Thursday, November 6 - Sunday, November 9, 2014
At the Morristown Hyatt & Conference Center in Morristown, New Jersey
Panels, Seminars and Special Events ScheduleUpdated 11/2/14 at 1:00PM
METATOPIA Event Registration works slightly 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.
for METATOPIA 2014
All non-panel events are classified as one of three different levels of Playtest:
[FOCUS GROUP]: The game is still in the concept stage and players should be expecting to discuss ideas and opinions about how the game should be created, but not actually test much.
[ALPHA TEST]: The game is in early development and not quite ready to play from beginning to end. Players should be expecting to play parts of the game, and perhaps replay those parts or focus on one section of the rules at a time.
[BETA TEST]: The game is in late development and is ready to be played all the way through. Players should be expecting to give feedback and criticism about the game while playing it.
If an event is tagged by the phrase "[NDA REQUIRED]", the Designer has asked that details about his/her game design be kept quiet. The Designer may ask players to sign an actual NDA form, or to just verbally promise not to discuss the game after the playtest.
PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER(S) IN YOUR EMAIL SO WE CAN REACH YOU IF NECESSARY!
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 note "D" events (panels and seminars) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
You may ONLY reserve seats in METATOPIA 2014 events if you are pre-registered. Click here to pre-register for METATOPIA 2014 if you have not already done so.
We will reply within 24 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!
Click here for the MASTER INDEX OF EVENTS
D001: "Retailing: The Masquerade" presented by Jim Crocker & Vincent Salzillo. Your game is done, and it's totally awesome! So now, you naturally want to put it in the grubby paws of the unwashed gaming masses. If that includes direct sales at conventions and other events, on your own or as part of a collective like IGDN, you'll have act like a retailer for a weekend or three every year. Our experts walk you through the basics from setup to cash handling to tax IDs to how to work with Con organizers and more. Avoid potential pitfalls, pick up a few pointers, and share your stories of convention sales triumphs and tragedies. Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D002: "Computer Hacking in Games" presented by Shane Harsch, Clark Valentine & Tim Rodriguez. Our panel discusses the actual process/stages of intrusion (what we call the "Kill Chain") and then facilitates a discussion about the challenges of turning that real-world process into an actionable and fun gaming experience. Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D003: "The Five Senses in Game Design" presented by Nicolas Hornyak & Emily Care Boss. Sight. Sound. Touch. Smell. Taste. When it comes to these senses, game designers are pushing boundaries. From facilitating an atmosphere in their instruction, to crafting new mechanics based on more than what we see and hear, come join the conversation on what designers can do to make their games memorable and accessible with the five senses. Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D004: "Golden Cobra Contest Panel" presented by Jason Morningstar, Emily Care-Boss & Evan Torner. The Golden Cobra Challenge is a friendly contest open to anyone interested in writing and playing freeform games that ran through the month of October. Now we're ready to discuss our methodology, submission trends, and what we've learned about freeform in the process. And, of course, announce the winners! Join us for an informal discussion and awards ceremony. The winning games will be offered throughout METATOPIA, so come play with the judges as well. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D005: "Adventure Design as Technology" presented by Cam Banks & Rob Donoghue. We started with a map and a key. There have been structural improvements since then: boxed text, wandering monsters, plot point adventures, hard and soft points, personality-driven dungeons, mad libs plots and many more. This process has not been rigors, so the spread of these ideas has been haphazard and without the thought that's gone into rules improvements. That is a shame. Take some time to talk about these technologies and how they can help you make better adventures. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D006: "Genius Loci: Your Setting is the Character" presented by Will Hindmarch. Places, rather than protagonists, are often what RPG campaigns have in common because the characters are bespoke but the setting is shared. How does your game's space inform its setting - and vice versa? How does setting pose and reflect theme? Settings can be characters in their own right, tuned and portrayed through your design to dramatize the themes and issues at the heart of your game. In this seminar, I'll share some of what I set out to do and some of what I've learned designing Project: Dark and its play spaces. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D007: "Work Together AND Keep Your Friends: Healthy Publishing Collaboration" presented by Joshua A. C. Newman, Epidiah Ravachol & Hannah Shaffer. Collaborating on a creative project is great! You get double the creativity, double the productivity, and the benefit of mutual support. Nothing could go wrong, right? Whether you're collaborating with friends or strangers, there are some important strategies to keep your collaboration healthy and productive. What happens when one person is doing the majority of the work? Do you need a contract when working with your friends? Who owns the intellectual property that you produce? What happens if you become an overnight success? We'll share strategies, horror stories, and success stories about creative collaboration. Friday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D008: "Meet the IGDN!" presented by Marissa Kelly, Jason Pitre, Brianna Sheldon & Mark Diaz Truman. Over the past three years, the Indie Game Developer Network has grown from a small group of hopeful publishers to a trade organization with nearly 50 dues-paying members. Come learn more about this organization, how we're organized, what our goals are for 2015, and what the future holds for the IGDN! Friday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D009: "Planning for Profit" presented by Rick Loomis, Tim Rodriguez & Brennan Taylor. There's a moment as a designer when you suddenly find yourself running a business, instead of a hobby. Join three designers who have been through this for a discussion on good business practices and how to avoid the most common problems and pitfalls. Friday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D010: "Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition Analysis" presented by Rob Donoghue & Jason Pitre. So, the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons is out. Now it's time to dig into the design and talk about the rules, procedures and advice that the game brings to the RPG design field. Let's look at the crunchy bits! Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D011: "How to Work with Artists" presented by John Carimando, Christian St. Pierre & Jack Parra. This panel will touch on the process of how to find and approach artists, negotiate the contract, and then successfully work together. It's important that publishers get an artist's-eye-view of things so they can better understand what we do, the process, and the time involved in order to plan projects accordingly. Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D012: "The Road to Relaunch" presented by Doug Levandowski. Having a Kickstarter fail can be brutal. What you do after that can determine whether your next one will be successful or not. Learn from both sides of Doug's experience with Gothic Doctor - failure and then success. Doug will talk about what he did right in the year between the first and the second campaign to go from 46% to 288% funded. Also, as part of the presentation, he'll give you a set of questions to ask yourself - and answer honestly - before you hit that launch button. Time for questions will be provided. Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D013: "Cartography of Fictional Worlds" presented by Kenneth Hite, Hal Mangold & Mark Richardson. Learn from a panel of veteran cartographers and game designers the techniques they use to make maps of fictional worlds. Friday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D014: "Mental Health in the Game Industry" presented by John Adamus. Learn what it's like to work in the industry while living with mental health issues. Learn coping strategies and effective tools for managing the good days and bad from a vocal industry advocate. Friday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D015: "Self-Publishing 101" presented by Joseph Bloch & Fred Hicks. It's a terrifying prospect, taking that first step into the world of game publishing. You have already made a great decision to come to METATOPIA; two of our industry veterans will take your newbie questions here. Friday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D016: "Gathering and Interpreting Player Feedback" presented by Cam Banks, Tim Rodriguez & Jay Treat. We all know playtesting is vital, but how do you take the results of playtests and apply them to your game? Three industry veterans explain what works for them. Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D017: "Building a Better Prototype" presented by Matthias Bonnici & Ed Povilaitis. Bring your game, prototype and questions with you to this highly interactive panel. Game Designers Matthias Bonnici and Ed Povilaitis will talk about their experience making multiple game prototypes, utilizing easy to find affordable materials and valuable game parts websites to create professional grade affordable game prototypes. The topic will cover everything, such as Cards, Playing Pieces, Boards and Boxes. Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D018: "Legal Q&A Session" presented by Justin Jacobson & Eric Mersmann. Two genuine experts discuss gaming-related law and take your questions. We can't promise answers, but we might be able to get you pointed in the right direction. This event is repeated Saturday at 5:00PM and Sunday 1:00PM. Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D019: "Planning Your Crowdfunding Campaign" presented by Joseph Bloch, Fred Hicks, Kevin W. Kulp & Joshua A. C. Newman. Successful Kickstarts (or campaigns on other platforms) don't just "happen". There's a lot of work that needs to be done in advance or behind the scenes to bring your plans to fruition. Friday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D020: "How to Succeed at Conventions" presented by Avonelle Wing. Join veteran conventioneer, Avonelle Wing, for a conversation on attending trade shows and conventions as an industry professional. Talk about identifying and setting goals, representing yourself and your brand and otherwise setting yourself up for success. Friday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D021: "What Can an Editor Do for You?" presented by John Adamus, Jeremy Morgan & Amanda Valentine. Cleaning up your tortured syntax and fixing your punctuation is only the beginning. A good editor can help you improve the presentation of your game on many levels. Friday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D022: "Adapting TV Shows to RPGs" presented by Cam Banks, Rob Donoghue, Kenneth Hite & Darren Watts. This panel of industry veterans will discuss their experiences translating intellectual properties from television shows into RPGs. We'll talk about restrictive licenses, themes and esthetics, and compare and contrast the narrative beats and builds between the media. Friday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D023: "Addressing Harassment in Gaming Communities" presented by Elsa Henry, Shoshana Kessock & Avonelle Wing. This year has seen some of the worst harassment the gaming world has ever experienced, with events like Gamergate shining a light on trolling, harassment, and abuse in the gaming community. This panel will discuss the issues that harassment has caused in gaming overall and how community leaders, game designers, game organizers and players can all team up to combat it. Friday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
D024: "From Concept to Completion: A Project Using Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign" presented by Matthias Bonnici. Matthias will go over everything from the initial concept of his and Dave Simpson's games Rampaging Jotunn & Dragon Chess to the final design he is playtesting at METATOPIA. He will talk about the early design of both games and how he utilized Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to shape the look and theme and created two complete games. Friday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D025: "So You're Making Your First Game!" presented by John Adamus & Mark Richardson. Learn from a pair of first time game makers and industry professionals the perils, frustrations and strategies it takes to put together your first game from start to finish. Friday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D026: "Both Sides of the Podcast" presented by J.R. Honeycutt & Doug Levandowski. One of the most important parts of getting press for your game is the interview but for a lot of people, sitting down and talking about themselves can be intimidating. Drawing from their experiences as interviewer and interviewee, Doug and JR will give you advice about how to be more comfortable fielding questions, what to expect, and what to avoid. Friday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D027: "Vital Pact: Fandom Where It's Needed Most" presented by Kimberly Smith. Doctors Without Borders is launching a new campaign called Vital Pact which seeks to engage fandom in the areas of gaming, TV, film, fiction, and comic books. Vital Pact aims to find collaborative opportunities for fan fundraising and advocacy within existing online spaces and real world events. This discussion will give some background about the genesis of Vital Pact and current campaign activities, as well as explore ways designers and players can tell the story and advance the work of a charity using games and game elements. Friday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D028: "Bisociation, Mashups, the Uncanny, and the Weird: Toward an Aesthetic of Setting Bricolage" presented by Kenneth Hite. In an age where "everything is mashup", what makes a game setting more than the sum of its parts? Both the modern "uncanny" and the postmodern "slipstream" depend on subverting or deranging expectations, but how can you get good play without something to play off of? Do Koestler's "bisociation" or Lovecraft's "truly weird" help us out or derail us? Designer Kenneth Hite (NIGHT'S BLACK AGENTS, DAY AFTER RAGNAROK) isn't sure yet, which is why he asks you to join him and think out loud on these topics. Friday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D029: "Creating the Editing Bay" presented by Will Hindmarch. How does your design facilitate dramatic editing at the game table? Do you have strict mechanisms that put editing into the hands of the players or their characters through overt metaphors or in-setting magic? Or do you provide procedures and guidelines for collaborating and revising action during play? Dramatic editing at the table allows for players to propose and explore actions without them necessarily making it "on stage" or committing it to "film" and that can be a messy freedom or a beautiful drudge. Let's look at ways to facilitate what you want to happen at the table. Friday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D030: "Running a Small Business in the Gaming Industry" presented by Lisa Bowman-Steenson. From shipping and logistics to attending conventions and tradeshows, building a game company from scratch involves wearing many hats simultaneously and learning new skills very quickly. Join special guest Lisa Bowman-Steenson (Gut Bustin' Games) as she discusses her own experiences. Friday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D031: "Visual Design as Metaphor: The Evolution of a Character Sheet" presented by Jason Morningstar. During the development process for Night Witches I retained every iteration of the character sheet as it developed in tandem with the Apocalypse World-inspired rules. In this session we'll review the visual design and discuss its gradual - and sometimes drastic - changes. Character sheets exist at the intersection of usability and game-specific functionality, and serve as mirrors to the underlying design. What can we learn from one game's changing ephemera? Friday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D032: "Transforming Communities and Ourselves through Games" presented by Julia Ellingboe & Avery Mcdaldno. Join special guests Julia and Avery for an hour of conversation about games, how they can inform our identities and communities, and how they can be transformative. Learn about projects that Julia and Avery are each working on, and bring a few questions of your own. Friday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D033: "Print On Demand 101" presented by Joseph Bloch. A veteran designer of the Old School Revival gives you the basics on doing small print runs without losing your shirt. Friday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D034: "The Outer Limits of LARP Design" presented by Shoshana Kessock, James Stuart, Moyra Turkington & Avonelle Wing. This panel will discuss the edges of LARP design that creators are exploring these days, focusing on and highlight specific places where LARP designers are pushing the limits - in content, budget and location, themes, or other elements. We'll talk about new innovations and ways in which LARPers are sharing with the world outside (including YouTube channels, TV shows, and games festivals) and discuss what can be done to keep this vibrant storytelling model going into the future. Friday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D035: "Designing for Disability Access" presented by Elsa Henry. Elsa is a disabled game designer and player. Her game reviews - Blind Lady Versus - have helped her to spot general issues which game designers can avoid. Games can be accessible for everyone, from tabletop to LARP, from blindness to mobility issues. Games are for everyone. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D036: "Gaming With, and Designing For, Young Players" presented by Cam Banks, Lisa Bowman-Steenson, Clark Valentine, Amanda Valentine & Brennan Taylor. Young players can present unique challenges to game designers and adults at the table. Attention spans, play styles, system mastery, and age appropriate subject matter can vary a great deal. Be part of a discussion about making and running games that work for young players. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D037: "The Random Word Game Jam" presented by Doug Levandoski & Dev Purkayastha. Two hours to make a game? Sure, why not? Doug and Dev have come up with a list of 100 random words - and at the start of the game jam, they'll randomly choose four of them. Teams will then have two hours (minus some time at the end for sharing what you came up with) to come up with the framework for a game using at least two of those words. This will be a light, fun game jam without prizes or winners. It's just a chance to stretch your design muscles in a short amount of time - and hopefully to have some fun in the process. All are welcome, even those without design experience. Saturday, 9:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D038: "Worldbuilding Mechanics" presented by Cam Banks, Fred Hicks & Jason Pitre. Worldbuilding systems and procedures are fantastic ways of getting player engagement in a fictional setting. These panelists are ready to talk about how collaborative worldbuilding can be built into your RPGs. Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D039: "Women in Game Design: Building Networks and Forming Mentorships" presented by Emily Care-Boss, Julia Ellingboe, Shoshana Kessock, Amanda Valentine & Avonelle Wing. The "gaming industry" has been a brutal place to be a woman this year. Join our esteemed panelists for a conversation about the need for strong support networks and finding mentors in a turbulent and sometimes hostile industry. Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D040: "Turning Legacy on Its Head" presented by Cam Banks & Rob Donoghue. GM screens. Dice. Random encounter tables. Graph paper. We're taking things that have always been taken for granted in RPGs and turning them sideways, inverting them, examining why they were there in the first place, and whether we really need them. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D041: "How to Teach Your Game" presented by Jay Treat & Curt Covert. Whether you're sharing a game you just picked up from the store, or leading playtests of a game you've designed, how you teach the game will make an enormous impact on the players, how they play it, and how much fun they have. Join us as we discuss our techniques and others', traps and tricks. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D042: "Retailer Roundtable, Part One" presented by Jim Crocker & Brian Dalrymple. Two expert retailers come together to talk about the world of brick and mortar. In this part of the roundtable they'll be comparing their views on the current state of the industry from their unique perspectives. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D043: "Collision Imminent: What Tabletop and LARP Have to Teach Each Other" presented by Emily Care-Boss, Jason Morningstar, and John Stavropolous. Live action and tabletop role playing have gotten their peanut butter in each other's chocolate for decades, but usually in haphazard or serendipitous ways. In the last few years, lines have been blurring and designers have been stealing the best elements from each, mashing them together, and seeing what happens. In this panel, game designers with feet in both camps talk about what these forms share, how they differ, and what they have to teach each other. Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D044: "Being Persistent When Your Game Doesn't Playtest Well" presented by Lisa Bowman-Steenson & Curt Covert. Well, THAT was a disaster. What can you learn from playtests that go poorly? And how do you know when to declare it dead? Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D045: "Retailer Roundtable, Part Two" presented by Jim Crocker & Brian Dalrymple. Two expert retailers come together to talk about the world of brick and mortar. In this second part of their panel, they open the floor to questions from designers and players. You do not need to have attended Part One. Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D046: "Gaming As Other: Moving Beyond Tokenism" presented by Misha Bushyager, Julia Ellingboe, Ajit George & Mark Diaz Truman. John Stavropolous moderates as our panelists continue the discussion about the challenges faced by ethnic minorities and people of color within the hobby. In this panel, they will tackle how gaming companies, designers, conventions and communities can effectively bring greater diversity to their ranks, mentor emerging voices, and share leadership roles. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D047: "Let's Talk Kickstarter" presented by Will Hindmarch, Stephen Hood & Kevin W. Kulp. Three game designers with extremely successful Kickstarts on their recent resumes hold a panel discussion of best practices when dealing with the revolutionary funding platform. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D048: "Should You Self-Publish?" presented by Curt Covert. Veteran designer Curt (from Smirk & Dagger Games) helps you figure out the eternal question: should you get into the business of game publishing or find someone else to do it for you? And once you've decided, then what do you do? Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D049: "Hacking Apocalypse World" presented by Vincent Baker, Misha Bushyager, Marissa Kelly, Mark Richardson & Mark Diaz Truman. Learn about the Apocalypse World engine and why it has become popular amongst indie designers. This will be a panel of veteran *World players and *World game designers, including the designer of Apocalypse World! Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D050: "CS6 Design Basics for Gaming Products" presented by Matthias Bonnici. Creative Director/Game Designer Matthias Bonnici will go over the basics of graphic design with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. He'll answer questions you may have and offer trouble shooting tips for some of the most frequent problems you may face. Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D051: "Style Guides Are Your Friend" presented by John Adamus & Amanda Valentine. Style guides are one of the indispensable tools an editor uses to help make your project the best it can be. Learn more about them and the other must-have tools an editor uses, and find out why following the style guide can mean the difference between making "a thing" and "a game". Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D052: "Executing a Smart Crowdfunding Campaign" presented by Fred Hicks, Joshua A. C. Newman & Hannah Shaffer. How do you plan your crowdfunding campaign? How done do you need to be before you open? How do you engage your community? How do you plan for all possible outcomes? Joshua A.C. Newman (Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack and Shock: Social Science Fiction), Fred Hicks (Fate Core, Designers & Dragons, and more), and Hannah Shaffer (Questlandia) share their experiences and then ditch out on their planned talk to address your questions once they realize they can't afford shipping. Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D053: "Growing the Hobby: The Eternal Quest for New Players" presented by JR Blackwell, Stephen Hood & Darren Watts. New players have to come from somewhere, don't they? Are we in the industry being sensible about how we try to recruit gamers? Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D054: "Taboo Around the Table: What We're Afraid to GM" presented by Shoshana Kessock. Hot on the heels of running at Gen Con to a sold out audience, this panel is about the taboo subjects we feel scared to run games about and why. We will discuss the subjects that make people nervous (i.e. sex, drug use, genocide, child endangerment) and touch on why these subjects make us uncomfortable, when often killing and violence do not. We'll also talk about ways to make safer spaces in your games to approach difficult material, and talk about how to set firm lines and boundaries as to what is and is not acceptable in games. Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
D055: "Social Media Action Steps" presented by Beth Rimmels. Social media is a crucial marketing step, especially for new and small businesses. Even better, it can cost you little to nothing, but can be confusing or overwhelming. This panel will explain what's essential, where to start (and on which social media channel), free and low-cost tools that will make your life easier, and how to grow an audience organically. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D056: "Crowdsourcing Ideas for the Next Edition of Nuclear War" presented by Rick Loomis. Next year is the 50th Anniversary of the first publication of the Nuclear War card game. Help me decide how to celebrate it. What should I include in my Kickstarter? What should be in the 50th Anniversary edition of the game? Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D057: "Listening to Actual Play" presented by Bill White & Mel White. What do audio recordings reveal about role-playing? This panel unpacks audio from tabletop RPG play sessions to explore the pragmatic lessons for GMs, players, and designers that emerge from listening to actual play. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D058: "The Best Practices for Information Organization in Tabletop RPGs" presented by Brennan Taylor, Matt Wilson, Meredith Reitman, Krista White & John Stavropolous. Tabletop RPGs serve as both a "let's play!" and a reference document. RPGs designers and writers often attend to one of these goals at the expense of the other. Come to this panel to learn about professional theories of information organization, best practices for making the important information in your games findable and learn lessons from experienced game designers who have made information organization innovations and mistakes in their own games. Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D059: "Disability in Gaming" presented by Russell Collins, Elsa Henry, and Shoshana Kessock. The final frontier of game design seems to be accommodating for those who are differently abled. Designers of games who have a background with being differently abled will discuss how to design to be more inclusive in this manner. We'll discuss the foibles, pitfalls and issues associated with designing games that are not accessible. Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D060: "What is the OSR?" presented by Joseph Bloch. The Old School R... (OSR) has been something of an enigma for years, but its influence is keenly felt in the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Explore the history of the OSR, see just how many OSR games are out there, discuss the influence it has on the RPG industry, and figure out just what the heck people mean by "OSR", including the real enigma... what does the "R" stand for? You'll be surprised at the answer. Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D061: "Financing and Cash Flow" presented by Lisa Bowman-Steenson, Curt Covert & Mark Diaz Truman. Join us to talk about financing game development and writing. Financing is a hidden reason for the success or failure of many projects, including efforts by major studios. Come learn how to make financing work for your projects, so that you can do more with less. Saturday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D062: "Coming Up in the Indies: From Newcomer to Company Owner" presented by Fred Hicks, Shoshana Kessock & Tim Rodriguez. This panel will be a discussion between newer and more established company owners with success stories in the indie RPG world. They are ready to share their insight and tips about becoming part of the publishing world. Saturday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D063: "Legal Q&A Session" presented by Justin Jacobson & Eric Mersmann. Two genuine experts discuss gaming-related law and take your questions. This event is repeated Sunday at 1:00PM. Saturday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D064: "Icons and Anchors" presented by Rob Donoghue & Jason Pitre. Icons and anchors are fascinating pieces of RPG design technology, establishing people and organizations within settings that are strongly tied to player characters and to each other. Let's talk about how these can be effectively used in your own game designs. Saturday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D065: "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Successful and Unsuccessful Crowdfunding Pages" presented by Doug Levandowski. In 2013, Meltdown Games ran a crowdfunding campaign for our first game that raised less than half of our funding goal and averaged 6 backers per day. One year later, we relaunched, earning more than our first asking price - and averaging 21 backers per day. While a lot of factors went into that, much of it had to do with the quality of our page the second time around. Doug will do a brutally honest side-by-side comparison of both pages and talk about what he thinks made all the difference. Time for questions and feedback on other pages will be provided. Saturday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D066: "The Story of Storium" presented by Stephen Hood. Stephen takes us behind the scenes of the innovative online story game. We are especially proud to have Stephen here to talk about Storium because it playtested at METATOPIA 2013. Saturday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D067: "Art for Your Game, Without Breaking the Bank" presented by Jack Parra & Christian St. Pierre. Getting high-quality art is key to making a product look professional. How do publishers do it without breaking the bank? Our panel provides the tips and tricks. Saturday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D068: "Why Do You Hate Your Readers and Players?" presented by John Adamus. As an editor, John has seen a lot of great games never get off the ground or find their best audience because the text doesn't lend itself to being played - it's not friendly, understandable or enjoyable. Learn how to fix those issues and more from an editor with years of experience in helping writers craft game text. Saturday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D069: "Lovecraft WTF?" presented by Julia Ellingboe, Kenneth Hite, Darren Watts & Bill White. H. P. Lovecraft is one of the grandfathers of weird fiction and horror. His racist and anti-Semitic beliefs are no secret. They are the foundation of his fictional worlds. They are interwoven throughout his work and for many readers, impossible to separate from the genius of his writing. Can a Lovecraft-inspired game make his work more accessible? It's okay to like problematic things. This panel will be neither an attack nor a defense of Lovecraft's work. In a broad sense, it will be a conversation about how designers might interpret or use source material with themes or images that are problematic. Saturday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
D070: "A Designer's Look at Freeform LARP" presented by Shoshana Kessock. This seminar will give people a first-hand look at what freeform LARP has to offer. This often misunderstood branch of game design offers a simple but elegant toolbox of design possibilities for LARP creators new and old. This showcase of some basic design tips as well as resources for how to expand more will help foster new LARP designers to get comfortable with freeform and start making fantastic games! Saturday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D071: "The Least System Necessary" presented by Cam Banks, Rob Donoghue, Clark Valentine & Stephen Hood. How much system does your game *need*? We'll be examining very minimal systems like Risus, CORE, Amber DRPG and so on as a starting point for design, always coming back to the question of whether you are adding things to your system because it need it, or because you're "Supposed To". Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D072: "Ten Things You Can Do to Make Your Rulebook Awesome" presented by Joshua Yearsley. Your rulebook is the heart of your game, so why not give it the love it deserves? In this seminar, you'll learn ten best practices for improving the structure, style, and clarity of your rulebook. Got any burning questions about rules craft? Get answers from a professional rulebook editor. Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D073: "Building Communities Before Your Game Comes Out" presented by J.R. Honeycutt, Jason Pitre & Stephen Tasker. This panel will discuss how to build a local gaming community from the ground up, starting with a few friends and growing your network to be inclusive of as many members as possible. After that, they'll address how to branch out to other groups to expand your community and get even more involved. Finally, they'll address how to extend beyond your community and help local charities with gaming. Why just play games when you can play games and help people? Saturday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D074: "Analog Cross-Platform Design For Narrativist Cowards Like Me" presented by Megan Jaffe & Sean Jaffe. Good game design transcends boundaries between tabletop mediums like card games and 3-D mediums like LARP. Role playing is asserting itself in other game styles. Saturday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D075: "Shameless Speculation About D&D 5th Edition Licensing" presented by Rob Donoghue & Justin Jacobson. 5E does not yet have a license for development, but we're all waiting to see what they offer. This uncertainty is our launching point for discussion of various license types and how each one might impact 5E (and how likely it might be) all while discussing those elements of 5E that give themselves over to expansion. Sunday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D076: "Explicit vs. Role-Based Knowledge In RPGs" presented by Shane Harsch, Clark Valentine & Evan Torner. This seminar poses the question of whether it is possible to support a detailed, knowledge-rich environment for an RPG without creating a situation where the character that should know how to do something actually does not. Where is the balance between detail and role? Sunday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.
D077: "Mental Illness Within Games" presented by Shoshana Kessock. This discussion is not about how mental illness is handled in the community. Instead, this seminar will discuss how mental illness is discussed in games, how it is handled as a mechanic, and how its representation is problematic or well-handled depending on the game. In a world where the mentally ill are often stigmatized and treated unfairly, where ableism is still a major problem, games can create positive spaces to explore mental illness or negative ones that express the status quo. Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D078: "Wait, That Player Won? Opacity, Transparency, and Player Incentives in Your Strategy Board Game" presented by Gil Hova. Do people understand what's going on in your game? Not just the rules, but can they tell who's winning? If they should watch out for a dangerous player? If they know exactly how their move will impact their next few turns? Join designer Gil Hova as he discusses transparency and opacity in strategy board games. We will discuss what makes a game mechanism transparent or opaque, how they work (or fail) in existing games, and how to use them to incentivize players to make interesting plays. Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D079: "Patreon: Return of the Ezine" presented by Epidiah Ravachol & Mark Diaz Truman. Join Epidiah Ravachol (Words Without Master) and Mark Diaz Truman (The Fate Codex) to learn about the wondrous world of Ezine publishing on Patreon! We'll cover everything from the mechanics of production to advice on launching your own Patreon campaigns. Sunday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D080: "Telling Women's Stories" presented by Shoshana Kessock. This roundtable will discuss games as a great space to tell women's stories, and how those stories differ from typical narratives. We'll talk about the myth of the "strong female protagonist", the stereotypes and pitfalls, and how those stereotypes affect players and the stories told around the table. We'll explore what roles women typically play, how to break out to feel comfortable telling a different story, and explore how to foster women's stories at the table. Sunday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D081: "Queerness: Addressing and Including Sexuality and Gender Identity in Your Game Design" presented by Julia Ellingboe, Avery Mcdaldno, James Stuart & Avonelle Wing. Let's talk about how to build games and adjacent spaces where sexuality and gender are handled in nuanced, respectful ways. Sunday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
D082: "Traumatize Your Players Out of Love" presented by Erika Skirpan. LARP director, designer and actor Ericka Skirpan discusses how to build compelling traumatic content in both LARP and table top gaming. Learn the ways to pull on your players' heart strings while respecting out of game emotions and the best way to debrief after particularly traumatic gaming sessions. Sunday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
D083: "Publishing Fiction" presented by Jocelyn Koehler, Nicholas Tulach & Amanda Valentine. Learn how to go from premise to published novel from the folks at tiny press Hammer & Birch. This panel will show you every step in the life of one book: from settling on a concept to finishing the writing, the editing process, cover design and formatting, publishing, and selling it to strangers. Some things we'll talk about: the craft of writing, the value of beta readers, creating a realistic budget, how to do art direction, working with an editor, how to speak Amazon, where to market, how to engage readers, and what to do in the dark of night when you just want to give up. Sunday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D084: "Legal Q&A Session" presented by Justin Jacobson & Eric Mersmann. Two genuine experts discuss gaming-related law and take your questions. We can't promise answers, but we might be able to get you pointed in the right direction. Sunday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D085: "The Writing Workshop Game Jam" presented by John Adamus & Tim Rodriguez. While we are answering your questions about how to get material published, you get to spend time actually making a sample game! Learn the steps involved, learn to work as a team, and co-create something in a short period of time. Sunday, 2:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
D086: "The Artist's Process" presented by Jack Parra. Our panelists go over the process they go through when creating a finished illustration, and give a demonstration. Audience members are encouraged to bring drawing supplies, and work along. This panel is about helping artists of all levels to improve. Sunday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.
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