Why Boardgames?

A resurgence of contemporary boardgames as an industry and hobby has also seen recent increased scholarly interest in understanding boardgaming as a cultural phenomenon in and of itself, distinct from videogames. Paul Booth’s recent Boardgames as Media (2021 Bloomsbury) and the 2021 announcement by University of Michigan Press of a dedicated Tabletop Games Series are indicative of this renewed interest. Although culturally ubiquitous as an entertainment pastime and hobby, boardgames remain under researched. The specific characteristics of boardgaming cultures, including media industries analysis of their conditions of cultural production, remain little understood. As Booth(2021) argues, at the very least we might want to understand why this boardgaming renaissance at this particular cultural moment? He asks, in the context of the diverse digital media options available to people, “Why are everyday people flocking back to board games? Why board games, and why now?” (2021 4). This project seeks to understand the specificities of boardgaming hobbyist cultures and how we should make sense of these cultural activities. How should we understand boardgaming as meaningful media and a media industry? Indeed, how might a focus on contemporary boardgames as media provide insights for our understanding of media industries.

DMRC research program

This project contributes to the research within the following DMRC research program:

Transforming Media Industries

Project team