There’s a certain pride that comes with beating a friend in an online game, but it can never beat the rush of winning a live board game match, which is thankfully still being kept alive by the increasing number of board-game-themed pubs across the metro.
Onboard Game + Gastro Pub is one of the most recently opened game board joints in the city, marking its territory in Circuit Makati across from City Kart Racing.
Owned and managed by Lance Chu-Choc, Marvin Moreno and Leica Go-Moreno, the pub has a friendly and laidback vibe, which has turned it into a go-to spot for families, workmates, friends and even couples seeking good ol’ fashioned fun.
“The idea started out back in college when we used to play board games at the house of a friend. We used to buy games per piece and then play at a friend’s house,” Leica shares. “Unfortunately, if you keep buying games, it can get expensive and afterwards, di mo na siya lalaruin kasi memorize mo na yung game (you won’t play it anymore because you’ve already memorized the game).” As such, they decided they wanted to give the same experience to people who enjoy playing but can’t afford to always buy a new game.
“At least this way, they can play as many games as they want. And kami, nakakapag-play din (we get to to play, too)!” Leica shares, laughing.
By “kami” or “we”, Leica means her and her husband Marvin. They were together for five years before tying the knot and starting their own business together. The two are board game enthusiasts, which might be an understatement since they play at the pub whenever they can and have made it part of their itinerary to find and buy board games whenever they’re traveling.
Onboard Game + Gastro Pub has over 600+ games (including Marvin and Leica’s own games), which can get pretty overwhelming for first timers. It’s a good thing the place has game masters to help newbies pick a game that’s not among the ones they know or have already played.
Popular board games at Onboard Game + Gastro Pub currently include Suspend, Mysterium, Telestrations, Exploding Kittens, Cards Against Humanity, Splendor, Avalon, Forbidden Dessert, Walking Dead and Lift It. (On a side note: there’s a game for anyone getting over a breakup. Feel free to recommend to concerned friends.)
Marvin and Leica personally recommend trying Epic Spell Wars, Lords of Vegas, Gravwell, Camel Up, Lanterns, Between Two Cities, Codenames, Sheriff and Sushi Go.
Besides the games, of course, the food’s another good reason to check out the place. The menu, curated by celebrity chef Mitchie Sison, has a selection of reinvented comfort food and pub favorites designed to give players a carb and protein boost to endure those hours of playing.
Nacho Hai (Php399)
One of those dishes is Nacho Hai, which is already enough reason to visit. This Japanese-inspired spin on nachos is a bowl of crispy wanton chips tossed with cubes of fresh and raw soy-marinated tuna, crab sticks, strips of nori and cabbage finished off with a dressing of spicy mayo, soy glaze and fish roe. Unlike the nachos drenched in cheese you are familiar with, these are fresh and addictive and deserve more than one order.
Spicy Seafood Scampi (Php315)
There has to be pasta, of course, which tends to be a complete hit or miss in most places. Onboard’s Spicy Seafood Scampi is one that hits the mark, thanks to its tasty spicy marinara sauce and the generous and perfectly cooked portion of squid, sole, shrimp and mussels.
Pigs in a Platter (Php595)
Pigs in a Platter is another crowd favorite – and for good reason. Served on a large plate are lined heaps of boneless crispy pata, roasted potatoes and three kinds of sausages – Hungarian, Schublig Cheese and Bratwurst – that are guaranteed to make any meat lover salivate. Dips of homemade sauerkraut, dijonnaise and soy vinegar are included to give a refreshing contrast to the hearty mix.
Since one visit isn’t enough to try them all, other dishes to try include the Salted Egg and Garlic Wings, Kimchi Mozza Nuggets, Aligue Calamari Rice, Baked Seafood Rice Bowl, Grilled Ham and Cheese Croque and Uni and Mushroom pasta.
Strawberry Mint Ice Tea and Passion Cooler (Php120)
Onboard also has its own juice blends and mocktails, which are refreshing breaks in-between those bites of crispy pata.
Ferrero Nutella Landslide (Php365)
For those with an irresistible sweet tooth, Onboard also has a selection of desserts and milkshakes, which (based on portion alone) are best for sharing. Case in point: the Ferrero Nutella Landslide. It’s overwhelmingly huge and can be hassling to take apart just like most intricate milkshakes. Once past the brownie block, wafers and sticks, though, the last layer of the chocolate milkshake is worth the disassembly since the milkshake itself has just the right amount of sweetness. The only downside to sharing? Fighting over the lone piece of Ferrero chocolate on top.
Of course, game nights would not be complete without booze. Onboard has an extensive list of beer, hard drinks, which you can buy on a per-bottle basis. They even have a list of cocktails with quirky names such as Drunk Snow White (milk, Bailey’s, tequila rose, amaretto and whipped cream) and Adam and Eve (Jack Daniels, Southern comfort, apple, cranberry and cinnamon), which after a shot or two may just make your game night a lot more interesting.
Photos by Ian Benetua and Jess Jacutan
Onboard Game + Gastro Pub
Circuit Lane, Level 1 (2nd floor), Circuit Makati
Mondays to Thursdays: 4pm to 12am / Saturdays and Sundays: 12pm to 12am