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About Mission: Fun & Games & Boardgames.ca
Mission: Fun & Games is a family owned store (a mom and pop and two tot shop) that began in 1990 in a small 750 square foot location on the south west side of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada.
How We Began:
When we started in 1990, Mission: Fun & Games was a video game and movie store, dealing with the rentals and sales of VHS movies and Nintendo, Sega, and Gameboy games. John Engel, Tracy Robertson (now John's wife), Dan Matheson and Glenn Turkington built the store from scratch in a small vacant lease space in a strip mall on the south side of St. Albert. When Magic the Gathering was released in 1993, Mission: Fun & Games took a leap from their current niche, and was the second store in the Edmonton area to carry it. They immediately began running events in the vacant space adjacent to the store and as the CCG category grew, the store became more a game store than a rental store. In 1996 the time came to move to a larger storefront and also give up the rental business entirely. This second location was 1050 square feet, and we had the space to begin carrying miniatures and role playing products also.
Only 13 months later, we moved across the parking lot to an even bigger home, taking two 1200 square foot bays, and added even more board games, miniatures, and role playing games to our selection. In February of 2004, another bay next door became available and we cut a hole for a door to the adjacent space. This became the main gaming area where tables and chairs were permanently set up. There was also a showroom for chess, poker, Go, mah jong, backgammon and cribbage in the new space. A special room for role playing events and other unique uses, about 8 by 12 feet, was set aside and renovated for use by role players in the new space as well.
In April 2007 a fourth bay adjoining on the east side was added. Mainly for shipping and receiving, as well as inventory storage.
In 2012, the dream finally became reality when our own freestanding location was purchased. No more renting in a strip mall! The new location is a former restaurant along the main highway through St. Albert. The family spent most of spring and early summer 2012 renovating the location from a restaurant to a retail location. This would not have been possible without the help of our amazing gaming community. So many wonderful people helped us wash and paint walls and ceilings, teardown walls, clean everything and when the time came, pack, relocate and unpack the entirety of the store's product. When we opened our doors later that summer, it was to welcome our gaming community into an over 5000 square foot location featuring an open and sunny retail floor with airy high ceilings, a round gaming room with floor to ceiling windows, and more nerdy surprises than ever - such as the chess set in our garden, the suit of armor guarding the door, and our glow-in-the-dark scavenger hallway. Oh yeah, we also had the building painted to look like a castle.
Business continues to bustle; we have an average of 50 people for our weekly Pokemon League, the 2014 Gamealot shattered all previous records for both food and cash donations, and the boardgaming hobby continues to thrive. We can't wait to see what the future holds!
The Staff of Mission: Fun & Games
My dad was an avid gamer when I was a kid. We spent a lot of quality time together playing chess, Crokinole, battleship, and table hockey. Dad always welcomed my friends at the table for games of Rook, hearts, Cribbage, Risk. He even took to Magic the Gathering in his retirement years. Our neighborhood was full of kids, so school holidays meant hours of gaming in makeshift forts during the summer, and at the kitchen table in the winter.
At 54 years of age in our family today, my two daughters, both in their early 20’s, and my wife Tracy, are all avid gamers. What little opportunity I have to play games normally happens at staff gaming nights, or on my birthday.
I have over 4000 games in my collection. If I was given the opportunity to have any number of games with any ages of players for any length of time and/or any complexity, it would be 4 - 6 players for Cosmic Encounter. My favorite 2 player game is Scrabble. I proposed to my wife on a Scrabble board some 23 years ago.
Tracy runs the Pokemon League and gets her board and card gaming in during the staff gaming nights, and the odd family gaming session with the husband (store owner). She has thankfully forgiven her husband for cheating at Scrabble when he played out the marriage proposal (over 3 hours of game play). She will always play Risk if she gets the Pink pieces, has been known to plunk down a bingo in the odd Scrabble game, and plays a mean game of cribbage or crokinole.
Current favourites: Scrabble, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Apples to Apples, Things: Humor in a Box, Chicken Cha Cha Cha, Jungle Speed, Risk, Bohnanza
My adventures with boardgaming started at an early age. I used to spend a lot of time at our family cabin, and when I wasn't tromping through forests and building castles in the sand I was playing board games. Some of my earliest favorites included Quicksand, HeroQuest, Siege, Wizard, and D&D First Quest.
I took a break from boardgaming for a few years but have recently regained the passion I once had! With so many great new titles, and a strong desire to sample different types of game mechanics, the choices can be overwhelming these days.
I will share with you some of my current favorites, with the hopes that at least one of these titles will inspire you to try something new and unexpected. Most of my favorite games tend to be strong thematically, and I am also a big fan of dice based games!
Current favourites: Elder Sign - Gates of Arkham, Valley of the Kings, Downforce, Pandemic: The Cure, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game + Expansions, Among the Stars + Expansions, Kemet
John joins the warehouse side of things, taking care of shipping, helping handle orders, most aspects of the online business, boardgames.ca. A lifelong boardgames enthusiast, John also enjoys Magic and helps out with Thursday D&D at Mission and is a veteran volunteer for the Edmonton & Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Current favourites: Village, Concordia, Mare Nostrum, Five Tribes, Caverna, Champions of Midgard, Star Trek: Attack Wing and an oldie but a goody, DUNE.
Eric is a long time tabletop gamer, an early favourite being the Lord of the Rings Adventure Game. He enjoys games with strong themes in their gameplay, and especially dungeon crawlers like Descent: Journeys in the Dark.
Current favourites: Gloomhaven, Mansions of Madness, Unicornus Knights, and Battlestar Galactica
Alex is sometimes hard to spot as they often work in the warehouse and do inventory on the thousands of games stored there. They are also Editor in Chief of our blog and newsletter. Alex enjoys pen and paper RPGs.
Tuppy has played a LOT of games and even that seems like an understatement. He's always interested in learning new games, and is an excellent fellow to get new game recommendations from. He has many sessions of Risk and Axis & Allies under his belt from his younger days, but nowadays plays a wide variety of games.
Current favourites: Capital Lux, Merchants & Marauders, Bloodborne: The Card Game
Cassi got her start with classic playing card games like Rummy and Cribbage with her mom and sister. She's a lifelong Pokemon fan and helps Tracy with Pokemon League on Saturdays, plays a weekly Dungeons & Dragons campaign on Mondays, and plays boardgames with her husband on other nights. She met her husband at a Risk game night over 13 years ago.
Current favourites: Tokaido, Clank!, Dice Forge, and Century Golem Edition
Jaxon and Asher
Jaxon and Asher are our part time helpers who can often be seen on Saturdays in the canteen or outside gardening and doing odd jobs to keep the Castle looking beautiful.