Learn more about our awesome guests!
Aaron is a teacher-librarian who spends way too much time thinking about tabletop gaming. He has been trying to use board games in his library more and more, because who doesn’t want to play board games while doing their job, right? He has been producing the Boards Alive podcast for the last 5 1/2 years. He also listens to way too many gaming podcasts and knows more than he should about all the hot new games. Aaron loves to play RPGs as well, both GMing and playing as a character, and he’s always looking for a way to make his RPG experience more immersive.
Isaac loves board games. He was going to be a physicist (got his PhD and everything), but then decided it would be more fun to design and publish board games for a living. He hasn’t regretted that decision yet.
Isaac is the one-man driving force behind Cephalofair Games. He started the company back in 2014 to self-publish his first game, Forge War. Isaac’s “magnum opus,” Gloomhaven was Cephalofair Games’ second title, published in early 2017. He followed it up with a small expansion, Forgotten Circles, with Marcel Cwerteschka, and is working on an unnamed larger expansion. He also published another game in the Gloomhaven universe, Founders of Gloomhaven.
Ross (aka More Games Please) is a passionate advocate of board game art, and has been interviewing the talented folks behind its creation for over 2 years now. He runs a popular Instagram account under the same name as well as working with board game publishers as a freelance product photographer. He recently joined Alley Cat Games as their Community, Operations and Media Manager and his favorite thing about conventions is getting to meet new people, so be sure to go say hello!
Jay Cormier is the less Asian half of the handsome game designer duo known as the Bamboozle Brothers. Together they have almost taken over the world with their infamous designs (note: change ‘taken over’ to ‘been noticed by’ and ‘infamous’ with ‘pretty decent’). Their biggest game is Belfort. Belfort and Akrotiri. Two…their two biggest games are Belfort and Akrotiri…and Junk Art. Three…Their three biggest games are Belfort, Akrotiri and Junk Art….and Rock Paper Wizard….Damn. Amongst their designs, they have such diverse elements as Belfort, Akrotiri, Junk Art and Rock Paper Wizard and But Wait There’s More…I’ll come in again.
Jay Cormier is the less Asian half of the handsome game designer duo known as the Bamboozle Brothers. Together they have designed a lot of games.
Jay has taught game design at Vancouver Film School for the last 5 years. He has also designed multiple escape rooms for corporate purposes. Basically, if it’s game related, Jay has done it or wants to do it!
Paula is the creator of "Things Get Dicey" a sketch comedy series for people who love board games! That's right--these weird jokes are JUST FOR YOU. Originally from North Carolina, Paula is an actress and improvisor living in Los Angeles. When she isn't hanging raw meat from her ceiling for a sweet Rocky reference in a sketch, she's producing audio drama with Sassquach Radio, improvising songs on the fly with her team The B-Side, watching Doctor Who for the youtube channel FanTheoryTV, and streaming video games on Twitch. Somehow she still finds time to play Modern Art, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Space Base, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, or whatever else you sit her in front of.
Quinten is an elementary teacher who, while trying to teach kids the basics, is also trying to show them the essentials of gaming and having fun. He is half of the Boards Alive Podcast where he pretends to know what he’s talking about. He always loves playing board games and tabletop RPGs and tries to immerse himself in them whenever possible. Even when not playing games he is at least listening to more podcasts than he can keep up with. Quinten hopes to be involved in the hobby for as long as the hobby will let him, which hopefully will be forever!
Tim is a boardgame designer and life enthusiast who hails from Portland, Oregon. His designs include Grimm Forest, March of the Ants, Tidal Blades, Grimm Masquerade and more.
A passion for gaming meets over a decade of marketing and design experience, resulting in playing every day *for* work! Board games are Adrienne's favorite sandbox, the reward is bringing people together for fun, in a box. Getting to do it every day for work? THE. BEST.
She is passionate about bringing games to life with graphics. Known for details that make each card and page special, Adrienne's nuanced touches immerse players in the game. She focuses on the gaming experience – how we want players to feel when they play a game.
Something she finds equally rewarding is game design itself. She starts with all the bells and whistles and then pares things away till she finds the fun and gets the mechanics to marry with the theme. Her games have rules that are easy to digest and quick to get to the table.
Alan is a psychology professor that designs games and draws inappropriate comics. His gaming journey began with playtesting for others. This naturally led to designing games on his own. Then, one fate spangled evening, he met Sean McCoy in Las Vegas. Their love was hard and fast, and since he had already proposed to his girlfriend using a tabletop game, he felt that an equally appropriate proposal for Sean was a partnership in which they would publish beautiful games. They wanted to make games that would inspire and echo the fun they found in their own togetherness.
When Thomas is not running his chain of board game cafés, “The Round Table”, his video game bar “The Mana Bar”, his series of Escape Adventure rooms “Trials of Camelot”, his Magic the Gathering retail store “The Trading Post“, as well as his wizard themed waffle and yogurt breakfast cafe “Lumus & Nox: Breakfast House and Chamber of Spirits” in Canada, he spends his time traveling the world hosting screenings, game design sessions, panels and workshops to creators, filmmakers and fans. Thomas is also the founder of Lynnvander Studios.
Alex is a game designer based in Brooklyn. He makes the games Monikers, Pitch Deck, Wavelength and some other ones that he’ll show you if you ask. Before working in games, Alex helped start Kepler, a Rwanda-based university network that combines online and offline courses to reduce the cost of higher education in Africa.
JR is a consulting game designer, developer, and host of game design retreats. He co-owns Waitress Games with Brian Neff, and has contributed to well-known games like Betrayal Legacy, Machi Koro Legacy, Fireball Island, the Unmatched series of games, Cthulhu: Death May Die, and many others. He is a regular podcast guest on topics like game design and community building, and through his organizations has helped to raise nearly $250,000 USD for various charitable organizations through gaming events.
When he's not working on games, JR enjoys sleeping, basketball, and... working on other games. You can reach him through his website at WaitressGames.net - he's always willing to hear about your games, so please say hello and tell him what you're working on!
AnnaMaria is editor in chief of Girls Game Shelf and an advocate for accessibility and diversity in gaming. She also reviews for Board Game Quest and is a freelance marketing and promotion manager. When she's not guesting on podcast, popping up at a convention, or writing game articles for other sites and media, the metro DC resident spends her time painting and doing sustainability research.
Justin is an attorney. Damn good one. But mostly he loves games. So, after 20 years in the halls of justice, he gave that all up to start Restoration Games. How’s that going? You can tell the answer by the big grin on his face. Justin lives in South Florida with his wife (a “real” attorney), his two daughters, their dog Shyann (lab-whippet mix), and Laurel the cat (ragdoll). Game-wise, Justin likes to play all sorts of games from heavy Euros to pure Ameritrash, kids games with the kids, solo games with, well, himself. His favorite game of all time is Robinson Crusoe by Ignacy Trzewiczek, published by Portal Games. (But his second favorite game is Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.) Justin runs the day-to-day operations of Restoration Games, which means that when something goes wrong, it’s his fault. But don’t worry, he’ll fix it!
Liberty is a game designer and illustrator, and the founder of Light Heart Games. She brought her first game Crystallo to Kickstarter in May of 2019, and has really enjoyed working in the tabletop game industry so far. She’s also a happy wife and homeschooling mom to three awesome girls, who think she’s the coolest (most of the time.)
Steve is the Head of Studio at Z-Man Games, which he joined in 2016 after a five-year tenure in product dev at FFG. His game development and rules writing handiwork can be found in titles such as Star Wars™ Rebellion, X-Wing™ 1st Edition, Blood Bowl: Team Manager, Citadels, and Mission: Red Planet. He resides in Shoreview, Minnesota, with his wife Jessica and their three children—all avid gamers, including one with special needs; hence, Steve’s passion for disability rights advocacy, autism awareness, and inclusivity in gaming.
Matt has been designing board games full time since 2014. He is best known for his cooperative titles Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy, and Forbidden Island and he has designed and developed over two dozen products for the international market. His games have won many awards including four nominations for Spiel des Jahres and the Sonderpreis in 2018. In a prior life he was a user experience designer at Apple, Netscape, AOL, Yahoo!, and the Chief Designer at Sococo.
Sen is the short, Asian half of the versatile tabletop design team, the Bamboozle Brothers. They have covered a diverse range of games from the Euro strategy game Belfort to But Wait, There’s More!, a party game about pitching wacky products, to the 2-player Akrotiri, to Junk Art, a family-friendly dexterity game. As Sen has gained critical success in the industry, he has been asked to design games featuring some of fandom’s most beloved properties such as Orphan Black (with Jay Cormier), The Legend of Korra (with Jessey Wright), and Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard (with Jay Cormier and Josh Cappell). He is highly sought-after as a developer to add that final “je ne sais quoi” and bring other people’s games to completion. Sen has also begun to put pen to paper on the RPG side of tabletop design, contributing scenarios and settings to Kids on Bikes (the brainchild of Doug Levandowski and Jonathan Gilmour) and Gears of Defiance (from indie stalwart Ryan Schoon).
Sen is a well-regarded personality in the design-o-sphere, co-hosting The Meeple Syrup Show webcast and speaking academically at the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier and as a panelist or moderator at Gen Con, SHUX, Breakout Con, FanExpo, GenreCon, Forest City ComiCon, AnimeNorth, ProtoTO and ProtoATL. He loves talking about game design, so reach out anytime!
Conor is the designer and publisher behind Inside Up Games (Summit, Yeti, Vault Assault, Gorus Maximus, Teams, and 7 Souls). When not shepherding moose, he lives in a tiny igloo on a hockey rink, in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Although games are his passion, he is even more widely known on the convention circuit for bone crushing bear hugs - or “free spinal adjustments” depending on how you look at it. Bringing fun and excitement to others is his second favourite thing — His first is when his kids straight up beat him at games.
Accustomed to choosing those who live or die in battle, creative direction and game design are a breeze for this stalwart Valkyrie. Lindsey spreads her logistical wings at Dog Might Games to bring the best in creative direction, game design, and computer-exploding powers (seriously she breaks anything not made of cardboard). She has worked on multiple game titles such as Countdown: Action Edition, Bayou Bash, and Darkness Comes Rattling: War of the Spirits. She spends her spare time racing 6-legged horses and trying to teach random dogs how to sit.
Mike is the developer of such games as Lords of Vegas, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Unspeakable Words, and Betrayal at House on the Hill. He's the president of the Seattle game company Lone Shark Games, whose games include the recently released Apocrypha Adventure Card Game, The Maze of Games puzzle novel, and the Ninth World and Thornwatch games. Mike also dabbles in politics with his advocacy group Basket of Adorables and their satire book The Ghastlytrump Tinies.
So Very Wrong About Games is the partnership of Michael Walker (alias "Hype Machine," alias "The Eye Candy") and Mark Bigney (alias "Prophet of Rage," alias "Morgan Pettibone"). They invented podcasting in 2017 so as to talk about board games, and they are delighted and gratified that so many other creative people have followed in their footsteps. Based in Kingston, Ontario (epicentre of the known universe), they try to do right by the hobby they love so much by trying to be right but recognizing that they are so very wrong. Also they are incapable of hyperbole. Ever.
Nikki is a game designer and advocate for inclusivity in gaming. She believes that games should bring joy and love into the world and unite all those who play them. Her designs include Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness Second Edition, Legacy of Dragonholt, and Quirky Circuits. She also has a love for animals, internet memes, and terrible puns (but we won't hold that against her).
Isaac is a strong, proud, independent woman that don’t need no man. He has an unhealthy addiction to Anime and has been black listed by Square-Enix due to his obsessive fascination with Final Fantasy. After being introduced to Plaid Hat Games, by his overly intrusive mother back in 2010, Colby Dauch has taken this budding designer under his wing and propelled Isaac into the wonderful world of board games. As the designer of Dead of Winter, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, Starship Samurai, and other hits, Isaac Vega is true force of gaming.
Jonathan is a game designer, author, and illustrator currently residing in sunny San Diego. His design credits include Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Warhammer 40k, Forbidden Stars, DOOM the Board Game, A Game of Thrones the Trivia Game, Nickelodeon’s Splat Attack, Bargain Quest and Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid. He has strong opinions on competitive game design, fictional narrative structure, and soup dumplings.