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Calgary couple gambles savings on tea-themed board game: ‘It is a big risk’

Click to play video 'Calgary couple gambles savings on tea-themed board game: ‘It is a big risk’' Calgary couple gambles savings on tea-themed board game: ‘It is a big risk’
WATCH: A Calgary couple is kicking off the new year with a pretty big gamble. They're rolling the dice on a board game they've created, hoping their tasty theme will pay off in a crowded market. Gil Tucker has the story – Jan 3, 2019

Customers at Calgary’s Hexagon Board Game Cafe had something new to try their hand at Thursday: a new locally-created game called “Chai,” in which players compete to see who can become the most successful tea merchant.

Dan and Connie Kazmaier have spent the past nine months creating Chai in their Calgary home.

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Dan said he got some of the inspiration from recent time spent overseas as an aid worker.

“Working in Iraq for a little bit,” Kazmaier said. “We’d be in refugee camps and everyone knew how to play Uno. Games really bring joy out of people, and they can push past different hardships.”

Developing Chai is bringing the Kazmaier’s a few hardships, though, they’ve sunk their savings of $15,000 into it — a gamble in a crowded market.

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“It is a big risk,” Connie said.

“We knew what we were up against,” Dan said. “There are four new games that come out a day, basically. It’s really hard to get a game out there.”

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But they’re already seeing signs of success, with their Kickstarter campaign raising more than $110,000 during December 2018.

The game is a hit with Hexagon Cafe customer Jesse Tamayo.

“First impression: really colourful,” Tamayo said. “I love all the cards.”

The Kazmaiers are hoping to release Chai in the fall of 2019, making the game available online and in stores.

“We really think that it’s a booming industry,” Dan Kazmaier said. “All of our friends in their 20s and 30s play games for fun on a weekly basis.

“I think even from now until 2023 the industry is growing by nine per cent a year.”

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