FAMILIES and fun-seekers united this morning as an independent board games lounge was officially launched in the heart of Southsea.
Off the back of a three-year Kickstarter campaign, bosses at Dice were delighted to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and swing open their doors to dozens of gamers from Portsmouth and beyond.
The cafe with a twist is located in Albert Road’s former Conservative Club and boasts hundreds of games revellers can pick up and play over light refreshments.
As well as coffee, tea and soft drinks, there is a range of beers, locally-brewed craft beers, spirits and other boozes for maturer customers to enjoy.
Mother-of-two Beck Mason from Southsea went along with her sons Dan, 10 and James, 12 – whose favourite board games are Exploding Kittens and Carcassonne.
‘Board games are great for camaraderie, strategy and for getting the kids away from screens,’ she said.
‘I got behind the original Kickstarter campaign for this and I’m delighted to see all the hard work the guys have put in to make it happen.
‘To have something like this in our locality is going to be great fun and it fits in perfectly with the Albert Road vibe.’
Mrs Mason is one of 276 people who have donated more than £11,660 to Dice’s online fundraising campaign, which was launched in 2015.
As it opened today it attracted some of those fans and many more – who travelled from as far as Eastleigh, like Anri and Andrew Smith, to get involved in the fun.
Mrs Smith, 25, said: ‘On Playstation and Xbox, games are mostly for up to four players – but even the controllers just to get involved in those are really expensive.
‘Board games are different and can be enjoyed by the whole family.’
She added: ‘You don’t get many board game cafes, but I love board games and I love coffee – so put those together and it’s bound to be a winner.’
Andrew Carter, 32, is a manager and co-owner of Dice.
‘The reception today is fantastic and it’s so good to see all the people who have supported us since we set up that Kickstarter.
‘We’ve got two full cabinets of games people can play – as well games they can buy – and we’re hoping to become an enviable destination which attracts all people, from non-gamers through to heavy gamers.’
Cutting a ribbon and declaring Dice open was Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan – whose constituency office is also on Albert Road.
The Labour politician said: ‘This is a brilliant and innovative new independent business run by local people.
‘For every pound we spend in the local economy, 63p goes back into it so hopefully Dice will have a long life down on Albert Road.
‘I encourage everyone and anyone to come and have a play.’
Dice’s premises at 149 Albert Road previously hit the headlines after they were subject to a planning application for a new strip club from businessman Paul Ojla.
The board games lounge accepts table reservations and is open from 11am until 10pm daily.
Gamers must pay a £4 to play, with concessions at £3 for children, students and emergency service and armed forces workers with valid ID.