The Bradley Tabletop Games Symposium is a two-day participatory online event that brings together game industry practitioners, scholars, and anyone else interested in the design and study of tabletop games. The symposium is a product of collaboration between the Interactive Media Department of Bradley University and the Games and Simulation Arts & Sciences Program of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is being managed by Double Exposure, Inc.

A full schedule of events will be posted on Sunday, May 16 at 9pm Eastern Time. Registration is FREE. Workshops and roundtables will occur in Zoom; panels and seminars will be broadcast over Zoom. Register using the link below to receive specifics.

Rather than following a traditional academic conference model, this is a place of dialogue and play rather than just a place to present findings. We will facilitate connections and conversations in interactive formats. Metaphorically speaking, this symposium is the essay of conferences, rather than the article. This is a place where participants will draw on shared expertise to collaboratively generate new approaches to thinking about board games.

Recent years have seen a boom in the popularity and cultural impact of board games, an expanding conception of what board games can look like, and a broadening understanding of what board games can do. At the same time, we've seen a notable growth in scholarship on board games, with books like Board Games as Media (Booth 2021), Meeples Together (Allen & Appelcline 2019), Storytelling in the Modern Boardgame (Arnaudo 2018), and Zones of Control (Harrigan & Kirschenbaum 2016) and the success of journals like Analog Game Studies. Yet because of the inherent interdisciplinarity of the field and its rapid growth, many individual scholars and practitioners remain disconnected from developing networks of adjacent knowledge.

In wargames, a zone of control refers to the area of restricted movement and activity that occurs when two units become adjacent. As a theme for the first of these tabletop symposia "€śZones of Connection"€ť expresses our belief that bringing together a diversity of emerging voices and perspectives on tabletop games has much to offer through the connections that can be forged, interpersonally, emotionally, and intellectually.

We are bringing together people to talk about any developing ideas, trends, and concepts in the design, study, and play of board games, including but not limited to:
  • Games as media
  • Games and simulation
  • Games and anticolonialism
  • Games as resistance
  • Games in/as education
  • Industry studies
  • Cultures of play
  • Board game cafes
  • Hybrid games
  • Ludo-textual analysis
  • Virtual tabletop play
  • Storytelling in tabletop games
  • Legacy and campaign games
  • Games and speculative futures / alternate histories
  • Discourse analysis of play sessions
  • Streaming and actual play podcasts
  • Phenomenology of play
  • Ludic fandom
  • History of tabletop games
  • Gaming and the military industrial complex
  • Games and translation
  • Games and play therapy
  • Board game renaissance
  • Games in the age of the pandemic

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