Chris Spivey writes and develops role-playing games, bringing to it his decades-old love of gaming, horror, and history, and a mission to create a more inclusive gaming world. His groundbreaking and critically acclaimed game Harlem Unbound won 3 Gold Ennies and the IGDN Groundbreaker award. Some of his other contributions can be found in Cthulhu Confidential, 7th Sea: Land of Fire and Gold, Geist 2nd Edition, Trail of Cthulhu: Out of the Woods and Thousand Years of Night. Future work includes Harlem Unbound Second Edition, City of Mist, a modern-day superhero Pulp Cthulhu campaign and he is the Line Developer for a new RPG science fiction line for Chaosium.
Upon graduating Parsons School of Design in New York City, John worked as an illustrator and animator until discovering that he might make a living from his lifelong passion for board games. Starting at SPI in 1978, he developed Battles for the Ardennes, Battle for Stalingradand Fifth Corps; co-designed Freedom in the Galaxy, and then designed Voyage of the Pandora, Dawn of the Dead and Battle over Britain. Upon the demise of SPI he joined Victory Games to co-design Ambush! and design Hell’s Highway.
A long break from board games followed, during which John designed the first online fantasy baseball game, Baseball Manager for Prodigy Services, and for several years applied his game design skills to interactive exhibits and software for museums.
In 2008 John returned to board game design with D-Day at Omaha Beach, followed by RAF: The Battle of Britain, D-Day at Tarawa, Enemy Action: Ardennes, D-Day at Peleliu, and WWII Commander: Battle of the Bulge – the iOS game and the forthcoming board game. 2018 saw the publication of SpaceCorp, John’s first game for one to four players. Currently, he is designing Enemy Action: Kharkov, expansions for SpaceCorp and another volume in the WWII Commander series. During the day, John works for Facebook as a UX design lead.
Mandi is a member of The Dice Tower Team where she co-hosts the bi-weekly Dice Tower podcast with Suzanne Sheldon and also appears on The Dice Tower’s Monday night “Teach and Plays” with co-host Michael Corneau. She also creates video reviews with co-host Caryl Tan on the To Die For Games YouTube Channel, of which she is the Founder. Mandi likes to be busy so some of her other hobbies include: snowboarding, football, makeup artistry and sewing. Favourite games that you can find on her shelf are: Viticulture, Food Chain Magnate, Caverna and Trajan, just to name a few. She enjoys pinup fashion and is easily recognizable by her hair colour.
Melissa Lewis-Gentry is a business consultant specializing in analog game sales, marketing, and production. She established herself in the game industry as the Director of Sales and Marketing for John Wick Presents, publisher of the award winning RPG 7th Sea, and prior to that as the Business Manager for Modern Myths, a hobby comic and game store. Melissa is passionate about the business of games, and making sure designers and artists have the tools they need for success. You can find out more about her at mlewisgentry.com.
Nikki is a game designer and advocate for inclusivity in gaming. She believes that games should bring joy and love into the world and unite all those who play them. Her designs include Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness Second Edition, Legacy of Dragonholt, and Arkham Horror Third Edition. She also has a love for animals, internet memes, and terrible puns (but we won’t hold that against her).
Allysha is an independent game designer and editor who likes to be involved with a game’s entire creation process. Her specialities are all in the details. Allysha’s main skills are game breaking and manipulation of rules, editing and refining text work, and blending theme and mechanics.
Allysha’s first co-design, with her partner Kevin Carmichael, The Lady and the Tiger: Favour with Jellybean Games was published early 2018.
She has edited many rulebooks, develop works from start to finish, and has a passion for helping others get their start.
Working as a teacher and youth advisor, Allysha’s attention to detail comes from her love of creative writing, RPG storytelling, and inspiring creativity in others.
At conventions, she can be easily identified by her short stature, and interesting choices in lipstick.
Andy is a web architect by day and a game designer by night. He lives with his wife and their two little mini gamers. Andy has been playing board games all his life but discovered modern game designs back in 2006 and a spark was lit. After diving into gaming and building a rather large collection, he started developing his own designs and currently has 5 games in various stages of development. Andy’s latest cooperative marine-saving game, featuring a four way dice tower, is set to be released in 2019 by Smirk and Laughter Games.
Anna Kreider is an illustrator, writer, and game designer of games like Thou Art But A Warrior, Autonomy, and The Watch. She has also freelanced for a number of companies like Wizards of the Coast, Pelgrane Press, Green Ronin, and is the former author of the popular feminist gaming blog Go Make Me a Sandwich.
Brent is an elementary school teacher, artist, and a game enthusiast. As the co-founder of Akinji Entertainment, he has often been the driving force behind our game ideation and came up with the core concepts behind both of CATaclysm‘s mechanics and world. However when he isn’t teaching, playing, or making games, he is grooming his epic beard.
He loves RPGs and has been a DM/GM for close to 18 years. With a serious passion for storytelling and mythology, his flash of insights and no nonsense work ethic make him Akinji’s tour de force.
Meet Bronwyn Friesen, an excited and passionate person from Hamilton, Ontario, who loves designing small games. Some of their faves include:
Though Bronwyn designs games, they also provide queer content consultation and developmental editing services. They feel there is an undue emphasis on game designers, especially game designers as sole creators, and that it’s important to acknowledge other ways of contributing to our cultures of games and play. And yes, they’ll talk about this topic at length.
Outside of games, Bronwyn is a loving parent of two, and learning better how to do that every day, and is pursuing a degree in Social Work at McMaster University.
Bronwyn is always open to contact on Facebook (as Bronwyn Sperling)
Catherine Ramen is a designer and game organizer from New York City. She is the author of Midnight at the Oasis, a game of 90s queer culture, the space opera homage Rovers, and the upcoming Red Carnations on a Black Grave, a storygame about the ill-fated Paris Commune of 1871. She runs the Kingsport series of Monsterhearts games for the Gauntlet online community. She is excited to be participating as a guest for the second straight year!
Camdon Wright is a game writer and designer that loves to play pretend, tell stories, and share a gaming table with new people. He is the owner of the Unicorn Motorcycle Games. His games include the Cthulhu meets the Bachelor themed game, Madness and Desire and the game Secret Person of Color. Currently he is finishing work on One Child’s Heart a game about child welfare professionals that work to bring hope back into a child’s life. He is also a staff writer at the ENnie award winning gaming blog Gnome Stew
Christopher Challice is an avid gamer and mythology buff who lives in Ottawa Ontario. As a camp counselor, game master, and writer he’s been telling stories for over 25 years. He grew up engrossed in fantasy/sci-fi. He studied the classics at Trent University. He crafted his own mythology while telling campfire stories in Jungle Cat World Orono. He’s been published in Knights of the Dinner Table and Polygraff Magazine. He recently released the Vanagard Storytelling game for Pendelhaven press.
Notable Works Include:
Vanagard – Storytelling Sister Game to Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok
Seith and Sword – A Fate of the Norns Novel
Alice Black: Blood Tribute – Solo Fate Core Adventure Book
Dana Cameron is sort of a human who does things, including writing cyberpunk transfelinism pieces for The Sprawl and The Veil ttrpgs. They are also known to do freelance copyediting, layout, and graphic design for tabletop games when not busy working in Public Health and STD education. In addition to their work with Ardens Ludere, Dana is currently writing a ttrpg game about fractured identities and also co-working on a CYOA text-based digital game about A Kitten and The Way It Gets Down to Business—because cats. You can find them tweeting about cats, beer, and games at @DAYtheELF. They really, really, really like cats. Cats.
Daniel Kwan is a Toronto-based museum professional, creative producer, GM for hire, game designer, and podcaster. His debut game, Zany Zoo, was released in 2018. His first major title, Ross Rifles, will launch on Kickstarter in later 2019. He currently co-hosts the Asians Represent! podcast with Agatha Cheng on the One Shot Podcast Network.
Derek Chung is the head of all things Nomnivore Games Inc. He spends a great deal of his time herding various freelancers and is the one you’re most likely to meet or play a game with at a convention. He got into game development the usual way: a steady diet of geek media and anime, a hatred of sleep, and an interest in co-operative storytelling. His background in psychotherapy, philosophy, and social psychology reinforced his love of shared worlds, ideas, and experiences. These interests came together to form the tabletop RPG: Emberwind–a new type of TTRPG designed to weave dynamic stories and whole-party adventures for players of any skill level and with or without a game master.
He lives in Ontario, where he is fueled by equal parts caffeine and beer. In an effort to combat the sleep deprivation, Derek brought home a puppy. He reports that the puppy is getting plenty of sleep, but wonders if he didn’t maybe misunderstand some important step of the process.
Doreen is the founder and president of uKloo Kids, Inc., a children’s literacy game developer based in Toronto. She is a member of Women in Toys (WIT), Neighborhood Toys Stores of Canada (NETS), American Specialty Toy Retailing Association of America (ASTRA) and the Chicago Toy and Game Inventors Conference (ChiTAg). Doreen has mentored and advised new game inventors in Canada and the USA on issues regarding manufacturing, safety compliancy, market testing, import/export, bringing games to market, distribution and marketing. Her games are licensed in 14 countries and sold through distribution networks in Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Doreen has also worked as a Grants Officer with the Toronto Arts Council where she developed, chaired and administered the City of Toronto’s first Arts Grants to Individuals (Visual Arts, Literature, Dance and Theatre). She also worked with Inventive Women Inc. to create a millennial web site celebrating women’s invention and innovation. Here, she collaborated directly with the president, web builders and graphic artists to develop and publish web-based games celebrating invention.
Doreen pitched her invention on CBC’s Dragon’s Den and has the honour of being the only game inventor to have ever been offered a deal by curmudgeon investor Kevin O’Leary on that program. She turned him down and has catapulted her products into over 20 countries since then.
Dymphna is a game designer, LARP verber, and performance/installation artist (!) who lives in Dish With One Spoon Territory. Her long running show, “Happy Smiling Woman In Business Attire, Sitting At A Desk” has recently been cancelled and she is currently unsure how she feels about that. She’s writing this bio several months in advance, and she will be very different by the time you’re reading this. Think back to who you were in November. Are you different now? Has the winter changed you? I hope it’s for the best, for both of us.
Emily Griggs is a writer and illustrator who has freelanced for a variety of gaming companies in both roles. She’s also participated in the Game Chef game design competition three times, placing as a finalist twice and as English-language winner once. She’s written a webcomic, and writes and illustrates a line of nerd-themed greeting cards under the business name Sweet Ingenuity
Erica Bouyouris is an elementary school teacher by day, and a board game designer by night. She has three games currently released; Roar from IDW, Ink Monsters with Albino Dragon, and Ghostbusters the Card Game with Renegade. Erica has games scheduled for release in 2019 with Floodgate, Renegade Game Studio, Indie Boards and Cards, Grand Gamers Guild, and more.
Erica is the co-host of the Meeple Syrup show, a show about board game design and publishing. Erica is also one of the Directors for the charity Path of Play, which raises money for Autism support, donating games to therapy centres, and subsidizing autism therapy for families in need.
Hamish Cameron is a writer, game designer, and historian raised and trained for adventure in New Zealand and now venturing deep into the wilds of the infamous “New England”. In game circles, he is best known for The Sprawl (2016), a PbtA game of mission-based cyberpunk action now translated into several languages, and now Dinosaur Princesses, an all-ages story game of cooperation and collaborative problem solving. You can find him tweeting merrily at @peregrinekiwi, @thesprawl_rpg and @ardensludere, and streaming at twitch.tv/peregrinekiwi.
Helaina Cappel is the publisher of many games for her two brands KTBG (Foodfighters, Problem Picnic, Haunt the House, Wreck Raiders, and Bugs on Rugs) and Burnt Island Games (Endeavor: Age of Sail and In the Hall of the Mountain King). She is also the co-designer of two of these games, Foodfighters and Haunt the House. A teacher for 17 years, she is a huge proponent of games in the classroom. Helaina is excited to be a guest at Breakout once again! Let’s play some games!
Jason Pitre is a game designer and professional ecologist from the wilds of Canada. He runs the RPG Design PanelCast, sharing information on roleplaying game design and publishing.
He has designed and published many roleplaying games including the Spark Roleplaying Game (2013), the ENnie-award-winning Posthuman Pathways (2014), and Sig: Manual of the Primes (2017).
When he isn’t designing games or reading up on polar bears, he roasts ‘n brews a mean cup of coffee.
Jennifer Adcock is a game designer and author. She creates story- and roleplay-driven games about love and community. She also writes D&D adventures that emphasize a non-combat approach to problem solving. Jennifer’s work is available through her website at FirstSightSecondThoughts.net and her Patreon at patreon.com/jenkatwrites
Jerry Meyer has been gaming since 1979, when his future Brother-in Law first introduced him to Dungeons and Dragons. Since then, he has been playing, running, and writing games for a variety of systems.
During the 80’s, Jerry wrote some articles on tactics and teamwork for Battletalk, a local fanzine supporting FASA’s Mechwarrior tabletop game. This began his lifelong love of writing game-related materials, rules, and advice.
In the mid 2000’s, Jerry worked for Dark City Games, helping to craft their World of Tyrin setting for Legends of the Ancient World. After writing two adventures for DCG (Orcs of the High Mountains and Little Black Book) he worked as editor for three years, helping to coordinate authors, adventures, rules, and settings for Dark City Games.
Since then, Jerry has been an event coordinator for several local game stores in the Central NY area, before becoming co-owner of Lake Effect Gaming and Events.
He is presently working on a Setting Book for Encoded Designs.
Jonathan Gilmour is the Head of Development for Pandasaurus Games, and a Board Game Designer from NW Ohio. His credits include: Co-designer of Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, Dinosaur Island, and The RPG Kids on Bikes. His greatest weaknesses are writing Bios, and the color green. He loves long walks on the beach and play testing 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 and his wife have four children, with the goal of having a built in game group any time they want it.
Jonathan has been working in and around games for the past ten 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 acts as freelancer for both hobby and video game industry companies. His latest project is called We Used To Be Friends and it’s a collaborative teenage detective drama game!
Hello All, I have been role-playing since I was 9 years old. My mom said it was a phase, but she was very wrong. Back in the day I helped write the Sailor Moon Role-playing game, and the Complete Book of Yoma. Now I’m trying my hand at writing Adventures’ League modules for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Currently, I play and run AL games, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Sailor Moon, Big Eyes-Small Mouth, Kobolds Ate My Baby, and Witch. Horror-Comedy is my specialty. Sign up for one of my games or just come say hello!
Mark Richardson is a cartographer and game designer. Mark has worked for close to 20 years in Cartography at the Government of Canada and brought this passion to games with his Ennie award winning work on the 7th Sea RPG. He has also done maps for Urban Shadows, No Country for Old Kobolds and most recently Tour de Lovecraft. Mark is also the designer behind the Headspace RPG and is currently developing his first card game Treads. You can find more about mark at greenhatdesigns.com.
Misha B is a longtime gamer and GM working on raising the next generation of geeklings. She’s written for multiple games including Chill: SAVE, Lovecraftesque, and Dead Scare and was an editor of the award winning #Feminism collection of nanogames. She blogs gaming inspired fiction at BlackGirlGameWorks.com, is one of the founders of New Agenda Publishing, and is a curator for More Seats at the Table. Her latest project is Orun.
Moyra Turkington is the creator and leader of the War Birds Collective: an international team of designers writing provocative games about women fighting on the front lines of history. She is interested in personal, political, educational and transformative games that challenge how we understand the world and each other. A Systems Analyst with a joint background in Theatre and Cultural Studies, she is always working to develop multiplicity and access in media, design, representation and play. She hails from Toronto, Canada, molds leather masks and has a laugh that could shake the world.
Natalie Zina Walschots is a writer and game designer based in Toronto. She is currently the Community Manager and Digital Strategist for Stitch Media, and is one quarter of the queer games collective Only Dead Men. She writes everything from reviews of science fiction novels and interviews with heavy metal musicians to in-depth feminist games criticism. She is the author of two books of poetry, and is presently finishing a novel about supervillainy and henchpeople. She also plays a lot of D&D, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies and reads a lot of speculative fiction.
Nicole is a board game lover, who ended up accidentally just spreading the love of that through podcasting and writing. A staff writer on the Toronto-based Daily Worker Placement blog, and a co-host of Greatway Games, you can find her waxing lyrical about what’s great about certain games, why diversity and representation matter, and what games do for our culture.
Nicole Winchester draws on her background in television to create tabletop RPGs and larps with dramatic story and cinematic sensibility. Her work examines themes of identity, memory, privilege and marginalization, often exploring the past for tales hidden in history. She has written for Green Ronin’s ’The Expanse’ RPG, John Wick Presents’ ‘7th Sea,’ The Fate Codex, and the Toronto Star. She is also an award-winning social media storyteller and a veteran of three Olympic Games with CBC. She is a co-founder of Fair Escape Studios, producer of larps and interactive experiences. She finds adventure by travelling, larping around the world, and exploring Toronto. Find her online @noizangel and at nicolewinchester.com.
Pam Walls is a board game designer based out of Toronto, Ontario. She is the designer of the party game Hold That Face published by Hasbro in 2017. Pam is the founder of ProtoTO, Toronto’s tabletop game design convention, and Board Game Broads, a forum for women and gender non-conforming folks in the board game design community.
A slightly rumpled relic of the Gernsback Continuum, Pieter spends most of his time in a single room. Currently (still!) penning a serial SF supplement for Sanguine’s Urban Jungle supplement and anxiously awaiting the re-release of his Usagi Yojimbo RPG. He’s been playing RPGs since 1987 and writing them since 1998. Likes film cameras, Hollandaise and autumn.
Robin D. Laws designed such roleplaying games as Hillfolk, Feng Shui, The Esoterrorists, and The Yellow King Roleplaying Game. Robin is the winner of five Gold and five Silver ENnie Awards and the coveted Diana Jones Award. His works have been translated into ten languages. Hear his soothing voice on the weekly podcast Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.
Ryan Macklin is a tech writer by day, game creator and convention GM by night. Which is like being an introverted werewolf. He’s worked on Fate, Cortex Plus, Mage: the Ascension, Primetime Adventures, Unknown Armies, and many other games (including his own Mythender and Katanas & Trenchcoats). But Ryan always comes back to his first joy of sitting down with a few humans to tell and play out fun, dramatic stories. Unrelated, his cat is a lovable jerk.
Sen-Foong Lim started designing games as early as he can remember as a way to create new worlds to play in and systems to explore. He would often make games for school projects and ended up playing card and board games voraciously throughout his entire school career. He decided to try his hand at making games professionally when he and his design partner, Jay Cormier, became geographically separated due to work requirements. They chose game design as their way of keeping their friendship strong, despite the physical distance between them.
Jay and Sen burst onto the scene in 2011 as the designers of the Euro-styled strategy game Belfort and has since rose to prominence with games like But Wait, There’s More!, the party game about pitching wacky products, Junk Art, a family-oriented dexterity game, and Akrotiri, a 2-player game about unearthing lost temples in ancient Greece.
As their games have met with critical and financial success, Sen has been honoured to be work on games featuring some of fandom’s most beloved properties including “The Legend of Korra” (with Jessey Wright), “Orphan Black”, “The Godfather” (both with Jay Cormier) and “Dungeons & Dragons: Rock, Paper, Wizard” (with Josh Cappel and Jay Cormier). Sen loves collaboration with other designers, veterans and rookies alike!
Sen has recently begun to put pen to paper on the RPG side of tabletop design, contributing scenarios and settings to Kids on Bikes (the brainchild of Doug Levandowski and Jonathan Gilmour), Gears of Defiance (from indie stalwart Ryan Schoon), and The North Sea Epilogues (by Tim and Kristin Devine). He is also a highly sought-after developer and rules editor, with an ability to take other people’s games across the finish line. He has worked in this capacity for companies like WizKids, Everything Epic, and Meridae Games.
A well-regarded personality in the design-o-sphere as the co-host of The Meeple Syrup Show webcast, Sen has also presented to students in the game design programs at the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier. He is frequently a panelist or moderator at Gen Con, Breakout Con, FanExpo, GenreCon, Forest City ComiCon, AnimeNorth, ProtoTO and ProtoATL. He loves talking about game design, so reach out anytime!
Also, Sen may have to use jiu jitsu on you if you choose to play as yellow before he gets a chance but you can always try to distract him with good BBQ.
Senda Linaugh is one half of She’s a Super Geek, the actual play RPG podcast highlighting women as GMs, and one half of Panda’s Talking Games, where she and gaming mogul Phil Vecchione tackle GMing advice for one shots and campaigns. Add those together and she is one whole podcaster. She has co-created games like Love & Justice and Turning Point and writes for Gnome Stew on the side.
Sharang Biswas is an award-winning and internationally-published game designer, artist, and writer based in Manhattan. He won the Dark Horse Award at IndieCade 2017 and the IGDN Indie Groundbreaker award for the “Most Innovative Game” in 2018. His interactive theatre and performative games have been exhibited in spaces such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Flow Gallery in St. Louis, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, and the Denny Gallery in Manhattan. He has lectured about and taught game design at institutions and conferences including NYU-Tisch, Dartmouth, the University of Cincinnati, Playcrafting, Game For Change, IndieCade and the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and has presented at numerous conferences, and has published writing in magazines such as Kill Screen, Ready Set Zam, and Sub-Q.
Sharang is the Experience Designer at the Medici Group, an innovation and diversity consulting firm in New York. He holds a Masters in Interactive Design from the ITP programme at NYU-Tisch, and a Bachelors of Engineering from Dartmouth.
Shel Kahn loves RPGs! She illustrates and writes for tabletop RPGs, runs them for kids and teens at schools and museums, and mentors new GMs with nonprofit community space Dames Making Games. Kahn’s self-published adventures include Keep on the Shining Isle and The Corruption of Pelursk. In her spare time, Kahn also creates original comics and art, and runs The Sorcerer’s Catalogue, an online store of everyday esoterica. Learn more at portablecity.net!
Ever since his older cousin bequeathed his copy of the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide to him when he was just 10 years old, Shiraz has been playing role-playing games for over 30 years. Shiraz is co-founder of Akinji Entertainment. By day, Shiraz makes his living as a professor of history and teaches at several universities around Toronto, Canada. By night he is a master board game player, and his true passion lies in the crunch of developing game mechanics.
Teri Litorco a professional fangirl. She’s the contributing editor at Geek and Sundry, covering the realm of tabletop gaming. She’s authored “The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming” which she bills as a book that’s part etiquette guide and part survival guide for tabletop gamers. She also is a YouTuber, creating videos on miniature games, including painting tutorials and gameplay videos.
Tim Rodriguez designs and publishes tabletop board games and roleplaying games. He’s co-owner of Galileo Games and serves as a recurring judge for the Cardboard Edison Awards for unpublished board games. Tim is currently working on “Hyperreality: The most anticipated reality TV gameshow roleplaying game, of all time!“
Todd Crapper (yes, you read that right) is a game designer, graphic designer and a two-time ENnies award winning game designer, for Killshot: The Director’s Cut and High Plains Samurai: Legends. Currently living in the middle of nowhere over an hour outside of Ottawa, he’s currently working on future games like the Dinosaur Project, Dimensions, and a poker larp called The Deal. And he’s eager to talk about games, play games, smell games… ok, maybe just the first two. You can learn more about his games at brokenrulergames.net and discover more about High Plains Samurai at highplainssamurai.com
Wendelyn A. Reischl (Wen) is a freelance writer, game designer, and analytical lycanthrope with a MBA. He spent a decade in the Toastmasters public speaking club holding numerous officer roles and winning awards for speaking and evaluation. Wen actively fosters diversity and inclusion through organization in his professional and personal life. Since joining the tabletop RPG industry in 2016, Wen has worked with Post World Games, Gallant Knight Games, Yellow Piece Games, Motorcycle Unicorn Games, Green Ronin, and Ulisses North America. He is the public face of the Denver RPG Meetup, one of the world’s largest role playing meetup groups. In 2018 he became an official writer at the award winning Gnome Stew gaming blog. Wen lives in Denver, CO and his goal is to unite, expand and uplift the gaming community.