At the Morristown Hyatt & Conference Center in Morristown, New Jersey


Updated 10/30/12

METATOPIA Event Registration works differently from other Double Exposure events. While there are no advancement rounds, some of the events are red to start with because they are "invitation only". This does NOT mean that you are completely excluded from playing in them, only that you need to be invited. So when you send an eMail to us, you may ask to be included in those events. We will probably call you and discuss your choices with you.

Note that we are NOT sending out a questionnaire this time. We'll trust that you will pick a bunch of events you're interested in, and then we may contact you to ask if we can fit you into some other stuff.


So send eMail with the events you would LIKE to play in, whether you are a Designer, a Helper or a Player. We will do our best to match you up with the events that you are interested in. There WILL be a Big Board at METATOPIA, and any seats which are not filled in advance CAN be filled at the convention.

You are also allowed to submit a second and third choice for events in the same time slot, which will save us time in negotiating what you can get into if your primary choice is filled already. Just make it clear what is an alternate choice so we can enter things quickly.

Also, PLEASE put down "D" events (panels and roundtables) along with others - it is important that we track interest in the various panels, and that we know where you have holes in your schedule.

Send your reservation eMail to us at

You may ONLY reserve seats in METATOPIA 2012 events if you are pre-registered. Click here to pre-register for METATOPIA 2012 if you have not already done so.

We will reply within 48 hours with a confirmation that your requests were received. If you do NOT get a confirmation, assume that your codes are NOT received and try again. Note that you MUST include a valid eMail reply-to address for us to reach you to confirm!


D001: "The Coolest Game You Never Heard Of" presented by James Ernest, Kenneth Hite, Jason Morningstar, Cam Banks, Nathan Paoletta, Brennan Taylor & Others. Join our Guests of Honor and several additional talented designers for a discussion about their favorite obscure game that influenced them. What did we learn, why do we love them, and why do they remain obscure? This discussion will address both role playing and board/card games. Visit the IPR booth to buy your copies after the panel! Friday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D015: "Intellectual Property - Protect Yourself and Your Product" presented by Caity Ross. You have a game. You certainly hope the idea is worth money. How do you protect your intellectual property from being pilfered? How do you make sure that you're not borrowing material inappropriately? IP Lawyer Caity Ross will discuss the basics of Intellectual Property Law. Friday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D016: "My Dearest Failure: Games That Didn't Work and Why" presented by Jason Morningstar, Kenneth Hite & Rob Donoghue. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. Join us for a discussion of games that never got made despite the best of intentions, and what lessons we can learn from the wreckage. Friday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D027: "Intellectual Property - Freelancing, Contracts and Negotiations" presented by Caity Ross. You are hiring, or have been hired, to produce material for a game. Contract negotiation is tricky, with many nuances. Protect yourself by knowing what questions to ask, and how to negotiate for the rights you want. IP Lawyer Caity Ross will talk about what you need to know in all aspects of product contracts. Friday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D028: "Self-Publishing: Production and Fulfillment" presented by Darren Watts & Jim Crocker. You've decided to print and distribute your product yourself. What do you need in order to do so successfully? Come learn from folks who have done it. Friday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D041: "An Introduction to Productive Playtesting" presented by John Stavropolous. Join John Stavropolous for a talk on the importance of playtesting. First topic: How to Find Playtesters. Then he will discuss the pitfalls to avoid with rigorous playtesting, and methods to use for getting useful feedback. Friday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D042: "Team Building for Game Design" presented by Amanda Valentine, Brennan Taylor & Hal Mangold. Sometimes it takes a village to make a game! If your idea is too big for one person, you're going to need to bring in some help, whether it be editors, writers, or artists. How do you assemble the right team, and how do you keep them together throughout the design process? Friday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D047: "How Do You Know It Works? Questioning Playtesting Assumptions" presented by Jason Morningstar, Bill White & Curt Covert. Don't fool yourself! Are you too close to your own game? How do you maintain objectivity during the development process? Our experts will try to help you avoid the traps. Friday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D048: "How To Work With An Editor" presented by John Adamus, Amanda Valentine & Brian Engard. This panel details how an author/creator can foster a good working relationship with an editor, as well as what the relationship entails. Reaching into how the editorial/revision process works, this one-hour panel is designed to help connect people to the editorial process while demystifying it. Friday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D057: "The Paranormal in Gaming" presented by Kevin Meares. Combining over 18 years as a demonologist and paranormal investigator with a lifetime as a gamer, Kevin Meares will be speaking on incorporating aspects of real world paranormal phenomenon and investigation into the creation of role playing and story games. This workshop will cover specific cases (both historical and contemporary), showing how elements of them can be successfully added to a game to enhance realism. Friday, 12:00AM - 2:00AM; One Session; 18 & Over ONLY.

D063: "Addressing Controversial Topics" presented by John Stavropolous, Bill White & Brennan Taylor. Join our panelists for a discussion on handling delicate and/or controversial topics in your game design. Subjects include political correctness, sexual and romantic interactions and religion. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D064: "Bits and Pieces: Building Your Board or Card Game" presented by Jason Tagmire, Curt Covert & Geoff Bottone. You've got a hot new board or card game, and it needs pieces to make it real. How do you decide what to use, and where do you buy them? We'll discuss the concern with obtaining the best mass produced components at the best price, or having them custom made. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D077: "An Hour With James Ernest" presented by James Ernest. Where do game ideas come from? Join our Card & Board Game Guest of Honor, James Ernest, as he discusses his approach to theme-based game design. Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D080: "Mission Statements and Elevator Pitches" presented by Kenneth Hite & Bill White. "What's this game about?" You have 20 seconds or less to sell your product to interested parties. How do you make the most of that time? There's an art to it that can be practiced and refined, and the answers can help keep you focused as you finish the design. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D081: "The Board and Card Game Design Roundtable" presented by James Ernest, Curt Covert, Stephen Buonocore & Zev Shlasinger. An intense session of designing, producing and marketing board games and card games from established publishers in the board gaming industry. All Designers and Players are welcome to participate. Saturday, 11:00AM - 1:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D087: "Women in Gaming - Shaping the Future" presented by Shoshana Kessock, Amanda Valentine, Avonelle Wing & El Wood. This panel of women in the gaming industry will discuss the importance of mentoring and encouraging women in the world of game design and writing. Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D091: "An Introduction to Kickstarter" presented by Cindy Au. Whether you're a seasoned game designer or just starting out in the field, independently producing and publishing a game can be a huge undertaking. More and more, game designers are turning to Kickstarter as a place to not only raise funding for their projects, but as a unique way to build fan support and reach out to new communities. Founded in 2009, Kickstarter has since grown into the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world, with over $100 million pledged to projects. Cindy Au, Community Director at Kickstarter, will be on hand to discuss how Kickstarter works, as well as tips, tools, and best practices for funding your next game design project. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D092: "The Care and Feeding of Artists" presented by Ed Bell, Jen Christiansen & Fred Hicks. You're not an artist yourself, but your game needs art! How do you hire artists, and how do you work with them to get what you need? This special panel features Ed Bell and Jen Christiansen, two art directors from Scientific American magazine. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D105: "An Hour With Kenneth Hite" presented by Kenneth Hite. Join Guest of Honor Kenneth Hite for a discussion of the principles of setting design. The setting - be it a whole galaxy or a single palace - helps define your game. Setting constrains plot and defines character; it's what the designer brings to the table before anyone else sits down. This seminar takes setting design down to its fundamentals, and builds up from there. Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D106: "Kickstarter Roundtable" presented by Cindy Au, Fred Hicks, Brennan Taylor & Joshua A.C. Newman. In this intense workshop, we will explore the ins and outs of using Kickstarter as a crowdsourced fundraising platform. Cindy Au from Kickstarter will lead a discussion with veterans of successful Kickstarter campaigns. Topics will include best practices for making videos, for customer contacts through updates, etc. Saturday, 2:00PM - 4:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D111: "An Hour With Jason Morningstar" presented by Jason Morningstar. Join Guest of Honor Jason Morningstar for a conversation on the topic of authority in tabletop and live action roleplaying games - how it is formulated in rules texts, models of distribution, and common challenges to both traditional and unorthodox approaches to handling authority on a practical level. Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D125: "Prototypes For Your Game" presented by Jason Tagmire, Tim Rodriguez, Chris Kreuter & Geoff Bottone. You need a prototype to show off your idea. Do you want to bang something together on your own or use a service to make things easier on yourself? These panelists have been there and can give you perspective on how to pick the best, most cost-effective path. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D126: "The Role Playing and Story Games Roundtable" presented by Kenneth Hite & Jason Morningstar. Led by several of our special guests, this discussion will focus on the art of designing role playing and story games and the elements necessary to catch the players' imaginations. Particular emphasis on new concepts and how to push the envelope. Saturday, 4:00PM - 6:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D127: "Probability and Game Design" presented by James Ernest. If your game has a randomizing element to it, then you need to understand some basic concepts in probability to make sure your mechanics are sound. Come hear the experts discuss dice, cards and odds! Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D139: "Hot Seat" by Game Show Bros; presented by Bruce Neiger. Come play a guessing game where the game is to guess how well your opponents guessed. That's HOT SEAT, the new and original game show experience from The Game Show Bros, the guys who have brought you "The Weakest Link", "DEXCON Family Feud!", and "Jeopardy!" Each player gets a turn in the Hot Seat, where they can earn points by guessing a puzzle in as few clues as possible. Meanwhile, the other players earn points by betting on whether the Hot Seat player will or won't solve the puzzle. The action never stops! (OK...we're exaggerating here. Of course the action will stop.) Do well, and you'll survive to the next round, and then perhaps move into the finals. We'll play two separate games with five to seven players each. Saturday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D140: "Should You Self-Publish?" presented by Kenneth Hite, Amanda Valentine, Nathan Paoletta & Darren Watts. You've designed, prototyped, playtested, refined and now it's time to decide: Publish it yourself, or make a deal with an existing publisher. Come discuss the pros and cons of both approaches. Saturday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D141: "Using Adobe Software" presented by Ed Bell & Jen Christiansen. Scientific American Art Directors Ed Bell and Jen Christiansen will teach the basics of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator to anyone who is interested in learning how to do design work themselves. Tips and tricks will be given to quickly layout and illustrate your prototype and/or polished product. Saturday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D146: "The Retailers' View: What Sells, What Doesn't, and Why" presented by Jim Crocker, Brian Dalrymple & Mark Whittaker. This panel will focus on what new games look like from the perspective of the stores that sell them. Our panelists will lead a discussion of recently published games and how they fared once they hit their stores. Saturday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D147: "The Writing Workshop" presented by John Adamus. Here's a chance for authors and creators to get answers to their writing questions as they work on developing their first, or tenth project. Questions often include issues of layout, editing costs, the best way to write to the reader, and the best way to take an idea from the abstract idea phase to the down-on-paper phase. Saturday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D163: "Building Communities For Your Games" presented by Dave Chalker, Joshua A.C. Newman, Cam Banks & John Stavropolous. One of the keys to success in the game industry is building a community of fans who care about your games, talk about them, and demo them at conventions. How can you as a designer help create and support those communities? Saturday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D175: "Blind Playtesting" presented by John Stavropolous & Joshua A.C. Newman. If your game is going to work, it's got to be playable without you there to help. This panel will address how to manage blind playtests and how to get what you need from a test without interfering in the process. Saturday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D190: "Licensing Popular Intellectual Property" presented by Amanda Valentine, Fred Hicks & Cam Banks. Three designers with extensive experience in the world of licensing well-known intellectual properties discuss what makes a good property for licensing, how to go about getting a license, and how to keep your licensor happy and yourself protected throughout the process. Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D196: "Hiring and Firing People" presented by John Stavropolous. Solo act or big company, everybody needs help from time to time. And not everybody you hire will be a good fit. John Stavropolous talks about how to pick the right talent and how to end the relationship as painlessly as possible if necessary. Saturday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D205: "Folklore and Gaming" presented by Kevin Meares. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, and demons are all popular monsters in both movies and gaming. A recurring problem for both game designers and GMs is that they are well known characters with established abilities and weaknesses. How does one make them different while staying true to the essence? By looking at the original legends from Europe and around the world this workshop will suggest some of the ways that modern culture has changed the traditional stories and how by relying on the original stories one can come up with something quite surprising without having to create a new creature entirely. Saturday, 12:00AM - 2:00AM; One Session; 18 & Over ONLY.

D220: "Stealing Ideas From Other Games" presented by Joshua A.C. Newman & Caias Ward. "Good artists borrow, great artists steal", Picasso may have said. Two outstanding designers discuss when and how it's appropriate to raid other games for great ideas. Sunday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; One Session; All Ages.

D221: "The Graphic Design and Layout Roundtable" presented by Hal Mangold, Nathan Paoletta & Ben Morgan. Discuss the best ways to make your game look exciting, fun, and easily readable with some of the sharpest eyes in the field. Sunday, 10:00AM - 12:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D232: "How Not To Be A Jerk" presented by John Stavropolous, Amanda Valentine & Brennan Taylor. Seriously, this roundtable will address keeping inadvertent negative portrayals of gender, race, religion or culture out of your games. Sometimes you don't even realize that something you've written will offend an entire group of people. Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D244: "It's a Hit! Now What? Dealing With Unexpected Success" presented by Fred Hicks & Curt Covert. You've made something and people like it and want more. Or your preorder went well - much better than you expected - and you find yourself facing a bigger print run and a bigger shipping effort than you'd planned for. Success can be a tricky thing - the bigger you succeed, the harder you have to work, and sometimes there are pitfalls. Join us and talk about the "now what?" phase. Sunday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D245: "The LARP Roundtable" presented by Ben Walker, Shoshana Kessock, Warren Morrison, Avonelle Wing & Lizzie Stark. What makes Live Action Roleplaying games special? How do they differ from traditional tabletop games in outlook, design goals, and production? Our panelists will lead a discussion of what has happened to the LARP community in the last few years and where LARP is headed in the coming years. Sunday, 12:00PM - 2:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D248: "Editing and Organizing Game Text" presented by Amanda Valentine, Fred Hicks & Jason Pitre. Successful game text requires clarity, structure and style. Learn the secrets of this dark art at this roundtable discussion. Sunday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D254: "Women in Gaming - Handling Sexist Confrontations" presented by Shoshana Kessock, Amanda Valentine, Avonelle Wing & El Wood. Sexism happens. How do we respond when it occurs? How do we tackle unconsidered sexism in our professional lives? Sunday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D255: "Writing History Into Game Design" presented by Kenneth Hite & Bill White. Our panelists speak to how they've personally used historical events to inspire and influence their game design, and how they've seen it done to good effect by other designers. Sunday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D263: "Indie Ideas In Mainstream Design" presented by Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue & Brennan Taylor. The line between "indie" and "mainstream" in role playing game design gets blurrier all the time. Three designers with one foot in each world discuss how games from the cutting edge have influenced some of the biggest trends on the market. Sunday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D272: "Art and Design for Non-Artists" presented by Hal Mangold, Nathan Paoletta & Ben Morgan. You've got a vision for what your game should look like, but you have no formal training and struggle to make stick figures. Where can you go to pick up some skills? Our experts reveal some of their techniques and resources. Sunday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

D277: "Evil Hat: How It Works" presented by Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue, Clark Valentine & Amanda Valentine. Since 2005, Evil Hat Productions has consistently turned out excellent role playing games, from Spirit of the Century through Don't Rest Your Head to Dresden Files. Throughout, they've maintained an admirable openness about their business and a fervid fan base. How have they managed to keep it all going, on a budget? A sizable portion of the team is here to answer questions. Sunday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; One Session; All Ages.

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