The native of Minot rolls the dice on table games | News, Sports, Jobs


Irish company Dakota produces top quality handcrafted duce boards and specially designed dice like the one seen here.

Tabletop games have been part of the cultural fabric ever since Gay Gygax and Dave Arenson launched Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) into the world. The pastime’s popularity has exploded in recent years, with millions of players role-playing and inhabiting their alter egos in countless fantasy scenarios.

In recent years, this burgeoning market has evolved from a niche market to a stereotypical attraction for the “nervous” set to one that appeals to a wide variety of individuals. A native of Minot jumped at the chance to provide high-quality products for players and dungeon masters controlling the fate of their characters with every roll of the dice.

Luke McIntosh grew up in Minot and first played board games with friends after working late in technical support at a call center. While attending Minot State University, McIntosh studied abroad in Northern Ireland in 2003 under the International Student Exchange Program. While there he found time to meet a former pen pal whom he soon married, settling permanently on the Emerald Isle in 2008. McIntosh worked in the corporate field for a company called Cognizant, but hasn’t had much time to dip its toes into the world of tabletop games.

“I came back to Dungeons and Dragons in 2015. I was so focused on my career and having a young family, so it took all this time to get back into it.” McIntosh said, “I had spent 20 years in corporate work and I was on the edge. I had to do something completely different.

That something different ended up being an amalgamation of his rekindled passion for tabletop games and the work of his hands, as he realized there really wasn’t much of a playerbase for Dungeons. and Dragons in his adopted home. He began exploring the creation of dice trays to meet the needs of the gaming market in Ireland, first selling on the Etsy digital storefront before becoming a major player in the tabletop gaming accessories industry.

“My father was a jack-of-all-trades and his passion was to work with his hands in the shop. I was going there with him and helping him with stuff. I have always loved working with my hands and playing with wood. McIntosh said, “You don’t always realize the implications of decisions when you make them. Everyone needs dice, and now I’m on a five-year journey.

As of July 2017, his company, Dakota Irish, produces premium handcrafted dice trays and specially designed dice, accumulating to include a myriad of other products and accessories to make any group session more personal or complete. . McIntosh does its best to manufacture its products by hand, or by using local producers, with the dice being made by partners in China. After years of steady growth, McIntosh has found his business uniquely well prepared to survive the world of Covid-19 restrictions that shut down many other small operations in 2020.

“A lot of businesses in Ireland have gone bankrupt. They weren’t designed to work online, and we were already prepared for that. For me, it’s all about quality and uniqueness. We were constantly bringing in new designs and We were making new sets. People had a little extra money because they couldn’t go out and drink. McIntosh joked.

As of 2020, Dungeons and Dragons parent company Wizards of the Coast estimated that around 50 million people played the game worldwide. Ireland, however, hadn’t quite caught on when McIntosh started rolling out his products, but he knew after spending so many years in the country that the Irish were born players, even though they didn’t know that yet.

“The Irish are great storytellers. They meet in their favorite pub in the cozy comfort of each other. They sit around a table with their friends who tell stories and argue about what happened or didn’t happen. McIntosh said, “I’m just clarifying that all you do with D&D is add dice. It’s interactive storytelling with the dice acting as the arbiter.

McIntosh is a firm believer in the positive role that games like Dungeons and Dragons have in the lives of people around the world, from young people in school with socializing, as well as with members of the LGBTQ community.

“Everyone knows someone who plays. It gives people the freedom to be themselves. People don’t understand how powerful tabletop RPGs can be for marginalized communities and individuals. McIntosh said.

In the years since his debut, McIntosh’s business grew from his garage to a dedicated workshop, offices and warehouse, employing eight people, including his wife, who left a career in animation with Brown Bag. Movies to handle Dakota Irish full time. To date, Dakota Irish has shipped over 70,000 orders to over 50 countries.

“People try to rank D&D players, but today you can’t do that with this industry. We come from all over, but they don’t see the breadth and scope of these people,” McIntosh said.

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