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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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