More information about Breakout 2018’s awesome guests will be available soon. Follow our news feed for future announcements.
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.
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.
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.
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
Dylan Birtolo is a writer, game designer, and professional sword-swinger. He’s published multiple novels, novellas, and short stories both in established universes and worlds of his own creation. Some of the universes that he’s created stories in are Shadowrun, Exalted, BattleTech, Legend of the Five Rings, and Pathfinder. On the gaming side, he contributed to the design of Dragonfire and created the forthcoming games Shadowrun Sprawl Ops and Henchman the Game. He trains with the Seattle Knights, an acting troop that focuses on stage combat, and has performed in live shows, videos, and movies. He’s had the honor of jousting, and yes, the armor is real – it weighs over 100 pounds. You can read more about him and his works at www.dylanbirtolo.com or follow his Twitter at DylanBirtolo.
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.“
Dana Cameron is a human who does things, including writing cyberpunk transfelinism pieces for The Sprawl and The Veil rpgs. She is also known to do editing, layout, and art stuff for table-top games when she isn’t working on STD education. You can find her tweeting about cats, beer, and games at @DAYtheELF. She really, really, really likes cats. Cats.
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.
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.
Derek Chung is the Evil Overlord of Nomnivore Games, a development company based out of Ontario, Canada. Derek is currently the developer of a game marrying the aesthetics of top-shelf illustration, the excitement of video games, and the storytelling of RPGs into a new tabletop system. Focusing on gorgeous art and a flexible, intuitive rules system, the project, codenamed RISE, will begin rolling out to playtesters in February 2018, and is slated for full release in August 2018.
Derek 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 reinforced his love of shared worlds and experiences. Derek lives in Ontario, where he is fueled by equal parts caffeine and beer. You can reach Derek at email@example.com.
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.
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.
Dymphna is a freelance writer and game designer who has moved around enough that she doesn’t know what to say when people ask her where she’s from. She has worked previously with White Wolf, Onyx Path Press, Ginger Goat Press, and Dig 1000 Holes Publishing, with a handful of small self-published items.
Her current interests are in safety and gaming, fully automated gay space luxury communism, ill-advisedly attempting to befriend wild animals, stand-up comedy, and powerlifting. Her latest performance art piece, Smiling Lady In A Suit Who Loves Her Job, can be seen weekdays from 8AM – 6PM in downtown Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @dymphna_saith.
Meet Bronwyn Friesen, an excited and passionate person from Hamilton, Ontario, who loves designing small games. Some of their faves:
Though Bronwyn designs games, they feel it’s important to reject the term “game designer” because they believe that not only can anyone do this wonderful thing, but that term also fails to recognize the myriad 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 has a stable yoga practice and loves to cook. They’re a loving parent of two, and learning better how to do that every day.
Bronwyn is always open to contact either on Facebook or Google+ (as Bronwyn Sperling).
Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and consultant. She writes in the RPG and traditional publishing worlds, and has contributed to Firefly: Smuggler’s Guide to the Rim, Blue Rose, 13th Age Bestiary, Tianxia: Blood, Silk, and Jade, The Munchkin Book, and Shadowrun: Drawing Destiny, and has a short story collection, The Shattered Queen, from Falstaff Books. In 2018, she will be contributing to Green Ronin’s Modern AGE and Fantasy AGE properties.
Jaym is the managing editor for Green Ronin Publishing’s fiction line, Nisaba Press, as well as Green Ronin’s Editorial Coordinator, and is a contributing editor for Falstaff Books. Her anthology work includes Genius Loci, Strange California, War Stories, Eclipse Phase: After the Fall, Vampire: Endless Ages, and the Publisher’s Weekly starred Upside Down. Her nonfiction anthology, Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Strategy, with Max Brooks, John Amble, and Major Matthew Cavanaugh, is scheduled to release from Potomac Books in 2018.
In her spare time, Jaym consults for military, space, and nonprofit interests, and has spoken to the Atlantic Council and the 100 Year Starship Symposium. She also practices Systema, a Russian martial art, drinks too much whiskey, and trains jousting horses. You can find out more about her at jaymgates.com, or on Twitter as @JaymGates.
Sean Gilgore is the Marketing Director and Guest Liaison for the Queen City Conquest. Buffalo, New York’s three day gaming convention. If he isn’t playing a game, he will want to talk to you about coming to Buffalo to play games and be a part of Queen City Conquest. He might also just want to brainstorm his next billion dollar idea, discuss creativity or where to get the best food in town.
Sean started off playing the classics; Chess, Poker and Backgammon at the age of 3 under his dads tutelage. He has always been active in the hobbies of both board and role playing games. Being a huge James Bond fan he started by playing Top Secret and moved on to games like Paranoia, T.M.N.T., Price Of Freedom and Vampire. Now it is all P.B.T.A and Fate gaming with his current groups.
His works include being part of the Comic Images playtest for the WWE RPG; Know Your Role and his own Fiasco adventure based in Buffalo N.Y. Called Hot Sauce, Blue Cheese and Canadian Beer.
Sean will be running World Wide Wrestling with a twist, the Real Housewives of Toronto. AKA World Wife Wrestling during Breakout.
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.
Nicole had played a lot of backgammon, Life and Monopoly when younger. She started playing hobby games in University after trying out D&D 3rd edition, and then joining her University game club. After a while she gravitated towards board games as a casual gamer. After moving to Toronto in 2009 she started gaming more and hasn’t turned back. It’s hard for her to pick a favourite game, but if you really stared her down she might pick Castles of Burgundy.
As well as writing for the Daily Worker Placement, she hosts the podcast Greatway Games, occasionally streams a sort of board game chat show called Games on the Rocks. In among all that she contributes/guests to other podcasts on occasion, and attends a bunch of conventions and playtest events.
When not gaming, Nicole enjoys reading comics, watching tv/movies and visiting museums! And cuddling every dog she can. Every dang one.
Mandi contributes to the gaming community by co-hosting the bi-weekly Dice Tower podcast with Suzanne Sheldon and appearing 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. She enjoys pinup fashion and is easily recognizable by her fun hair colour.
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
Joshua Kitz is the villainous mastermind behind Simple Superheroes #0, a sandbox system that let’s you create any hero and superpower you can imagine. He believes that the greatest strength of RPGs is individuals combining their creativity. He has two other games currently with free alpha versions: Reality Warp a narrative game of protagonists discovering their ability to alter reality, and Dungeon Unleashed a fantasy game using the Unleashed engine that powers Simple Superheroes.
He also designs interactive mystery experiences for the international touring theatre company Live History, a group that puts on site specific historical productions where audience members must work together with the actors to unravel clues in historical venues.
Joshua runs the CDG Marketplace, a webstore geared towards the Canadian market. Many of his fellow game designer guests’ games are available from www.composedreamgames.com/marketplace. The marketplace sells both digital and physical copies, has a PDF guarantee, and actively seeks to work with and support Canadian FLGS and game designers.
Joshua is also a co-host on the Ottawa Game Publishers’ Podcast.
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.
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.
Robin D. Laws designed such roleplaying games as Hillfolk, Feng Shui, The Esoterrorists, and the forthcoming The Yellow King Roleplaying Game. He is the author of eight novels plus the short story collection New Tales of the Yellow Sign. 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.
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!
Senda Linaugh is known for her un-spellable twitter handle and contagious giggle.
She is one half of She’s a Super Geek, the actual play 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!
Senda has published her first game with Encoded Designs, Love and Justice, and is working on Cheese Drift, as well as co-authoring Turning Point, a collaborative game of difficult life decisions, and developing for the upcoming Hydro Hacker Operatives. Senda is also a staff gnome (writer) at Gnome Stew.
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.
You may know Ryan Macklin for co-creating the Fate Core System and related games, but his start in games was in 2000 as a Steve Jackson Games volunteer. He’s worked as a freelancer on various games from The Dresden Files RPG to Unknown Armies Third Edition, along with his own works like Mythender and the upcoming Katanas & Trenchcoats.
Ryan’s passions lie in creator-philanthropy, convention GMing, information design in games, and mental health advocacy. Seriously, he will talk for far too long about any of those topics.
His day job is in technical communication, which believe it or not he got from working in games. He sometimes writes about game stuff (and occasionally about cooking) on his blog at RyanMacklin.com.
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).
My introduction to D&D came about five years ago, after my voracious curiosity regarding Role-playing games drew me to one of my local gaming stores. I walked in, nervous and hesitant about my first game, and I ended up meeting many of my soon-to-be best-friends. They had recently begun playtesting the new 5E source material, and my hesitance quickly turned to joy-filled enthusiasm as I dove into RPG’ing head-first.
I’ve never been one to excel at moderation, and simply playing D&D wasn’t enough. I soon became involved in the local community as a store coordinator, began volunteering at various gaming conventions, and started plotting on ways to collect and possess all the pretty dice. Shiny!
Not long after, I became Senior Local Coordinator for Adventurer’s League in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. More recently, I’ve become a co-coordinator of Queen City Conquest in Buffalo, NY. I am also a newly inked adventure writer, with my first adventure having premiered at Winter Fantasy in February of 2018. I am working on several new and exciting projects that I (almost!) can’t wait to share.
Four years ago, I had never been to a convention. In the years since, I have attended QCC four times, Origins three, PAXEast, GenCon, UBCon, and CarnageCon. I think that it’s safe to say that I’m hooked. Of all the time spent at my many conventions, I have to say that my favorite memory has been of time spent on the vendor floor, chatting creatively with game designers and writers.
Some of my other loves are the color pink (all the pink dice!), Roleplay and board games, binging on Netflix, reading YA books, and playing with sticks and string. Please, however – if you value my friendship, don’t ever ask me to play Monopoly.*
In years past, I have labored on a dairy farm, worked as a computer cable assembler, packaged mass mailings, and have been an advertising researcher. Now, when I’m not exercising my love for RPG’ing, I get to play with old things as an assistant digital archivist at our local library. I own a business designing and producing stickers, and work as a freelance writer on the side.
Some of my favorite games and geeky pastimes are: Adventurer’s League, Dice, Exploding Kittens, Settlers of Catan, Dr. Who, Harry Potter (I have a wand now! Don’t mess with me, or you’ll feel my Hufflepuff wrath!), YA novels, Marvel movies, Funko Pops, The Sims, and Skyrim. I also love to play Xbox, especially when I can co-op with my sons.
*Monopoly. I cannot stress enough just how much I hate Monopoly. Every copy in existence should be burned with the heat of a thousand white-hot suns.
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/
Andrew is a tabletop and live action game designer who prefers to write games that focus on tension, drama, debts and tragedy. He’s the co-designer of Urban Shadows and The Watch tabletop roleplaying games and designed The Forgotten, a live action game.
He loves all things Game and wants to share the love and passion with everyone he comes into contact with.
Gamer, Occasional Game Designer, Lego Collector, Partner: Lake Effect Gaming
Jerry’s love of gaming started in the late 70’s when he was exposed to D&D and other early RPGs. Over the years he has spent most of his RPG experience as a Game Master as well as collecting games from every genre he can find. Throughout college, Jerry ran multiple ongoing campaigns for his friends, including thrice-weekly Villains and Vigilantes games, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, GURPS Fantasy, Teenagers From Outer Space, and a 9 year long Mekton Empire campaign.
He has been the Event Coordinator for two different game stores in the WNY Area duing the early and mid 2000’s, coordinating weekly RPGs, Organized Play, Weekly Tournaments, and dozens of game demos.
In 2007, he joined the staff at Dark City Games, working as part-time editor and writer for two years. During this time, he produced the company’s first instructional scenario, Orcs of the High Mountains, as well as the long-form programmed adventure, Little Black Book. While working for DCG, Jerry also helped to create the original campaign world, laying out the original maps and city states, along with the cultures and major races still in use today.
He has worked as Vendor Liaison for Queen City Conquest in 2015 and 2017.
Today, Jerry spends his time as President of an Industrial Water Treatment company, along with collecting 1000’s of Lego as well as running and playing weekly games. Recently, he became one of the Founder/Owners of Lake Effect Gaming.
I have been gaming for…well…half my life. Dungeons & Dragons is my passion, so much so that I concentrated in Medieval History as an Undergraduate. I also enjoy board games from time to time, however, I like so many it would fill up more than you’d want to read if I listed them all. I watch nearly all the superhero movies and TV series, and plan to continue that tradition. My all-time favorite TV series is Buffy the Vampire Slayer! I have worked alongside Mark Knapik as QCC Co-Director for 3 years and have held several volunteer positions in the gaming industry. I am currently coordinator for the Hillsfar region, which is part of Baldman Games’ Convention Created Content for D&D Adventurers League. I was the D&D Adventures League Regional Coordinator for the Northeast for 3 years. I am also a writer in the RPG industry with several projects including five adventures for D&D Adventures League and an adventure for the first Hillsfar trilogy to my credit. I am a Guild Adept writer for Wizards of the Coast fulfilling a long time dream to work with the company.
I have a Master’s degree in Library Science and work as an independent contractor digitizing historical documents and artifacts for a local library. I live in Western New York with my husband (who is a saint), two children, and a little white fluffy bundle of unconditional love.
Jason Pitre is an award-winning game designer and professional ecologist from the wilds of Canada. He has published a series of roleplaying games including the Spark RPG, Posthuman Pathways, Circles of Power and Sig: Manual of the Primes. He also runs the RPG Design Panelcast, a podcast that shares panel and seminar recordings on roleplaying game design and publishing. In his spare time, he is a proud member of the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN) leadership team, and is a two-time judge of the Indie Groundbreaker Awards.
When he isn’t designing games or reading up on polar bears, he roasts ‘n brews a mean cup of coffee. You can find him on Twitter @genesisoflegend.
Catherine Ramen, a native New Yorker, is one of the redhead contingent at Breakout and a principal organizer of the New York Story Games group. Catherine has been playing role-playing games since her parents gave her the red box D&D set for her eleventh birthday and is a frequent GM who specializes in wildly alternative and queered takes of well-known campaigns. Currently she is working on story games about the Paris Commune and the Russian Civil War. She is the author of several non-fiction books for young adults and has written for the Guardian online. She has been at various times an editorial assistant, computer programmer, feminist blogger, and Jeopardy! champion.
Epidiah Ravachol is an author and game designer known for Dread, the horror roleplaying game that uses Jenga, and his fiction published in the sword and sorcery magazine Worlds Without Master. He resides in the Northeast of the United States of America with his wife and fellow game designer Emily Care Boss and their constellation of space wizards.
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.
Wendelyn A. Reischl is a freelance writer, developer, designer, editor, and a lifelong gamer. Since joining the tabletop gaming industry in 2016, Wendelyn has worked with Post World Games, Gallant Knight Games, Yellow Piece Games, Analog Letters, and Ulisses North America. Recent RPG projects she has contributed to include: [NM 156], Heaven’s Collapse, Cold Shadows, Tiny Dungeon 2e, Buccaneer: Through Hell and High Water, Madness & Desire, One Child’s Heart, and TORG Eternity: The Living Land Sourcebook. Wendelyn holds the proud distinction of having named Wrath & Glory, the forthcoming Warhammer 40,000 RPG line, a project she is elated to be involved with.
Wendeyn has spent more than a decade as a leader in the Colorado gaming community. She is the face of the Denver RPG Meetup, one of the world’s largest role playing meetup groups. Wendelyn also serves on the Board of Gamers Giving Inc., a charity organization that hosts table top gaming events in support of local causes. She has written several articles published by Gnome Stew, and in the early aughts she was a member of the inaugural plot team for the NERO Empire LARP. When not writing, running, or playing games, Wendelyn enjoys live theater, photography, bicycling around town, drinking cider, and traveling to historical sites around the world. Wendelyn lives in Denver, CO with her husband Brian, their cat Zuul, and frequently a house full of gamers. Her goal is to unite, expand, and uplift the gaming community.
Mark Richardson is an ENnie award winning Cartographer for the 7th Sea: 2nd Edition and the game designer behind Headspace RPG. His current projects include Dystopian Dreams a setting book for Headspace and a new RPG Treads about WW2 Sherman Tank crews. Marks Cartography has been featured in Dark Streets (Magpie Games) and King Wens Tower (Black and Green Games). Mark lives in Ottawa, Canada. You can find him at @slavetothehat and www.greenhatdesigns.com.
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
Since 2011, Chris has written and designed for games like Fate, Gumshoe (Dracula Dossier), Numenera (Tales from the Mechanical Bard), and D&D while working with Encoded Designs. As a podcaster, he’s been the host, producer, and/or audio engineer of The Misdirected Mark Podcast, Down with D&D, Hobbs & Friends of the OSR, and the Gnomecast. He also helps with whatever shows need some help. As a convention organizer he’s worked an several of the Queen City Conquests, Western New York’s premier gaming convention.
In his spare time he loves listening to audiobooks and podcasts, playing board games, and watching or reading anything superhero related.
Steve Tassie has been many things over the years: actor, comedian, high school teacher, Origins-nominated game designer, video game designer, soda jerk, and port-a-potty valet. Currently, Steve is an attempted novelist, occasional podcaster, blogger, and the Curator and Head Game Guru at Snakes & Lattes Board Game Cafes. Steve has been a player of all kinds of board, card, & roleplaying games since he was a small boy. Now that he’s a large boy, his taste in games run toward light-medium weight Euros, thematic Ameritrash games that focus on story over strategy, and dexterity games. The only thing he likes more than talking about games is playing them, so if you see him wondering around, have a chat or invite him to play a game. If you’re on the Twitters, he is @RealSteveTassie and you can totally follow him. You can read his blog, Curator’s Cuts, at curatorscuts.wordpress.com
Allysha Tulk (Lady and the Tiger: Favour co-designer) is part of the duo in Dancing Giant Games as a 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. She has edited many rulebooks (Purrlock Holmes) and written job aids for multiple dance studios. Working as a teacher and youth advisor, Allysha’s attention to detail comes from her love of creative writing and RPG storytelling.
Moyra Turkington is the founder of the indie studio Unruly Designs and the creator of War Birds – a series of chamber games about women fighting on the front lines of history. She is interested in personal, political, 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.
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!)
Pieter lives in Hamilton. He does a lot of corporate writing. Previously, he worked as a newspaper and magazine reporter and photographer. He had better anecdotes back then. Pieter has been playing RPGs for 30 years. He’s been paid to write RPGs for 20 years. His game credits encompass military SF, high fantasy, historical and pulp settings, almost invariably with that subtle veneer of “furry” which is so popular with the kids on Tumblr these days. Most recently, he authored the occult horror setting book for Urban Jungle from Sanguine Games. Prior to that, he was co-author of the Usagi Yojimbo RPG. His current projects include a pulp SF book for Urban Jungle and a forthcoming Usagi Yojimbo update and re-release. He owns a lot of cameras. Probably he will take your photo.
Phil Vecchione is a Game Designer, Publisher, Project Manager, Writer, Podcaster, and Blogger — As a man of many hats, Phil has been working in the roleplaying game industry since 2009 working with Engine Publishing, Evil Beagle Games, Third Eye Games, and Pelgrane Press. His work has won or been nominated for a number of awards, including the ENnie, Golden Geek, and Origins Award.
He is the co-Host of both the Misdirected Mark and Panda’s Talking Games podcasts, and is one of the founding Gnomes at the Gnome Stew. When he is not writing or recording he is a game designer currently working on Hydro Hacker Operatives.
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.
Nicole Winchester tells Americans her hometown is Toronto. The truth: she grew up in Peterborough Ontario, where her RPG journey began with acting in an improv soap based on ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’. She finds adventure by travelling and larping around the world, exploring the city, and playing and making games. Her work can be found in 7th Sea books including Crescent Empire and Cities of Faith, Tribe 8, The Fate Codex, and at games.cultureaddicthistorynerd.com. Along with Gary Winchester, she runs the Night Watch Toronto larp trilogy in Toronto (www.nightwatchtoronto.com). She is also the Event Coordinator for John Wick Presents. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @noizangel.
Lawrence is the co-founder of The Design Mechanism, the company behind Mythras and RuneQuest’s 6th edition. He has been writing for roleplaying games for more than 30 years, and freelanced extensively for Chaosium, and enjoyed tenure at Mongoose, working on RuneQuest, Traveller, Conan, and Babylon 5. In 2011 he and partner-in-crime Pete Nash established The Design Mechanism and since then, the company (based in Grafton, ON), has produced over 30 adventures and supplements for Mythras, including the popular ‘Mythic Earth’ range, Classic Fantasy, and Luther Arkwright.
A Brit by birth, Lawrence has lived in Canada for 9 years, and still has the accent to prove it. And yes, he’s a genuine Rush fan.
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.