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GENeration Analog: Tabletop Games Scholarship Virtual Conference “at” Gen Con 2021 CFP

Educators, scholars, and designers of all backgrounds are invited to join us for the inaugural virtual analog games summit via Gen Con 2021. Sponsored by Game In Lab and Analog Game Studies, GENeration Analog bridges theory and practice in the hobby games industry. We are excited to announce that Scott Nicholson and Elizabeth Hargrave will be joining us as online keynotes to discuss the importance of analog games as a hobby, as activism, and as a scholarly field, and B. Dave Walters will deliver a keynote discussing role-playing games as an expressive and performative medium spanning generations.

Gen Con has long served as the crossroads of the analog game industry in North America. Its size and scope have expanded as hobby board games, card & dice games, and role-playing games are being published at an astonishing rate, with crowdfunding and enthusiastic design communities leading the way. Alongside them, however, stride teachers and academics who see the benefit of such games in teaching and researching topics from cell biology, to geography, to medieval ethics. Thanks to parallel work being done annually within numerous game studies conferences across the world, an exciting convergence of global game culture and local innovation is taking place right before our eyes. It only makes sense for us to “meet” where/when so many tabletop & live-action game players meet: Gen Con.

We invite scholars, teachers, graduate students, and the intellectually curious to submit proposals for Generation Analog, a two-day virtual conference to be held as part of Gen Con 2021. We intend to bring together those working on non-digital games (and their digital hybrids) to build connections and advance a pedagogy for understanding analog games. We are particularly interested this year in papers concerning role-playing games, as well as those that concern “generations” or genealogy of game design. The conference format will consist of engaging panel presentations of selected papers. We seek thoughtful work from authors at any stage of their academic careers.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we were not able to hold the 2020 conference in person, but are planning for a fully virtual 2021 conference. All panels will be held remotely. We invite folks who had previously submitted in 2020 to resubmit their proposals.

Proposals for papers will include an abstract no longer than 300 words

Papers could potentially cover (but are not limited to):

  • Teaching subject material through analog games
  • Analog games as historical texts 
  • Procedural rhetoric in analog games 
  • Representation in game art and mechanics 
  • Social tensions in analog games
  • Analog games and performance 
  • Quantitative reasoning through analog games 
  • Platform studies and analog games 
  • Decolonization, anti-racism, and activism in analog games 
  • Consequences of classification within analog games
  • Analog/digital hybridity in games
  • Economic analyses of distribution and publishing in the analog games industry

Abstracts on role-playing will be particularly welcome, including:

  • Roleplaying in teaching and learning
  • Creating communities through roleplaying and RPGs
  • Anti-racism initiatives in RPG circles
  • Coping with stress, anxiety and social issues through roleplay
  • Live-action roleplay as text, performance, and catharsis
  • RPGs in the time of COVID-19

Submit materials to with “Generation Analog” somewhere in the subject line.

Tentative Timeline: 

  • Abstracts due: April 15, 2021
  • Acceptance by May 15, 2021
  • Actual Workshop Dates: Wed, August 4, 2021 and Thurs, August 5, 2021 – online 

Note: This summit is jointly sponsored by Game in Lab, and the Analog Game Studies Editorial Board. 

Game in Lab, the board games research supporting program, is the result of a collaboration between Asmodee Research and the Innovation Factory. Asmodee Research is a department of Asmodee Group, promoting the development and valorization of gaming as a source of societal value.