The Game Design Round Table

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

#239 Listener Questions May 2020
May 26 • 73 min
After a brief discussion about how the coronavirus has impacted work in games, Kathryn helps Dirk and David answer a few questions from our listeners.
#238 Round Table on How Different Game Mediums Handle Edge Cases
May 12 • 56 min
Kathryn once again rejoins Dirk and David to discuss the last few episodes of the podcast. The trio talks about the differences in edge cases between TTRPGs, board games, and video games. Then they move on to discuss the merits of the axiom: if the player…
#237 Old World: Utilizing Playtesters Effectively
Apr 28 • 64 min
Soren rejoins Dirk and David to discuss what’s new with his 4X game Old World—including a new name! The trio talks about publisher changes, how playtesting has incrementally improved the game, and some of the unique mechanics that Old World brings to the…
#236 Tanya X. Short Makes Game Systems Obvious
Apr 15 • 48 min
Tanya X. Short talks with Dirk and David about her design axiom: if the player doesn’t see it, it might not exist. They discuss both some of the games Tanya has worked on, as well as other games that contradict or reinforce this rule. One key point of the…
#235 Diving Into MOBA Foundations
Mar 31 • 66 min
Dirk and David team up with show producer Skye to dive into the MOBA genre, a first in a series meant to explore the design of this popular genre. They discuss the genre’s roots in real-time strategy game mods and give an overview of the most popular…
#234 Sen-Foong Lim Designs Edge Cases Out of the Game
Mar 17 • 56 min
Sen-Foong Lim rejoins the show to chat with Dirk and David about his design axiom: design edge cases out of the game. The definition of an edge case is explored at length, and the importance of context when discussing edge cases is emphasized. Sen talks…
#233 Round Table on the Challenges of Pleasing Customers
Mar 3 • 68 min
Kathryn returns to the show to chat with Dirk and David about the last three episodes of the Designing Thematic Games series. The group chats about hybrid games, designing additional content for games, and handling criticism. They also answer some…
#232 Chris Bourassa Talks Darkest Dungeon
Feb 18 • 56 min
Chris Bourassa joins Dirk and David to discuss his work on the indie hit Darkest Dungeon. They talk about the inspiration for some of Darkest Dungeon’s characters, enemies, and mechanical systems. They also cover the game’s difficulty and learning from…
#231 Tim Fowers Talks Burgle Bros 2
Jan 28 • 54 min
Tim Fowers, a guest on the show in 2016, returns to talk with Dirk and David about designing heist games. He discusses the thematic and mechanical design decisions made in both the original game as well as his upcoming sequel. Other topics include hybrid…
#230 Rob Daviau Talks Return to Dark Tower
Jan 14 • 53 min
Former host Rob Daviau returns to the show to catch up with Dirk and David and talk about Restoration Games and their next big project: Return to Dark Tower. He discusses the decisions made when updating the 1981 game to capture the same eye-catching…
#229 Round Table on the Essence of a Theme
Dec 24, 2019 • 71 min
Kathryn rejoins Dirk and David to talk discuss the past few episodes in the Designing Thematic Games series. The trio talks art budgets, terminology, and thematic mismatches. They also answer listener questions about designing around themes. Much of the…
#228 Shawn Main Talks Legends of Runeterra
Dec 11, 2019 • 57 min
Dirk and David discuss the card game Legends of Runeterra with designer Shawn Main. This upcoming game will be Riot’s follow up to the wildly popular League of Legends. They chat about capturing some of League of Legends’ thematic and gameplay beats…
#227 Meguey Baker Talks Apocalypse World
Nov 27, 2019 • 53 min
Dirk and David chat with Meguey Baker about her tabletop RPG Apocalypse World and writing in general. The discussion covers Apocalypse World’s approach to the post-apocalyptic theme and how the writing and mechanical design helps players feel like t…
#226 David Dunham Talks Six Ages
Nov 12, 2019 • 48 min
Dirk speaks with David Dunham, the designer of Six Ages and its predecessor, King of Dragon Pass. These narrative strategy games, built from the Glorantha universe of Greg Stafford, use specific mechanics to invoke the theme of clans and struggling …
#225 Round Table on Thematic Games #1
Oct 29, 2019 • 60 min
Dirk and David speak with former cohost and friend of the show Kathryn Hymes. Together, the three of them discuss important questions and lessons learned from the first four episodes in the Designing Thematic Games series.
#224 Scott Nicholson Talks Escape Rooms
Oct 15, 2019 • 64 min
Dirk and David discuss escape room design with Scott Nicholson, a game designer and professor who has studied escape rooms extensively. Scott talks about the predecessors to escape rooms, the thematic threat of ludonarrative dissonance, and the impo…
#223 Kynan Pearson Talks Nintendo Themes
Oct 1, 2019 • 57 min
Dirk, David, and designer/artist Kynan Pearson discuss what goes into designing games for Nintendo’s popular themes. Kynan talks about his role on both the Metroid Prime series as well as Donkey Kong Country Returns, and he also touches on his work with…
#222 Elizabeth Hargrave Talks Wingspan
Sep 17, 2019 • 48 min
Dirk, David, and designer Elizabeth Hargrave discuss the hit game Wingspan: how she decided on the unique theme, why that theme might have been so successful, and when she had to choose fun or function over thematic fit.
#221 Nikki Valens Talks Eldritch Horror
Sep 3, 2019 • 55 min
Dirk, David, and designer Nikki Valens kick off the Designing Thematic Games series with a discussion about the highly thematic games Nikki worked on at Fantasy Flight Games: Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror, and Mansions of Madness.
#220 New Directions with Dirk and David
Aug 20, 2019 • 52 min
Dirk and David catch up with each other and what’s new in their game design careers. They talk about the new direction for the show and announce a new series for the podcast: “Designing Thematic Games.”
#219 Cole’s Thoughts on Pax Pamir: Second Edition
Aug 6, 2019 • 60 min
Dirk catches up with Cole Wehrle, designer of Root, and they discuss Cole’s latest game Pax Pamir: Second Edition. Cole also talks about starting Wehrlegig Games with his brother while continuing full time with Leder Games.
#218 Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev: Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design
Jul 23, 2019 • 42 min
Dirk speaks with game designers Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev about their co-authored book, Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: an Encyclopedia of Mechanisms.
#217 Soren Johnson and his 4X Game: 10 Crowns
Jul 9, 2019 • 66 min
Dirk speaks with former co-host and former Civilization designer Soren about his next game, 10 Crowns. This episode will be the first in a series with Soren that follows different steps in the game’s development.
#216 Playtest Groups and Guilds with Tony Tran
Jun 25, 2019 • 36 min
Dirk speaks with Skye and Tony Tran about their experiences attending and starting local game design guilds and how those groups helped them progress as designers.
#215 Tabletop RPGs and Streaming with Adam Koebel
Jun 12, 2019 • 42 min
Dirk and David speak with TTRPG game designer and streamer Adam Koebel about how RPGs often influence one another and how to get your TTRPG in front of an audience.
#214 Game Themes with Will Thompson
May 28, 2019 • 39 min
Dirk talks with digital and tabletop game designer Will Thompson about game themes, including the recent controversy surrounding the game Scramble for Africa.
#213 Carla Kopp, Kickstarter and Big Easy Busking
May 14, 2019 • 26 min
What happens when a Kickstarter doesn’t go as planned? Dirk speaks with Carla Kopp from Weird Giraffe games about publishing, Kickstarters, and the game Big Easy Busking.
#212 Tabletop Prototyping Highlights
Apr 30, 2019 • 34 min
Take a look back at previous TGDRT episodes with a focus on tabletop prototyping. Dirk, David, Kathryn, Harrison, and Isaac Shalev are all featured in this retrospective episode.
#211 Slay The Spire - A Designers Deep Dive with Anthony Giovannetti
Apr 9, 2019 • 46 min
David and Dirk are joined by Anthony Giovannetti, designer of the game Slay The Spire.
#210 Listener Questions from SaltCON with Skye Larsen
Mar 26, 2019 • 50 min
Skye Larsen calls in from SaltCON to answer listener questions with Dirk and Cole about board and video games.
#209 Kevin Kulp - Swords of the Serpentine
Mar 12, 2019 • 39 min
David and Dirk are joined by game designer, Kevin Kulp.
#208 Game Designer Jennifer Scheurle
Feb 26, 2019 • 37 min
This week Dirk is joined by Jennifer Scheurle, a multi-award-winning, world-travelling Game Designer and public speaker.
#207 Emily Grace Buck
Feb 12, 2019 • 26 min
This week Dirk is joined by Emily Grace Buck, Creative Director at Buckshot Interactive. They discuss Emily’s background in game design and what she is currently working on.
#206 Jon Shafer of Conifer Games - At the Gates
Jan 29, 2019 • 37 min
This week David and Dirk are joined by Jon Shafer, a co-founder of The Game Design Round Table.
#205 Deep Dive - Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right
Jan 15, 2019 • 34 min
Cole and Dirk are joined by Kaitie Aidley and take a deep dive into Cole’s game Root.
#204 Listener Questionnaire Results and the Future of TGDRT
Jan 5, 2019 • 31 min
Dirk share results from the recent listener questionnaire. He also shares some exciting changes coming up for the show.
#203 TL Simons - Bloc by Bloc
Dec 14, 2018 • 30 min
David and Dirk chat with TL Simons of Out of Order Games.
#202 Listener Questions - Accessibility and Get-Back Mechanics
Nov 30, 2018 • 39 min
Cole, Dirk and Kathryn take listener questions. They have a great discussion surrounding the topic of accessibility. Additionally they discuss the topic of ‘get-back’ mechanics.
#201 Tim Burrell-Saward and Smart Speakers
Nov 8, 2018 • 30 min
Tim Burrell-Saward joins The Game Design Roundtable and discusses games that use smart speakers.
#200 Reflections on 200 Episodes of TGDRT
Oct 23, 2018 • 40 min
On this 200th episode of The Game Design Roundtable, many members of the team share thier thoughts on the show, the industry and people who have inspired them to be where they are today.
#199 Tabletop Game Designer - Scott Almes
Oct 5, 2018 • 30 min
In this episode, Dirk and Cole have a conversation with tabletop game designer Scott Almes
#198 Michael Woods, 38 Studios and Subatomic Studios
Aug 23, 2018 • 33 min
Dirk and David have a conversation with Michael Woods.
#197 Megagames with Ben Kanelos and Leslie Loy
Jul 13, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode, Dirk is joined by Ben Kanelos and Leslie Loy about megagames, also known as large scale simulation event with up to hundreds of participants.
#196 Admired Designers, Unlikely Games Enjoyed and Listener Questions
Jun 22, 2018 • 38 min
In this episode, Cole, Dirk and Kathryn name some admired designers, some unlikely games that they enjoy and answer some listener questions.
#195 Game Designer Alex Roberts
Jun 15, 2018 • 33 min
Alex Roberts is a guest on The Game Design Roundtable
#194 Kickstarter Results and Listener Questions
May 25, 2018 • 38 min
In this episode, David, Dirk and Rob get together for a discussion recapping a Kickstarter campaign for Restoration Games’ Fireball Island. They also take a couple listener questions and discuss the idea of replayability.
#193 Game Designer Kellee Santiago
May 11, 2018 • 35 min
In this episode, Dirk has a great conversation with video game designer Kellee Santiago. They discuss the game Cloud, the state of VR games and this history of game design.
#192 Engineering Game Design with Aljernon Bolden
Apr 20, 2018 • 34 min
In this episode, Dirk and Harrison welcome Aljernon Bolden to the show. They discuss game design from an engineering approach.
#191 Fireball Island
Apr 3, 2018 • 33 min
In this episode, David, Dirk, and Rob get together to answer some listener questions, which turn into a good discussion and a deep dive into a single question about promotion. Also, Rob announces a Kickstarter for Fireball Island.
#190 Listener Questions - Cons, Kids, Games and Names
Mar 22, 2018 • 34 min
In this episode, Cole, David, and Dirk get together to answer some listener questions.
#189 Gaming the Past with Jeremiah McCall
Feb 23, 2018 • 39 min
In this episode, Dirk and Cole have a conversation with Jeremiah McCall who uses games in the classroom to help in teaching history.
#188 Listener Question - You Don’t Blind Test a Painting
Feb 9, 2018 • 27 min
In this episode, Dirk, Kathryn and Rob get together to answer listener questions around playtesting and professional backgrounds in design.
#187 Listener Question - Acronym Edition
Jan 18, 2018 • 36 min
In this episode, David, Dirk and Harrison get together to answer listener questions. Lots of acronyms and great insights in this episode! JRPG, MUD, MMO …
#186 Looking forward and back, 2017 to 2018
Dec 29, 2017 • 31 min
In this final episode of 2017, David, Dirk and Kathryn get together to review 2017 and look forward to 2018.
#185 Game Designer Cole Wehrle
Dec 22, 2017 • 41 min
In this episode, David and Dirk speak with game designer Cole Wehrle. They discuss Cole’s work and how to find balance designing games with deep historical and cultural context.
#184: Narrative Designer Edwin McRae
Dec 8, 2017 • 30 min
In this episode, Harrison and Dirk speak with Edwin McRae, a narrative designer. They discuss the importance of the narrative line in game design and how it can keep game players engaged throughout a game with immersive details. ——————————- …
#183: Listener Questions with David, Dirk and Rob
Nov 24, 2017 • 32 min
In this episode, David, Dirk and Rob finally get back together to catch up on each other’s projects and answer listener questions.
#182: Game Designer Mike Bithell – Thomas Was Alone
Oct 19, 2017 • 31 min
In this episode, Dirk and Harrison have a chat with Mike Bithell, designer of games such as Thomas Was Alone, Volume, EarthShape, and Subsurface Circular.
#181: Listener Questions with David and Dirk
Oct 5, 2017 • 31 min
David and Dirk answer listener questions surrounding game design, board production, 3d printing and play testing.
#180: Spy Club from Foxtrot Games; How Collaboration helped deliver results.
Sep 28, 2017 • 40 min
Dirk is joined by John Schulter, Sarah Graybill and Randy Hoyt to discuss their work on their new game, Spy Club from Foxtrot Games.
#179: Elizabeth LaPensée; indigenous self-determination in game development.
Sep 21, 2017 • 36 min
In this episode, Elizabeth LaPensée joins Kathryn and Dirk and they discuss indigenous self-determination in game development and how a destructive pattern of colonialism is being addressed.
#178: Niki Crisci, Will Glow the Wisp
Sep 14, 2017 • 28 min
In this episode, Niki Crisci calls in from Germany and chats with David and Dirk about his recently release game, Will Glow the Wisp. They discuss his inspiration for the game and how he’s found the time to work on it. ——————————- Niki Cri…
#177: Tomer Perry, Ethics and Political Theory
Sep 7, 2017 • 23 min
In this episode, Tomer Perry, political theorists, avid board and table gamer from Harvard University joins David and Dirk. They discuss how games are used to teach ethics and political theory. ——————————- Tomer Perry - @Perrytom6, ethics…
#176: Methodology and Management
Aug 24, 2017 • 31 min
David and Dirk catch up and talk about David’s new work. They discuss some of the different ways he’s found this new studio operates organizationally and how he thinks it may be a growing trend across the industry. ——————————- David Heron -…
#175: Listener Mail August 2017
Aug 17, 2017 • 36 min
David, Dirk, and Kathryn dive into the digital mailbag and take a shot at some listener questions. Topics include Kickstarter Cancellations, design organization and ways to pitch a game. ——————————- Kathryn Hymes - @chicalashaw, thornygames…
#174: Mo Turkington and LARPs
Aug 4, 2017 • 44 min
In this episode, Mo Turkington from Unruly Designs joins Dirk and Kathryn to discuss LARPs and specifically chamber LARPs focused on women in WWII. The conversation also touches on the roles LARPs can have in understanding social privilege. ————-…
#173: Game Design Axioms
Jul 28, 2017 • 39 min
Dirk, Kathryn, and Rob get together for the much anticipated game design axioms episode. Listen as they share their their top design principles.——————————-Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,, Kathryn Hymes - @chicala…
#172: Mode 7’s Paul Kilduff-Taylor
Jul 14, 2017 • 33 min
Paul Kilduff-Taylor from Mode 7, join David and Dirk for a discussion about the games Tokyo 42 and Frozen Synapse. They dive deep into some of the key decision drivers for these games as well as some history of the game industry since 2005, and where i…
#171: Gunpoint’s Tom Francis
Jun 30, 2017 • 34 min
This week Tom Francis, creator of the game Gunpoint, joins Harrison and Dirk to discuss the state of games journalism, how Gunpoint came about and what to expect next.——————————-Tom Francis - @pentadact, Harrison Pink - h…
#170: Ross Cowman
Jun 15, 2017 • 38 min
This week, Dirk and Kathryn talk with Ross Cowman, owner of game design studio Heart of the Deernicorn. They discuss the game Fall of Magic.——————————-Ross Cowman- @rosscowman, Kathryn Hymes - @chicalashaw, thorn…
#169: Listener Mail June 2017
Jun 8, 2017 • 32 min
This week, David, Rob and Dirk get together to catch up and answer listener questions. Ice cubes are involved.——————————-David Heron - @DavidVHeron Rob Daviau - @robdaviau Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,,————-…
#168: Emily Care Boss
May 25, 2017 • 39 min
This week, Dirk and Kathryn welcome veteran game designer Emily Care Boss to the show. Emily has a long history in designing RPG games and making tools available to players to challenge their views and expand their gaming horizons. Some of her games en…
#167: Chelsea Howe and VR
May 11, 2017 • 28 min
Dirk and David are joined by Owlchemy Labs’ Chelsea Howe to talk about Virtual Rick-Ality and the new frontier of VR. Chelsea’s involvement with VR goes back to her days at EA and she continues to be on the forefront of development for this new platfo
#166: John Harper
May 5, 2017 • 39 min
Dirk and Kathryn are joined this week by designer John Harper, the mind behind Blades in the Dark. John’s transition to full-time developer has been helped by his fans that support him via Kickstarter and Patreon - this following allows him to fully co.
#165: Listener Mail April 2017
Apr 20, 2017 • 33 min
Dirk, Harrison, and Kathryn dive into the mailbag once again to answer your game design questions. Is it really that difficult to get published in North America from other markets? What’s life on the digital side like when it comes to publishing? And w.
#164: Nels Anderson and Firewatch
Apr 13, 2017 • 34 min
Designer Nels Anderson stops by to talk to Dirk and Harrison about his work on 2016’s hit Firewatch. Nels worked with a small team at Campo Santo studios to create a unique storytelling adventure that was a critically acclaimed success. Nels describes .
#163: Jason Thompson
Apr 1, 2017 • 27 min
Dirk and Rob are joined by writer, artist, and game designer Jason Thompson to talk about his innovative drawing game “Mangaka: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics”, co-published by Mock Man Press and Japanime Games. Jason talks about his backgro…
#162: Listener Mail February 2017
Mar 9, 2017 • 36 min
Dirk, David, and Kathryn Hymes are here to answer your questions. This week they go over replayability, ambitious ideas, and the differences between design and development.——————————-Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,,…
#161: Paizo Games
Mar 2, 2017 • 43 min
Dirk and Harrison are joined by Jessica Price and Wes Schneider from Paizo games to talk about their voluminous tabletop roleplaying library. Paizo is best known for their Pathfinder roleplaying system, a successor to Dungeons and Dragons Version 3.5. …
#160: Dominic Crapuchettes and North Star Games
Feb 17, 2017 • 35 min
Dirk and David are joined by Dominic Crapuchettes of North Star Games to talk about their breakout hits and the process of creating mass market games. North Star Games is most well known for their widely-available games Wits and Wagers and Say Anything…
#159: Guess Who’s Back, Back Again
Jan 31, 2017 • 34 min
Description David makes his return to the show after a brief absence and fills us in with what’s been going on in his world. We’re also happy to announce a new half-hour format that will hopefully yield shorter shows that are posted more often. Dirk,
#158: Suzanne Zinsli and Cardboard Edison
Jan 25, 2017 • 55 min
Dirk and Harrison are joined by Suzanne Zinsli of Cardboard Edison to talk about game design, publishing, and running their amazing resource for game designers. Cardboard Edison is a gather of best practices, tips for designers, and information about p…
#157: Harrison Joins the Mail Crew
Jan 4, 2017 • 59 min
Dirk, David, and Harrison tackle the mail bag after an exciting announcement about Rob’s new company, Restoration Games. Restoration’s goal is to reprint and modernize classic games that are no longer available. Our hosts go on to talk about games tha
#156: Kathryn Hymes and Thorny Games
Dec 5, 2016 • 57 min
This week Dirk is joined by new co-host Harrison Pink and guest Kathryn Hymes of Thorny Games. Kathryn brings a unique perspective to the tabletop world with games that take on the challenges of linguistics and the evolution (and death) of languages. S…
#154: Essen and Listener Mail
Oct 31, 2016 • 52 min
Dirk, David, and Rob are back again to talk about what’s going on in their worlds and to answer more listener mail. Rob is back from Europe after attending the Essen (SPIEL) game convention and has stories to tell about where cultural stereotypes come .
#153: Riot Games
Oct 13, 2016 • 62 min
Description Dirk and David are joined by Rick Ernst and Chris Cantrell of Riot Games to talk about their upcoming board game Mechs vs. Minions. Riot Games is best known for their wildly successful PC game League of Legends. Riot is taking that univers…
#152: Professor Rob’s Mailbag
Sep 28, 2016 • 60 min
Description Dirk, David, and Rob get together to answer more of your questions. The Game Design Roundtable audience continues to provide poignant and intriguing questions, and our trio of hosts is ready to help.——————————- Dirk Knemeyer …
#151: Isaac Shalev and Kind Fortress
Sep 9, 2016 • 52 min
Dirk and David get together with Isaac Shalev to talk about the fast-paced development at Kind Fortress. Since his last time on the show Isaac has had several games designed and put into print, and he talks about importance of artwork as well as design…
#150: Travel Catch-up and Listener Mail
Aug 11, 2016 • 65 min
Dirk, David, and Rob are here on the momentous 150th episode of the Game Design Roundtable to talk about their recent travels. David is traveling the globe to support his game studio and Rob returns from the prestigious Spiel des Jahres awards in Germa…
#149: Jellybean Games
Jul 22, 2016 • 57 min
Dirk brings on guests Peter Hayward and Tania Walker to talk about their work at Jellybean Games. Jellybean places an emphasis on family-friendly games that can still be enjoyed by adults. Peter talks about his role at the company and what prompted him…
#148: More Listener Mail
Jun 28, 2016 • 60 min
Dirk, David, and Rob are back to answer more of your questions. How viable is it to break into the market and make a decent salary? Is high-quality art worth it? And just how do you get cards printed?——————————-Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer, www…
#147: Black Straw Games
Jun 14, 2016 • 57 min
Dirk and David welcome designer Sarah Graybill of Black Straw Games to the show to talk about their unique brand of games. Black Straw have developed a collection of abstract and family friendly games while also working to foster the game development c…
#146: Soren Johnson and Offworld Trading Company
May 31, 2016 • 64 min
Soren Johnson is back to talk to Dirk and David about his new game, Offworld Trading Company. Offworld is the product of Soren’s own game development studio, Mohawk Games. He dives deep into the development process and the early access model and shares.
#145: Seafall, Powering Up, and Listener Mail
May 4, 2016 • 57 min
It’s a celebratory show as Dirk, David, and Rob talk about the latest releases from the crew. Rob’s Legacy game Seafall is finally ready for preorder after many years of hard work and Dirk is also pleased to share that his expansion for Tesla vs. Edis
#144: Chris Zinsli and Cardboard Edison
Apr 19, 2016 • 54 min
Dirk and David are joined by designer and board game community member Chris Zinsli. Chris and his wife Suzanne are the founders of Cardboard Edison, a resource for designers of board games. Their blog and other media have helped countless designers get…
#143: The Mailbag Tolls for Thee
Mar 30, 2016 • 65 min
Dirk, David, and Rob peek into the mailbag once again and answer your questions. After a brief celebration over the recent success of Pandemic Legacy, the trio talk about design-driven narrative and a few questions about the dirty details of rules.——…
#142: Tim Fowers
Mar 17, 2016 • 57 min
Dirk and David sit down this week with game designer Tim Fowers. A physics major gone rogue in the world of game design, Tim has experience in both board games and the digital space. His games Burgle Bros, Wok Star, and Paperback have allowed him to ma…
#141: Star Trek Timelines
Feb 25, 2016 • 66 min
Description Dirk and Rob help David celebrate the launch of his company’s game: Star Trek Timelines. Timelines was a long time in the making and is an extremely ambitious game for the mobile platform. David reviews the development process and how the ..
#140: Daniel Doan and Black Shell Media
Feb 9, 2016 • 55 min
This week Dirk and David are joined by Daniel Doan of Black Shell Media. Daniel’s career in games started with mods for the original Starcraft and grew into his breakout game, Sanctuary RPG. He then moved on to publishing and working with other designe.
#139: Justin Gary
Jan 26, 2016 • 59 min
Dirk and David are joined by guest Justin Gary, accomplished game designer of many deckbuilding games. Justin’s career started as a professional, award-winning player of Magic: the Gathering and has continued with several successful designs. His creati.
#138: Checking in with Harrison Pink
Jan 12, 2016 • 52 min
Return guest Harrison Pink stops by to catch up with Dirk and David and let us know what he’s been up to. Harrison recently moved to a new studio and is working as a world designer on the next Mafia game. He also had the opportunity to travel to China .
#137: Once More Into the Mailbag
Dec 7, 2015 • 68 min
Dirk, David, and Rob tackle more listener mail in this week’s episode. We had a lot of great questions come in from our listeners that cover royalty free assets, distribution for board games, and some more from Dirk on Tesla and Edison.————————.
#136: Playing Catch-up
Nov 11, 2015 • 58 min
We’re back! Dirk, David, and Rob are here again to talk about game design after a flurry of activity and travel. David is knee-deep in Star Trek Timelines and Rob is pleased with the success of Pandemic Legacy. Meanwhile, Dirk was invited to the labora.
#135: Isaac Childres and Gloomhaven
Oct 22, 2015 • 59 min
Dirk and Rob sit down with game designer Isaac Childres to talk about his self-published and Kickstarted game Gloomhaven. Rob seems to have found the game he’s been looking for all along and has plenty of questions for Isaac, who has published several .
#134: Expansions and Post-Launch Support
Sep 29, 2015 • 57 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about what happens when the game has shipped and there’s still more to do. Post-launch support can come in the form of features that were originally left on the cutting room floor, expansions to existing conten.
#133: Designer Alex Kevern
Sep 17, 2015 • 57 min
This week Dirk and David are joined by game designer Alex Kevern. Alex has followed the path from gamer to designer and brought several different games to market with a myriad of publishers. He offers his experiences dealing with different publishers a…
#132: Rob’s Back, Time for Listener Mail
Sep 6, 2015 • 55 min
Rob is back from vacation and it’s time for some more listener mail. Is it possible to play a game that is fun but not good? Should you share your ideas with people before publishing your game?——————————————————-Contact Info Dirk Knem.
#131: David Somerville and Trove
Aug 21, 2015 • 61 min
Dirk and David talk to game designer David Somerville about his game Trove and experiences publishing his first game. David shares his insights as far as community management, how to hand things over, and pitching your games. Other David shares that he…
#130: Catching up and Some Listener Mail
Aug 5, 2015 • 63 min
We’re back! After a brief hiatus due to the craziness of Gen Con the crew is back to tell their stories and get caught up on all the new developments. Dirk, David, and Rob talk about Gen Con, the new collaboration between Dirk and David, and answer a l.
#129 Daniel Solis
Jul 14, 2015 • 60 min
Dirk and Rob sit down with game designer Daniel Solis to talk about his background with card and microgames. Daniel’s games can be played all over the world and he shares his experiences with international publishers as well as crowdfunding and print-o.
#128: Listener Mail 5
Jun 30, 2015 • 58 min
Dirk, David, and Rob are back to answer more listener questions about budget, toolsets, and more.——————————————————————————————Contact Info Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,, David Heron - @David…
#127: Meg Jayanth and Games Writing
Jun 18, 2015 • 61 min
This week, Dirk and David chat with Meg Jayanth to talk about her experiences as a writer in the games industry. Meg’s prose is probably most well known in the story-heavy gameplay of 80 Days on mobile devices and Sunless Sea on the PC. Meg shares her .
#126: Collaboration
Jun 3, 2015 • 61 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to confirm that no person is an island, especially when it comes to game design. Collaborating with others can be challenging but also rewarding, sometimes allowing partners to bring out the best in each other. David d…
#125: Stonemaier Games and Scythe with Jamey Stegmaier
May 22, 2015 • 67 min
Jamey Stegmaier stops by to talk to Dirk and David about his previous games as well as the upcoming and hotly anticipated Scythe. Scythe’s evocative art and theme have piqued the interest of the boardgaming community. Jamey fills us in on how the game .
#124: Listener Questions
May 5, 2015 • 60 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to answer questions sent in by you, the listeners!————————————————————————————————————————————-Contact Information Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,, Dirk@Knemeyer.c…
#123: Isaac Shalev and On Board Games
Apr 22, 2015 • 62 min
Dirk and David are joined by game designer Isaac Shalev of Kind Fortress Games and the podcast On Board Games. Isaac shares some of the insight he has gleaned about the Kickstarter process, publishing games with a cultural story to tell, and how to mak…
#122: Feedback
Apr 7, 2015 • 63 min
Dirk, David, and Rob talk about all of the primary forms of feedback that developers have at their disposal. Reviews can be educational, helpful, or downright depressing. Playtesters can offer amazing insight or unwanted suggestions. Listen in to find …
#121: At the Gates Update with Jon Shafer
Mar 24, 2015 • 58 min
Former host and Game Design Roundtable co-founder Jon Shafer stops in to talk about At the Gates. Jon’s been hard at work adding features, taking out features, and polishing the game. Progress moves ever forward as the game becomes the game that Jon se.
#120: Project Check-in
Mar 11, 2015 • 62 min
Dirk, David, and Rob take a moment to check in on their respective projects. Rob details his long and illustrious career as the head of marketing for his game company while David checks in with an update on Star Trek Timelines. Meanwhile, Dirk’s Kickst.
#119: Foxtrot Games with Randy Hoyt
Feb 24, 2015 • 60 min
Dirk and David talk to Randy Hoyt of Foxtrot games about the art of publishing board games. Randy talks about his preference of publishing over designing, the role a good publisher can play in the success of a board game, and the releases of Foxtrot ga…
#118: A Seafall Review
Feb 10, 2015 • 54 min
Dirk, David, and Rob talk about the current state of Seafall and its latest strides toward completion. Rob is excited about the progress of the game and shares a look at what can happen during a player’s turn as the details of the game come into focus..
#117: Chatting with Robin D. Laws
Feb 5, 2015 • 55 min
Roleplaying game and novel writer Robin D. Laws joins Dirk and David to share his experience as a designer and writer in the gaming industry. Robin shares his methodology, how writing for the two media compares, and his upcoming work.—————————…
#116: Buying and Selling with Soren Johnson & Scott Hamden
Jan 27, 2015 • 67 min
Soren is back with forum member and early Offworld Trading Company playtester Scott Hamden to talk with Dirk about the current state of the game. Offworld Trading Company is taking form as it prepares for early access on Steam and a wider user base for…
#115: Talking with Chelsea Howe
Jan 22, 2015 • 57 min
Dirk and David are joined this week by Chelsea Howe, game design veteran and current employee at EA. Chelsea brings her experience to the show after working in a wide range of environments from large publishers to small game jams and independent projec…
#114: Back to the Mail Bag
Jan 13, 2015 • 60 min
Dirk, David, and Rob are back to answer more of your questions! This week’s questions cover digital integration, international design decisions, and the role of 3D printing.————————————————————————————————-Contact Inform.
#113: Trekking Along
Jan 6, 2015 • 60 min
Dirk and David are at the helm this week to talk about all things Star Trek. David’s upcoming game uses the Star Trek universe to tell a wide variety of stories with a wide cast of characters. But with a fan base as enthusiastic and demanding as Trekki.
#112: 2014 in Review
Dec 30, 2014 • 57 min
Dirk, David, and Rob look back at 2014. Rob’s Kickstarter leads the way with a great success story and a view into just how crazy his life became this year. Dirk and David share their big moves from the year and look ahead to what’s coming. Finally, D
#111: Game Design and Education with Erin Hoffman
Dec 23, 2014 • 54 min
Dirk and David sit down with game designer and writer Erin Hoffman to talk about her extensive background in game design for education,interacting with the users, and some deep talks on the role of art in games.————————Contact Information Dirk…
#110: The Science of fun with Nicole Lazzaro
Dec 16, 2014 • 64 min
Is there a formula for fun? Nicole Lazzaro joins Dirk and David to talk about what makes games fun, deliver a brief dive into neuroscience, and compare the concept of fun and gaming addiction.—————————————————Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer…
# 109: Susan McKinley Ross and Idea Duck
Dec 9, 2014 • 61 min
Dirk and David are joined by game designer Susan McKinley Ross, creator of Qwirkle and other well-received board games. Susan shares her expertise in color and tactile game design, the process of writing rules, and how she came to be an award-winning d…
#108: Funemployed and Boardgamegeekcon
Dec 2, 2014 • 61 min
Dirk, David, and Rob are on hand to talk about two topics this week. First, the progress of Rob’s current Kickstarter: Funemployed 2nd Edition. He reviews how the Kickstarter is going as well as steps he took on the front end. Next, Dirk and Rob talk a.
#107: Cooperative Gaming with Amy Jo Kim
Nov 29, 2014 • 61 min
Amy Jo Kim joins Dirk and David to talk about cooperative gaming and the move away from zero-sum game mechanics. Social and online gaming have shown time and again that players want to cooperate and work together rather than kill each other and constan…
#106: Micro Games with Chris Handy
Nov 20, 2014 • 50 min
This week it’s a regular-sized show about micro-sized games when designer Chris Handy comes on to talk about his foray into the micro games market.————————————————————————————————————————- Contact Information Dir.
#105: Mail Call
Nov 13, 2014 • 58 min
Dirk, David, and Rob Daviau are answering questions this week on topics about board game design, publishing, translations, and more!—————————-Contact Information Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,, David Heron - @Davi…
104: Trading Mission to Mars with Julian Murdoch and Dr. Bruce Geryk
Nov 8, 2014 • 72 min
Dirk and Soren are joined by strategy games enthusiasts Julian Murdoch and Dr. Bruce Geryk to talk about the current state of Offworld Trading Company. Julian, Bruce, and Dirk have all had time with the game and offer Soren feedback, ask a few question…
103: Catching Up
Oct 29, 2014 • 61 min
It’s just Dirk and David today as the hosts catch up on each of their own projects. David has made some big changes and moved on to a new company in a new town, and Dirk details all of the different irons he has in the fire. Contact Information D…
102: Get Off My Lawn
Oct 21, 2014 • 61 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about things that bug them. Whether is the interplay of turns, the depth of a game, or the wine served at a chain restaurant, some things just aren’t fun.——————————————————Contact Information .
#101: Kvasir Games with Kristín Guðmundsdóttir
Oct 14, 2014 • 55 min
Dirk and David are joined by Kristín Guðmundsdóttir of Kvasir Games to talk about board and digital game development. Kvasir is a team of developers based in Denmark but pulled together from across Europe to build unique games designed in a game jam-st
#100: Failbetter Games and Fallen London with Alexis Kennedy and Liam Welton
Oct 7, 2014 • 65 min
Alexis Kennedy and Liam Welton from Failbetter games join Dirk to talk about their dark games set in the world of Fallen London. With a background that goes from free-to-play web games to more traditional PC games, Failbetter has learned many lessons o…
#99: Stuck in the Ditch
Sep 30, 2014 • 64 min
Sometimes a game design just goes off the rails. Scope creep, overly-ambitious ideas, a loss of focus… these can be devastating to any project. Dirk, David, and Rob Daviau talk about how a game can get off the right path and what can be done to get it .
#98: On Writing….Video Games with Harrison Pink
Sep 23, 2014 • 60 min
The title of “writer” can span from creating conceptual direction to creating dozens of iterations of the same lines of character dialog. Guest developer Harrison Pink joins Dirk and David to talk about the role in the gaming world.—————————-
#97: Karla Zimonja and the Fullbright Company
Sep 16, 2014 • 52 min
Dirk and David are joined by Karla Zimonja of the Fullbright Company to talk about Gone Home, the challenges and benefits of working on a small team, and the transition of going from AAA game development to a small, independent studio.————————-…
#96: The Conventions of Conventions
Sep 9, 2014 • 63 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about conventions. Gen Con is the star of the show as the trio talk about tips for both gamers and game designers. Everything is covered from talking with publishers to packing your bags the smart way.————-…
#95: Listeners Mail Q&A
Sep 3, 2014 • 61 min
This show is all about the listeners! The mail bag is full and it’s time for Dirk and David to answer your questions on game design, the industry, and the types of games they love the most.—————————————————————Contact Information D.
#94: Offworld Trading Company with Soren Johnson and Jon Shafer
Aug 26, 2014 • 63 min
Jon and Dirk talk to game designer and TGDRT regular Soren Johnson about his upcoming game, Offworld Trading Company. His real time strategy economic game is currently in beta. Soren talks about the state of the game and the challenges he has in front …
#93: Dynamic Campaigns with Ananda Gupta
Aug 19, 2014 • 69 min
Ananda Gupta joins Dirk and Soren to talk about Dynamic campaigns. Series like Total War and XCOM merge tactical battles with larger strategic campaigns - what do these games do well, and what challenges seem to be omnipresent?————————————-…
#92: Et tu, Brute?
Aug 12, 2014 • 61 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about the betrayal as a game mechanic. Betrayal can bring out the worst in people - yelling, table flipping, and even physical violence. So why does it still get into so many games, and what makes it a compelli…
#91: At The Gates Progress Report with Jon Shafer
Aug 6, 2014 • 70 min
Friend and co-founder of The Game Design Roundtable Jon Shafer stops by to talk about the status of his game At the Gates. Learn about the importance of tribes, one of Jon’s new features that adds replayability and personality to the game. Dirk, David,.
#90: A Trip Down Memory Lane with Harrison Pink
Jul 29, 2014 • 63 min
Dirk, David, and Harrison Pink get together to reminisce about the games that they enjoyed in their youth. Check out the extensive list below - how many did you play?—————————————————————————————————————-Contact Inf…
#89: Pandemic with Matt Leacock
Jul 22, 2014 • 55 min
Dirk and David are joined by game designer Matt Leacock of Pandemic fame. Cooperative games are the topic of the day as Matt goes through his experiences building on the Pandemic franchise.——————————————————Contact Information Dirk Kn…
#88: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Jul 15, 2014 • 64 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about information. What are the advantages and disadvantages of perfect information games? How much is “enough” for each player to know? And how does Monopoly cause fist fights?————————————————
#87: Working on the Pile
Jul 8, 2014 • 63 min
Dirk and David take a brief respite from interviewing developers to talk about the games they’ve been playing. An extensive discussion on Europa Universalis IV eventually morphs into why people are fascinated by trains.——Contact Information Dirk Knem.
#86: Choice of Games with Dan Fabulich
Jul 2, 2014 • 66 min
Dan Fabulich from Choice Of Games joins Dirk and David to talk about the interactive fiction genre and the process of choosing an adventure that may or may not be your own.——————————————————————————————————Contact Info…
#85: Bamboozle Brothers with Jay Cormier and Sen Foong Lim
Jun 24, 2014 • 62 min
This week Dirk is joined by game designers Jay Cormier and Sen Foong Lim of Bamboozle Brothers. Jay and Sen describe what it’s like working with a partner long distance, getting picked up by a publisher, and their process to designing tabletop games.—.
#84: Marketing
Jun 20, 2014 • 67 min
Dirk, David, and Rob talk about the the importance of marketing. How important is it and how do the numbers compare between tabletop and the digital realm? And what’s the Wil Wheaton factor?—————————————————Contact Information Dirk Kne.
#83: Games All The Way Down with Harrison Pink
Jun 10, 2014 • 69 min
Harrison Pink returns to the show to talk with Dirk and David about playing games. This episode is all about what games our panel has been playing and how they have reacted as both players and designers.———————————-Contact Information Dirk K…
#82: Checking In
Jun 4, 2014 • 63 min
In this week’s episode, Dirk and David take some time to talk about their current projects. Futbol Strategy is around the corner and David’s Knights of Puzzelot has launched - find out how the games are going and what else the two have up their sleeve
#81: Push and Pull with Nels Anderson
May 27, 2014 • 61 min
Nels Anderson joins Dirk and David to talk about the concept of “Push and Pull” style games and how it relates to game styles and gamer choice.————Contact Information Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,, David Heron - @Dav
#80: Anticipation and Expectations
May 21, 2014 • 70 min
This week Dirk, David, and Rob go over the process that leads up to experiencing the game. From first hearing about it and finally unboxing it, what matters the most to designers and players? And just how many of our regular panel are old-school D&D ne…
#79: Intrinsic or Extrinsic? with Harrison Pink
May 14, 2014 • 69 min
Harrison Pink joins Dirk and David to talk about what motivates both players and developers. Is it the journey, the destination, or the sweet, sweet Steam achievements at the end?————————————————————————Contact Information Dirk …
#78: Streaming and Live Development with Brad Muir
May 8, 2014 • 59 min
Dirk and Soren talk to Double Fine’s Brad Muir about streaming the development process and interacting with fans. Listen in on how to walk the fine line between listening to your fans and still steering the ship while working in an open development env.
#77: Prototyping
Apr 29, 2014 • 53 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get down to the nitty-gritty about prototyping their game concepts, both on the digital side and the tabletop side. What does a good prototype look like, and more importantly: how is one actually made?———————————————…
#76: The Inside Scoop
Apr 24, 2014 • 58 min
Dirk and David take a moment to discuss the games they’re working on and the challenges they face when trying to bring new game concepts to life. ——————————————————————————————————————————————Contact Inform.
#75: Infinite Loop
Apr 15, 2014 • 58 min
Dirk, David, and Rob get together to discuss the perceived value in infinitely replayable games. Where did this notion come from? The trio discuss collectible card games and Minecraft alongside normal tabletop games to get to the bottom of infinity.—-…
#74: Procedurally Chaotic with Julian Gollop
Apr 10, 2014 • 64 min
Dirk and David talk to veteran designer Julian Gollop about his career in gaming and his Kickstarter for a remake of his classic game Chaos Reborn. The trio discuss the roles of both user and procedurally generated content as well as Julian’s plans for.
#73: MMOs, RPGs, and Pathfinder with Ryan Dancey
Apr 1, 2014 • 66 min
Ryan Dancey joins Dirk and Soren to talk about tabletop RPGs and Pathfinder Online. What’s the cross-section between MMOs and traditional RPGs? Listen in to find out how Pathfinder took the helm from D&D and what their plans are for their upcoming MMO..
#72 Playtesting
Mar 25, 2014 • 55 min
Rob Daviau returns to the show to talk to Dirk and David about playtesting and the challenges of getting good feedback. Are core gamers good playtesters? How much playtesting is necessary? The show concludes with a discussion on the covenant between ga…
#71: Intuitive Design. With Harrison Pink.
Mar 18, 2014 • 69 min
Telltale Games’ Harrison Pink joins Dirk and David to talk about the difference between designing by instinct and using analysis and data. Can a designer ever be fully intuitive or analytic? The trio explores this topic through character development in.
#70: A Roman Farewell
Mar 11, 2014 • 55 min
Jon announces that he’ll be retiring from the podcast in order to focus fully on At the Gates. Piggybacking on this topic, he and Dirk discuss workflow, where AtG is at now and highlight what’s next for it. Dirk finishes up the episode by sharing his
#69: Players as Designers
Mar 4, 2014 • 71 min
Jon, Dirk and David discuss the idea of players as designers within the context of house rules, modding and optional rules. Other topics covered include: how much control should players have? When are house rules bad? How much creative control over the…
#68: Transparency
Feb 24, 2014 • 90 min
Soren joins Jon and Dirk to discuss transparency: what a game does and does not reveal to players. The discussion ranges from unpredictability in deckbuilders like ‘Dominion’ and ‘Ascension’, to fog of war in ‘Civilization’, ‘At the Gates’
#67: Game Phases & Pivots
Feb 17, 2014 • 58 min
Rob joins Jon and Dirk to discuss phases (the early game, the late game, etc.) and ‘pivot points’, which are moments when focus shifts from one aspect of a game (such as economic engine building) to another (scoring points). Some of the titles brought
#66: Diplomacy in At the Gates
Feb 11, 2014 • 71 min
Jon and Dirk cover many a topic in this episode, but the main discussion revolves around Jon’s plans for diplomacy in ‘At the Gates’, how they’ve changed, and why. Also covered are game structure in Starbound, the business of games and a brief upd
#65: Real-Time. With Geoff Engelstein
Feb 3, 2014 • 74 min
Dirk and Jon are joined by Geoff Engelstein to talk about his work, design philosophies and podcast. How do you create a real-time tabletop game? What makes inspirations special? How important is theme compared with mechanics?—————————————…
#64: Conflict
Jan 27, 2014 • 77 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Soren Johnson once again, this time to discuss conflict in games. Topics covered include: What is a conflict? Why is its representation in games nearly always violent? What other types of conflict are there, and how can desig…
#63: Theme
Jan 20, 2014 • 61 min
Rob Daviau pays a visit for a discussion about theme. How much theme is enough? How much is TOO much? How do you actually translate theme into gameplay mechanics. And heck, what IS a ‘theme’, anyways?—————————————-Contact InformationJon S
#62: Cheating
Jan 13, 2014 • 69 min
Why do people cheat? What can designers do about it? SHOULD they do anything about it in non-competitive single-player games?—————————————-Contact InformationJon Shafer - @JonShaferDesign,, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames…
#61: Don’t Starve. With Kevin Forbes
Jan 9, 2014 • 61 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Kevin Forbes of Klei Entertainment to talk about Don’t Starve. Topics covered include environmental cycles, crafting, and the unique challenges and perks of developing a systems-based game.—————————————-Contact I.
#60: End-of-Year Spectacular 2013
Dec 30, 2013 • 83 min
Jon and Dirk hand out awards for the mechanics and games they played in 2013 that stood out - for better and worse.—————————————-Contact InformationJon Shafer - @JonShaferDesign,, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.comDirk K…
#59: Race for the Galaxy. With Tom Lehmann
Dec 23, 2013 • 53 min
Board game designer Tom Lehmann joins Jon and Dirk to talk about Race for the Galaxy, co-designing on existing games, and his design methodology.—————————————Contact InformationJon Shafer - @JonShaferDesign,, Jon….
#58: Death in Games
Dec 15, 2013 • 66 min
Jon, Dirk and David discuss the role of death in games. What is it for? How does it interact with narrative? What games has it been represented well and poorly in? And how can it be improved?—————————————-Contact InformationJon Shafer - @J…
#57: Stepping Back, Goals & Pacing
Dec 9, 2013 • 67 min
Jon and Dirk discuss general design topics relating to their recent work, including playtesting, extending the development of projects, providing players with goals, instilling a game with good pacing and ensuring there are always interesting strategic…
#56: ‘SeaFall’ & Legacy Design. With Rob Daviau
Dec 2, 2013 • 74 min
Jon and Dirk are paid a return visit by first-ever TGDRT guest Rob Daviau to talk about ‘SeaFall’, his new exploration legacy tabletop game, Rob’s company ‘IronWall Games’, and his hopes for further innovation in the genre he helped create.——-
#55: Sharing Game Design Ideas
Nov 25, 2013 • 70 min
Jon, Dirk and David share design concepts they find interesting and hope to incorporate into future (or simply hypothetical) projects. The group also digs into why developers are sometimes reluctant to share and discuss design ideas.—————————-…
#54: Ploy, Race for the Galaxy & Hansa Teutonica
Nov 17, 2013 • 53 min
Jon and Dirk meet up to play several tabletop games and discuss what works and what doesn’t. Included in the discussion are Ploy, Race for the Galaxy, and Hansa Teutonica.—————————————-Contact InformationJon Shafer - @JonShaferDesign, www….
#53: Mohawks & Martians. With Soren Johnson
Nov 11, 2013 • 92 min
Jon and Dirk are paid a visit by regular guest Soren Johnson, who stops by to talk about his brand-new studio ‘Mohawk Games’ and their first project, ‘Mars’, an economic RTS built out of the legacy of Dani Bunten’s venerable M.U.L.E. They discus
#52: Meet the TGDRT Crew
Nov 4, 2013 • 71 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by David for the special 1-year anniversary show. They point the magnifying glass back at themselves in this episode and share their design processes, challenges they’ve overcome, the tools they use and how to build a good team..
#51: Alpha Centauri & Evolving as a Designer. With Brian Reynolds
Oct 28, 2013 • 88 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Brian Reynolds, designer of ‘Civilization 2’, ‘Alpha Centauri’, ‘Rise of Nations’ and more. They discuss Brian’s career as a designer, his approach and what makes ‘Alpha Centauri’ stand up so many years later.
#50: Kickstarter & Stonemaier Games. With Jamey Stegmaier
Oct 23, 2013 • 66 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Jamey Stegmaier, co-founder of Stonemaier Games and designer of ‘Viticulture’ and ‘Euphoria’. They discuss Stonemaier’s first two titles, giving back to the development community and have a lengthy conversation on the
#49: How to Teach Games
Oct 14, 2013 • 65 min
Jon, Dirk and David delve into the most effective ways of teaching both tabletop and digital games. What role do out-of-game video tutorials have to play? Can quick, throw-away demo games work? When is it okay NOT to teach features? And what is the per…
#48: X-COM & Tactical Games. With Julian Gollop
Oct 9, 2013 • 64 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Julian Gollop, designer of X-COM: UFO Defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown) and a game development veteran with 30 years of experience. They discuss Julian’s distinguished career, how the design discipline is special and what made.
#47: AtG Playtest, Agricola & More
Sep 30, 2013 • 82 min
Our hosts discuss Dirk’s recent experience playtesting ‘At the Gates’, dive deep into what makes ‘Agricola’ great, and lament the loneliness of the skill curve in ‘Go’. They also touch upon the simple-but-effective worldbuilding in ‘The Last
#46: Theme, Mechanics & Fun
Sep 23, 2013 • 73 min
Jon, Dirk and David finally get around to talking about theme, mechanics and how the intersection of the two relates to ‘fun’. What are each? What happens when you favor one over the other? Can you flat out OMIT one? And what are some examples in the
#45: Tabletop & Digital Design. With Ed Beach
Sep 17, 2013 • 65 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Ed Beach, designer of the digital titles ‘Civilization 5: Gods & Kings’ and ‘Brave New World’ as well as tabletop games ‘Here I Stand’ and ‘Virgin Queen’. As you might have guessed, their discussion focuses on th
#44: Competition, Endgames & Updates
Sep 11, 2013 • 81 min
Jon and Dirk discuss Solium Infernum and City of Remnants in-depth, and along the way delve into the issues deep competitive games have and the reasons why endgames are typically so bad. Dirk then provides an update on his forty projects, and Jon talks…
#43: Randomness
Sep 4, 2013 • 67 min
Jon, Dirk and David finally get around to the elephant in the room: randomness. What is it? How can it make games better or worse? How does it relate to the type of audience you’re aiming for? What bad things can happen when you try to remove it? And h.
#42: King of Dragon Pass. With David Dunham
Aug 26, 2013 • 59 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by David Dunham, the creator of the classic PC and new iOS game ‘King of Dragon Pass’. The panel discusses the game’s unique focus on player-driven narrative, reviving an old-school title on new platforms, and the challenges
#41: Paradox Games, Poker and AI
Aug 19, 2013 • 77 min
Jon and Dirk cover a wide variety of topics this week, notably: the problems with automation and user interface in Paradox titles like Hearts of Iron 3 and Europa Universalis 4, the psychological appeal and the (possibly too-important) role of money in…
#40: Multiplayer
Aug 15, 2013 • 60 min
Jon, Dirk and David delve into the topic of multiplayer design: How is it different from single player design? What are the strengths and weaknesses different types of multiplayer? What separates e-sports from traditional multiplayer games? And what ap…
#39: Skyward Collapse, AI and Business. With Chris Park
Aug 6, 2013 • 84 min
Jon and Dirk sit down with Chris Park of Arcen Games to discuss his latest game, Skyward Collapse, the development and business challenges of developing indie strategy games, and the important role AI can play in asymmetric games.
#38: Polish, Penalties & Updates
Jul 30, 2013 • 87 min
Jon and Dirk discuss several games at length this week, namely: Monaco, the new Walking Dead chapter, Super Crate Box for the Ouya and Civ 5: Brave New World. Topics covered include how penalties can improve a game, the importance of polish, and why di…
#37: Failure, Punishment and Learning
Jul 23, 2013 • 72 min
Jon, Dirk and David discuss the role of failure in games and how it ties in with how people learn how to play. What does punishment add, and where can it go wrong? How do you effectively teach players strategy games? What do PLAYERS get out of failure?…
#36: Occult Chronicles & Life as an Indie. With Vic Davis
Jul 16, 2013 • 71 min
Dirk sits down with game designer Vic Davis of Cryptic Comet games to talk about life as an indie designer, Vic’s dark game design decisions, and his new game ‘Occult Chronicles’.
#35: Ethics in Design, Hotline Miami & Updates
Jul 9, 2013 • 85 min
Jon and Dirk cover a variety of games they’ve played lately, including the new ‘Walking Dead’ expansion, ‘Ascension’ and ‘1775’. The discussion gets serious when ‘Hotline Miami’ comes up, and the crew debates the role of ethics in game d
#34: Progression Systems. With Soren Johnson
Jul 2, 2013 • 63 min
Soren Johnson returns to the show to discuss progression systems with Jon and Dirk, with a special focus on technology trees. What are the advantages and disadvantages of abstraction? How do Diablo 2 and 3 and Civilization 4 and 5 differ? What is At th…
#33: Unity of Command. With Tomislav Uzelac
Jun 25, 2013 • 60 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Tomislav Uzelac, designer of the amazing WW2 strategy game ‘Unity of Command’ and studio lead for 2x2 Games. They dig into the title’s superb AI, its innovative supply system, building a streamlined strategic experience an
#32: Don’t Starve, Shogun, Wiz-War & Updates
Jun 18, 2013 • 85 min
Jon and Dirk discuss a few games they’ve played lately which make good first impressions but ultimately fall short: ‘Don’t Starve’, ‘Shogun’ and ‘Wiz-War’. They then transition over to talking about what they’ve been working on, includin
#31: Tactics & Repetition
Jun 11, 2013 • 78 min
Jon, Dirk and David discuss tactics in a more general sense. What is a tactical game? What problems does the genre have? Why does Jon hate basically all of them? And is it the players’ fault if their tactical choices aren’t as interesting as they coul
#30: Design Lessons & Sirlin Games. With David Sirlin
Jun 4, 2013 • 86 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by David Sirlin, designer of tabletop titles Puzzle Strike, Yomi and Flash Duel. The group discusses his past games, future plans, building a tabletop company, David’s interesting journey from the Street Fighter community into d.
#29: Solium Infernum, ‘Futbol Strategy’ & More
May 28, 2013 • 70 min
Jon and Dirk finally get around to discussing ‘Solium Infernum’, a tabletop-digital “hybrid” strategy title where you aim to become the lord of hell. They wheel around and talk about the light worker placement game ‘Stone Age’ and why it might
#28: Scoring & Victory
May 21, 2013 • 74 min
The usual three-man crew discusses - debates, even - the ways in which we win games. The first half of the show is dominated by dissecting the pluses and minuses of victory points, whether they’re inherently arbitrary, and if they might even be a sign .
#27: Board Game Design. With Martin Wallace
May 16, 2013 • 63 min
Dirk (the solo host for this week) sits down with acclaimed game designer Martin Wallace of Tree Frog Games. Martin’s star-studded resume includes Railroad Tycoon, A Few Acres of Snow, Waterloo, and the Discworld licensed games.
#26: Puzzle Strike, Becoming a Designer, & More
May 7, 2013 • 94 min
A lengthy episode where Jon and Dirk cover a variety of topics. First, they discuss the superb ‘Puzzle Strike’, basically “‘Dominion’ done right.” The conversation shifts to ‘Magic’ and the pluses and minuses of an immense learning curve.
#25: Information & Obfuscation
Apr 30, 2013 • 63 min
David Heron, Jon and Dirk noodle over the role of information and obfuscation in game design. Why does ‘Persona 4’ work when the BioWare games do not? And when can hiding info be GOOD for a game?
#24: Games and the Law. With Dave Fitzgerald
Apr 23, 2013 • 89 min
Trademark specialist and actual lawyer-type Dave Fitzgerald joins the show to discuss legal issues relating to games development. Topics covered include the difference between patents, trademarks and copyrights, what you need to set up a company and co…
#23: Magic, Drafting & Updates
Apr 18, 2013 • 67 min
Dirk shares his first ‘Magic’ drafting experience, and why the game and format now has its hooks into him. He and Jon then step back and evaluate the drafting mechanic and ponder whether the reason why it works is BECAUSE of a steep learning curve. Th
#22: Bioshock Infinite & Plaid Hat Games. With Colby Dauch
Apr 12, 2013 • 70 min
The team is joined by Colby Dauch, president of Plaid Hat Games, the developer behind Summoner Wars and the upcoming Bioshock Infinite board game. These games are discussed, as well as the story behind Plaid Hat’s founding, Colby’s approach to busines
#21: Free to Play. With David Heron
Apr 4, 2013 • 56 min
New occasional co-host David Heron rejoins the show to analyze the impact of Free to Play (F2P) from a business and design perspective. The group discusses the philosophical implications of F2P, along with real life examples that include Banner Saga: F…
#20: ‘Tomorrow’, Abnercon Games & Updates
Mar 28, 2013 • 79 min
Jon and Dirk are guest-free this week and provide an update on what they’ve been working on and playing. On the Kickstarter front, ‘At the Gates’ has wrapped up and ‘War Stories’ will soon be doing the same. A recent playtest of ‘Tomorrow’ a
#19: Diplomacy & Allan Calhamer. With Jim Burgess
Mar 21, 2013 • 83 min
With the sad passing of Allan Calhamer, Dirk and Jon felt it appropriate to honor his memory and the legacy left behind by his finest work: Diplomacy. They are joined by Jim Burgess, a distinguished member of the Diplomacy community. The crew discusses…
#18: Spelunky. With Derek Yu
Mar 15, 2013 • 76 min
This week Jon and Dirk are joined by Derek Yu, designer of Spelunky. He shares his design approach, the importance of challenge and permadeath. Derek also describes what it’s like to be a designer/artist hybrid, as opposed to the designer/programmers t.
#17: Kickstarter & Fate Core. With Fred Hicks
Mar 7, 2013 • 59 min
With the At the Gates funding campaign coming to a close, Jon and Dirk are joined by the timely Fred Hicks of Evil Hat to talk about launching and running a Kickstarter drive. They delve into the demands and challenges of Kickstarter, and Fred shares t…
#16: War Stories. With Michael Tan
Feb 28, 2013 • 60 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by Michael Tan, lead designer of War Stories, a new tabletop wargaming franchise that just launched on Kickstarter. Michael and Dirk talk about the experience of remotely designing a game together, and share many of the exciting…
#15: Tactics, Company of Heroes & XCOM
Feb 21, 2013 • 69 min
In this week’s episode Jon and Dirk discuss two of their favorite tactical combat games: Relic’s Company of Heroes, and Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Our hosts discuss what these games did well, poorly and what changes they would make to them.
#14: 4X Games & Civilization. With Soren Johnson
Feb 14, 2013 • 69 min
This week Jon and Dirk are joined by Soren Johnson, best known as the designer of Civilization IV. The gang discusses the 4X genre with a particular focus on the Civilization series. They dig into what makes this category of games special, what problem…
#13: Jon’s New Game - At the Gates
Feb 6, 2013 • 73 min
Lucky #13! In this week’s episode, our hosts discuss Jon’s new game: ‘At the Gates,’ a 4X strategy game where you play as a barbarian tribe during the fall of Rome. They discuss the background for the game’s development, as well as the design th
#12: CCGs & Dominion. With David Heron
Jan 30, 2013 • 70 min
Jon and Dirk are joined by designer David Heron to discuss his work on the Legend of the Five Rings CCG (Collectible Card Game). Along the way, they examine the business side of building a CCG. The discussion then shifts to deckbuilding and drafting ga…
#11: Storytelling & The Walking Dead. With Telltale
Jan 23, 2013 • 79 min
A “high-energy” episode this week as Jon and Dirk are joined by Telltale Games designers (and Idle Thumbs hosts) Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin. The guests share their experiences developing story-based games, with a particular focus on The Walking Dead
#10: Battle of the Bulge, Updates, and More
Jan 15, 2013 • 61 min
An intimate show this week where Jon and Dirk cover a variety of topics ranging from the new Battle of the Bulge iOS game to Jon’s recent article contrasting turn-based and real-time games. Dirk also provides an update on the progress of his current ga.
#9: Journey of a Part-Time Indie. With Jesse Howard
Jan 8, 2013 • 81 min
This week Jon and Dirk are joined by Jesse Howard, an academic turned part-time tabletop designer - at age 40. They delve into Jesse’s ongoing journey to develop ‘Ploy’, a promising and innovative abstract card game. The design of Ploy is a very int
#8: End-of-Year Spectacular 2012
Jan 2, 2013 • 67 min
In the final episode of 2012, Jon and Dirk hand out the first annual TGDRT Game Design Awards. Our hosts highlight some favorites from past episodes but also share their thoughts on a few newcomers - their Games of the Year might come as a bit of a sur…
#7: Experience & Replayability. With Scott Lewis
Dec 27, 2012 • 66 min
This week Jon and Dirk are joined by Firaxis designer and programmer Scott Lewis. He comes on the show to jump into a discussion about “experience” games, which target the player’s first experience, and replayable games, which are designed to hold u
#6: Running a Game Company. With Uwe Eickert
Dec 18, 2012 • 94 min
This week Dirk and Jon are joined by Uwe Eickert, founder of Academy Games and designer of several acclaimed board games. They discuss a few of Uwe’s projects including Conflict of Heroes and 1775. Also covered is how and why he got into the business, .
#5: Digital vs. Tabletop Game Design
Dec 12, 2012 • 68 min
An intimate show this week in which our co-hosts “go commando,” as Dirk puts it. We compare and contrast tabletop and digital game design, and dig into the process Dirk went through when creating Tomorrow. The crew dives deep into the “nuts and bolt
#4: Storytelling & Crusader Kings 2. With Paradox.
Dec 3, 2012 • 60 min
Henrik Fahraeus and Chris King from the Paradox Interactive design crew join Jon and Dirk to talk about storytelling in games.
#3: Trends in Digital & Tabletop Game Design
Nov 27, 2012 • 89 min
Bill Abner from Conquistador Games joins Jon and Dirk to talk about trends in digital and tabletop games, as well as his experiences transitioning from gaming media into game development.
#2: Memory, Innovation and Being an Indie. With Rob Daviau.
Nov 20, 2012 • 94 min
Risk: Legacy designer and newly-minted indie game design company owner Rob Daviau joins Dirk and Jon to talk about a wide-range of topics including memory and persistence in games, innovation, and starting your own game company. Spelunky, Stone Age, Lo…
#1: Hello World!
Nov 11, 2012 • 44 min
The Game Design Round Table launches with hosts Dirk Knemeyer and Jon Shafer talking about their background in gaming and design.