Good question! I work with Game-Based learning (in an interdisciplinary fisheries science context), and visited the BGBLab to learn more about how they work with using games for different purposes, such as education. As the program they offer is in game design, they have a large collection of boardgames that they use to show different mechanics an systems. Much of the game-playing was for recreation, but there are many games that have potential for modification for use in teaching or illustrating systems and processes that are useful to play with other educators/researchers. Since games are also a very influential medium, they are also a good object for research.
Also, since they have all the games, they have a frequent “freeplay friday” evening event where the community can come and play games (including student prototypes). That’s great outreach :)