Q&A: Owners of Kingmakers Board Game Parlour in the Short North

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
By
From the January 16, 2014 edition

Malika de Silva and Rebekah Sherman of Kingmakers Board Game Parlour believe fun and games are serious business.

The concept is based on a place in Toronto called Snakes and Lattes. In spring 2012 I checked it out and while I was there I asked the owner what it would take to open a similar place in Columbus. He said people asked him that question all the time. I think he was surprised when I called him back three months later and told him I was about to open one. Places like Kingmakers are opening all over the country, but we like to think we bring a sophistication that sets us apart. —MS

I met Rebekah while I was working in a restaurant. We were at a wine tasting for new employees at a restaurant in Grandview when I started telling her about my idea. She seemed really into it. She came back the next day and said she couldn’t sleep because she’d been thinking about it all night. She even told her husband. —MS

Board gaming is huge in Columbus. One of the largest board gaming societies is located right here. We also have a huge convention every year. I’m into both electronic gaming and board games, but board games allow for more personal interaction. We really want to emphasize inclusion and face-to-face interaction. There is actually a lot of cross-over between the two interests. I can do either/or, it just depends on what mood I’m in. Obviously, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved in [Kingmakers]. It’s funny, when I was explaining to a friend what Kingmakers is and what I do, they said, “Wow, you’re living your dream, huh?” —RS

I honestly thought it would be easy to open this place. I have a business degree from Ohio State, and I’ve worked in restaurants all my life, so I thought with my education and work experience, opening my own restaurant would be simple. I was wrong. Finding a commercial space in the Short North was so hard! I must have looked at every available retail space in town before finding this location. The permits and paperwork were a nightmare as well. —MS

We want to offer a place for people to socialize where drinking isn’t the focus. I like to stay home a lot, and my best friend likes to go out. Hanging out at Kingmakers is kind of a nice middle ground. We have awesome specialty sodas for those who aren’t into drinking. We also have eight beer taps and four taps of kegged wine in case you want something stronger, but we want the focus to be on the games. —RS

We have about 239 games right now, and we plan to keep updating our game library. There are always indie game publishers (even some local) who are always coming out with new games. Every game has different rules and utilizes different parts of your brain, so if one game is getting old, talk to our “game sommeliers” and they can suggest and explain another one. We offer cooperative games, strategy games and party games, so there is something no matter what you’re in the mood for. We have a $5 library fee per person, and the money from that keeps the game inventory well stocked. We want to provide a consistent experience for people so when they decide they are looking for this type of night out, this is where they come. —MS

We want to keep it simple. Right now we are only offering the beer, wine and Brezel pretzels because we want to keep things simple and focus on doing what we do well. All of our game sommeliers are well-versed on the library and can help customers decide on what they want. As long as the customer is having a good time, we’re happy. It isn’t too hard to be in a good mood here. It’s a jovial place. —MS