Wolowitz from the Big Bang Theory.
The Devil’s Bench is located at 436 Colborne St E, Brantford. For more information check out the website for the cafe at www.thedevilsbench.com.