Evan Griffith and grandmother Maxine Armstrong inside Rogue Knights on River Road North.
The last thing Evan Griffith expected his grandparents to say was, “We’ll look into it.”
Griffith, a senior at McNary High School, pitched the idea of a gaming space and collectible card game shop almost as a joke, but his grandparents were looking for something to invest a portion of their retirement income in.
“When they said that, I was like, ‘Wait. What?” Griffith said.
Not long after, he and his grandmother launched Rogue Knights at 4104 River Road N. Unfortunately, they were set to open right as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down nearly everything.
“We had to pay rent on the space with no income for a couple of months, but the reception was good when we opened in June,” said Maxine Armstrong, Griffith’s grandmother.
After another shutdown in late 2020, customers again returned in even larger numbers.
“Right now it’s a lot of gamers in their twenties, but we are hoping that we start getting some of the younger kids into the shop once the schools reopen,” Armstrong said. “That was one of the reasons we looked for a location central to the middle and high schools.”
Rogue Knights focuses on collectible trading card games, such as Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering, with a growing selection of tabletop games. Don’t go in expecting to pick up a copy of Monopoly at Rogue Knights, but if you are looking for other types of games that involve just as much storytelling as combat, you’ll be in the right space.
Plastic shields protect players while gathering.
There are also dedicated rooms groups can reserve for $10 and stay as long as they want during store hours.
“We want to be able to host birthday parties in the rooms, eventually,” Armstrong said. “We’re trying to create a space where the kids who are into these types of games feel safe and warm and loved.”
She and her husband worked in foster care for 25 years before retiring and the transition from one nurturing space to the other feels like a natural fit.
The shop also hosts tournaments on a regular basis for gamers who play in particular realms. There are weekly groups for Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering and Commander, a Magic variant. New tournaments featuring other games are scheduled according to demand. The shop’s schedule can be viewed at rogue-knights.myshopify.com.
“I got into gaming through Pokemon and switched to Magic, but I never realized quite how much is out there,” said Griffith. “Every day someone comes in and asks about a game I’ve never heard of, but we can do special orders.”
Armstrong said she and Griffith are working with Keizer-based Satellite Gaming to possibly host some video game tournaments as well.
Rogue Knights is open noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Call the shop at 971-915-2385 to make inquiries about items in stock, special orders or to reserve a gaming table.