Athoria Games is a gaming shop located in Mesa, Arizona that sells goods geeks of all kind drool over. It does not matter if you enjoy table top gaming, war gaming, card games, board games, video games, chances are Athoria Games has something you want! While there are a lot of great gaming shops around the valley but what sets this shop aside from the others is the fact that they sell worbla!
Yes, you read that right, you can get your cosplay needs in the same place that you can buy a new set of dice for D&D and get destroyed in Magic the Gathering by a kid who can’t legally purchase a ticket to a PG-13 film! I got the chance to visit the store for the first time during their celebration of their one year anniversary and even interview their owner, Suzanne!
The Geek Lyfe: First and Foremost would you be able to introduce yourself?
Suzanne: Hi! I am Suzanne Hug and I am the owner of Athoria games with my husband, Patrick.
TGL: Could you tell us a bit about Athoria Games and what it offers?
S: That is a lot to talk about! We are over 3,000 square feet, and we offer all of the nerd food groups. Everything from Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer 40k, video games, Magic, not to mention we sell Worbla which is a staple for cosplayers!
TGL: What inspired you to create Athoria Games?
S: We live in the area out here in the East Valley and we wanted a place where we could take our children to. Somewhere welcoming and friendly and decided to create that place ourselves! Athoria Games is now a place where you can come and hang out with out any fear of judgement no matter if you are just getting into a new game or are a veteran.
TGL: Twelve months is a long time with your first business. What was your favorite moment and worst moment in the year?
S: One of the challenges was getting the word out. When you start out, no one knows who you are or what you are doing and there can be a lot of misconceptions. Without going into the store, gamers would think we were just a magic shop or that we didn’t have any play space for table top gaming/war gaming. Learning to market was the hardest part, especially since I personally came from the corporate world. Having to switch gears and learn to talk with people directly and get out of my shell to promote our brand was something I had to overcome.
For the favorite moment, was actually just this past week. We had a customer come in who mentors young adults and kids and he introduced us to one of his students. We taught the kid how to play magic and he ended up wanting to come back for out Friday Night Magic event and had a lot of fun. The mentor came back later and told us “This kid hates math but Friday when I showed up, he had all of his math homework done for the week and has never done that before. He wanted to come back here that bad.” I was tearing up and had chills from being told this! That is that moment of people connecting and having fun that we have wanted to create for all gamers. Knowing that this experience is happening is incredible.
One of the other greatest moments of this year was meeting Krash and Aubrie! When they saw a friend of mine post about us carrying worbla, they literally came running through the doors to find our selection. They are always so upbeat, kind, and all around good people. Since then they have been coming back frequently!
TGL: It is very unique that a gaming shop would carry cosplay supplies. Did you always intend to carry worbla or were you talked into it?
S: We would like to think of ourselves as a geek hub instead of just a gaming store. We knew we were going to have the essentials for games like Dungeons and Dragon but also knew we had a ton of cosplayers as friends. So we asked they, “Hey! Is there anything we could bring in for you too?” and some of my really good friends Sarah and Matt said “If you can get worbla, we would drive across the entire valley to support you.” and from then on I decided to do my best to stock our store with those supplies. the cosplay community has been great to us. A lot of people reach out and share our content and even post pictures of what they have made using our supplies! The creative and skill form the Arizona cosplay community is just so impressive.
TGL: To get to know you a bit better, what is your personal favorite fandom? RPGs, card games, war gaming etc.
S: That is really hard! I am a huge gamer since I played World of Warcraft back in the day as Alliance. The board games are some of my favorites such as Dominion, I can play that over and over again. Since we have opened I have actually learned to play Dungeons and Dragons because of our Tuesday night adventure league. It is hard to pick just one favorite!
TGL: What is your elevator pitch for Athoria Games?
S: We are a a community focused on respect, value, and fun. If you are interested in being respected, finding a great value on items, and have fun then you need to come to Athoria Games.
While at the store they were actually hosting a class on worbla held by local cosplayers Krash and ElfyAubrie! The store was filled with gamers having a great time and the atmosphere was filled with nothing but great vibes. I can not recommend checking out Athoria Games enough! For more information check it out here!