Episode 168 - Boardgame Themes vs Mechanisms

August 25, 2018

Recorded at Metatopia 2017

Presented by Gil Hova

"Player in Three Persons - Studying the Theme/Mechanism Join of Board Games". "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. 


Episode 151 - Crafting the Experience at the Table

April 28, 2018

Recorded at BreakoutCon 2018

Presented by: Rachel Kahn, Mark Richardson, Daniel Kwan, Alex Roberts

Moderator: Philip Vecchione

How do maps, minis, props, tools and other tactile elements enhance or affect our tabletop RPG games? Ways to add a tempting, touchable layer to your gaming experience, whether for your home group or as a designer.


Episode 147 - Blood on the Table: Horror in RPGs

March 31, 2018

Recorded at BreakoutCon 2018

Presented by Sarah Richardson, Michelle Lyons-McFarland, Jaym Gates

Moderator: Brand Robbins

Jaym Gates (BLUE ROSE 2nd Ed., TIANXIA: Blood, Silk, and Jade,), Michelle Lyons-McFarland (Chill, A Tragedy in Five Acts), and Sarah Richardson (Bluebeard’s Bride, Velvet Glove) as they discuss how diverse viewpoints bring new life to tired horror tropes. Topics may include feminine horror, setting the right tone, disrupting player assumptions, plus tips and tricks for running horror in trad, OSR, and story games. Make sure to bring questions of your own!


Episode 145 - Narrative Arcs in Boardgames

March 17, 2018

Recorded at Metatopia 2017

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?


Episode 130 - It Won’t Fit

December 2, 2017

Recorded at Metatopia 2016

Presented by Kenneth Hite, Jason Pitre, Marissa Kelly, Fred Hicks.

When designing a game, the temptation is to use another tested rules set: Fate, PbtA, HERO, BRP, OSR, or what have you. When shouldn't you do that? What demands special treatment, and when should you make it yourself? 


Episode 120 – Game Master Mechanics

September 3, 2017

Game Master Mechanics

Recorded at Metatopia 2016

Presented by Vincent Baker and and Jason Pitre.

Role playing games have a long history of providing detailed rules on how players may act in the fiction. Very few games provide explicit direction and purposefully designed tools to constrain GMs. Let’s talk about the various approaches, from Fronts, to Countdown Clocks, Doom Pools, and more. Where can GM mechanics change design?

You can subscribe to us here!  RSS Feed iTunes

Episode 120: GM Mechanics Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (943)



Episode 119 – Powered by the Apocalypse

July 15, 2017

Powered by the Apocalypse: Using Apocalypse World to Outline and Draft Your Own RPG 

Special episode, recorded online.

Presented by Meguey Baker, Vincent Baker, and Jason Pitre.

Apocalypse World offers a powerful, flexible framework you can use to outline, draft, and potentially finish your own role playing games. Dozens of creators, both experienced designers and first-timers, have used it with great success, and you can too. It’s not a game system, it’s an easy approach to game system design, a reliable way to get your creative vision quickly into a playable form. In this episode, we discuss apocalypse World’s philosophy and foundation, describe the fit and purpose of each of its systems, and point out fruitful ways to build on them, contradict them, repurpose them, subvert them, and go far beyond them.

A copy of the presentation that goes along with the episode is Available Here.

This panel was originally presented at Metatopia 2016, but technical problems at the audio meant that we had to re-record the discussion. It’s an excellent one though, where we discuss issues of the structure behind apocalypse, where the heavy design work needs to happen, the decision points on move construction, and how consent/power fit into the context of the framework.

Enjoy and share this episode freely!

You can subscribe to us here!  RSS Feed iTunes

Episode 119: Powered by the Apocalypse Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (1142)



Episode 115 – Sex in Games

June 17, 2017

Sex in Games

Recorded at Breakout Con 2017

Presented by Moyra Turkington, Jacqueline Bryk, Alex Roberts, and moderator Emily Griggs.

From the Ramayana to Romeo and Juliet, love and passion are at the heart of some of the most timeless stories ever told. So, how do we explore these themes in roleplaying games? How do we as players and GMs help each other have fun and stay safe? What systems bring sex and romance to the forefront? What’s that thing larpers are doing with their hands? Your panelists will answer all these questions, and many more.

You can subscribe to us here!  RSS Feed iTunes

Episode 115: Sex in Games Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (1895)

Episode 110 – Converting Between Systems

April 22, 2017

Game to Game: Converting Between Systems

Recorded at Metatopia 2015RPG-Design-Panelcast-sml

Presented by John Adamus and Paul Stefko

If you play more than one RPG, you will eventually want to use material from one system in another. Or maybe your favorite game has been updated to a new awesome edition, but you want to keep using your old books too. What should you keep in mind when converting RPG rules and adventures from one game to another? How much (or how little) work do you need to do?

You can subscribe to us here!  RSS Feed iTunes

Episode 110: Converting Between Systems Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (693)

Episode 105 – Cultural Mechanics

January 14, 2017

Cultural Mechanics

Recorded at Metatopia 2015

Presented by Jason Pitre, Julia Ellingboe, and Mark Diaz Truman.

Games are part of our cultures, and the rules we create reflect our own backgrounds. In this roundtable, we explore how mechanics can reflect and/or interrogate culture. How can mechanics explore other people’s experiences? What assumptions do we bring to the game-design table?

You can subscribe to us here!  RSS Feed iTunes

Episode 105: Cultural Mechanics Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (963)