This week Casey Rupps took time out of his schedule to talk to us about his very unique business here in Downtown Lethbridge. Casey delves into the details about his business: Round Table Board Gamerie.
I was born here, out in Hardieville. I love board games, but I also play video games, I read books, I'm a big nerd, big Marvel movie fan. I am very much looking forward to Thor Love and Thunder this summer.
I play a lot of games, kids and family, board games, video games and just oh, I like having fun. I like games. I was a big fan of board games before, but I didn't really get into board games till we opened in 2016. I think it was like 2012 where I started looking at board games as a hobby that's not, Risk or Monopoly. Then I started looking like, OK, well, there's all these cool board games coming out, what else is out there? When I went to Edmonton, I met up with my cousin who had a board game group and I'm like, let's, let's check this out. The sounds cool and yeah, we just started playing games like Last Night on Earth and Agricola and just all these neat board games coming together and I'm like, Oh, OK, this is really neat. Then I started playing The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game from Fantasy Flight and checking that out. And, yeah, just being able to open Round Table, I played a vast array of board games. I think last time I counted over 340 games that I've played like different games off our shelf that I've played and I just, I love it, there's something about board games and playing face to face with people that doesn't match up to playing video games online or whatever. So yeah. And now it's, it's playing a lot of, opening Round Table i’ve, start getting into more trading card games than we do our Pokemon League Saturday. So then, and now I'm playing Pokemon cards for my kids.
I was doing IT work for years. Went to school, went to college for IT. and just as a strange transition time of the company that I was working for, they were merging with another head office and they wanted to relocate to Calgary. I didn't want to go to Calgary. I was missing living in Lethbridge and so I was doing some IT contracts it was like, during the oil industry bust, so like every job we applied for had 400 applicants and yeah, I was just, picking up contract work, wasn't find anything solid and I was sitting around like, well, if you're not doing anything and Bryn was looking for something new and exciting to do, it was, let's do business. There's a good change, like after 11 years of I.T. and then not having anything, I was looking to do something where I could decide how things worked. And I always worked for big corporate entities where they passed on something, and that's what they said to do. So that's when we got to do it. Now if I think it's dumb, then I'm not going to do it. Right? I can try something new. And so it was quite a shift, being in my thirties and then switching careers completely. It was just a night where we got together for Christmas: myself, my business partner Bryn and our buddy Scott. I was living in Edmonton at the time. He was in Vancouver and we got together, and we were hanging out, and it's like, oh, what do you want to do? And I was like, ‘I dunno, wanna go bowling?’
‘Do you want to go to the bars’
‘Nah, we're too old for that.’
I was like, I don't know what there is to do, in Edmonton they have these board game cafes and my buddy Scott was like yeah, there's some in Vancouver. It was just born of the idea; there wasn't that much to do when you're too old for the bar scene or not into the bar scene. So I was like, hey we like board games, we like drinking; Let's make a casual drinking spot where you can drink and play board games. it went from just sitting around and having some wine and talking about it to Facebook or Google duo meetings to, hey, maybe we could actually do this. Let's start putting ideas down. And yeah, we were doing weekly meetings and came together, and the idea just snowballed. In about a year, we were looking at places to open up and put things into motion. There was an opportunity to do something in Lethbridge that wasn't available.
We were looking initially on the west side because we wanted to be closer to the university, but rent over there, availability over there, it just wasn't lining up and or there weren't a lot of spaces. Initially we weren't going to do the restaurant part. It was just going to be a traditional board game cafe.But then we found out about this place. Bryn being a guy who's owned a restaurant for many, many years was like oh, we could make a go out of a board game-restaurant idea. And so when this spot opened up it was perfect. It's like right in the middle of town and the kitchen's already there.
Yeah. if, when we were opening it was like making it a comfortable atmosphere, kind of like an extension of our house here. Come and play board games at our house. We want to make it an easy transition. It's a lot of easy comfort foods, and snacky items so you can eat and play at the same time.
I like the people. I like our staff. I like the customers. We got regulars who have their taste in board games. And if I got a new one I'd be like, hey, I know you really like this game, you should check out this one that just came in. Just meeting people in that way. We do our board game club on Wednesdays, which is where people can come join, and I'll usually host the board game and it's just open for anyone. So, I mean, a lot of people come in through there. It's just a fun, fun place to be, right? Everyone's having fun. No one's crabby, the staff are having a good time.
So, if you only play your Monopoly’s and Sorry’s, there's the big three trinity to try Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan even going up from there, some neat ones that I like to recommend: Camilla is eight players that's just captivating game and really easy to pick up and play, or Codenames if you got a big group just split into teams. I'll gladly help you pick a game and teach you how to play it right. I'm sure I could find one that you're going to like. We got some stuff coming. One of the things I'm working on is doing like a board game league. “T-sports” is what we'll call it.
We brought back the summer pass. That was something we're doing before COVID where people just buy passports and come play for an unlimited amount of time. We got some ideas that aren't ready to share but you know we got some stuff coming.