The Strong Receives Donation Chronicling History of Games
March 19, 2018
For Immediate Release
The Strong Museum Receives Donation of Materials
Chronicling History of Strategy, Simulation, and Role-Playing Games
ROCHESTER, New York—The Strong recently received a donation of thousands of artifacts, including first-edition strategy and simulation games, wargames, and role-playing games that explore a pivotal time in game development before the computer age. The artifacts constitute the single largest gift the to the museum’s collection and include more than 4,000 games and nearly 8,000 library titles.
“Brothers Darwin P. and the late Peter Y. Bromley assembled this impressive collection, and we’re honored to be the repository where these materials will be preserved, studied, and exhibited,” says Christopher Bensch, The Strong’s vice president for collections. “Before the Bromley collection, The Strong lacked a definitive collection of strategy and role-playing games, which are critical components of the history of play for older children and adults. These are playthings for people who are serious about play, who seek to compete, to be challenged, and to be entertained. Now this grouping will be the go-to collection for this type of play study. The entire collection reflects a pivotal time in game development, on the cusp of the computer age, when many currents would soon unite to change the nature of game play.”
The Bromleys began playing and collecting games in 1962. Darwin Bromley co-founded Mayfair Games in 1981 to publish his game Empire Builder, and the company became the United States publisher and marketer of the popular The Settlers of Catan in 1996. Their collection includes materials and archival records that chronicles Mayfair’s formative years and provide a window into the world of designing, manufacturing, and marketing games. “Mayfair Games may be best recognized for bringing The Settlers of Catan to the United States, but they also created genre-defining train games,” says Curator Nic Ricketts.
In addition to the Mayfair materials, the collection also includes untarnished samples of nearly impossible to find strategy, simulation, and role-playing games (such as two rare “white box” sets of Dungeons & Dragons from the 1970s), and an assortment of lesser-known titles by startup publishers. Library titles include 1950s-era wargame journals, 1960s science fiction magazines, and near-complete runs of gaming magazines such as White Dwarf and Dragon.
Collectively, these materials will help scholars understand the importance and influence of a transitional era in games, charting their effect on the development of contemporary examples and on video games. The collection complements and enhances The Strong’s comprehensive and world-renowned collection of more than 20,000 board games and puzzles.
About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play.