For 40 years, The Days of Knights has provided tabletop game lovers with a place to not only buy games like “Dungeons & Dragons” and “Magic: The Gathering,” but also to meet other people with the same hobby.
“We wanted to be someplace where not only can people buy games, but people can learn how to play them and meet other people who like to play games,” owner Mica Corradin said.
In the back of Days of Knights, behind a green curtain, is a hallway that leads to the store’s club room. Ever since the store moved to its current location on Main Street in 1996, players have gathered in that room for the opportunity to bond over a board game or get together for one of the store’s many events, such as Bilbo Baggins’ Birthday Party, a celebration of all things Tolkien.
This month, the store is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a series of events, with each weekend focusing on a different genre of games.
The weekend of Oct. 9 is Free Board Game Days, featuring prizes at the door. Oct. 16 will be a celebration of role-playing games. On Oct. 17, founder Lee McCormick will return to the store to run a role-playing scenario. Oct. 23 will focus on the popular card game “Magic: The Gathering.” The last weekend of October will be the “Great Pumpkin Sale,” with door prizes throughout the day.
McCormick founded the store with a team of around 20 investors, which included John Corradin, Mica’s late husband. Many people involved in the store were community members who would play at the University of Delaware student lounge. John was the largest stockholder, and when McCormick moved out of the state, John, took over as owner/manager.
“For over 35 years, he was the key person who built the business,” Mica Corradin said.
Before 1996, the store was located in the Newark Mini-Mall.
Long-time customer Chris Mlynarczyk has shopped at Days of Knights since the 1990s. The Newark resident said he first went to the store because it was the only place that sold the James Bond 007 roleplaying game.
“I now have life-long friends because of this store,” Mlynarcyk said.
Corradin took over ownership of the store after her husband died in 2018.
Her fondest memories of Days Of Knights are the events, like Bilbo Baggins’ Birthday Party.
“My husband John thought this is a really neat idea for something we can celebrate because we all love Tolkien, and D&D was really based on that kind of fantasy world,” Corradin said.
Corradin said an important aspect of the store is that it’s family-friendly and family-oriented.
“People from different generations will come,” Corradin said. “Their parents came and then they’ll come. My two grandsons have been coming since they were little and they still like to visit the store.”
Corradin said the biggest change has been in what genres of games people enjoy. When they started out, role-playing games were popular, but in the 90s, “Magic” became an important part of their business.
“We used to have tournaments that would fill this place,” Corradin said.
The stores’ current biggest seller is board games, especially strategic games.
Corradin said the two largest challenges Days of Knights face is online shopping and the emergence of video games.
“People can now buy anything they want on the internet, so you have to draw them to the store to have an experience,” Corradin said.
Board games offer important social and family interactions which are much different from video games, she added.
“It’s really a great vehicle for people to express their creativity. For things like ‘Magic,’ you really have to learn to read, and it’s based on mathematics,” Corradin said. “Games are building skills, but in a way where people have fun.”