Last summer, I evolved from a console gamer to a dabbler in table top gaming; this is due to discovering River Quest Games. There are plenty of small comic book shops and board game businesses in the Twin Cities, but I want to direct your attention to Winona, two and a half hours southeast of Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you haven’t been to this beautiful town, I recommend making the drive, particularly in the summer. Located in the heart of downtown, River Quest Games sits . . . wait for it . . . in view of the Mississippi River.
Dan Milian is someone I have become incredibly close with since becoming a loyal customer at River Quest. Dan’s been a Magic: the Gathering player since 1994 and that influenced his passion for fulfilling his lifelong dream of opening a store of his own. In Dan’s small town there were no game stores, so if he wanted Magic cards he went to a friend’s basement to buy some. Eventually, game stores started popping up in Dan’s area, but his dream of owning his own business never diminished. In 2013, his business partner and close friend had some money saved that would be invested into developing River Quest.
Naming the store was initially a challenge, says Dan. “I originally wanted to name the store Adventure Quest, but my business partner came back from tubing on the Mississippi River and he came up with River Quest. It was at that moment when the store’s name was created. It blends a fantasy theme with the natural history of the Mississippi. It was perfect”. Dan’s goal for River Quest was to provide plenty of gaming space and to have a casual lounge. There are plenty of tables in the store, but also a couch with various geek pillows. This lounge is great for socializing and for playing D&D. There’s an Xbox 360 in this corner, as well, for console gamers like myself.
River Quest has been my way to escape the stress of school and the business itself appeals to college students. River Quest offers coupons to Winona State University students which include discounts off items and free stuff when participating in tournaments. I used my coupon on a commander deck in Magic: the Gathering which I absolutely adore. As someone who is attending college and slightly low on funds, I have never felt pressured to buy anything. For me, River Quest gives off the vibe of being a relaxing place to hang out which is very appealing.
River Quest is also infamous for supporting newer games by using Kickstarter. According to Dan, “Kickstarter is a great way to help support small and independent game designers”. Earlier this year, River Quest kickstarted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed game. Thanks to customers, this game will be found along the extensive collection of games River Quest sells. This helps to keep new merchandise in stock in the store, but also gives table top enthusiasts a chance to try something new. I know I always look for new board games to play, which is why I always check out River Quest first.
Minnesota is a beautiful state and if you’re looking for a new place to explore, check out Winona. While you’re there, give River Quest your support. Dan is incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate, which is a perfect combination for running a business. With the release of the new Shadows over Innistrad block in Magic: the Gathering, I know where I’ll be.