The Rise of Tabletop Gaming

Reporter: Mackenzie Christman

Photojournalist: Alesha Gunther

Gaming enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Madison this weekend for the annual Gamehole convention. Convention attendees embraced their interests by playing, teaching and learning about a variety of tabletop and roleplaying games.

Convention attendee David Ray has been playing tabletop games for several decades.

“I’ve been playing war games and various sorts since the mid sixties. I’ve been at this for a long time,” Ray said. 

For many attending the Gamehole convention, the games they choose to play are more than that. They’re a way of life. Recently, the industry has experienced an uptick in popularity. 

Tabletop and role playing games make up only a fraction of the gaming industry as a whole, but a loyal fanbase and new pop culture influences are keeping it strong. 

“Fantasy stuff, science fiction robots, that’s fairly popular. It’s fueled by things like Game of Thrones,” Ray said. 

 As the industry becomes more widely known, many gamers feel freer to indulge their creative outlet. 

Mischelle Maas has a passion for Live Action Roleplay, or LARPing, and partakes in the activity with a group of her friends.

“Some of the conventions are starting to get bigger. I think a lot more people are, are feeling free to let their nerd out and do some of the things that they want to do versus what they have to do,” Maas said. 

It is thanks to conventions like Gameholecon that people can take their interest in gaming beyond the board. For the Badger Report, I’m Mackenzie Christman.