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The Dealt Hand offers a new way to play board games

A new way to play board games is now available for residents in the Des Moines area.

A Des Moines couple—Joseph and Mary Roth—are co-founders of The Dealt Hand, a new organization that hosts pop-up board game events around the Des Moines metro.

“Over the last ten years, we’ve both really enjoyed board games at a casual level. There’s a board game cafe in Omaha called Spielbound that we’ve taken day trips to just to play a bunch of board games and hang out,” said Joseph. “We thought it would be really cool for Des Moines to have something like that and think it’s something this market would support.”

The Dealt Hand offers pop-up board game nights at taprooms, coffee shops and other locations throughout the Des Moines area. Some of the more frequent locations include Firetrucker Brewery, Uptown Garage Brewing and Art Terrarium.

Joseph and Mary Roth, co-founders of The Dealt Hand.

Since holding its first pop-up event in April of this year, the company’s popularity has grown and now holds 2-3 events per week. Last month, because of the growing popularity, Joseph quit his job in order to focus on The Dealt Hand full-time.

The Dealt Hand has a selection of over 200 board games designed to offer a wide variety of game types, including 2-player, group play, medium and long playing games and games for kids.

“We’ve been a huge spread of people interested which has been really nice and exciting,” said Mary. “It’s fun to see something that families can come in and do.”

Right now, the two are working hard to explore future possibilities for The Dealt Hand⁠. “That might be a new business model to open up a permanent location. It might be tweaking the model to continue to operate as a pop-up,” Joseph told Clay & Milk.

“In the perfect world, we open up in one of the outlying metro neighborhoods a permanent cafe space with a membership structure that allows folks to be able to come in and play whenever they want,” Joseph said.

Several pop-up events will be happening over the next few weeks including “The Dealt Hand at Uptown Garage Brewing” tomorrow night, “Boardgames, Botanicals and Beer” at Art Terrarium this Saturday and “Halloween Game Night” at FireTrucker Brewery on the 31st. Click here for a full list of The Dealt Hand’s upcoming events.

1 Comment

  • Laura Kinnard
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I got the chance to meet Joseph! Really cool concept. Love to see this article out about the business.

Comments are closed.

The Dealt Hand offers a new way to play board games | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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