Episode 263 - Games in Education

• June 20th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Jennifer Gutterman, Shawn Roske, Tim Blank.

Are you an educator wanting to gamify your classroom? Are you building a traditional education game? Do you want your game to be fun but also teach the players about something? This is where we can discuss ideas, workflows, deployments and examples of games in education, gamification in the classroom or building games that teach.


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Episode 262 - Design Considerations for Card Games

• June 13th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Tim Rodriguez & Beth Rimmels.

Card games are a classic design model that have already expressed innumerable possibilities. We'll talk about classic styles of decks, iterations on classic games, alternate formats, the mathematics of card games, and why we all love them. We'll also consider and critique ideas and concepts and talk about why or why not to choose this design format.

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Epsiode 261 - Updating Cyberpunk

• June 6th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2020

Presented by Dexter Duckworth, Elsa Sjunneson.

The Distant Future, the Year 2000: Updating Cyberpunk for the 21st Century. The hard-hitting themes of social inequality and corporate exploitation found in cyberpunk are as relevant now as they were in the 80's, but not everything in the genre has stood the test of time. This panel will dive into how both the technologies and sensibilities found in cyberpunk can be updated in order to design games that are timely and inclusive.

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Episode 260 - Paying it Forward and Supporting Diverse Creators

• May 30th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Jason Pitre, Cat Tobin, Amanda Valentine, Lauren McMannon, Camdon Wright.

Everyone should have a chance to create and publish games. Unfortunately, there are many structural barriers keeping unrepresented voices from coming to the table. In this roundtable discussion, our panelists discuss ways that established publishers can support new voices through information, promotion, funding, and education.

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Episode 259 - More Than Just Victory Points

• May 23rd, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Peter Hayward, Gil Hova

More Than Just Victory Points: Alternative Approaches to Win Conditions.  "Most victory points" is the default victory condition for most board games, and why shouldn't they be? They solve most problems you encounter while designing - balance, investment, rewarding people for doing what you want them to be. Well, unfortunately, most everyone has worked out the same thing, and now the market is flooded with Victory Point win conditions. Want to make your game stand out? Try something else.

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Episode 258 - Crowdfunding on a Budget

• May 16th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Jason Walters, Jeff Stormer, Christopher Badell.

Your game's ready for Kickstarter! So how much will you be asking for? What's the absolute minimum you need to get your game made? What is the floor number for success? How will you handle unexpected levels of success? Let's get practical about your numbers.

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Episode 257 - The Three-Ring Setting: Scope in Game Design

• May 9th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Kenneth Hite

A METATOPIA tradition - Kenneth Hite rambling about game design. In this case the notion of scope: How big should your setting be? How can you design a setting to contain multiple core game activities, and should you? As always, Ken has notions and questions, and hopes you have more of both as we explore Bigness (and un-Bigness) in games.

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Episode 256 - Turn, Turn, Turn

• May 2nd, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Geoffrey Engelstein

 "Turn, Turn, Turn" presented by Geoffrey Engelstein. The 'turn' is a fundamental concept for games of all types, and there are a wide variety of approaches the designer can take to structure them. The structure chosen has a major impact on the play experience, and should be carefully considered. This talk is a deep dive into turn options both common and rare, and discusses what each brings to the table.

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Episode 255 - Publish your own Games!

• April 25th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Meguey Baker & Jason Pitre.

Publishing your game doesn't need to be daunting. There's work involved, but with a diverse tool box and a clear understanding of your publishing goals, publishing might be more attainable than you imagine.

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Episode 254 - Science in RPGs and Larps

• April 18th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Mary Georgescu, Sharang Biswas, Brianna Shuttleworth.

Can we get nitty gritty with players and talk about science? Can we as designers build science into our games in fun ways that do not lend themselves to sci- fiction but a truer representation and reflection of our current or past understandings of the way our universe, our earth works? We will be talking about how we designed Starry Messenger, The Moon Stares at Us in Shame, and Magischola with science in mind and their usage and representations of science.

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Episode 253 - Holding Space for Teens

• April 11th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Meguey Baker, Caleb Stokes, Clark Valentine, Edward LaValley.

Teenagers bring innovation, creativity and hard questions to the game table. Our panelists will talk about how to hold space for everything that makes gaming with them magical.

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Episode 252 - A Dive into the Theory of RPGs as a Communications Medium

• April 4th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Christopher O'Neill, Adriel Wilson, Cat Tobin, Misha Bushyager.

Role playing as a HOBBY continues to evolve and mature. Has role-playing now gotten big enough to be considered a MEDIUM? Join us for a lively and passionate discussion on the concept that role-playing has become more than just games, but a medium - a channel for communication, information, and entertainment. In this panel, we will look at whether role-playing is a medium, and if so, what that means for our hobby. The panelists all represent different aspects of designing and publishing role playing games and bring diverse and interesting points of view around the topic.

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Episode 251 - Creating Mysteries in RPGs

• March 28th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Kenneth Hite, Betsy Rosenblatt, Darren Watts.

Mysteries are among the hardest genres to run successfully in tabletop games. How can designers structure stories to meaningfully involve players, guide them to clues and help them put them together to solve a crime without spoonfeeding them? How can GMs control pacing to duplicate the feel of classic whodunits?

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Episode 250 - Integrating World Building in Traditional RPGs

• March 21st, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Ryan O'Grady, Kenneth Hite, Brennan Taylor.

There's something satisfying about taking ownership of a piece of the world as a player and watching it flourish (or not). There have been various approaches to this over the years (Ars Magica, MIcroscope, The Quiet Year, even D&D!) Let's discuss what player involvement of world building really means and different approaches for incorporating it into traditional RPGs.

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Episode 249 - Insights Forged in the Dark

• March 14th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Stras Acimovic, John LeBoeuf-Little.

Blades in the Dark has led to a new generation of game designs such as Scum and Villainy, Band of Blades, and Mutants in the Night. In this panel, we dig into the toolset and what sets it apart from similar design traditions. What are the core principles behind designing games Forged in the Dark? Where can we grow and diverge from the core?

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Episode 248 - Time is of the Essence: Countdowns and Clocks in Games

• March 7th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Darren Watts, Stephen Dewey, Paul Stefko.

There are many different mechanics for tracking time and progress in games, and our panel speakers will explore all of them in depth. From countdown clocks and stress tracks, to flickering candles and Jenga towers, there's a lot to explore in this family of mechanics.

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Episode 247 - How to Start a Business as a Game Designer

• February 29th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Emily Escovar, Chris O'Neill.

Our panelists will walk you through the basics of turning your game design hobby into a business. We'll talk about the most cost-efficient ways to register an LLC, open a business bank account, file a trademark and keep track of your expenses for tax season.

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Episode 246 - Making Good Financial Decisions as a Game Designer

• February 22nd, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Heather O'Neill, Tim Rodriguez, Jennifer Graham-Macht.

You are an individual using your hard earned money to invest in your game project. Do you self-publish, Kickstart or attend that convention? You are an indie tabletop company, so you have some budget to work with. What's your next project? Which big conventions do you attend? We will address costs specific to the tabletop gaming industry (self-publishing, Kickstarter, conventions, marketing, etc.) and ways to make decisions on what will benefit you or your company.

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Episode 245 - Selling Games into Mass vs. Specialty Retail

• February 15th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Brian Turtle, Peter Hayward, Avonelle Wing.

I fell into games almost by accident back in 1994 when some friends and I created a game called "The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". We started Endless Games shortly thereafter and the game found a home in the mass market before we knew it. In the 20+ years since, we've been navigating the toy industry and gaming landscape in both mass and specialty. That said, the hobby side of the industry is still somewhat uncharted territory for us. Join us for a discussion of the differences between mass market and hobby sales and what works where.

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Episode 244 - Creating Safety Tools

• February 8th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Kate Bullock, Camdon Wright, Bronwyn Sperling.

Want to learn how to create safety tools that fit your game and are baked into the mechanics instead of just adding pre-established tools on top? This panel dives into the creative and mechanical process of understanding safety and support and integrating it into your ttrpg designs.

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Episode 243 - Responsible Research

• February 1st, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Jason Pitre, Misha Bushyager, James Mendez Hodes.

Some of the best games deal with heavy topics and challenging subject matter. Creators who look to design or publish games addressing sensitive subject matter need to do due diligence to reduce the chance their work could do harm. In this panel, we will discuss how creators can ethically do the legwork and research to tackle issues of race, sexuality, identity, and trauma.

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Episode 242 - On Failure

• January 25th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Jason Morningstar, Jacqueline Bryk and Alastor Guzman

Failure is baked into any creative discipline, but we rarely discuss it. In this panel we'll discuss our most noteworthy failures and the role failure plays in our process. The goal is to normalize failure and to learn from the occasionally dramatic mistakes of others. It may be funny, it may be sad, but it will definitely be interesting.

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Episode 241 - Nostalgia as a Genre

• January 18th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Shoshanna Kessock, Brian Neff, Doug Levandowski, and Sean Jaffe.

Echoes of the late 20th century are all around us in 2019, especially in pop culture and media. Stranger Things, IT, and Bandersnatch have tapped into a rich vein of nostalgia that has entranced audience and permeated our time. Gaming, especially tabletop gaming, has been depicted as a vital part of 80s culture. In return, game creators are tapping into both the renewed interest in the hobby, and the evocation of nostalgia for this time period. In this panel we'll be exploring this recursive relationship with creators from Kids on Bikes and Rememorex. We’ll talk role playing and nostalgia, how to evoke an authentic sense of a time period, and what has drawn us as creators back to the past.

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Episode 240 - Distribution and Fulfillment

• January 11th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2019

Presented by Jason Walters, Mark Diaz Truman, Brennan Taylor, and Christopher Tang.

Distribution And Fulfillment presented by Jason Walters, Mark Diaz Truman, Brennan Tylor, Christopher Tang. The ways to get your game into the hands of players are always shifting, but our experts can walk you through the three-tier system and the various alternatives to it.

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Episode 239 - Honing your Game Pitch

• January 4th, 2020

Recorded at Metatopia 2018

Presented by Jim McClure, Kenneth Hite, Cat Tobin.

This panel is designed to help you establish the best way to present your game to consumers. From Elevator pitches, to focus points, to mechanical highlights, we will cover what is most important in getting people to buy into your game. Attendees should be prepared to discuss their game project as part of a group, and have an elevator pitch pre-prepared. The panelists will then help each individual attendee to hone their presentation.

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