More information about Breakout 2018’s awesome guests will be available soon. Follow our news feed for future announcements.
Jennifer Adcock is a fiction writer, game designer, and blogger. She creates story- and roleplay-driven games that are accessible to all ages, with a focus on introducing new players to the wonderful world of tabletop roleplaying games. She also likes to explore a wide array of indie RPGs and bring those to both new and longtime gamers alike. Jennifer’s RPG campaigns are recounted through her blog posts, telling the stories of her friends’ adventures at FirstSightSecondThoughts.net. Her D&D adventures are available for purchase at the DMs Guild.
Jason Anarchy is the designer of the irreverent Drinking Quest series which is both an RPG and a Drinking Game but also a spoof of the world of gaming.
His most recent game Pretending to Grownup is a casual card game that celebrates that state of being a grownup but not feeling like one.
He also released Haiku Warrior which is another accessible RPG told entirely through haiku!
Jason travels the world working at different conventions and also talks about how great his biceps are on Twitter.
Daryl Andrews is a full-time freelance board game designer/developer. He is also a member of the Game Artisans of Canada, leading the Kitchener-Waterloo chapter. Additionally, Daryl is a former co-hosts of the Meeple Syrup Show. When Daryl is not playing board games, he is cheering on Toronto sport teams like the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, Raptors, and TFC.
Notable Games Include:
Learn more about Daryl at his website darylmandrews.com
Emily Care Boss of Black & Green Games is an role playing game designer, publisher and game theorist from western Massachusetts. She wrote the Diana Jones Award Nominated Romance Trilogy: Breaking the Ice, Shooting the Moon and Under my Skin, and has contributed to games and anthologies by Pelgrane Press, Make Big Things and Evil Hat Productions include Bubblegumshoe. An early participant at the Forge forums and a proponent of independent publishing, she is a member of the Indie Game Developer’s Network. You can find her games and other work at blackgreengames.com.
Jahmal ‘Mad Jay’ Brown is a freelance game writer. He’s written the upcoming Clockwinders a World of Adventure for Fate and currently at work on Red Mercury a Cortex Prime Spotlight setting about weaponized meta-humans.
Outside of gaming he’s a gamer dad, runs a software company he wishes was a game studio and loves his momma, she doesn’t game…yet.
Maury Brown is the President and co-founder of Learn Larp, LLC and Snow Dragon Games and the lead designer and organizer of the blockbuster larp New World Magischola, which more than 1,000 people have participated in since it opened in 2016. She’s the designer of A Wolf By Any Other Name, a modular larp-in-a-box that can have between 6 and 25 players, and one of the writers of the Compendium of North American Cryptids and Magical Creatures, a book of creatures based on North American folklore as well as original lore. Brown is also the designer of Immerton, a new fantasy world and 4-day immersive larp experience by and for women, and the publisher and co-developer of the new wizard school adventure board game, New World Magischola House Rivalry. She has spoken at conventions and conferences worldwide about inclusive and differentiated larp design; player-centered design; missing stairs, harassment, and community management in gaming communities; safety coordination, conduct policies, and emotional labor in gaming communities; safety and calibration techniques for larps and RPGs; and inclusive design principles for game design and play. She is also a roleplay studies scholar and has published work on building empathy through gaming, trauma triggers and their effect on play, gender in larps, and feminist and queer game design. She firmly believes in the power of roleplay to change lives and improve the world, and designs and publishes games that bring people together and challenge oppressive norms.
Tim is a board game designer from Stouffville Ontario and an active member of the Game Artisans of Canada. This year Tim will be introducing his newest game Order of Invention, the successful Kickstarter release of the 10th anniversary edition of Gridstones: Night Sky, and another soon to be announced title from Kids Table Board Gaming.
Jacqueline “Jax” Bryk is a freelance writer and game designer from Delaware. Though she’s only 24, she’s no stranger to the industry, having won the Golden Cobra Award for Most Convention-Ready Design and being a featured guest at BreakoutCon 2017. Apart from Growling Door Games, Jacqueline has written for Onyx Path Publishing, Helmgast AB, Galileo Games, and Damocles Thread Development.
In her spare time, she likes to yell at games like Civilization V and Crusader Kings II, model for photographers and visual artists, avoid arguments about politics, and attempt recipes she saw on Iron Chef America once.
You can subscribe to her monthly serial novel about magical queer anarchists at Damocles Thread Development on Patreon.“
Misha is a longtime gamer and GM and up and coming designer working on raising the next generation of geeklings.
She’s worked on #Feminism as an editor and Chill: SAVE, Lovecraftesque, Dead Scare, and Misspent Youth among others as a writer. Her latest project is Nightingales with Moyra Turkington and Rachel ES Walton as part of the War Birds collection.
You can find her at Black Girl Gameworks.
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”. He is best known for The Sprawl (2016), a PbtA game of mission-based cyberpunk action now translated into several languages, including French. He is currently working on Dinosaur Princesses, a game for young roleplayers focused on cooperative problem-solving, and Kratophagia, a game for older roleplayers focused on cannibalism and protean body transformation. He publishes RPGs as Ardens Ludere and board games as part of Cheeky Mountain Parrot Games. You can find him tweeting merrily at @peregrinekiwi and @thesprawl_rpg.
I’m a game artist and game designer living and working in Toronto. My design credits include Wasabi, Bomb Squad Academy, Foodfighters, Rock Paper Wizard, Merchants & Marauders: Broadsides, and several more games due to be released in 2018 and beyond. My art/graphic credits include Pandemic, Endeavor, 1960: The Making of the President, Belfort, Scoville, Garden Dice, Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, and dozens more. I’ve recently joined Grand Gamers Guild as their Art Director, and the rest of my work time goes to my wife Helaina’s two companies KTBG and Burnt Island Games.
Mostly I’m known for my work in game art; I’m not the greatest painter in the world but I can fake it pretty good, and I have a knack for making the art of a game service the gameplay. I also do a lot of work on the rulebooks of games, since to me the rulebook is the most important component by a long shot. I guess I’m a visual generalist. I consider the art, graphic design, instructive text, flavour text, naming, iconography, and physical component structure to all be part of the appearance of the game, and making the appearance shine is what they hire me for. After over a decade making games look great and work better for a wide variety of publishers, I still learn new lessons with every job and I’m still discovering new ways to present information so that it elevates the player’s experience.
Upcoming Kickstarter campaigns I’m involved with are Haunt the House for KTBG (October 10th), the new edition of Endeavor for Grand Gamers Guild & Burnt Island Games (January 2018), and Endangered for Grand Gamers Guild (March 2018).
Helaina Cappel was born and bred in Toronto. She is so excited to spend another year as a guest at Breakout. Helaina is best know for co-designing Foodfighters and her upcoming Kickstarter campaign Haunt the House. She is also the Chief Gamer at KTBG (aka Kids Table Board Gaming), a company that publishes kids games for adults.
In her spare time (haha!) she is a full time teacher with the Toronto District School Board, where she is often found using games to teach the curriculum. She also runs a very successful game club and has been doing this for many years.
Todd Crapper (yes, you read that right) is an multiple-ENnie nominee, recipient of the 2013 Judges Spotlight Award for Killshot: The Director’s Cut, and creator of RPGs such as Killshot, ScreenPlay & the recently Kickstarted High Plains Samurai. He is the owner/lead designer of Broken Ruler Games. Currently living in the middle of nowhere over an hour outside of Ottawa, he’s also one of four co-hosts of the Ottawa Game Publishers Podcast with Jason Pitre, Mark Richardson, Joshua Kitz and Fraser Ronald. And he’s eager to talk about games, play games, smell games… ok, maybe just the first two.
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. Over the years he’s shared articles, stories, and adventure books.
Learn more about Chris at his website The Tao of Chall
Kiel Chenier is a writer/designer/layout artist from Toronto. His horror-fantasy book Blood in the Chocolate won Gold for ‘Best Adventure of 2017’ at the ENnies. His work has been published by Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, EN5ider, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
Find out more about Kiel on his website Dungeons & Donuts
Christopher Chung is the designer of Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, winner of the 2015 Mensa Select award. Lanterns was also nominated for the 2016 SXSW Tabletop Game of the Year, 2015 Golden Geek Family Board Game and 2015 Dice Tower Gaming Awards Best Family Game. He Graduated with a B.Comm from Ryerson University and Seneca College. He loves hockey, piano soundtracks, underground hip-hop, and staying up late at night to design more games or binge-watching anime.
James is a professional podcaster and game designer based in Chicago. In 2013 James started the ONE SHOT podcast, a show dedicated to exploring the diversity of tabletop RPGs. Every week ONE SHOT brings new episodes featuring a cast of improvisers, game designers, and other notable nerds playing RPGs. Every month James and his guests explore a new game with a fun lighthearted approach. Along with his business partner Kat Kuhl, James runs the ONE SHOT Network which is dedicated to expanding the hobby by maintaining a roster of entertaining and informative shows with a diverse perspective.
In addition to his work in games media, James is also a game designer. His first game, Noisy Person Cards was purchased by Mattel after an appearance on ABC’s The Toy Box. He has also released several micro-games including Millenial Apartment Hunters, Millenials Are Killing, and Tower of Progress.
James likes, kobolds, kissing, and spooky horses.
Rob Daviau is an award-winning game designer whose games have been sold world-wide. He is the co-designer of Pandemic Legacy (Season 1 & Season 2), the former being one of the very few games to ever reach the highest-rated game on boardgamegeek.com.
Since 1998, he has designed and published over 70 games from children’s games to family games to party games to more in-depth games for the hobby market.
Rob has largely designed tabletop games but has also done work with hybrid physical-digital games and some work with digital games.
Rob is a writer as well as a designer, having spent much of his 20s as an advertising copywriter. He also wrote a chapter in Kobold Design’s Guide to Game Design, was a contributor to DRAGON magazine, and has written various articles on game design.
Rob has spoken at game conventions, participated in dozens of radio interviews, performed live TV segments, and contributed live color commentary for ESPN during the 2009 Monopoly World Tournaments.
He has guest lectured at MIT, Carnegie-Mellon University, and NYU on game design. He was an adjunct professor of game design at NYU in 2013 and is currently a visiting professor of game design at Hampshire College.
Jonathan Gilmour is a Board Game Designer from NW Ohio. His credits include Co-designer of Dead of Winter: A Crosssroads Game, Wasteland Express Delivery Service, 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 Hanabi. 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.
Glenn Given is the co-founder and principle designer for Games by Play Date an independent design and publishing studio in southern New Hampshire. He is the chief designer behind the fanfiction party game Slash: Romance Without Boundaries a game which has the honor of being strongly disliked by both the Cards Against Humanity staff, Board Game reviewer luminary Tom Vasel and a very vocal segment of the Supernatural TV series fanbase. Glenn has also designed and published games about:
He currently lives in the very Lovecraftian woods of New Hampshire and continues to focus on making games for underserved sections of the gaming audience.
Derek is the Toronto-based designer of the card-based story game: Hope Inhumanity and its expansion Martial Law. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic landscape where characters attempt to survive a journey to a more hopeful place.
Derek spent years immersed in indie role playing games like Burning Wheel, Dread, Fiasco and Apocalypse World. His desire to design games was ignited after meeting the game designers who created the games he loved playing. He enjoys exploring the gray area at the intersection of board games and role playing games, where there’s room for great games that incorporate the best of both.
Emily Griggs is an author, illustrator, and professional nerd. She freelances for a variety of gaming companies as both a writer and an artist, as well as writing and illustrating her own game projects, working on the next arc of her webcomic, and selling her line of geeky greeting cards. You can find her in Ottawa, Canada surrounded by dice, toys, and far too many dragons, or online at sweetingenuity.com.
Notable Games Include:
Erica Hayes-Bouyouris is a game designer by night and a school teacher by day. She specializes in working with children with various needs and originally used games as a way to make learning more engaging and fun. She started creating games for all ages and in multiple genres, not just for children, which lead to her jumping into the deep-end of the game industry with both feet. Erica has 6 signed games with different publishers and is working towards adding to that list. Erica has one successful Kickstarter already (delivery March 2018) and another game that will be hitting retail shelves early 2018. Erica is also one of the co-host on the Meeple Syrup show, talking about board game design and important peripheral issues that designers and publishers should think about in gaming.
Rachel Kahn illustrates for, playtests, writes and teaches with tabletop RPGs. You can see her work in the upcoming Yellow King RPG, as well as within Trouble for Hire, The Warren, and Perilous Almanacs. Rachel Kahn also self-publishes small system-agnostic adventures in her Pocket Dungeons format, including Keep on the Shining Isle. You can learn more about her artwork at portablecity.net and pick up her games, artwork and comics like By Crom! at portablecity.bigcartel.com
Kat Kuhl is a queer latinx podcaster based in Chicago. On her show Campaign Kat uses the Fantasy Flight Edge of the Empire RPG to tell a Star Wars story that resembles Three Men and a Baby. As the co-founder of the ONE SHOT Network Kat works to make gaming a more inclusive and interesting place by elevating new voices in the hobby and curating shows designed to welcome new people.
Kat also works as a game designer. Her first game, Noisy Person Cards was purchased by Mattel after an appearance on ABC’s The Toy Box.
Daniel is a Toronto-based multi-media educator, archaeologist, museum professional, podcast host, and Co-founder/Lead Facilitator of Level Up Gaming.
Daniel has been running the Royal Ontario Museum’s Dungeons & Dragons program since 2011 and consulted in the development of a program using the Dungeon World system at the Aga Khan Museum between 2015 and 2016. In 2016, Daniel co-founded Level Up Gaming, a Toronto-based organization that provides individuals on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities the opportunity to develop and explore their real-world social skills through goal-directed group gaming experiences.
Outside of the classroom, he hosts Curiosity in Focus, a bi-weekly podcast that explores the nature of curiosity through casual conversations with young professionals and influencers from around the world.
Learn more about Daniel’s work at www.danielhkwan.com
Jonathan Lavallee is a game designer from Toronto. He’s been making games for over 13 years now, from larger product lines like CyberGeneration to Chill 3rd edition, to smaller games like Gaesa and Critical!: Go Westerly. Currently he’s working on a collaborative teenage detective storytelling game called We Used To Be Friends and will be joining the Hand Eye Society as part of the Artist in Residency program at the Toronto Oakwood Public Library. There he’s going to be talking to kids about “screenless games” as well as working on a new collaborative game where you play “monsters” trying to reintegrated into society called Third Life.
Sen-Foong Lim is the short, Asian half of the versatile tabletop design team, the Bamboozle Brothers. Since 2011, they have covered a diverse range of games from the Euro-styled strategy “Belfort” to “But Wait, There’s More!”, the party game about pitching wacky products, to “Junk Art”, a family-oriented dexterity game. As Sen has gained critical success in the industry, he has been asked to design games featuring some of fandom’s most beloved properties and is a sought-after developer when publishers and designers need that extra je ne sais quoi to bring the game to it’s final form.
Sen also hosts the weekly design-centric webcasts, the Meeple Syrup Show with an aim to amplify diverse voices within the game design community and industry. Sen has spoken at University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, and Sheridan College about designing games and has moderated or participated on panels at Gen Con, Breakout Con, FanExpo, PAX Unplugged, Metatopia, and Forest City ComiCon, He wants to share his experience with others so they, too, can make great games!
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.
Michelle Lyons-McFarland has over seventeen years in the tabletop game industry as editor, writer, developer, and designer. Her company, Growling Door Games, is a joint effort with her husband, Matt McFarland. In addition to her game work, Michelle will be receiving her Ph.D. in English in 2018, with a focus on material culture, eighteenth-century British literature, gothic literature, composition, and game-based pedagogy. She is the designer of A Tragedy in Five Acts as well as working on a ton of other titles, including her company’s Chill 3rd Edition RPG line.
Jenn Martin is mostly harmless. A member of the Chicago-based gaming podcast The Jank Cast, she enjoys play-by-post, LARP, video and tabletop RPG games. Currently, she’s working on Manic Pixie Dream Girls Anonymous, a LARP about a bullshit trope and Autumn of the Ancients, a sci-fi hack of Fall of Magic (with Adam Robichaud). Winner of the 2017 Golden Cobra “Game that gives us the most hope” award (with Todd N.) She designed the Angel archetype for Urban Shadows just to watch them fall, and the Joined playbook for Masks to play on her real life twin feels. By day, a former cog in the capitalist machine. By night, game designer, writer, geek parent, and part fae (allegedly).
Matthew McFarland, known in some internet circles as BlackHat Matt, has been writing games professionally for nearly 20 years, which is a sobering thought. He co-owns Growling Door Games (with Michelle Lyons-McFarland), and publishes the post-apocalyptic RPG curse the darkness, Shakespeare emulator A Tragedy in Five Acts, and the new edition of the class horror RPG Chill. Matt also works as a freelance writer and developer, and recently helmed the 20th anniversary edition of Changeling: The Dreaming for Onyx Path Publishing.
Learn more about Matt at his website growlingdoorgames.com/
Corey Reid is extremely tall and can talk at great length about both dinosaurs and swordfighting. And his mom, who is super interesting. He doesn’t so much design games as twist existing games further than they were probably meant to go, occasionally with entertaining results. His stories mostly involve some combination of dinosaurs, ninjas and pirates and can be found at www.dino-pirates.com.
Sarah Richardson is currently working as Magpie Games’ Marketing Director, as well as one of their in house designers and developers. She is the author of the tabletop rpg Velvet Glove and co-author of Bluebeard’s Bride. In addition to her work with Magpie Games, she serves on the leadership team of the Indie Games Developer Network (IGDN) and has worked on a number of freelance projects throughout the RPG industry. You can see some of her writing and design work in The Complete Oracle and the upcoming The Haunting of the Laraine Estate for KULT: Divinity Lost. In addition, you can see her layout work in Epyllion: A Dragon Epic, No Salvation for Witches, and The Cold Ruins of Last Life.
Alex Roberts, Production Coordinator at Bully Pulpit Games, is a writer, designer, journalist, and roleplayer of boundless enthusiasm. When not hosting her acclaimed interview show Backstory, she freelances for companies like Thorny Games, Burning Wheel HQ, and VICE Waypoint. Tension, her 2-player RPG about forbidden love, is currently in development. Keep up with her at www.helloalexroberts.com
Fraser Ronald is an author and game designer from Ottawa, Canada’s capital. He runs Sword’s Edge Publishing, which produces role-playing game products and can be found at swordsedgepublishing.ca. His games include Sword’s Edge, Nefertiti Overdrive, Centurion, and Sword Noir. His published fiction includes “When She Was Five” in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination issue 234, “A Dead Pound of Flesh” in Black Gate issue 15, “For Simple Coin” in On Spec issue 79, and “Gifts of the Elder Gods” in the Parasitorium: Terrors Within, a horror and dark fantasy anthology.
Andrew is a Viking, author, game designer and publisher from Lachute, Quebec. His works include the Illuminated Edda, Fate of the Norns: Raganrok, Gulveig, Vanagard and his current Patreon powered graphic novel. 2018 will see Andrew’s 11th Kickstarter (to be announced soon!)
Natalie Zina Walschots is a freelance writer and community manager based in Toronto. She writes everything from reviews of science fiction novels and interviews with heavy metal musicians to to in-depth feminist games criticism and pieces of long-form journalism. For the past two years, she has been working on social media for a science fiction television show, building a fan community with memes and positivity and helping to create interactive digital narratives. She is the author of two books of poetry, Thumbscrews (winner of the 2007 Robert Kroetsch Award) and DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains (Insomniac, 2012). Natalie is presently finishing a novel about supervillainy and the plight of henchpeople. Her other projects include exploring the poetic potential of the notes engine in the video game Bloodborne, teaching game writing and interactive narrative classes for Dames Making Games and developing a noir VR game with the queer trash collective Only Dead Men. She also plays a lot of tabletop RPGs, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies and reads a lot of speculative fiction.
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 Colorado based gaming company Analog Letters. His first game, Madness and Desire, answers the never asked question; what would happen if you combined The Bachelor with Cthulhu horror? The Indie Game Developer’s Network (IGDN) chose Camdon as one the 2017 recipients of their prestigious scholarship to Metatopia, a game design festival. His work has been featured in the Pinnacle Entertainment Group publication, Savage Worlds Explorer. He is currently working on the tabletop RPG One Child’s Heart for publication in 2018. The game explores childhood trauma through the eyes of child welfare professionals. He lives in Westminster, Colorado with his wife, 2 kids, and a dog named Rockford. Rockford is a good dog.
Jessie Yaternick is a game designer and writer from Ottawa. She is the proud recipient of the Metatopia 2017 Sponsorship. Jessie created the innovative games Quarantine Heroes, Carnies, Capodecina, Etica, Arcova, Warriors of Valhalla, and Elderman. She has been featured as a guest game designer for tabletop gaming events at game stores. Jessie can often be found at Ottawa Comic-con as a guest on gaming panels teaching about diversity in the gaming industry and running creative game design workshops. Her most popular game, Maiden Voyage Murder, is a murder mystery adventure that will captivate players with intriguing characters and descriptive books for advanced roleplay.