UWTSD Architecture student entrepreneur opens new board game café


UWTSD student Ryan Davies started planning for his business at the height of the pandemic. But far from deterring the 19-year-old entrepreneur, it made him more determined to succeed. And last month the doors of Socialdice opened to the public in Swansea for the first time.

UWTSD student Ryan Davies started planning for his business at the height of the pandemic

Ryan says the secret to his success lies in the principles of his HND course in Architectural Technology at UWTSD, where he learnt the design and entrepreneurial skills together with securing the invaluable support needed to get his unique business idea off the ground.

The only board game cafe located in Swansea, situated on the famous Wind Street, Socialdice is a friendly, welcoming space for old and new gamers to come together to enjoy a library of 400 board games, with knowledgeable staff on hand, called 'Game Gurus' to make game recommendations and help with the rules.

Ryan said: “I came up with name Socialdice, which is a combination of 'socialise' and 'dice' as our mission is to provide a cosy, safe space in Swansea for our customers to come together to share and rediscover the magic of board games.

“Board games have been played by people all through history. While some would consider them something nostalgic in our digital world, we see them as a new way to bring people together in Swansea.”

Ryan says he has always had a creative mindset, spending his spare time growing up learning about graphics and digital art.

“I always wanted to be involved in some way in the creative industries,” he said. “I picked the course at UWTSD as I felt it was a good mix and springboard to develop some of my ideas. My lecturer Ian Standen was fantastic, helping and encouraging me to push myself further.”

Ryan said that just before the first lockdown, he began discussions about opening a new business with his business partner.

“Watching programmes like Dragons Den had inspired me, and I knew I had an idea for a games café that could be developed. Lockdown happened and although I had to sit back for a while, the discussions never really went away.”

When travel restrictions eased, the pair visited similar cafés in Cardiff and Bristol and decided it was time to act.

“We had amazing support from Business Wales and from Dylan Williams Evans, the Enterprise Champion at UWTSD, and although it’s been a challenge at times, we are now open and we are enjoying welcoming customers through the door.”

Ryan said the transferable skills taught at UWTSD had given him the skills, knowledge, and confidence to secure the premises and carry out some of the changes needed himself.

He said: “I had studied 3D modelling, CAD and design modules, so I was able to work out what we needed to do. Some of the work I did as part of my first assignment on the University’s new library building in SA1 definitely helped me to sort our new premises in Wind Street.”

Ian Standen, Programme Director for Architecture at UWTSD said: “I am delighted that Ryan has embraced his passion for design and being true to himself embarked on this exciting business adventure combining his enthusiasm and creative skills. I wish him every success for the future.”

Dylan Williams-Evans, Enterprise champion at UWTSD said: “It has been a pleasure to support Ryan on his entrepreneurial journey from an idea through to the opening of the gaming café, there were many obstacles for Ryan and his partner to overcome to get to this stage but thanks to his diligence, commitment and enthusiasm their dream has become a reality.”

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Mobile: 07384 467071

Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk