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The Weekly Grind - July 20th, 2023 Newsletter

I'm Back!

Can I still call it "The Weekly Grind" if it's been 2 months since my last update? Phew. Time is weird. It doesn't feel like 2 months.

Well, I'm not going to do a BIG breakdown of all of every event over the last 2 months, but before I get into news & upcoming things I'd like to highlight just a few key things that happened recently.

First, a couple of personal updates:

I'd like to shout out and thank my partner, Shaun & our wonderful employees, Jad & Serena, for taking care of things and holding down the fort when I had to go out of town for a family emergency. My aunt passed away unexpectedly and I drove down to Alabama to help my mom and cousin.

My aunt's cat, that may or may not be possessed.

As for my health stuff... my neurologist doesn't have answers and wants to refer me to a university hospital but doesn't know what department or type of specialist to refer me to, and says I have to call all these medical centers and ask about insurance, doctor availability, specialty, etc.... And the Lyme disease specialist doesn't think that the Lyme is what's causing any of my nerve issues. And honestly, since I don't have time for any of that I'm just moving on and sometimes I get weird tingle feelings in my shoulder and sometimes my hands hurt & I drop things, and that's just life now.

Back to The Grind:

Critical Grind has become a Gaming Safe Space. What does this mean? This means we promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in gaming. We also host micro-fundraisers for our local pride organizations. Every time we work with one of the local pride groups we sell these enamel pins & buttons. All money from those sales gets donated directly to the charity.

We also recently signed up to fundraise for Extra Life. Extra Life is an organization that raises funds on behalf of local children's hospitals. The Chicagoland Extra Life works with Lurie Children's Hospital. We have a fundraiser page and we're going to be hosting future gaming events to fundraise. More details on that to come soon.

We are NO LONGER selling on DoorDash. It was very short-lived. I didn't like it. We are a community space. We are here to bring people together. And delivery just wasn't the right fit for us.

Jad is helping build a Discord server! So, if you want to stay more connected with our community and don't do Facebook Groups, you'll be able to join our server. We'll have sections for general game-related news & chats, game coordinating and To The Table ideas, RPG coordination, TCG gathering, creator fellowship, and more.


New Featured Items:

We have tumblers! In case you haven't been here in a while or aren't on socials, or are simply new here.... we have 20oz metal tumblers. They are $30 each and when you bring them back, you get 10% off your drink purchase.

Do you Roll For Toast? Next time you're in, purchase one of these Chaos Toast stickers! Only $3 each.

These potion bottles from Gimlet's Apothecary are very popular. $5 Each and most of them glimmer, shimmer, and change color. But be weary, as they are probably cursed. *that's just a fun way of saying, don't drink them*

We recently started selling these adorable 3D-printed creatures from Boho Custom Crafts.

FLAMECRAFT! This game has been highly sought after. Its first print run sold out from game stores so quickly it was very hard to get a hold of. We had JUST opened when allocations were assigned so we didn't get a shot at them. But the second run is printed and we have 6 copies left!


New & Upcoming Events:

Speaking of Creator Fellowship, we recently started Creator meetups on Fridays. It starts at 6pm and people will bring in whatever their current project space may be, right now. We have fiber artists, people who work with beads, artists, jewelry makers, and more. 6pm - 11pm on Fridays!

We started a Chess Club. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am - 2pm. We've gotten lucky enough to have 2 Chess Arbiters join us on the regular. Eric started the page Chess, Coffee, and Conversations and Josh is also a chess coach, Josh Flores Chess Professional.

Blood on the Clocktower has definitely picked up. Our first game was on April 1st and we've been playing almost every Saturday ever since. If you want to stay posted on when we're playing, join the Facebook Group.

We're teaming up with Blooming Succulents. On July 22nd, Blooming Succulents will be here hosting a Hobbit/Fairy Garden workshop. And on August 11th, we will be at Blooming Succulents hosting a Game Night! Tickets for the workshop are available here: TICKETS

Critical Grind will be closed on Saturday, July 29th. Dana is Maid of Honor and has the bachelorette party, Shaun is out of town camping, Jad & Serena are also out of town. With no workers, the cafe takes an unexpected day off. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

At the end of the month, Monday, July 31st, Smirk & Dagger Games will be here from 6pm - 9pm showcasing their games and talking about some of their upcoming projects. Who is Smirk & Dagger? You probably know them as the publishing company that made boop., Shobu, The Spill, The Night Cage, Nevermore, Tower of Madness, and more.

Critical Grind will also be closed from August 1st through August 7th. We will be going to Gen Con. It's a mix between a work trip and a family vacation. We will be checking out new games and bringing back as many as we can for the cafe library.

This year will be our 6th (in-person)Gen Con. Every year when we get back we host a game night at our house for our friends and family to learn the new games we picked up. This year we're hosting it for all of our new cafe friends, YOU. We aim to host a New Games Day on Saturday, August 12th. It's an all-day sort of thing.

Post Gen Con Exhaustion from Gen Con 2022

Our last live music event will be Sunday, August 13th. Hannah Delilah and JONE of Art will be serenading us with their musical talents. I will also be singing a song or two with Hannah. Show is from 2pm-4pm. While they're here, Banana Pudding Twist will be here, as our next pop-up bakery, with their delectable selections.

Our Queer Variety Show, with Will County Pride Coalition, was a rousing success. We have every intention of hosting another one, but there is nothing currently scheduled. Our next pride event, funded by our Faerie Toast purchases, will be Queer Coloring on Saturday, August 19th from 12pm - 3pm! Critical Grind will provide coloring books and coloring material. You're welcome to bring your own if you'd like. Show up, make new friends, and just hang out and color.

Also on the 19th is NERDY TRIVIA! Liquid Kourage is back with Nerdy Trivia from 7pm - 9pm. If you can't make it in person, you can join us on the Live Stream. You'll also want to download the TrivNow app to submit your team's answers.

Our next Independent Designer Spotlight is Saturday, August 26th. If you want to playtest your game, fill out this Google Form. If you want to participate as a playtester, show up at 11am that day and be ready to learn some games. Designers are looking for constructional feedback to improve the play and mechanics of their games.

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