The Quest to Create Kansas City’s First Board Game Cafe

We are creating Pawns and Pints in order to give the people of Kansas City a place to connect in a genuine way while playing board games. When we open our doors this fall, we shall offer customers access to an incredible venue, located in downtown Kansas City, complete with a huge selection of games, beers, hot drinks and talented and friendly game gurus.

In a constantly connected world, sometimes we need a chance to unplug and talk to the person in front of us – board games give us a chance to do that in a meaningful way. It is incredible the connection that can be formed by forming an alliance to save the world from a deadly PANDEMIC, or rooting out the WEREWOLF in your group or bartering your sheep for wheat in the land of CATAN. Therefore, we have an embarked on our quest to create a warm, inviting environment where your friends, yourself, and new friends you haven’t met will be able to enjoy delicious beer and play all your favorite games – from Abalone to Carcassonne to X-Com. Our mission is thus: To create an alternative to the buzzing, vibrating world of loud music and text messages and encourage positive human connection. And play board games whilst drinking coffee, beer or tea.

Quest Objective: Create a place for people to have genuine fun with one another, playing board games, apart from the constant distractions of our constantly connected world!


Victory Point Cafe is a great example of a board game cafe located in Berkeley, CA - featured in this picture are two of their engaging game gurus with Pawns and Pints' Edward Schmalz
Victory Point Cafe is a great example of a board game cafe located in Berkeley, CA – featured in this picture are two of their engaging game gurus with Pawns and Pints’ Edward Schmalz

  A board game cafe is a place where individuals can play board games and enjoy a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This phenomenon has already swept Europe and Asia, and has recently made its way to America.

At Pawns and Pints, for a nominal fee($5), customers will have opportunity to choose any game from our ever growing games library, receive instruction on it from our talented and friendly game gurus, and of course enjoy delicious drinks!

In order to explain why someone might want to support Pawns and Pints, we carefully constructed the following infograph:

Beer/Coffee/Soda + Board Games = Fun!
Beer/Coffee/Soda + Board Games = Fun!

In addition to this, we shall have a variety of awesome things going on throughout the year, including:

  • Tournaments (with prizes)
  • Game Designer Nights (with game designers testing their prototypes)
  • RPG Nights and Dungeon Master Workshops (check out our blog – we have a combination of about 70 years of experience playing and running campaigns! )
  • Open Evenings (to help players find new groups to play with – and have massive epic games)
  • Specialty drink-based board games (whiteboard Jenga, battle shots, checkers)
  • Speed Dating (board games are a great way to connect with people in a genuine way – and what better way to see if you and a potential romantic interest are compatible than attempting to save the world from disease together in Pandemic? )
  •  Trivia Nights


Because we love Kansas City. First and foremost, this is one of our favorite places on earth. The food, the culture, the Royals and most of all the people who smile at you on the streets and engage in genuine conversation have stolen each of our hearts. Additionally – Kansas City people LOVE board games – but have a limited amount of places to play them.

A place dedicated to board games and beer, simply does not exist yet in the central Kansas City area. Walking around, chatting with various Kanss City locals, we heard the following (and many more) responses to our idea of creating a place where gamers could drink good beer and play great games.

  • “A board game cafe? I literally need that in my life right now.”
  • “I want this place more than I want a new season of Firefly.”
  • “Beer? Board games? Yes.”
  • “How is this not a thing yet? More importantly – when will you open?”

Therefore, after months of discussion, we decided on the location and signed our lease!

Our team, like any good Dungeons and Dragons group, consists of four characters, each with unique skills.

The Barbarian: Ed Schmalz

A former teacher with a Masters in Education, Ed is the marketing and sales head of our group, and you can expect to see him eagerly teaching games and pouring drinks when we open. Ed’s favorite game is currently Carcassonne.

The Ranger: Mark Schnieder

An active duty member of the Army Corps of Engineers with experience working in cafes, Mark is a passionate war gamer, who handles all licensing and contractual elements for our team. Mark’s favorite game is currently Axis and Allies.

The Healer: Martha Bartell

A world traveling, tea drinking, violin playing, costume craftsman, with a variety of experience in small business management, Martha is a huge fan of card games and fantasy games. Martha’s favorite game is currently Kingmaker.

The Wizard: Jon Steel

An entrepreneur and tech whiz, Jon has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since its earliest days in 1978. Jon’s favorite game is currently Betrayal at House on the Hill.

Our board game selection is growing, growing and growing! We certainly feature the majority of games on BoardGameGeek’s Top 100 list, in addition to games we select based on feedback. We plan on having over 500 games at launch.

If you have a game you absolutely must see, please email us at Additionally – if you are interested in donating a board game to our collection, we will happily accept this, and grant you a reward from our Kickstarter list of equivalent value.

Pawns and Pints will have a membership system that will make it easy to come in and play as much as you like. You can become a member at any time, however we will only offer the discounted yearly memberships now, as part of our Kickstarter campaign!

Benefits of membership include:

  •  Unlimited access to the game library, without paying the $5 fee to play games.
  • Two one-day passes per month to share with your friends, family, or someone who might be interested in Pawns and Pints.
  • Invitations to member-only events, including pre-release events and sales

A family membership covers two adults and their children (under 18).

Kickstarter may be new to some of you who would like to support Pawns and Pints. On the right side of the screen, you can see a list of reward levels.  Pledge the amount listed or more to claim your reward. If you would like to claim multiple rewards, add the amount of the pledge level you would like and let us know your rewards of choice. We will accommodate most reasonable requests.

You will ONLY be charged IF we meet our funding goal and receive your reward then.

Although we hope that most backers will swing by Pawns and Pints to pick up their awards, we will be able ship our physical rewards to anyone in the United States if need be. Once we reach our funding goal and near the end of our campaign, we shall send out a survey to figure out the best method of getting your rewards to you. We have NOT factored in the cost of shipping to the pledge levels, but a fair estimate is about $10 for each reward.

If you would like to ship out of the United States, please contact us personally, so we can work something out.

More details on rewards are below, along with some stretch goals we hope to achieve above our minimum funding level. If you wish to help us out, be sure to send this to all of your friends, family and coworkers!

Creating a business costs quite a bit, and while we have kept our costs as low as possible, while creating a sustainable business, there are a few unavoidable costs, which we need to do this Kickstarter to deal with.

The biggest one is rezoning our building for use as a cafe. We have a great architect helping us with this process, but we expect it will cost around $10,000 and we can’t open our doors unless we are able to successfully raise this money.

Furthermore, at opening we are planning to primarily offer bottles and cans of soda, beer and wine, but if we are able to raise enough money, we will be able to install a soda machine (on which we would offer free refills) and beer kegs, from which we could provide a variety of delicious draft beers!

Stay Tuned for our imminent Kickstarter Launch! Join our mailing list for more information:



6 thoughts on “The Quest to Create Kansas City’s First Board Game Cafe

    1. We shall definitely allow people to bring their own games if they would like! We are still making that determination, our initial thought is that it is for using the game library – so you could stop in for a pint or coffee and not pay it.


  1. Antony Fletcher

    This is great news, I have a Games Workshop Judge Dredd board game, almost mint condition, that i will bring along for others to enjoy playing. I wish you every success and look forward to being a patron.


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