Northland News

Kingmakers Board Game Parlour

Business owner isn't sorry for going traditional route

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GARY SEMAN JR./THISWEEKNEWS
Malika de Silva is the founder of Kingmakers Board Game Parlour, 17 Buttles Ave. in the Short North.
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All businesses come with a risk.

This business comes with Risk -- along with Monopoly, Stratego and Life, to name a few.

Kingmakers Board Game Parlour in the Short North offers the original type of gaming -- the one played on flat surfaces, with friendly competition and conversation over a fresh draft beer, wine or artisan pop.

In other words, no electronics.

Kingmakers has taken over the 2,300-square-foot storefront formerly occupied by the Ekklesia church, 17 Buttles Ave.

Owner Malika de Silva sees a tremendous market in central Ohio, a veritable board-gaming mecca in the Midwest and beyond.

"I thought this business would do well here," she said. "I thought this business would do well anywhere."

Central Ohio is home to the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society, or CABS, a group with more than 400 members, 125 of whom get together weekly to play board games.

CABS also organizes the Buckeye Game Fest each fall. The Origins Game Fair, one of the largest board gaming conventions in the United States, is held annually at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

"We're excited to see Kingmakers in town," said George "Bud" Sauer III, co-founder of CABS. "It just shows central Ohio is a leader in board gaming."

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, in which de Silva sought $3,500 but received $10,000, Kingmakers plans to expand its repertoire of games, which started with 240, and some tables, bringing the total to 16.

Customers pay $5 per visit.

De Silva said the business was built with socializing in mind, from the game selection to the ambience.

"That's the crux of the entire experience," she said. "Lots of our games in the library have been chosen because they encourage that social interaction.

They're engaging, they're fun, they're silly, they make you laugh or they make you think."

Of course, there are a few games -- Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Hilarium Pandemonium, the Fluxx series of card games, Tsuro, Dixit and others -- that might be unfamiliar to casual players.

So, Kingmakers has board-game sommeliers who help teach the rules, make recommendations and answer questions.

Kingmakers' food service is limited to Columbus-made Brezel pretzels. In addition to beer and wine, coffee drinks and tea are served.

The store is open evenings only Tuesday through Friday, afternoons and evenings Saturday and Sunday and closed Monday.

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