Catch me every other week on the Ludology Podcast! Board games are deserving of study; listen as we discuss game design and the industry at large, and chat with esteemed game designers from around the world.


PAX West 2018

Saturday, September 1, 12:00 PM, Sphinx Theatre: From Pixels to Pieces: A Digital/Tabletop Game Design Mashup

The lines between digital and tabletop game design are blurring. Though they are often pitted against one another, future innovations hinge on learning from both: leaning into the accessibility and immersion of digital while embracing the visceral feel and camaraderie of tabletop. Hear from speakers pushing the boundaries between the two: digitizers of tabletop games, makers of “digital board games,” and designers experienced in both who advance their craft on each side of the fence.

Panelists: Matthew Moore [Experience Designer, Do Better Games], Emma Larkins [Tabletop Game Designer, Emma Larkins], Eduardo Baraf [Founder, Pencil First Games], Geoffrey Suthers [Game Designer / Co-Founder, Studio Wumpus], Jeremy Handel [Founder, Handelabra Games], Theresa Duringer [Designer, Temple Gates Games]

Saturday, September 1, 6:30 PM, Cat Theatre: Indie Game Designers Modify and Play Mafia

It’s round three of Indies Play Mafia! If you’ve been to previous rounds, or our PAX East Werewolf variant panel, you already know how this works, but you never know what surprises are in store. Panelists will point fingers, accuse, betray, and yell a lot. The audience gets to enjoy laughing along as the panelists are forced to play out specially modified roles and rules which disrupt the game in undeniably entertaining, oftentimes physically comical, and sometimes even hilariously broken ways!

Panelists: MANY

Monday, September 3, 12:00 PM, Sandworm Theatre: Tabletop Game Design: From Idea to Reality

Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, 7 Wonders… ever wonder how tabletop games come into being? Our panel of experts will take you along a journey to discover how a tabletop game gets created. From chicken scratches on a napkin to full distribution through retail (and everything in between), this panel will explore the steps it takes to create a great game that others can play. Come for the insights and maybe even leave armed with the next steps to take for developing your own game.

Panelists: Kevin Hamano [Founder, Ignite Wonder Games], Emma Larkins [Tabletop Game Designer, Emma Larkins], Joseph Z Chen [Co-Creator / Artist, Metafactory Games], Matthew Austin [President, Mirror Box Games]

Monday, September 3, 2:00 PM, Hippogriff Theatre: Side Hustle: How to Make Games After Work Hours

Have you ever wanted to make games but life is getting in the way? With the right tools and mindset, you can profit from making games during the hours left over in your day. In this panel, we’ll address many of the common struggles like time management, emotional stress, daily routines, passion, motivation, finding resources, building a support network, and funding. You’ll also hear personal stories from both digital and tabletop game creators who are currently living this side hustle lifestyle.

Panelists: Olin Olmstead [Lead Designer, Lit A.F. Games], Trevor Harron [Lead Designer, Blue Heron Entertainment], Emma Larkins [Board Game Designer, Emma Larkins], Nicole Jekich [Game Designer, WhiskeyGinger]

DreamHack 2018

Finding the Fun - The First Step in Game Design

An idea is hatched for a game, a mechanic, or a new type of sound. Frenetic action ensues. A prototype is released into the world. It's weird, it's different, it's ugly, it's broken, and yet there's clearly something there worth bringing to life. In this panel, we talk about the experience of releasing those first threads of controlled chaos onto the world, before the balance, before the tuning, before the grind of working a game to perfection. 

Make It, Test It, Break It, Fix It - Prototyping and Feedback in Game Design

As designers, we build, we destroy, we learn - and then we start the cycle over again. We have many tools and systems that let us share our work with the world and collect reactions from our communities throughout this cycle. The key to good design is to filter this feedback and turn it into a powerful tool as we balance our vision with the needs of the players, progressing our designs based on a blend of data and personal intuition.