The brick-lined streets of downtown Edmond, where it’s common to see kids playing Pokémon GO, will receive a new way to play an entirely different kind of game when Edmond Unplugged opens later this year.
Modeled after Toronto, Canada’s cafe Snakes and Lattes, Edmond Unplugged, 117 N. Broadway, will be part retail space, part cafe and part gaming center where customers can pay a $5 fee to have access to a library of board games while also enjoying food and drinks.
Owner Mike Shipp has worked in information technology (IT) for over two decades and has become all too aware of the technology creep into everyday lives.
“I’m plugged in all the time,” Shipp said. “I’ve got kids, and I see them on their devices, and other people can’t put their cell phones down. Board games are something that force you to have face-to-face interaction.”
Shipp said he began playing board games in elementary school when he got into Dungeons & Dragons. It carried through college, when he traveled the country to play in Magic: The Gathering tournaments.
Shipp said board games, collector games and miniatures have all become more intricate in recent years. They’ve also become more expensive. He hopes Edmond Unplugged will expose people to new games and allow them to try them out before shelling out hard-earned money on something that would otherwise be a mystery.
“Some of these games are cost-prohibitive,” Shipp said. “A millennial gets out of college and can’t afford to buy a $150 game every week. You can pay $5 and have access to our full library of games.”
Oklahoma City’s board gaming culture has been centered at Game HQ at 9118 S. Western Ave. for more than two decades, and Shipp said it’s one of the nicest gaming stores in the country.
“It’s primarily geared to hardcore gamers and not just casual gamers,” Shipp said. “You miss out on the college crowd or a family coming in to play games when that is the case. There is not a place that is family-oriented, which is what we want this to be.”
Craft beer will be served at Edmond Unplugged, but Shipp said Edmond Unplugged will limit the hours alcohol is served and will not serve before 5 p.m. on weekdays. The menu will consist of what Shipp referred to as “upscale concession food” with flatbread pizzas, sausages from local Schwab & Co. and soft-baked pretzels with a variety of toppings and dipping sauces.
Shipp, originally from Midwest City, but an Edmond resident since he was 24, is committed to the Edmond location for his store because of the walkable downtown area.
Edmond’s access to two colleges and four high schools made it a desirable location to debut his store. He has had to go through a series of setbacks in order to do so.
After taking the space of the former Scruples antique store in February, he hoped to have the store open by July’s LibertyFest, but setbacks caused by access to underground gas lines have pushed the tentative opening date to October.
“I think people are looking for something to do other than going to the movies or playing video games at home,” Shipp said. “The response we’ve gotten from the public so far has been awesome.”
Shipp recently partnered with food trucks The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen and Katiebug’s for a game night and said over 300 people attended in Edmond.
Edmond Unplugged will have a variety of games available for play. The shop will feature family-oriented classic games like Monopoly, Candy Land and Battleship but also intermediate and immersive experiences like Pandemic: Legacy, which is an example of a consumable game that is lengthy and usually only played through once.
“Splendor is my favorite to get people into gaming,” Shipp said. “It’s easy and fast-paced. There is no dice, so it’s not up to chance. It’s a cool game using cards to generate tokens that designate gems and use gems to purchase more cards.”
Collecting power cards is the object of other games like Star Wars: Destiny, which has sold through its first two runs in a matter of weeks since it debuted last year. Shipp will have multiple copies of the game at Edmond Unplugged.
He hopes to have more than 100 games available in the store, which will also be for sale outright. He said he will wait to see which games become requested to fill out the store’s collection.
There will be a room in the back of the store where groups can schedule to play consumable games and those that use miniatures, like Warhammer and Star Wars: X-Wing. An entire section of Edmond Unplugged will house accessories needed to play role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons.
“I want to provide games that people otherwise might not have access to,” Shipp said.
Visit edmondunplugged.com or follow @EdmondUnplugged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Print Headline: Lounge games: An upcoming board game lounge invites Edmond to unplug.