Gaming for life

Shane Will

Photo by Whitney Garcia

Shane Will brings fantasy to life with his club members at newly purchased Kettil’s Keep Table Top Games. Will, who also owns local comic book company CK Comics, recently purchased the game shop after selling it in 2013, when the gaming industry was in decline. Since then, however, gaming has found new life, and Will was encouraged to once again pursue his dream of playing for a living. The store offers a unique blend of retail merchandise, a clubhouse and a forthcoming comic-book studio for professional artists. Will provides a venue for local gamers who enjoy miniature role-playing games, complete with numerous sets of landscapes, warriors, creatures and weaponry to create highly extensive and elaborate settings. Will recently sat down with the CN&R to discuss his vision for the store and how gaming has shaped his life. Find Kettil’s Keep on Facebook or visit it in its new location at 984 East Ave.

What is the clubhouse like at Kettil’s Keep?

Right now, we usually see males from 18-35 years old play games with us, but anyone can, and everyone is welcome. We play war games, role-playing games, card games, board games, and have miniatures for people to use. People who have memberships have perks like discounts on the merchandise and being able to participate in tournament and campaign games.

Are you still making comics?

Absolutely. Currently, CK Comics is located in my home office. Soon, we are going to modify the rooms in the back of the store to a comic-book studio. We want to be able to fit three artists, including myself, to work on the comics, Monday through Friday.

Does the Internet compete with your store?

Not really. Computer gaming started impacting brick-and-mortar shops about 20 years ago, and since 2013, the audience has come back to normal and seen substantial growth. It’s like people decided to stop playing video games and come here to do it in real life instead.

What has gaming done for your life?

It has definitely improved my storytelling, and it has really helped with my social skills. People think that gamers hide in their mother’s basement, but it’s a really social environment. I don’t have fears of crowds or talking to people. And there’s a lot of math involved with creating army lists or character specs. Sometimes we even have to break things down to statistics to see if something is worth doing.

What kind of stories do the games tell?

I like epic stories of the good guys beating evil, but I almost always play the bad guy. I like to be the bad guy for the people around here; it allows me to help create the bigger story. Hopefully, the good guys win, but not always.