2023 Guests of Honour
Lisa Pondsmith has run the business side of R. Talsorian pretty much since the beginning of the company and cannot think of anything she'd rather do than work in the game industry with her family. In addition, she occasionally writes for R. Talsorian Games, including as co-writer on The Witcher TTRPG. Oh, and she has the distinction of getting through a Mike Pondsmith Cyberpunk campaign as a Solo in jeans and sneakers.
Omari Akil (he/they) is a crop-top wearing game designer, publisher, music artist, streamer who broke into the industry with a hip-hop career building strategy board game called Rap Godz. He and his brother Hamu co-founded Colorway Game Labs to continue the important work of publishing games independently that focus on black experiences and culture. Omari more recently unleashed his musical talents by crafting original hip hop and dance music inspired by tabletop games and his life as it relates to them. You will be able to find three new games designed by Omari in stores and online in 2023 (Hoop Godz; Critical Care; Marvel: Damage Control)...and maybe an album.
Jessica Marcrum, also known as angrynerdgirl, is a social worker and gold ENNIE award winning writing director. A co-founder of Unseelie Studios, she has created numerous games and supplements including Dumpster Fire: A Game for 2020 and Oops, All Draculas!, as well as contributing to publications for A Thinking Ape, Cubicle 7, Hit Point Press, MCDM, and The Onyx Path. Jessica can be contacted on Twitter @Miss_Jess03, on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/angrynerdgirl, on Mastodon at https://dice.camp/@angrynerdgirl, and via her website at www.jessicamarcrumwrites.com.
Adam Giles is the creator of Dice And Stuff, which creates, supports, and produces works of imaginative entertainment including short videos, podcasts, card games, board games and TTRPG’s. Adam has been a Game Master for over 25 years and has run and played in a multitude of systems and genre’s. He has an extensive background in drama and theatre and uses that experience in his games, creating vast worlds and stories.
Agatha Cheng burst into the RPG scene in early 2015 armed solely with a gnome bard character sheet that she inherited and never got to use. She has since waded deep into the world of story games and LARPs, but still maintains the wide-eyed enthusiasm of that long ago first session. When not obsessively dissecting pop culture and media, she has a particular fondness for sad games, romance RPGs, and Chinese wuxia dramas.
Alex Sierputowski is a Game Designer, Project Manager, Graphic Designer, and Artist who likes to keep it KISS. They created and published the award-winning game Snack Attack and assisted in designing Dungeons and Dinos. Having worked as a graphic designer for the Canadian company Nomnivore Games on the Emberind project, they have also worked with Level99Games, amongst many other studios in the industry, as an accessibility and design consultant. Alex has taken on his most significant challenges of ADHD and Dyslexia and has turned them into a new goal; to produce and create games with accessibility for those with neurodivergence.
Andy Kim is a Toronto-based game designer and creator of 2022 game The Spill released by Smirk & Dagger Games. He has a few more games in the works and is hopeful to get a few more in the market soon. When he is not designing, he loves playing old classics and new designs with his friends and family.
Bee Zelda has shared a live stage with the McElroys, Welcome to Nightvale, The Polygon Show, and other podcasting luminaries. Those opportunities allowed them to co-run a Twitch show on Roll20 called Indie Showcase and stream professional TTRPGs. They’ve appeared on D&D Beyond, HunterEntertainment, and Renegade Games and worked for D&D Adventurers League, Alchemy RPG, Fandom, and more. They have also written for award-winning TTRPG books like Kobold Press: Vault of Magic and Arcon: City of Neon Daylight. You can find them doing local advocacy work, co-hosting their podcast Anime Attaché and guesting on various Tabletop outlets.
Brent Logan is an elementary school teacher, game designer, and co-founder of Akinji Entertainment Inc. He was one of the lead designers on Akinji's very popular RPG, Cataclysm! And has co-written Akinji's soon to be released the Tome of Meowgic. Brent, along with the Akinji team, is working on several new titles that are expected to be released in the next few years.
Chris Tung is one half of the lifestyle brand Pink City. Founded alongside his brother Mike, Pink City specializes in anime/gaming inspired streetwear designed to turn heads, and they have done exactly that all around the globe. By combining the spirit of pop culture with the edginess of street fashion, the brothers aim to empower trendsetters with apparel that sparks conversations. With a strong love for TTRPGs, they have hosted various Dungeons & Dragons charity streams throughout the past two years. Chris Tung, one of the co-founders, is known for his wacky homebrewed concepts (including a popular Pokémon themed D&D campaign), and enjoys injecting stories with humour and heart as both a GM and a player. Find him online @PinkCityTweets
Chris Chung is the designer of Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and Spell Smashers, and a Designer/Developer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Adventures in Equestria Deck-Building Game (say that five times fast!). If he's not designing games or mentoring aspiring designers, he's probably fanboying over V-Tubers.
Conor McGoey is the "Decider of All Things" over at Inside Up Games. He started his board game career in 2016 with the successful funding of "Summit: The Board Game" on Kickstarter. Since then he has designed and published 6 more of his own designs, as well as 5+ designs from outside designers (including a few from Toronto ;)
Daniel is a Gold (2x) ENnie Award winning podcaster, game designer, and cultural consultant.You might know him from the 2x ENnie Award winning Asians Represent! podcast or his independent game design work (Wicked Congregation, Ross Rifles, and the Chronicles of Spring & Autumn series). As a freelance narrative designer, he co-authored the Unbreakable (vol 1) anthology and the New York Times Best Selling Candlekeep Mysteries adventure supplements for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. Daniel is also one of the co-founders of Level Up Gaming, a Toronto-based organization that provides facilitated tabletop roleplaying gaming experiences to the autism community.
Daryl Andrews is the 2022 winner of “game innovator of the year” from the TAGIES. Daryl works part-time as the talent relations director at Maestro Media, while spending the rest of his work hours as a freelance board game designer and developer. Daryl began designing in 2013 and went full-time in 2015. With 30+ board games already released through 20+ different publishers, Daryl’s output has been unrivaled over the last few years. Sagrada Artisans, a 2022 Kickstarter will be coming to market later this year. Last year included the release of the award winning Dark Knight Returns board game (Cryptotoic) and The Real Truth - featuring the Last Podcast to the Left (Goliath Games). Beyond design, Mr. Andrews has also worked as a consultant for a variety of gaming companies with a special focus on popular licenses, including Back To The Future, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Space Invaders, the NHL, Oregon Trail and more.
David Van Drunen
For over 10 years David Van Drunen has been bringing people together around fun experiences, hard-fought victories, and silly moments. From designing to developing, David loves using board games to build community and connect people. Driven to capture the weird and wonderful in game form, David draws inspiration from their Dutch heritage, children’s toys, traditional card games, and donuts. (Designs: Gnomes at Midnight, Block and Key. Dev: The Wolves, and upcoming titles)
Derek Gour has a passion for indie role playing games. He is interested in adding story and character to structured game systems, like board games. His card-based story game Hope Inhumanity was nominated for two IGDN Groundbreaker awards: Most Innovative Game, and Best Rules. He has since published a 2nd edition and an expansion for the original game.
Emma Yasui is a Canadian academic, podcaster, and cultural consultant. She has a PhD in anthropology, and many interests within the archaeology of Japan, pop culture, archaeogaming, and Japanese diaspora. She is currently a member of the Asians Represent! production team, and regularly appears on the podcast to discuss representations of Japan in games and popular media.
Jason Ox is a comedian, producer, writer and designer based out of Toronto. He has produced long running improv shows like Pokeprov and Potterprov and has also done production at Ottawa and Montreal Comic Con. Currently he's been hard at work on the Sine TTRPG and developing and launching a TTRPG Youtube channel.
Jason Pitre is a game designer, publisher, convention organizer, podcaster, and professional bureaucrat from Ottawa. As the owner of Genesis of Legend Publishing Inc, he produces games such as After the War, Sig: City of Blades, Palanquin, and Once More Into the Void. He is also the mind behind the RPG Design Panelcast which podcasts the very best recorded panels and seminars about game design and publishing.
Jeff Fraser is a rulebook editor and game developer based in Ottawa. He's worked on games such as Flamecraft, Dinosaur World, Dwellings of Eldervale, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He has co-designed a game called The Fox Experiment, which will be released soon.
Jess (they/them) or FaunAndGames online, is a queer nonbinary neurospicy variety streamer from Canada. Also a TTRPG producer, performer, and designer. They’ve run shows for Roll20, Hit Point Press, and Bully Pulpit Games. Jess puts their passion into organizing events raising thousands of dollars and bringing the games community together for charities like Trans Lifeline and Trevor Project. You can find some of their games on itchio or find them streaming on Twitch every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Joe Slack is a board game designer, publisher, instructor, and the author of the #1 international best-selling book, The Board Game Designer's Guide, along with 3 other books on game design. He has taught Game Design and Development at Wilfrid Laurier University and runs the Board Game Design Course, an online course for new game designers, in addition to courses on getting published and running a successful crowdfunding campaign. Joe has 4 games published with other publishers (Zoo Year’s Eve, Kingdom’s Candy: Monsters, Four Word Thinking, and King of Indecision) and has self-published games including 14 Frantic Minutes, Relics of Rajavihara and the expansion Montalo’s Revenge.
Jonathan Gilmour (he/him) is a Board Game Designer from NW Ohio. His credits include: Co-designer of Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, Kids on Bikes, and Dinosaur Island. His greatest weaknesses are writing Bios, and the color green. He loves long walks on the beach and playtesting games. Sometimes at the same time. His favorite color is Orange, so please let him have that as a player color. His favorite games are Cosmic Encounter, Nations, and The Mind. His least favorite game is "The What Game Should We Play" game. He has four awesome children, with the goal of having a built-in game group any time he wants it.
Jonathan has been working in and around games for the past twenty years. He started out working with the line license of CyberGeneration but gave that up to start focusing on his own individual projects. Currently he produces his own games with his company Firestorm Ink and finding publishers for card and board games. He has just released the updated version of his latest game We Used To Be Friends (a collaborative teenage detective drama game) and BEHEXT (a combative, buy on the fly deck builder) with Smirk and Dagger games.
Josh Rosing is a TTRPG content creator who has been playing, running, and designing for role-playing games including D&D, Fate, Shadowrun, Savage Worlds, and the Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG since 2006. Through his company, Lone Colossus Games, he produces high-quality TTRPGs and supplements like Wyrmlings, Cyber//Core; HACK, and his previous Kickstarter Injuries & Vile Deeds, to inspire players to newer and greater heights in their games.
Julian Frid is an improvisor, teacher and DM. He's been doing long form improv in Toronto for over 15 years, mostly with his award winning theatre group Sex T Rex. He's been teaching improv to students just as long at Hart House, University of Toronto. A DM for over 10 years, Julian specializes in homebrew narrative and atmospheric gaming, now developing his own TTRPG called Sine.
Julien is a tabletop RPG designer, writer, and artist. They are passionate about providing approachable experiences; they design games that are easy to dive into and create tools that make existing games, like Dungeons & Dragons, a little easier to learn. They also strive to bring authentic queer narratives into fantasy and science fiction. Their work is focused on finding unique ways to tell stories and finding hope and meaning in our dystopia.
Kris Siddiqi is a comedian, actor and writer from the great city of Toronto! Recipient of the 2015 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Male Improviser and the 2014 “Best Of” Now Magazine Awards.
His most recent creation was the multi-award winning miniseries BIT PLAYAS. Conceived and originated by Kris, the show would go on to win 2 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Writing and Best Series, Best Representation of Communities Of Color from the Minnesota WebFest 2020, Best Actor in the Toronto WebFest awards, as well as multiple other awards from festivals all over the world.
Kurt Refling is a designer, writer, and artist based in Ottawa, ON. He is also the co-creator of Here We Used to Fly, a game about abandoned theme parks and the bittersweet nostalgia of growing up. Through his itch.io storefront A Smouldering Lighthouse, Kurt has published narrative TTRPGs including Knots in the Sky, This Spells Trouble, and Faewater.
Lauren is dedicated to making the Tabletop Industry safer, more diverse, and full of smooches. She is a game designer, safety consultant, and the co-curator of the TTRPG Safety Toolkit When Lauren is not thinking about or playing games, she is an Operatic Soprano and Cat Mom based in London, Ontario
Mariam Ahmad (they/them) is a queer neuordivergent South Asian Canadian writer, cultural consultant, streamer, and podcaster. Some highlights include writing for Paizo's Lost Omens: The Mwangi Expanse; Evil Hat's Thirsty Sword Lesbians; GM of Kahaaniyaan on Huetopia; and a co-host for They're A Super Geek on Misdirected Mark. They're currently working on their magnum opus, Sarzameen, a South Asian campaign setting.
Mat is a game designer who's bring his new game "Kuiperium" to Breakout Con this year. Kuiperium is currently live on Kickstarter and will still be live at the time of the Con.
It funded in 90 minutes and is still going!
Michael Mongiardi is a comedian, podcaster and co-founder of The Sonar Network, a Toronto-based podcast collective. He has been involved in podcasting for over a decade and hosted the Toronto-based improv comedy podcast, That's How I Remember It. That’s How I Remember It has won 7 Canadian Podcast Awards and has been voted one of the top Toronto Podcasts by blogTO, NOW magazine, Streetcar.ca, Indie88, and The Comedy Network Online. Michael himself has also won a Canadian Podcast Award for Best Male Host. He is very passionate about podcasting, and has taken his passion for the medium to help build and grow The Sonar Network into a community of Toronto's top podcasts, podcasters and their listeners.
Noora Rose Masyk
Noora Rose Masyk (she/her) is a Canadian writer, editor, artist and publisher of tabletop role-playing games. She runs retail/distribution and publishes under Monkey's Paw Games and the Chapbook Co-Op as well as freelance writing for such publications as The Gauntlet, Rowan, Rook & Decard, Tide Breaker, R. Rook Studios, Plus One Experience, SoulMuppet Publishing, Project NERVES, Glowing Roots Press, and many others. Her titles of note include sword & planet fantasy UNCONQUERED, sci-fi capitalist hellscale Into the Black, and tarot-based journaling game Chalice.
Reed Mascola (he/him) is a Canadian board game designer and founder of Paranoia Rising Games, a Publisher that specializes in bringing new types of social deduction games. His first release, Vigilante, was in March 2022 and features tableau-building, hand and action management, and social deduction. This year, he is working with Tin Robot Games to publish CATNIP: Auction House, a light bidding game, as well as a follow-up to Vigilante, Vigilante: Hidden Motives. Aside from designing a cat-themed game, Reed is a proud cat-dad and Torontonian
Robin D. Laws
Robin D. Laws designed such roleplaying games as The Yellow King Roleplaying Game, Hillfolk, Feng Shui, and The Esoterrorists,. He is the winner of eight Gold and five Silver ENnie Awards and the coveted Diana Jones Award. Other works of gaming and narrative analysis are Hamlet’s Hit Points and Beating the Story. His upcoming novel Fifth Imperative will be his tenth. His works have been translated into eleven languages. Hear his insights on gaming, narrative, history and weirdness on the weekly podcast Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.
Ryan Khan is a Toronto-based TTRPG designer and teacher. He is the author of Told by Starlight and The Festival of Deep Winter, and was a contributing writer to The Wildsea RPG. He loves to explore the intersection between games and learning, and how play drives creativity. His upcoming game Bug Dish - a TTRPG about travelling bug chefs who compete in cooking competitions - is currently in playtesting.
Scott Kelly is a longtime gamer turned teacher who has been making up games and scenarios for other games since high school. In 2018, he teamed up with Bill Murphy to form BSGames and in 2020, they published their first game, Mathemagician's Duel. Scott brings games into his classroom and teaching as much as possible, while still coming up with more ideas of his own. BSGames currently has two more games ready for publishing, in addition to working on Mathemagician's Duel: Level 2.
Sean Jacquemain is a Canadian marketing expert and board game developer. He got his start in the industry teaches games at Snakes & Lattes board game cafe in Toronto. Sean founded The Daily Worker Placement blog which published hundreds of articles from dozens of contributors covering all aspects of the hobby. He has worked for several different publishers including Asmodee, CMON, and Space Cowboys. He is the Marketing Director for Burnt Island Games and Kids Table Board Gaming.
Sen is constantly dreaming, even when he’s awake. He is passionate about helping people lose track of time in meaningful ways. An award-winning game designer, Sen helped bring original titles like Belfort, Akrotiri, and Junk Art as well as officially licensed products from TV, movies, comics, and videogames to the tabletop. Sen is the co-author of the RPGs Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, An Exquisite Crime, and The Revenant Society as well as a primary contributor to the Kids on Bikes and Avatar: Legends systems, amongst others. When he’s not consulting or developing games, you can find Sen practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, writing graphic novels, or co-hosting the Ludology Podcast and the Meeple Syrup Show from his home in London, Ontario. Discover more at https://senfoonglim.carrd.co
Shannon McDowell is a board game and puzzle designer who works with various board game publishers and professional organizations to design escape room games, ARGs, and gamified learning programs. She has designed puzzles for four years of the Cryptex Hunt, published two academic articles on cultural bias in escape rooms, and was a member of the design team for the 2019 Red Bull Escape Room World Championship.
Shiraz Sheikh is co-founder of Akinji Entertainment, a toronto-based publisher of original tabletop games including the recently released RPG: CATaclysm. Currently he is working on a tactical board game version of CATaclysm as well as his own RPG game engine.
Tim W. K. Brown is multiple award-winning Toronto based Board Game designer from Stouffville Ontario. He is a member of the Game Artisans of Canada and his games have been sold in more than a dozen countries. Find Tim and ask to play some of his prototypes of future games.