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While the tabletop gaming industry has traditionally focused on the US and European markets, there has also been a notable growth of attention towards the gaming communities in Latin America and other regions worldwide.
The digital gaming realm has made significant strides in catering to a global audience, offering translations and local support for major titles on consoles and PCs, but the analog world of RPG books, dice, and board games has been slower to adapt.
In Brazil, in an interesting way local brands have been rising to the forefront of the tabletop gaming market. In the second weekend of June, the largest tabletop gaming convention in South Americatook place in São Paulo. It’s called “Diversão Offline”, which means “Offline Fun”, a concept that seems therapeutic in such a huge metropolis, surrounded by screens, smartphones and massive traffic jams. The convention halls were packed with people of all ages and different parts of the country, looking for an escape into analog entertainment.
What makes “Diversão Offline” truly remarkable is the incredible diversity of gaming choices available. Unlike conventions dominated by giant publishers, this event features a multitude of small and medium-sized exhibitors. Artists and event crew members stand shoulder to shoulder, working harmoniously in a DIY mentality. Meanwhile, attendees are given the unique opportunity to interact closely and intimately with their favorite writers and creators.
On Saturday, the crowds are larger, and game tables are packed. Thankfully, the organizers had allocated enough space to make it possible for everyone to play and even try out never released games. There was a major area dedicated exclusively to playtesting prototypes. Small zines and minimalist free games are also passed around, in a vibrant environment of creation, where most of the gamers are also game creators in some way.
The event also served as a hub for a diverse range of talks and discussions, with local and international presenters: content creator Tom Vasel, game designer Reiner Knizia and RPG writer and game designer Kenneth Hite. Some of the engaging topics were “The Importance of Play in Education” and “The Brazilian Style of Boardgames.”
Brazil, as other countries in the world, has a thriving creative economy, making Diversão Offline a must go event for the board game, RPG and TTRPG communities from any part of the world. The event provides the participants with a singular experience, you can be close to the largest crowdfunders in the Brazilian entertainment industry and still feel as if you are at a smaller convention, such as IndieCade or Gary Con. You can participate in avant-garde discussion in gaming while being in the largest event in South America. And, yes shopping and eating on site is still part of the fun, but gaming comes first. I highly recommend immersing yourself in this exceptionally creative environment. If you happen to find yourself in São Paulo during the Brazilian autumn or winter, I urge you to check the schedule and see if Diversão Offline is taking place.