Episode 181 - The Shape of your Game

November 24, 2018

Recorded at Metatopia 2017

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.


Episode 180 - Capture the Heart: Designing Emotionally Evocative Games

November 17, 2018

Recorded at Metatopia 2017

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. 


Episode 178 - Communities and Settlements in Games

November 3, 2018

Special Episode

Presented by Jason Pitre and Phil Vecchione,

In this special episode, Jason and Phil talk about communities and settlements in games. Each of us bring our respective projects to the table to discuss and explore the potential mechanics which model/support these elements of play. Phil presents Hydro Hacker Operatives, his game about heroes who steal water for their communities in a cyberpunk dystopia. Jason presents After the War  , a game about building and protecting settlements on an alien world, a decade after a galactic war. 

Enjoy our discussion of this exciting area of design where we discuss what communities and settlements bring to games, the stories they let us tell, and the mechanics which represent them. 


Episode 174 - Designing the GM Section of your Game

October 6, 2018

Recorded at Metatopia 2017

Presented by Phil Vecchione, Will Hindmarch, Beth Rimmels.

Designing the "For GMs" Section of your RPG" . 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?


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?

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