Who We Are

Here at The Rook Room, we’re many things. We’re game geeks. We’re fans of good beer and good times and good friends. We’re passionate about our Des Moines community and making it a more fun-filled place for everyone.

Meet the two board-brains behind The Rook Room, Annelise and Tony!

Annelise Tarnowski, Owner

Annelise Tarnowski is the co-owner of The Rook Room and was hit with a lightning bolt of inspiration while hanging out with Tony (see below).

Annelise is passionate about community-building, whether it’s recruiting volunteers or bringing friends together for a game night.

A Twin Cities native, Annelise came to Des Moines to study journalism and sociology at Drake University and fell head-over-heels in love with Des Moines. Over the years she has worked for non-profits of all kinds in the Des Moines area doing everything from building volunteer programs, to writing grants, to filling in as a bar-back at art shows.

Outside of work you can find her planning her next National Parks trip, hanging with her dog, or fitting in a quick round of Spades.

Favorite Game:  Scythe

Favorite D&D Class: Wizard

Favorite Fandom: The McElroy Family

Tony Tandeski, Owner

Tony Tandeski is the co-owner of The Rook Room and hatched the idea of a board game business with his great friend, Annelise (see above).

He’s a former journalist turned digital marketer with a talent for SEO, data, user experience, and branding.

A native Iowan, he attended Drake University. He moved away for a few years, but couldn’t resist the pull of Des Moines, moved back, and loves being a Beaverdale resident.

When he’s not working or volunteering (you might have seen him on stage with a local theatre), he loves nothing more than game night with friends. If that involves a good local beer and snacks, all the better!

Favorite Game:  Betrayal at House on the Hill

Favorite D&D Class: Druid

Favorite Fandom: Star Wars

Our Mission

To bring people from across the community together over a shared love of playing games while providing a unique, memorable experience.

Our Core Values

Be Curious

Whether it’s learning a new game or meeting new people, we highly encourage curiosity.

Be a Space for Everyone

No matter who you are, we want you to feel comfortable in our space. If your favorite game happens to be Candyland, we won’t judge – we love it too! Come as you are.

Create Memorable Experiences

Some of our favorite memories involve having fun playing our favorite games. We want to make sure you love every second of your time with us and make memories you’ll never forget. If there’s something we can do to make your stay a little more special, just ask!

Go Analog

We know, we love our phones just as much as you, but want to encourage people to have fun in the moment with the people around them. So set down that device and pick up some dice instead.

Give Back to the Community

Our community is incredibly important to us. Our game-loving community. Our Des Moines community. Our global community. So we want to do everything we can to give back as much and often as we can.