THE humble boardgame café looks set to stay, if ongoing trends stick.

You can hang out and play boardgames – some for free, others at a fee. A number of boardgame cafes serve drinks as well, and some even have a kitchen running.

Three-month old Boardgame Depot in Kuala Lumpur takes that formula and gives it a slightly different spin. Apart from all of the above, this Bangsar games hangout also has a book rental service.

Founded by 26-year old Lucas Tho, Boardgame Depot’s second-hand books section would be familiar to Bangsar regulars – they actually come from Book X-change, which was founded and run by Lucas’ mother, Irene Tho, 56.

“Since graduating from college, I’ve always wanted to do something that I can be passionate about. Besides graphic design and copywriting, reading good books and playing board games are two of the other many hobbies that I have,” said Lucas.

Owner Lucas

Owner Lucas

“Consequently, that’s how I was inspired to establish a place where there are boardgames to play with, as well as English novels and a cafe. I wanted everyone to enjoy reading good books and playing boardgames. At the same time, it’s also a great way for me to meet other new or seasoned board gamers and to help grow this community,” he explained.

Lucas has been doing freelance graphic design and copywriting work for two years now, on top of having a full-time job.

Clean and convenient

Lucas thinks that the difference in Boardgame Depot is its location as well as the more homely atmosphere it aims for.

And being minutes away from some of KL’s most recognisable hangouts (the Bangsar Telawi area), shopping malls (Bangsar Village, MidValley Megamall and The Gardens) and public transportation hubs (KL Sentral and Bangsar Putra LRT stops) makes Boardgame Depot pretty convenient, something which Lucas readily puts up as advantages to the area that this new games hub is in.

As for the food, the kitchen menu is pretty much still work-in-progress, but carries dishes such as pasta, Nyonya-style chicken curry, smoked chicken burritos, cookies and more.

In case you’re wondering, Boardgame Depot operates on a membership basis, for gamers.

“We now have two different membership plans, basic and premium. The Basic Membership can be obtained for RM30 per year and members get 10% off their purchase of board games, their first six hours of gaming free-of-charge.

They will also pay RM2.50 per hour of gaming, for the first six hours and RM3 per hour of gaming for each friend of theirs,” explained Lucas.

Those interested in the books do not have to pay membership as they already pay for the rentals.

The Premium Membership costs RM100 per year and caters for the more seasoned boardgamers. Lucas claims that Premium members will be able to purchase boardgames at the lowest prices in KL. They will also get a free drink for each day that they come in for a gaming session, and the other benefits are the same as stated in the basic membership.

Additionally, members will also have the privilege of being matched up with other members who have the same interests in gaming (that is, those who prefer the same genres of boardgames or card games, or the same titles).Three hundred!

With over 300 boardgames available, across different genres such as party, family, fantasy-themed, war, strategy, debate, trading, deception, economics and even art games, there should be something for everybody.

“I have high expectations and can be picky when it comes to gaming, so I only bring in unconventional board/card games that appeal to me and most people. For the games that are on sale, I try to bring in titles that are recommended by other seasoned boardgamers,” he said.

He says that Settlers Of Catan has so far been their best-selling boardgame. As for TCGs, he’s looking to bring in the World Of Warcraft TCG.

Ultimately, Lucas hopes that with its wide selection of designer boardgames, English novels, a cafe and high-speed WiFi connection, Boardgame Depot can be a place where family and friends can come over and spend some quality time together.

Boardgame Depot is located at 16A (first floor), Lorong Ara Kiri 3, Lucky Garden, off Jalan Ara in Bangsar, KL. It is open daily except Mondays, from 11am to 1am (or later, depending on how long the game sessions go on). Check out its Foursquare page here at for more information and updates.

* Chee Yih Yang is hunting high and low for a certain Magic: the Gathering product that a certain game company under-ordered.

E-mail the esoteric gaming nut at if you have comments, questions, hot gaming news and tips, and trading lists and deck ideas, for both Magic and World of Warcraft.

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