Thursday, November 2 - Sunday, November 5, 2017
At the Hyatt Regency Morristown & Conference Center in Morristown, New Jersey


Updated 11/2/17 at 4:30PM EDT - THIS IS THE FINAL UPDATE.

The Big Board is now active at the physical convention. We can no longer process event reservations through email.

D001: "How to Be a Playtester (101)" presented by Avonelle Wing, Heather O'Neill, Jason Pitre, Lisa Padol. Our panelists talk about how to be good playtesters. Learn how to hear the questions being asked and answer with useful feedback. We all want to give helpful criticism; learn more about how to do that. Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D002: "From Idea To Product: Your First Game" presented by John Adamus, Bryan Shipp, Laura Simpson, Tim Rodriguez. Games are a hydra on a roller coaster on fire. There's so much to do, so much to avoid doing, so much to plan for, and so much to hope works out. We'd like to talk about the process. Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D003: "What Games Attract Retailers and Distributors" presented by Brian Dalrymple, Jason Walters, Melissa Lewis-Gentry. Getting your game(s) into stores usually means dealing with distributors. How do you get their attention? What do they expect from you? If you're planning on going direct to retailers, what's the best way to do that? If you're planning on operating outside of traditional distribution, are you leaving money on the table? This is panel gives an overview of the 3-tier distribution system, including its strengths, weaknesses, and alternatives. Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D004: "Cruel To Be Kind: Designing Games That Hurt" presented by Jason Pitre, Kate Bullock, Melissa Lewis-Gentry, Anna Kreider. Bleed isn't just for larpwrights anymore. Many tabletop RPG designers are now designing games to invoke emotions considered on the negative scale of things, like sadness, remorse, guilt, and emotional pain. On this panel, we will explore how this can be done safely and in a way that produces meaningful experiences. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D005: "Kill Your Darlings: Why Editors Matter" presented by John Adamus, Ann Stolinsky. Editing is the crucible through which your idea passes in order to emerge as the game and experience you intended. Find out what works, what doesn't, and how to navigate the red flags and feelings around them. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D006: "Games In A Time Of Resistance" presented by Jess Banks, Jay Sylvano. Games can help us prepare for, navigate, and endure times when we're under siege. We'll talk about the design and play that build up our values, communicate them to others, and mobilize us to sustain long-term empathy and action. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D007: "First Time METATOPIA Attendees" presented by Avonelle Wing. Join Avonelle Wing and others for a METATOPIA orientation. All types of attendee welcome. We'll talk about the philosophy behind this unique convention, answer questions and introduce you to each other. Friday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D008: "Taxes For Game Designers" presented by Brad Hausman. A brief overview of tax considerations for a game company. Understanding what forms may need to be filed, and how the structure of your company can affect you. Friday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D009: "Running Successful Playtests" presented by Ann Stolinsky, Darren Watts, Tim Rodriguez, Justin Rogers. Running a successful playtest when it's your creation on the table is hard work. It goes beyond putting your game on the table and hoping for the best. Join our panelists for tips and tricks on how to get benefit from every session, including those that don't go according to script. Friday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D010: "Queer Game Design: More Than Just Representation" presented by Melissa Lewis-Gentry, Alex Roberts, Julia Ellingboe, Jennifer Gutterman. Inclusivity is a popular topic in game design, but queer gamers want more than just representation. Here designers and academics will talk about queer design, queering mechanics, and queer world-building. This is an intermediate level discussion about queer game design, so there is an expectation of understanding of feminism, gender studies, and intersectionality. Friday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D011: "How To Demo A Board/Card Game At A Convention" presented by Gil Hova, Heather O'Neill, Melissa Lewis-Gentry, JR Honeycutt. Are you a publisher showing your games at conventions? Maybe you're a booth helper? Join us as we discuss the best ways to demo a game at a convention. We're not talking about teaching games in general; we're talking, very specifically, about showing players the heartbeat of a board game in as short a period of time as possible in a noisy, crowded environment. Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D012: "Patreon: How Do I Use This?" presented by James D'Amato, Kat Kuhl. Most independent games are funded through platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Patreon is fantastic way to provide you with support while you prepare to publish and keep you in touch with your audience. Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D013: "When Safety Isn't Safe" presented by Brand Robins, Moyra Turkington, Sara Williamson, Rachel E.S. Walton. There is a lot of important work being done on safety in roleplaying. This panel will discuss how different communities and play approaches define and delimit different needs and approaches to safety, and those, in turn form and constrain what we can express and explore. What happens when our safety mechanics don't work? What about when they make some people safer some of the time, and other people less safe all of the time? And how do we move forward? Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D014: "Golden Cobra Announcement" presented by Jason Morningstar, Sara Williamson, 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, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D015: "Writing Religion into Your Game Respectfully" presented by Julia Ellingboe, Jess Banks. Our panelists will talk about about incorporating actual real life systems of faith into settings, themes, and conflicts, rather than to making up a religion for a game. Let's talk about about writing about faith, particularly when it's different from our own. Friday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D016: "Do I Want To Be In The Game Publishing Business?" presented by Michelle Lyons, Danielle Lauzon, Pete Petrusha, Maury Brown, Cam Banks. It's relatively easy to make a game in this day and age. Making a business is harder. How much effort do you want to put into bringing a game to market/getting some revenue for your work? What are your options? How will you know what you want until you do it? Come join us for a panel discussing the whys and wherefores of game publication and where people choose to land on that spectrum. Friday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D017: "Crowdfunding Retailer Tiers: Dos And Don'ts" presented by Melissa Lewis-Gentry, Brian Dalrymple. So you're planning crowdfunding for your game, and have heard that Retail is important. Maybe you did a retail tier in a previous Kickstarter and had no one buy it, or maybe you lost money by creating that tier. Regardless, the industry is changing faster than we can keep up. Learn from Retailers on what they want and what they won't back for 2018 Kickstarters & IndieGoGos. Learn from Expert Campaigners on the pitfalls of building tiers. Be sure to bring questions about your upcoming campaign, we want to hear them. Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D018: "Actual Play Podcasts & Game Design: The Meeting Point" presented by James Malloy, Meghan Dornbrock, Senda Linaugh, James D'Amato. If you listen to a tabletop gaming actual play podcast it more than likely takes the form of a group who put a mic down in the middle of the table and recorded a play session. As actual play podcasts have become more popular, the people producing them responded by increasing the quality of the podcasts. Is the future of actual play podcasts simply limited to better mics and editing? Do we have to podcast play the same way we play in real life? Will we see games designed to be played on a podcast? How can game designers or podcasters incorporate listeners/viewers into their content? Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D019: "Accessible Game Design" presented by Maury Brown, Shoshana Kessock, Elsa Henry, Kate Beaman-Martinez, Mandy Perry. When designing a game - whether a LARP, board/card game, or RPG - designers need to take into account the wide range of potential players, who have varying abilities and experiences that affect how they will access the game. Panel members, who are gamers and game designers, will discuss physical accessibility, neurotypicality, past trauma, chronic health conditions, reading/learning differences, and social capital as considerations for ensuring your game is accessible. Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D020: "Don't Shred Your Game: Coming Back From A Tough Playtest" presented by Dev Purkayastha. A workshop for designers who have playtested their game - here or elsewhere - and have gotten challenging feedback. It's easy to feel discouraged, but it's important to take the next step. The goal of this workshop is to provide encouragement towards the ongoing process, rather than workshopping specific feedback. Friday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D021: "How To Work With Artists" presented by Jack Parra, Scott Bowmanchester, Chris Kreuter. The panelists 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 and plan projects accordingly. Friday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D022: "Building Game Design Communities" presented by Gerald King, Jonathan Gilmour, Avonelle Wing, JR Honeycutt. Nothing makes your game better than a community of dedicated playtesters eager to give you feedback and Game Designers who are happy to help you when you hit a wall. Sadly this kind of community is hard to find outside of amazing conventions like this, so Ultimate Team-Up and Friends are here to give you some tips on how to build a community around game design in your area. If you have the will and energy to organize events this is something you should do, not just to make your own games better, but to give other Game Designers the chance to take advantage of the community as well. Friday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D023: "Professionalization: How Can Gaming Grow Up?" presented by Michelle Lyons, Jason Pitre, Matthew McFarland. Professionalization has been defined as "transformation into a profession of the highest integrity and competence." Integrity and competence are laudable goals for the profession as a whole, but how do we get there? What practices should we pursue? How do we differentiate between industry/business/community relationships, and are we willing to do so? This roundtable will try to hit on some best practices and identify the obstacles that stand in our way. Friday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D024: "Demonstrating A Game To Sell It" presented by James D'Amato, Kat Kuhl, Jim McClure, Zev Shlasinger. Demoing is one of the best ways to sell a game, but it's different than regular play. James and Kat demo games for a living on ONE SHOT. They'll let you in on what they have learned about showing off a game to prospective customers. Friday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D025: "Interview Techniques For In-Game Exposition" presented by Alex Roberts. Whether you're a journalist in an intergalactic war, or a palm reader at a wizard school, there are ways to use active listening and interview techniques to help other players explore their characters, keep information economies moving, and build emotionally satisfying scenes. This workshop will introduce you to the basics, and then involve a little role-play practice! Friday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D026: "Writing More Inclusive Alternate Histories" presented by Eric Simon, Darren Watts, Shoshana Kessock, Elsa Henry. From the implicit imperialism of steampunk to the complicated controversy of HBO's Confederate, it seems like alternate history is often fraught with problems. We provide you with techniques and ideas for writing, designing, and playing with historical and alternate historical themes in ways that are positive, inclusive, respectful, and productive. Friday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D027: "Red Flags of Game Text and Play Spaces" presented by John Adamus, Jacqueline Bryk. As much as we'd like to avoid talking about them, there are some really significant not-great ideas when it comes to writing games and playing them at tables. This seminar will spotlight a few AND provide practical fixes so that people can have space and play the game without significant issue. Friday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D028: "Failing Forward" presented by Joshua Yearsley, Hannah Shaffer, Mark Richardson. Being competent at something just means you've already made all the mistakes, so come learn from ours! We'll discuss some of our own juiciest mistakes and setbacks from our years of games work - maybe even some from projects we've worked on together? - and explore how we used those experiences to grow, improve our craft, and do better the next time. Friday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D029: "Towards a Design Vocabulary of Awe" presented by Kenneth Hite. Fantasy gaming is inextricably linked with supernatural power, and frequently with the divine. Even supposedly secular science fiction invokes a "sense of wonder." How can we present the numinous in game text, rules, and at the table? Kenneth Hite doesn't know either, but he'd love to think out loud about it with you. Friday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; Fun, All Ages.

D030: "We Have Always GMed: Advice by Women for Women" presented by Kate Bullock, Michelle Lyons, Kathryn Miller, Anna Kreider. As much as we'd like to banish "Women in Gaming" panels to the depths of our historic archives, there is still value in addressing the fact that being there are challenges for women at the gaming table that different than those faced by our male counterparts. This panel will talk about the ways women have always contributed to gaming, and how to handle some of the more nuanced situations that still come up. Friday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D031: "What Scares You About Making Your Game?" presented by Darren Watts, Christopher O'Neill, Roberta Taylor. You've got a board game, card game, RPG or LARP in your head, but something's stopping you from settling down and doing the work to get it done and out there in the world. What is it? Let's get into your head and smack down the voices telling you it can't be done. Friday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D032: "Anatomy of a Fight: The Experiment to Create a Realistic Combat System" presented by Michael Malecki, Elsa Henry, Shervyn von Hoerl, Monica Speca. Join us for a workshop to create a combat system that could possibly allow for the fluid and chaotic nature of combat but not be overwhelmingly disruptive to play style. The first half of the panel will cover offensive and defensive theories. We will go over the positives and negatives of things such as Narrative play, Slow-Fu, and Physical Combat. After a brief Q&A, those who building a system are welcome to stay and workshop with experts. Friday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D033: "Designer Playtest Events - What Types are There, What's Trending, How Do I Start One?" presented by Kiva Fecteau, Tim Blank, Banana Chan, Benjamin Begeal, Suzanne Zinsli, Matt Fantastic. When you're ready to take your game beyond the dining room table, there are a number of places you can get others to playtest it for you. You can find players anywhere from your FLGS or Meetup groups to major conventions. What types of events are there? What benefits and drawbacks are there for each type? What does it take to create an event of your own and what might it look like? Friday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D034: "Human-Centered Game Design" presented by Stephanie Nudelman. In this two-hour workshop, you'll learn how to apply the design thinking process used by IDEO and IBM to make games that make behavioral change. You'll get a crash course in design thinking concepts and terminology, see a model of using the design thinking process to create a game, then do a 90 minute step by step design sprint to prototype games that meet each other's needs. Arrive with a frustrating behavioral problem you want to solve, leave with the beginnings of a game that solves that problem. Note: examples of game solve-able problems are "I want to eat healthier", "my son keeps missing the school bus", or "my company's departments don't communicate with each other". Friday, 8:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D035: "Herding One Large Cat: Collaborative Design" presented by Jason Morningstar, Alex Roberts, Jenn Martin. Game design in dyads and larger teams - how does it work? Where does it fail? Is it more threat or menace? Friday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D036: "How To Pitch" presented by Jennifer Gutterman, Joshua Yearsley, Melissa Lewis-Gentry, Zev Shlasinger. You made a game! Congratulations! Now explain your incredible game in one sentence. That isn't as easy as it sounds. You want people to buy into your game as players, as investors, or as retailers. You will only have one chance to make that first impression. It needs to have impact. If you want to see your game successful on a crowdfunding site, or sold by your local game store, then you need to know what kind of pitch types and styles to maximize both what you say and target the right audience. This panel will cover it all, from the one sentence pitch through pitches for retailers, and the many options in between. Friday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D037: "Podcast Editing LIVE" presented by Gil Hova. Do you edit podcasts, or are you looking into the possibility? Are you self-taught? Want to get better at it? Join us as we edit a podcast live in front of you! You'll learn about noise reduction, dynamic compression, hard limiters, and parametric equalizers. You'll also see and hear what you should edit out, what you should leave in, and what makes a good edit good. Friday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D038: "Games, Learning, and Social Change" presented by Tam Myaing, Heather Wilson. Games by their nature are learning tools. When we play games, we are, at a minimum, learning the mechanics and the boundaries of the game space. Can we use this 'learning mechanic' to design better games, and better players? The panel will explore the mechanics of learning in games and their potential to reach beyond the game space. Friday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D039: "From Imposter Syndrome to Arrogance - Knowing When To Step Back" presented by Kiva Fecteau, Beth Rimmels, Doug Levandowski, James Dagg, Nicole Perry. How do you measure your success in a field where most people don't have salaries or corporate titles to compare, "bad" games can be hugely popular, and the timeline of creative spark to marketable product can often be years? In other words, when are you an "Industry Pro?" No matter how much they've done, some people continue to feel that they haven't yet hit the mark. Yet others who are completely new to the industry may feel that they have all the answers. Both attitudes can hold back your ability to flourish in the gaming industry. Friday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D040: "Positive Encounter Management In LARPing" presented by Kelvin Ortega, Jeramy Merritt, Michelle Stagnitta. There are so many of us who manage or participate in running ongoing larp campaigns. And, we've all been in those situations where an encounter begins to get away from us. Maybe we run into an unforeseen bottleneck that only engages a small number of the players in the encounter? Maybe the players come up with a plan that is far outside of the scope we expected for the encounter? Perhaps some crucial prop or set piece flat out malfunctions or breaks all together. This panel will discuss positive ways of dealing with unforeseen issues while running LARP encounters, as well as suggesting simple game running philosophies that will keep you and your players engaged in these types of moments. Friday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D041: "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Forge (But Were Afraid To Ask)" presented by Bill White, Joshua A.C. Newman, Brennan Taylor, Lisa Padol, Evan Torner. The Forge ( was an online discussion site for indie TRPG design, publication, and play that was active from 2001 to 2012. Across tens of thousands of discussion threads, Forge participants hashed out new ways of understanding the dynamics of tabletop RPG play, and developed a new conceptual language for talking about game design, as part of a larger project of promulgating the "indie RPG" message that anyone can design and publish the game they want. This larger mission largely accomplished by 2010, according to its founders, the Forge closed its forums in 2012. But the ideas it offered still have value, and so five years after the closing of the Forge we look back and assess its insights, its accomplishments, and its imbroglios. Presented by Bill White, game designer and game studies scholar currently working on a book about the Forge, along with several regular posters from that era. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D042: "Art For Your Game Without Breaking The Bank" presented by Jack Parra, Scott Bowmanchester, Lissanne Lake. Getting high-quality art is key to making a product look professional. How do publishers do it without breaking the bank? Our panel makes with the tips and tricks. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D043: "The Law For Creatives: A 101 For Game Designers" presented by Evan Michaels. Join Evan Michaels (from The Michaels Firm Creative Advocacy) for an engaging panel designed to foster confidence in the creative community as to what their basic legal rights are when creating games, LARPs and interactive experiences. Evan has transitioned his professional practice to focus on representing creating professionals from a variety of gaming disciplines. Come get answers to your questions about Copyright, Trademarks, business formation, licensing, contracts, and deal negotiations. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D044: "Generic But Indie: Setting-Agnostic Games" presented by Jason Pitre, Brennan Taylor, Hannah Shaffer. Many new designers begin their careers by designing generic game systems, with flexibility for future expansion and innovative mechanics. This style of game has its strengths and weaknesses, and we will explore each in turn from the perspective of experienced publishers in the industry. Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D045: "Writing Rulebooks: An Introduction and Workshop" presented by Joshua Yearsley. Trying to write your first (or seventh) rulebook? Want to build a solid foundation on rules writing fundamentals? Ready to get your hands dirty with real rules revisions? This is for you. We'll first explore why rulebooks are so difficult to get right, discuss the goals of the rulebook itself, and then jump into the fundamentals. You'll learn a new language for describing rules, the theory and application of rules structure, and tons of tips and tricks to improve flow. After the talk, we'll break into groups and put these skills to use, workshopping badly written rules into better ones, guided by a professional rules writer and editor. This talk + workshop was first given as part of a course on game design taught by Rob Daviau, co-designer of Pandemic Legacy, at Hampshire College, where it received a great response (though the METATOPIA version probably won't give you college credit). Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D046: "Mental Illness and Addiction: You Can Still Make Your Game" presented by John Adamus, Jess Banks, Mark Richardson, Anna Kreider. Gaming is done by people. And people often struggle with mental illness and addiction. So let's talk about. Let's not let it be a stigma or a scary thing in the closet. Let's be proactive and positive and not let these things define us. Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D047: "Cooling Down the Hot Take: A Look at Hierarchical Thinking in Gaming" presented by Gil Hova, Jonathan Gilmour. From Jones Theory to "this game fired that game", hierarchical thinking - comparing one thing to another in a way that ranks one as better than the other - is very popular in the gaming world. How useful is it? Are there situations where it hurts us? We will talk about the pros and cons of hierarchical thinking, and dive into why it's so appealing to us game fans. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D048: "Critique: Giving, Receiving, Rejecting" presented by Joshua A. C. Newman, Hannah Shaffer, Rachel E.S. Walton, Rebecca Jane Stokes. Giving skillful critique and knowing how to receive and reject it is a skill all creators must foster. METATOPIA is a great place to gain those skills and share their fruits with your fellow game designers! Join Joshua A.C. Newman (Shock:), Hannah Shaffer (Damn the Man, Save the Music!), Rachel E.S. Walton (Long Orbit), and playwright Rebecca Jane Stokes as we discuss the techniques we've learned and how to make them work to produce the best creative output. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D049: "Ask a Marketing Expert: A Q&A for the Game Industry" presented by Beth Rimmels, Banana Chan, Mike Roberts. Getting word out about your game or company is essential for success. In this seminar you can ask your burning questions about video marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). If time allows we'll do a few quick web site/social media audits/video critiques. Our experts include social media marketer Beth Rimmels, video marketer/videographer Barbara Chan, and SEO data analyst Mike Roberts. Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D050: "Reboots, Revisions, and Retcons: Bringing Back Old Games for New Audiences" presented by Cam Banks, Darren Watts, Bill White, Jason Walters. We discuss writing, designing, and updating older games, especially RPGs, for a new market or for existing fans. We bring in experience in crafting updates, new editions, and repackaging older ideas as we give suggestions on how to use those lessons in your own design, published or not. Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D051: "Sales Pitches That Set A Positive Tone" presented by John Adamus, Jacqueline Bryk. Building a pitch that captures the atmosphere of the game in a positive, rather than exclusionary way is a huge part of growing an audience and a community around your work. It sets a tone and conveys a lot of info. Let's give you a roadmap for success! Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D052: "When It's Not All Fun and Games - How to Set Boundaries When Facilitating an RPG" presented by Kathryn Miller. Managing a game table can be hard - at a con, at home, or in a game store. Knowing how to set good boundaries can help navigating the space between what one player wants and what another player needs. When the game stops being fun because of the boundary pushing behavior of one player, good boundaries make it easier to recognize and remove a problem allowing the game to continue. Join Kat Miller for a conversation about how to culture your table to be successful, how to identify when you need to step in, and how to call for help if a situation becomes more than you can manage. Saturday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D053: "Resolving Disputes, In Games and Life" presented by Cam Banks. Humans do not always get along, even when they are friends. And whether you're playing with somebody who you're butting heads with, working on a design project with somebody you can't deal with, or sitting on a panel with somebody you can't agree with, you need to get through it somehow. We'll discuss ways to get along, ways to stand up for yourself, and ways to resolve issues and be happier. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D054: "Developing A Marketing Plan For Your Game" presented by Steve Radabaugh, Beth Rimmels, Jason Pitre. I will be taking what Marketing Genius Seth Godin teaches about Marketing and helping you apply it to your game/brand. You will work in a small group to discuss how the information applies to you, and you will fill out a marketing plan template. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D055: "Hacking Apocalypse World" presented by Brendan Conway, Justin Rogers. Ever wanted to learn how to make a Powered by the Apocalypse world game of your own? Help Brendan Conway design a game from scratch in this hands-on, skills-focused workshop that will leave you ready to start writing basic moves and playbooks for your very own game. Saturday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D056: "Building Narrative Arc Into Board Game Design" presented by Roberta Taylor, Curt Covert. Everyone loves a good story, whether it's in a book or on a screen, but what about memorable story in boardgames. What does story look like in a boardgame? How is story different from theme? How does the designer partner with players to tell a story? What are the limitations and where is the creative space wide open? Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D057: "Data Safety" presented by Tim Rodriguez, Rowan Cota. "If it's not in three places, it doesn't exist". Many of us rely on data in our local computers and in the cloud. But what if that computer or access to that cloud system suddenly disappears? We'll talk about data safety strategies covering topics from backups to encryption to redundancy. Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D058: "Dungeons & Dialectic" presented by Kate Beaman-Martinez, Jacqueline Bryk. The act of play allows you to access elements of yourself that wouldn't normally be available. But how do you properly deal with those emotions and experiences? This panel will discuss ways to practice good self-care while playing, handling emotional issues at game, and using self-observation to improve your experience. The panelists are not medical professions. However, they have years of struggling through their own mental illnesses and have learned to live and cope with their own . This panel will make suggestions based on the therapies that they have used as well as what has worked for this. Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D059: "Prototyping Cards Digitally" presented by Zintis May-Krumins. Bring your laptops to this introductory workshop on free software to quickly and easily create cards, boards, tokens and more. We will cover the basics of the Cardmaker program, beginning with a card layout then merging spreadsheets and images into full card sets. Follow along with a sample project, or start trying to create cards for your own game. Provided everyone is making progress, we will move on to using for image editing, Google Drive for project organization and how to import a project into Tabletop Simulator. This is meant to be a hands-on workshop, please bring a laptop if you can. Saturday, 2:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D060: "My Games Are Unapologetically Political" presented by Shoshana Kessock, Neall Price, Susanne Vejdemo, Joshua A. C. Newman. Art is and has always been political, and game design is no different. In this panel, we'll talk about developing games with political agendas not only wholly in mind, but front and center. We'll tackle discussions about the hard topics that come up in political games, whether or not you design for unity or for controversy, how to use game design to create the political message of your games, and how to design games with political messages in the current charged political world. Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D061: "Understanding Regulations for Crowdfunding and Other Ways of Raising Capital" presented by Brad Hausman. A brief overview of SEC and some state regulations regarding crowdfunding, and other forms of raising capital, and registering your campaign. Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D062: "Cartography Of Fictional Worlds" presented by Mark Richardson. A discussion of how a fictional world is visualized and constructed. Learn to manage all of your world's information and build it in an effective way. Get the map you want, whether you're the illustrator or the writer. This presentation will include case studies presented in Mark's Ennie award winning work for the 7th Sea. Saturday, 3:00PM - 4:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D063: "The Business Side of Gaming" presented by Marie Poole. Join us for an in-depth conversation about best-practices for running your game company like a business. We'll cover a little bit of everything - Financial practices, hiring a lawyer (and what you might hire one for), working with professionals, being a professional. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D064: "Kickstarter Of Horror: Mistakes We Made Kickstarting Our First Game" presented by Diane Sauer, Nick Sauer. We will review and discuss the many mistakes Shoot Again Games made with Legends and Lies and its Kickstarter. Hopefully, our mistakes will help contribute to your success. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D065: "LARP Facilitation Skills: A Roundtable" presented by Alex Roberts. Can I facilitate a LARP if I've never played one? How do I get "good" at it? Can facilitation be creative? Elegant? Inspiring? What are the skills I'd need to get there? YOU have the answers - Alex is just going to keep the conversation going. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D066: "Criticism and Feedback: How to Talk about that Game You Just Played" presented by Tim Hutchings, Jay Sylvano, James D'Amato, Evan Torner. How do we talk about games in a productive, useful way? The panel will discuss methods and tools for giving useful, critical feedback for the game play experience. We will introduce critical methods from the creative arts and inclusivity-promoting discussion tools pioneered by Games to Gather in Portland, Oregon. Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D067: "The Artist's Process: Game Illustration From Start To Finish." presented by Jack Parra, Leslie Casilli, Lissanne Lake. Our panelists go over the process they go through when creating a finished illustration, and the different approaches they take. This panel is about helping artists of all levels improve. Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D068: "The Search for Designer Collaboration: Best Practices, Current and Future" presented by Kiva Fecteau, Jonathan Gilmour, Doug Levandowski, Diane Sauer. Many of the most well-known board game designers are individual men. But there are also designers who partner with others to create their games, sometimes as an established design team and other times with a changing cast of co-designers. When, where, and how do designers currently establish collaborative efforts? What can we do to make these collaborations more demographically diverse? Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D069: "Game Evolution: The Process Of Design Iteration" presented by Jason Morningstar, Hakan Seyalioglu, Kathryn Hymes. We'll trace the development process of two games - one tabletop and one LARP - looking at design artifacts and learning how the affordances of rules and play materials both reflected and influenced their evolution. Saturday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D070: "Player in Three Persons - Studying the Theme/Mechanism Join of Board Games" presented by Gil Hova. "This game is so immersive!" "This theme is pasted on!" "Should designers start with theme or mechanism?" Lots of board game fans like to debate theme and mechanism. This panel is a technical deep-dive into the fascinating join of theme and mechanism of a commercial board game, and why the two don't always get along. Saturday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D071: "Capture the Heart! - Designing Emotionally Evocative Games" presented by Curt Covert. There are may approaches to game design. Come learn about one specific style focused on stirring the emotions during play as the core design thrust. How does this design style contrast to other approaches? What is its benefit? How can you apply these principles to your own designs? Curt Covert of Smirk & Dagger / Smirk & Laughter discusses. Saturday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D072: "Beyond Musical Chairs: Music & Game Design" presented by Natalia Granger, Laura Simpson, Vicki Bloom, Dev Purkayastha. Gaming often integrates other media, notably visual arts and writing. What about music? This panel will discuss RPGs and LARPs that make music a central part of the game: To set the mood in the game room, to create cultural flavor within the game, and even as a mechanical component that directly impacts gameplay. Saturday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D073: "Going Dark: On the Value of High-Impact Play" presented by Tayler Stokes, Kate Bullock, Moyra Turkington, Jason Morningstar. This is intended to be both a peek behind the curtain in regards to why we play and make intense games about serious things, as well as a discussion about how to do serious topics justice as a player and designer. If you are curious why people are interested in games like this, we will be able to shed some light on that for you. If you are considering designing a game that goes dark yourself, you're in the right place. And if you have designed such a game, we'd love to have your thoughts! This panel will explore the following questions: What do we get out of playing and making high-impact games? How do we support the players through practice and design? How do you authentically and responsibly represent serious subjects through play techniques? Saturday, 8:00PM - 9:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D074: "Fiction and Game Writing" presented by Elsa Henry, Lauren Roy. Fiction writing and game writing are definitely two separate skillsets, but they are complimentary. This panel will feature people who do both, discussing how to develop these skillsets to further both parts of your career, with extra attention to the ways they diverge and how to know which skills to use. Where do these skillsets not overlap, how do they fight against one another? What are the best ways to develop both skills without shortchanging one or the other. Saturday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D075: "Crafting a Great Introductory Gaming Experience" presented by Rach Shelkey, Benjamin Morrow, Natalia Granger. Any game session could be a someone's first game session. That first impression is vital to how a person will feel about a game and the gaming community as a whole. Pitches, presentation, accessibility tools and safely tools can all be leveraged to lower barriers and welcome a new player as a friend. We'll discuss how to craft a encouraging and supportive first game that encourages players to come back for more! Saturday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D076: "Positive Aesthetic Sexy Times Discussion" presented by Whitney Delaglio, Brand Robins. Sexy Times in-game can be serious business, but it doesn't have to be! Join us for a discussion about using artwork and tone to encourage fun and playful exploration of intimacy in games. Saturday, 9:00PM - 10:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.

D077: "Structure Matters: Layout Needs For Writers & Editors" presented by Jason Pitre, Matthias Bonnici, Will Hindmarch. Producing a book involves communication and negotiation between the layout professional, writers, editors, and art-directors. In this panel, we will talk about how to establish structures that work for everyone, and point out some ways to keep your layout gal happy. Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D078: "How to Ally - a True 101" presented by Avonelle Wing, Michelle Lyons, Rob Donoghue, Jess Banks. Join our panelists for a heartfelt, judgment free conversation about how to engage in matters of diversity, representation, power redistribution and other efforts in a productive, safe-for-all fashion. Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D079: "Difficult Fun: Designing Games on Difficult Topics" presented by Shawn Roske, Elsa Henry, Vicki Bloom. It can be hard to design a game that treats culturally taboo topics in a way that is sensitive, mature and thought provoking. We'll talk about challenges in understanding design goals and communicating intent to players both during the pitch and during the play. For this discussion we have a case study of a game about human sexuality, disability, and blurred lines between public and private spaces to highlight problems in development. Some questions we will cover include: How to pitch these games? How to design for differing starting levels of knowledge about the topic? How to redirect a game moving in an inappropriate direction? Why do some larpers balk at heavy games that aren't "fun" while others seek them out? Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D080: "The Shape Of Your Game" presented by Peter Hayward. Every game has a shape. Beginning, middle, end, turn structure, round structure, end-game condition, victory condition. Learn about common shapes, the direction that games are evolving, and how to make sure that YOUR game has an appealing and suitable shape for the modern board gamer. Saturday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D081: "Escape Room Games: Where Puzzles, Haunted Houses and LARP Meet" presented by Erica Noordermeer. This seminar will discuss the history/evolution of escape room games, including the recent boom in North America and also the design elements and special challenges that they involve (players break things... but you have more players starting in ten minutes; or how do you convince the players that this piece logically goes with this piece?), and fun and creative things that the industry is doing with escape room games. Saturday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D082: "Using Small-Scale Ventures to "Train Up" the Next Generation of Designers" presented by Avonelle Wing, Susanne Vejdemo. The nordic countries are in the middle of a grass root explosion of new LARP designers - at least half of them female or non-binary. They got their wings in the small scale, low threshold blackbox scene - and then ventured out everywhere. Is the same thing happening in the US? Join us to discuss the process and impact of small scale ventures such as #Feminism to empower new designers. Saturday, 11:00PM - 12:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D083: "Tea and Biscuits With Hannah" presented by Hannah Shaffer. Join Hannah Sunday morning for a friendly, casual tea & biscuits hangout. We'll talk about tea, making friends in the industry, working towards a more inclusive gaming sphere, what videogames can teach tabletop RPGs, and gay things. There will be a sampling of fancy tea and cookies to share. Sunday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; Fun, All Ages.

D084: "Designing the "For GMs" Section of your RPG" presented by Phil Vecchione, Will Hindmarch, Beth Rimmels. GMing sections of RPGs are often a collection of rules, advice, etc, but they are not always effective. In addition, there is a host of great, generic GMing advice in both blog and podcast form, that no longer needs to be included in an RPG. What can we, as game designers, do when we design the GMing section of a game to better empower GMs to run the games we are creating? Sunday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D085: "Shock: A Retrospective" presented by Joshua A. C. Newman. In the 12 years since Shock:Social Science Fiction debuted, I've had a lot of opportunities to see how it fails and how it works. As I move toward Shock:2, I want to share those experiences and gather yours as I develop it. Bring your funny stories, your frustrating stories, your favorite stories, the stories you wished you could have done with Shock: but didn't! Sunday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D086: "Disability At The Forefront: A Workshop" presented by Elsa Henry. This workshop will teach you how to actively choose not to inflict further damage on your disabled players and customers. Disability tropes are toxic because they infect the whole system. Tropes like the blind seer tell me you don't see any other place for blind characters. Ableist images on the cover of your game? I don't bother playing because I know how you view my place in your setting. Make disability only a negative trait instead of a neutral and I hack your system instead of using the game as it was written, and I don't have time for that anymore. So I just won't play. Ask questions, be prepared to be challenged. Write in the workshop and learn from potential mistakes. This workshop is taught by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, author of the Fate Accessibility Toolkit, and disability consultant for three gaming conventions nearly a dozen tabletop games. Sunday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; Serious, All Ages.

D087: "Stop Working On Your Game And Publish It!" presented by Jason Walters, JR Honeycutt, Brennan Taylor, James Dagg. We'll talk about how to accept that your game will never be perfect and how to know when it's ready to publish anyway. Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D088: "What Game Design Can Learn From Instructional Design" presented by Sarah Judd, Maury Brown. When designing a game, you have to consider how to explain mechanics, tone and broad ideas of your game to people. As instructional designers, we do the same thing. How can we use pedagogy to improve our gaming experiences? Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D089: "Who, What, Why? Presents: Live Design - Board Game Brainstorm" presented by Michael Bonet. On my show, I often record short game jams where guest(s) and myself riff on designing a game based on a single piece of inspiration - typically old school video games. I would like to bring this to metatopia in a live format with a larger panel of diverse designers and a whole bunch of pieces of inspiration to get the designers talking and showing people what it looks like to craft an idea. Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D090: "Selling The Goods: Choosing Your Sales Channels" presented by Jason Pitre, Jim Crocker, Avonelle Wing, Jason Walters. Congratulations on producing your game! Now, you have to decide how you want to sell it. This panel will talk about all of the different ways you can sell games and the costs associated with each of them. We will help you pick which options are best for you, based on your product and priorities. Sunday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D091: "Replication vs. Reinvention" presented by Brendan Conway, Kevin Kulp. When you're designing a game, you often start by picking a kind of genre, or even a particular work, that you'd love to experience as an RPG. But many of the strongest games out there take it beyond just replicating a particular story; they say something new or different. How do you do that, and why should you spend the time to make sure you do? Sunday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D092: "Harnessing the Healing Power of Play" presented by Tayler Stokes, Jacqueline Bryk, Brand Robins. The purpose of this roundtable is both to reflect upon and inquire into play as healing. What capacity do we heal as we play? Why is that important? As facilitators, how can we support players who are consciously or unconsciously experiencing healing in play? As designers, how can we encourage healing experiences in people who play our games? As community organizers, how do we harness this potential for the better? In this panel we invite open - and possibly personal - discussion about how our play experiences have been or may be healing, and how we can take that potential forward in whatever role we serve within our play communities. Sunday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D093: "Blank Sheets, Our Interface To Your Game" presented by Mark Richardson, Lisa Padol. A discussion from graphic designers and writers on how to make effective sheets for your game players. Don't just leave it up to your layout, think about what matters to your design and make sure people play it as intended. Sunday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D094: "Crowdfunding Strategy On A Budget" presented by James D'Amato, Jim McClure, Laura Simpson. It is tempting to pour money into marketing a crowdfunding project. We'll discuss strategies you can use that take your project further without breaking your marketing budget. Sunday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D095: "Step Up With Me - Announcing Jellybean Games' Board Game Designer Scholarship for Women" presented by Nicole Perry. Join Nicole Perry of Jellybean Games for a special announcement and a workshop around that announcement. Jellybean Games is introducing a scholarship for women working in board game design, to connect them with mentors and resources. If you're somebody who might benefit from the scholarship, come talk to us about what our invite should say to make sure you know you're welcome. If you think you might be a resource, come talk to us about what the vision is. Sunday, 1:00PM - 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

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