Question: what stops you from playing these kind of games? (‘You’ in a wide sense of both those at the session and individuals they knew, scenarios we could think of)

Dyslexia (written materials in games)
Dyscalcula (significance of maths in certain games)
Colourblindness (can make reading maps and other game elements difficult)
Fear of embarrassment or getting it wrong
In jokes that make you feel like an outsider; the kind of conversations gamers have can be unintentionally exclusive because of the language used/how difficult the conversations are to follow or understand for people who’ve never played
Coming into the middle of a narrative - some games are played over the course of many sessions and it’s difficult to appear half-way through and learn potentially a whole story/setting/etc alongside rules
The difficulty of understanding how they work and what they actually offer (they’re often much easier to understand when seen/played than described)
Cost of sourcebooks, dice, other gaming materials
Triggering subjects coming up in games
The fact that typically it’s something that has to be introduced to you by someone else in order to discover it
Perception of games/gamers and stigma around it can prevent people exploring them; who we *expect* to play
Basic availability to play games (especially with long play-times) and opportunities to do so
Presentation of print materials - sourcebooks 100s of pages long and suchlike can be really intimidating and also demand a lot of time to read
Playing live games can be scary and intimidating/exposing
Simply the kind of person you are might affect this, in terms of what appeals to you or how likely you are to try games out

Potential solutions to some of the above problems:

Using dyslexia-friendly font in game materials, oral-based gaming systems, establishing gaming environments where a) someone with dyslexia doesn’t have to be the person to bring up their needs, which can feel awkward and b) they know those around them will help with written materials if needed, and/or not put them under pressure whilst they’re trying to read
Similar to above - maths-lite gaming systems, creating a similar environment for players with dyscalcula, providing calculators if wanted
Using blue and orange to distinguish between essential visual items (as these can be distinguished by all forms of colourblindness - except that which can’t perceive any colour), using things other than colour to signify things, like symbols and patterns
Shifting our language when we talk about games to avoid jargon and in-jokes that can make games seem impossible to understand or follow from outside
A game library where people can borrow sourcebooks and suchlike without the cost
Trigger warnings and the use of systems like the ‘x’ card to avoid triggering subjects

Question: if money/resources were no object, what would the perfect playing space look like? What are the conditions for the best possible play?

Safe words and safe phrases
Good quality lighting (to see others well; avoid strain when reading materials)
Trusting the person running the game, and the other players
Knowing that you have the freedom to leave if you want or need to
Taking time to make sure everyone involved is on the same page - about the content of the game, the style of play, what everyone wants out of it, what everyone understands of the game
The Open Space rules themselves are useful principles here
An unintimidating space (however that’s made…Part of this is perceived or actual gender balance in gaming circles which can make them seem less welcoming to certain groups)

How is this kind of gaming different to immersive theatre?

Good question. Home games don’t have (typically) costume, set, props, etc. But they do in a rough theatre/medieval theatre sense of objects standing in for other objects.
The audience angle - in these games, you don’t have to have an audience present for them to function - the players/Game Master are simultaneously performers and audience.

A few artists and other points came up which aren’t easily categorised into questions/answers:

Seth Kriebel’s work
That tabletop role-play games (games run by people who can respond organically to you, rather than fixed digital structures) reduce the potential of being frustrated or thrown by pre-written dialogue, choices or narratives. You have a lot more freedom and agency as a player.
Formats like Dungeons & Dragons can be used to tell stories in almost any setting; when you expand to tabletop role-play games as a whole, there’s practically no story they can’t be use to tell
The game That’s My Fish
This is Monopoly - a gaming location in York
Settlers of Catan