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.


  • #282 Julio Nazario Talks Dulce and More

    11/10/2022 Duración: 56min

    Board game designer Julio Nazario joins Dirk and David to talk about his success in publishing a variety of distinct games in a relatively short amount of time. The trio talk about the vertical, 3D elements of Ctrl and Holi: Festival of Colors, and then the conversation turns to how layering mechanics makes Dulce a deeper game with a shorter playtime. Then a detailed discussion on pitching to publishers eventually leads to an explanation of Julio’s game Borikén: The Taíno Resistance. 

  • #281 Diving into Cards as a Simplifier

    01/09/2022 Duración: 55min

    Aran Koning joins Dirk and David to talk about his digital card game, Stacklands. Discussions include an in-depth look at how the pack-buying mechanic ended up in a village building game, how progression works while keeping some things as surprises for the player, and why cards were ultimately chosen to drive the game’s simple mechanics. Finally Aran discusses his company Sokpop Collective and the business side of being an indie design team that focuses on small, more experimental games.

  • #280 Bianca Canoza Talks ARC

    10/08/2022 Duración: 49min

    Bianca Canoza, also known as Momatoes online, joins David and Kathryn to discuss her pathway into games, the lessons she’s learned, and the Southeast Asian RPG community. Bianca talks about different games she’s worked on, from the Honey Heist-inspired Capybara Capers to the tense, doom-defying ARC to the contemplative There Is a Light at the Edge of the World. Discussion also covers online communities and the Across RPGSEA site, which features Southeast Asian games.

  • #279 Dominique Dickey Talks Plant Girl

    29/07/2022 Duración: 57min

    Dominique joins Dirk and David to talk about TTRPG design. Topics covered include Dominique’s pathway into the field through a student internship with Monte Cook Games, the challenges of approaching theme-first design with different RPG rulesets, and how Dominique’s personal connection with many of their games' themes stems from a desire to create specific experiences that aren’t common in other TTRPGs.

  • #278 Listener Questions June 2022

    07/06/2022 Duración: 54min

    Kathryn teams up with Dirk and David to tackle another round of listener questions. Topics include microtransactions, free-to-play games, early game design steps, data in game design, and how designers can learn from other mediums. 

  • #277 Diving into Cards as a Crossroads

    25/05/2022 Duración: 59min

    Isaac Vega joins Dirk and David to talk about his experiences in the board game industry and how he has used cards in his games. First the trio discuss City of Remnants and how different components fulfill different roles in game design. Next, Dirk and David ask Isaac about his work on Ashes Reborn and some of its more unique systems. Finally, the group continues the discussion of Isaac’s games with some questions about Dead of Winter and its crossroads cards.

  • #276 Round Table on Market Considerations for Game Themes

    12/05/2022 Duración: 52min

    Kathryn rejoins Dirk and David for another Round Table discussion of past episodes. First, in reference to the recent episode with Sydney Engelstein, the group talks about card-based expansions. Then the discussion turns to the various Zenobia award finalist guests who have been on the show—topics include unique themes, alternative funding for games, and how to utilize popular IPs while maintaining your own vision for the game. Finally, the group has a conversation about the Dave Scott episode and discusses how they’ve used customizable experiences in their own games.

  • #275 Diving Into Card-focused Adaptations and Expansions

    06/04/2022 Duración: 57min

    Sydney Engelstein joins Dirk and David to talk about her history in game design and her work on multiple card-centric games. After discussing some of her earlier games such as the Space Cadet games, Sydney talks at length about her experience working on some of the popular game series in the Stronghold Games lineup: Aeon’s End and Terraforming Mars. The discussion covers what it’s like making expansions for the deckbuilder Aeon’s End, how the design for Ares Expedition streamlined aspects of Terraforming Mars by focusing in on the card play, and some advice on the more business–oriented side of game acquisitions.

  • #274 Damon Stone Talks Liberation Haiti

    25/03/2022 Duración: 01h02min

    Damon Stone joins Dirk and David to discuss his game Liberation Haiti, a historical-themed deckbuilder and a Zenobia Award finalist. First, Damon talks about his experience in game design and development, including how he got started working with Fantasy Flight. Next, Damon talks at length about the historical setting for Liberation Haiti and explains how he mapped different mechanics to that theme. Other topics include how undefined time to prepare for a final confrontation can sometimes sink a game and how Damon chose to handle the random elements of a game that uses both cards and dice.

  • #273 Dave Scott Talks Everyday Heroes

    09/03/2022 Duración: 53min

    Dave Scott joins Dirk and David to discuss the upcoming tabletop roleplaying system Everyday Heroes, a revived and updated version of the old D20 Modern system. Dave discusses how he worked with a team of game designers to create rulesets for a system and roleplaying space that has fascinated Dave for years. One topic is a deep dive into the problems with chase mechanics in RPGs and how those mechanics are handled in Everyday Heroes. Another big discussion point is how Dave and the team decided to give the game a more cinematic feel and capture the action hero stereotypes without straying into superhero status. Finally, Dave talks about what the design process for his team looks like right now and how they utilize a group of hundreds of playtesters effectively.

  • #272 Charlie Cleveland Talks Subnautica

    22/02/2022 Duración: 53min

    Charlie Cleveland joins Dirk and David to discuss his work on the underwater survival game Subnautica–an indie hit and a standout in the genre. The trio talk about the game’s somewhat unusual theme and the difficulties of making a game set underwater. They also talk about how that theme helped influence the game’s mechanics and continually reinforced the core design pillar for the game: thrill of the unknown. Finally, Charlie takes some time to talk about the early access process, aspects of the game that got cut, and a little discussion on the game’s frosty followup title, Subnautica: Below Zero.

  • #271 Lauren Ino Talks The Season

    09/02/2022 Duración: 53min

    Covering the full breadth of digital, tabletop, and role playing games, The Game Design Round Table inspires and educates aspiring and experienced game designers.

  • #270 Listener Questions January 2022

    26/01/2022 Duración: 01h01min

    Covering the full breadth of digital, tabletop, and role playing games, The Game Design Round Table inspires and educates aspiring and experienced game designers.

  • #269 Joseph Kelly Talks Molly House

    04/01/2022 Duración: 47min

    Joseph joins Dirk and David to talk about his game Molly House, which was a Zenobia Award finalist. They discuss the historical theme behind the game, which was the Molly Houses where 18th century queer communities would gather. A major topic is how the game keeps players involved and engaged while including historical setbacks that the queer community faced.

  • #268 Sherria Ayuandini Talks From Darkness to Light

    22/12/2021 Duración: 54min

    Sherria joins Dirk and David to talk about her game From Darkness to Light, which explores the intersection between the education of women in Indonesia and the Indonesians’ fight for independence. Plenty of historical background is provided as Sherria discusses why the theme is important to her and how her game represents these stories through mechanics.

  • #267 Crowdfunding on Kickstarter with Anya Combs

    08/12/2021 Duración: 53min

    Anya, Director of Games for Kickstarter, joins Dirk and David to talk about how the crowdfunding platform works with creatives in the games industry. The three discuss why games, and especially tabletop games, have thrived on the platform and how to make sure a Kickstarter campaign has the best chance of working for your game. Topics covered include game-adjacent products, changes in Kickstarter over the years, community building, and discoverability on the platform.

  • #266 Banana Chan Talks Suburban Consumption of the Monstrous

    24/11/2021 Duración: 55min

    Banana Chan joins Dirk and David to talk about her experience in multiple areas of game design, and how thematic games can be made in each medium. First, Banana discusses live action roleplaying (LARP) design at length, providing tips for a thematic design and explaining how monetization might work as a LARP designer. Next, the trio talks about tabletop roleplaying games and specifically on how to pick the right system and mechanics for a theme.

  • #265 Round Table on Past Projects and Untapped Potential

    02/11/2021 Duración: 52min

    Kathryn joins Dirk and David for a round table discussion based on recent shows. Dirk and David get Kathryn’s perspective on card games and how they help her create story-based games. Then discussion moves to market trends and demographics for cooperative games. Next the trio talks about unused game concepts, inspired by the interview with Will Thompson. All three hosts have a conversation on past projects that are “the ones that got away,” using the episode with Jesse Howard as a starting point.

  • #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.

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