The Game Design Round Table



Focusing on both digital and tabletop gaming, The Game Design Round Table provides a forum for conversation about critical issues to game design.


  • #264 Will Thompson Talks Winter Rabbit and PaleoVet

    14/10/2021 Duración: 50min

    Will returns to the show with Dirk and David to discuss his game Winter Rabbit, a finalist for the Zenobia Award. A contest for designers from underrepresented groups in the hobby, the Zenobia Award pairs promising applicants with mentors and awards winners with a cash prize and help with publication. Will, a member of the Cherokee Nation, talks about how Winter Rabbit was designed from the start to incorporate indigenous themes.

  • #263 Old World: Sorting Through Feedback

    25/09/2021 Duración: 58min

    Soren returns to the show with Dirk and David for the third and final episode in this mini-series on his game Old World. They talk about the reception for Old World now that it’s been released, the narrative elements of the event system that became important to the design, and how other systems were finalized through feedback from a lengthy early access period.

  • #262 Diving into Co-op Card Games with MJ Newman

    08/09/2021 Duración: 57min

    MJ Newman joins Dirk and David to discuss co-op card games and her work on the Lord of the Rings and Arkham Horror LCGs published by Fantasy Flight Games. They talk about how these co-op games are designed compared to a competitive collectable card game, and how MJ’s love for narrative led to a stronger RPG-like aspect to the games she worked on. Finally, the game discusses some of the considerations when designing a Lovecraftian game.

  • #261 Jesse Howard Talks Hype Tag

    20/08/2021 Duración: 57min

    Jesse Howard, one of the first guests on the Round Table podcast, returns after several years to chat with Dirk and David. He talks about the long journey of his game Hype Tag, originally called Ploy in his first appearance on the show. Jesse discusses his design process, which generally starts with a system or structure that he wants to mimic mechanically.

  • #260 Diving into LCGs with Andrew Navaro

    04/08/2021 Duración: 01h06min

    Andrew Navaro, a card game veteran from Fantasy Flight Games and now his new studio Earthborne Games, joins Dirk and David to talk about card games. The bulk of the discussion focuses on his time working with the wide variety of LCGs produced by Fantasy Flight. Topics include discussions on production timelines, what makes LCGs different from the similar CCGs, and set design. The conversation wraps up with Andrew talking about the design and inspirations for his new card game Earthborne Rangers.

  • 259 Diving Into Cards as Components

    24/07/2021 Duración: 01h01min

    Skye joins Dirk and David to draw the starting hand for a deep dive into card games! With some card game experts on deck for future interviews, the trio take this episode as a chance to explore the various reasons why card games work so well as a game component. Discussions cover the various card games all three designers have worked on, and also bleed into popular games from Dominion to Magic the Gathering and digital games like Slay the Spire and Griftlands.

  • #258 Cole Medeiros Talks Stardew Valley: The Board Game

    07/07/2021 Duración: 42min

    Cole Medeiros joins Dirk and David to discuss his work on the board game adaptation of the popular Stardew Valley video game. The discussion covers thematic game design in general—how Cole approaches theme-first design, how mobile game design utilizes theme, and how a specific IP as a thematic setting can create both challenges and signposts for a designer. Several specific design challenges and iterations are covered as Cole talks about the development process for Stardew Valley: The Board Game.

  • #257 Diving Into Card Games

    16/06/2021 Duración: 53min

    To start the episode, Skye rejoins Dirk and David to finish off their deep dive into the MOBA genre. They talk about what they learned for their personal design work, as well as what they learned for improving future genre deep dives. The next series of episodes to get the Genre Deep Dive treatment will be all about collectible and living card games.

  • #256 Listener Questions June 2021

    01/06/2021 Duración: 48min

    Kathryn Hymes joins Dirk and David to answer listener questions from our Discord channel. Questions range from practical designer concerns like pitching digital games and community building to more philosophical questions on topics like emergent gameplay and novelty vs structure.

  • #255 First-time Designer Skye Larsen Talks Paperback Adventures

    18/05/2021 Duración: 58min

    Show producer Skye Larsen joins Dirk and David to talk about his first published design, Paperback Adventures. Topics include the balancing act that comes with mashing genres together, the path that led to Skye’s debut design, and the collaborative nature of the project. The discussion also covers some nitty gritty design topics, from the card-splaying mechanic to some of the inherent strengths and limitations for a solo board game.

  • #254 Round Table on Representing Unique Player Stories

    05/05/2021 Duración: 01h02min

    Kathryn rejoins Dirk and David for another round table episode. After catching each other up on their current projects, the trio revisits four past episodes to discuss them further.

  • #253 Diving Into MOBA Wild Rift with Brian Feeney

    21/04/2021 Duración: 01h01min

    Brian “FeralPony” Feeney joins Dirk and David to talk about the new mobile MOBA game from Riot Games, League of Legends: Wild Rift. The discussion covers how the mobile format did and did not impact the gameplay for Wild Rift, and what the current audience for the game is like. The group chats about how even small changes like enemy spawn times can impact player decision making and game health.

  • #252 Board Game Production and Operations with Nicole Cutler

    24/02/2021 Duración: 51min

    Nicole Cutler joins Dirk and David to discuss her roles in operations and production in the tabletop industry. They discuss some of the production choices made when developing Gods Love Dinosaurs from Pandasaurus Games. Nicole shares insights into how the small teams common in the industry often end up with many of the production, operations, and project management roles blurring together.

  • #251 David McDonough Supports the Player’s Story

    19/01/2021 Duración: 01h01min

    Firaxis designer David McDonough joins the show to talk strategy game design with Dirk and David. Topics in their discussion include: player stories vs game stories, the spectrum between full sandbox games and historical simulations, and how immersion in player stories can be encouraged. Along the way many games are covered, including both the Civilization series and the XCOM series.

  • #250 Alisha Thayer Uses Exceptions in Design Systems

    05/01/2021 Duración: 53min

    Alisha Thayer, a designer who has worked on AAA video games like Red Dead Redemption and Rise of the Tomb Raider, joins Dirk and David to talk game systems. They discuss both the strengths and limitations of designing games that allow multiple systems to interact with each other and create novel experiences. By walking through the different games she’s worked on in her career, Alisha explains how she learned why exceptions to procedural game systems can enhance the player experience.

  • #249 Diving into MOBA Changes and Updates

    09/12/2020 Duración: 59min

    Dirk, David, and show producer Skye team up to tackle the third episode in our deep dive into the MOBA genre. This time the group discusses an aspect that’s fairly unique to the genre: its constant changes. Topics include why MOBAs have such huge casts of playable characters, a digression into the QWER four-ability mechanic, how the cadence of changes can affect their impact and reception, and how character updates are handled in some of the genre’s top games.

  • #248 Listener Questions October 2020

    28/10/2020 Duración: 56min

    Kathryn joins Dirk and David to answer some more listener questions. Discussion includes a deep dive into the role of complexity in design: where it makes sense and where it detracts from the product. In a similar vein, the hosts talk about “stout” games that are both heavy in decision making but short in duration. Other topics include the RTS genre, the idea of experience-focused design, and the favorite episodes of Kathryn, Dirk, and David.

  • #247 Tabletop Game Development with Brenna Noonan

    14/10/2020 Duración: 51min

    Brenna Noonan, a tabletop game developer, joins Dirk and David to discuss the role of game development in the board game industry. She explains the differences between a designer and developer, and she shares how developers can help improve a game’s balance, scope, and player experience. Dirk and David also ask her about her path into the industry and what skills should be honed for good game development.

  • #246 Omari Akil Talks Rap Godz

    29/09/2020 Duración: 50min

    Board game designer Omari Akil joins Dirk and David to talk about Rap Godz, Hoop Godz, and the process of making games that connect both mechanically and emotionally with a specific theme. They discuss the hip hop theme of Rap Godz as well as the street basketball theme of the upcoming Hoop Godz. Additional topics include managing scope and IP issues with a hip hop game, staying true to theme even if it upsets other game design norms, and designing as a sibling team.

  • #245 Listener Questions August 2020

    18/08/2020 Duración: 01h05min

    Kathryn joins Dirk and David to discuss the recent Rob Daviau episode as well as answer listener questions. In response to Daviau’s design axiom, the trio discusses the role of memory in the games they design and play. Then the hosts proceed to answer listeners’ questions. Those questions include: how to help characters avoid picking a playstyle they’ll hate later, whether the hosts plan to work in the VR space, what the exact process is for incorporating an established IP, and how IP affects the character rosters of MOBA games.

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