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Soon-To-Open Board Game Cafe A Fresh Attraction For Downtown Tulsa

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Shuffles Board Game Cafe will open in downtown Tulsa's Archer Building. Shuffles Board Game Cafe will open in downtown Tulsa's Archer Building.
Shuffles will have a highly curated board game collection of over 400 games. Shuffles will have a highly curated board game collection of over 400 games.
Eric Fransen is the owner of Shuffles Board Game Cafe. Eric Fransen is the owner of Shuffles Board Game Cafe.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

As downtown Tulsa continues to grow, developers are thinking of new attractions to bring to the area.

Recently we've seen a record store, a general store that makes its own soda and a 24-hour donut store open in downtown.

Soon there will be another first opening up; it's called Shuffles, and it combines food, drinks and board games.

"Shuffles is going to be a board game cafe and coffee shop. It will also have a retail model and a full open-box board game library that you're able to come in peruse and play games while you enjoy food, beverage and coffee," owner Eric Fransen said.

It's one of the many places opening in the still partially under construction Archer Building at 215 East Archer Street.

Fransen, an avid gamer, said board game cafes are growing in popularity across the nation, and while board games may have a "family connotation to them," this cafe will have a library offering more than just classic games from the past.

"I currently have about 400 [board games] in my personal collection...we expect to have 600-800 when we open," Fransen said. "It's a highly curated collection and we're pretty proud of what we have so far."

While their building remains under construction at the moment, that's not stopping the Shuffles team from spreading the word. They've been holding pop-up events around the Tulsa area, bringing with them over 100 games for people to play. The events are meant to give just a taste of what the future holds.

"It's almost like we couldn't wait. Like we wanted to get this out as soon as possible," Fransen said. "So we started over a year ago, and we started with a handful of people coming to the events and now we are over 100, typically."

Fransen has put a lot of time into the details of the physical shop and wants to offer a gaming experience like no other. To do so he's creating custom gaming tables and "gaming cubes" that will overlook the store.

"In those cubes, the lights will have a dimmer, you'll have a speaker in each one so you can do some light-immersion gaming in each cube," he explained.

It's taken a lot of work to get to this point, and a lot of help, according to Fransen, and they’re looking for more help on their Kickstarter, which is up to help them complete their gaming library.

Fransen said he's excited to bring this new concept to Tulsa and believes it's something the city will support.

"I think Tulsa's ready for this, and we want to bring it to you," he said. "We're gonna work hard to make this space a place you want to come."

Fransen said there are still a few more meetings to be had, but hopes to have the store open January or February 2018.

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