San Diego Comic-Con Museum
Fans play Cards Against Humanity at a Fan Expo. Photo credit: Jareed, via Wikimedia Commons.

Gaming is not just for devices and computers. You may have turned to old-school fun – like Monopoly or Clue – to keep family and friends entertained during the pandemic.

And San Diego’s Comic-Con Museum has taken note of the surging popularity of tabletop games, old and new.

To support further examination of the trend, the museum won a grant to fund a future conference to recognizes the cultural and educational value of tabletop gaming.

In addition, a newer generation of games has joined the old favorites. Millennials embrace Cards Against Humanity, Defiance Monopoly, Exploding Kittens, Catan and Fluxx, to name a few.

Many of today’s tabletop games incorporate compelling storylines that encourage interactivity, problem-solving skills and collaboration.

The numbers reflect the games’ enduring popularity. Experts expect the value of tabletop gaming to grow 30% from 2020 to 2023.

The upcoming conference, a collaboration with USAopoly and San Diego KingdomCon Tabletop Gaming Convention, will be called “D4 Creative Conference: Discover, Discuss, Develop & Design Tabletop Gaming.”

“Through this conference, the Comic-Con Museum will explore how tabletop games inspire innovative thinking and problem-solving across disciplines, offering a humanities-centric framework for new discoveries, products, and work,” said Melissa Peterman, Vice President of Development for the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego.

The day-long conference will take place at the nonprofit Comic-Con Museum, which will officially open  next year in Balboa Park. The museum continues to provide online programming.

The museum is part of the Comic-Con International family. That includes San Diego Comic-Con, which goes fully virtual this week, and WonderCon Anaheim.

According to Statista, the tabletop game industry had a market of approximately $7.2 billion in 2017. That’s expected to increase by $4.8 billion within the next six years.

Millennials have been credited with fueling the resurgent interest in newer tabletop games. The conference is set to demonstrate how tabletop games can be of even wider cultural and educational relevance.

The day-long conference at the Comic-Con Museum will feature insights into how tabletop gaming can help young people develop skills in storytelling, problem-solving, collaboration and critical thinking.

The event will include speakers, game design presentations, prototype pitch opportunities, game-play testing, and creative mentoring for prospective youth and adult tabletop game creators.

As part of its mission of inclusivity, the Museum will conduct outreach to educators and librarians from low-income schools to promote increased access for under-represented populations and students.

The granting organization, California Humanities, is a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

– Staff reports