Despite the advent and explosion of videogames, boardgames–from fast-paced party games to intensely strategic titles–have in recent years become more numerous and more diverse in terms of genre, ethos and content. The growth of gaming events and conventions such as Essen Spiel, Gen Con and the UK Games EXPO, as well as crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter, has diversified the evolution of game development, which is increasingly driven by fans, and boardgames provide an important glue to geek culture. In academia, boardgames are used in a practical sense to teach elements of design and game mechanics.
Game studies is also recognizing the importance of expanding its focus beyond the digital. As yet, however, no collected work has explored the many different approaches emerging around the critical challenges that boardgaming represents. In this collection, game theorists analyze boardgame play and player behavior, and explore the complex interactions between the sociality, conflict, competition and cooperation that boardgames foster. Game designers discuss the opportunities boardgame system designs offer for narrative and social play. Cultural theorists discuss boardgames’ complex history as both beautiful physical artifacts and special places within cultural experiences of play.