SIEGE time!

This weekend coming up I’ll be speaking at SIEGE down in Atlanta, GA. Woot and fun times, as usual.  Here’s the schedule so far:


10:00 AM:  The System Design of Tabletop Games

While most aspects of systems design flow seamlessly between both the digital and non-digital realms, designing rulesets, mechanics, and the underlying math for board games can offer it’s own unique challenges. Without access to a simple rand() function, what are the best options for giving the player different choices on each turn? Are there any methods that let the physical pieces do most of the heavy lifting (without breaking the retail price tag)? Most of all however, board games offer a unique opportunity for truly understanding multiplayer interactions in all their various forms, something which any designer today can find a useful addition to their toolbelt.

Michael Shinall and Jesse Jacobson will also be jumping on the panel. 🙂


2:00 PM: Grumpy Cat’s Guide to Game Design – The Beauty of “No”

While primarily known for her role as a bastion of internet procrastination, did you know that Grumpy Cat is also a wisdom-dispensing game design guru? Whether working in a digital or physical medium, designing systems, spaces, or characters, Grumpy Cat has a game design lesson for you. From developing proper pacing and how to tell a narrative that doesn’t stomp on mechanics, to dealing with player failure and cooperative versus competitive play, Grumpy Cat and her various memes can remind, inform, or teach all us designers on how best to respect the player, the product and play.

This talk started out as a joke at a coffee shop.  It is full of hot pink, lolcats, and grumpiness, and fills my heart with joy.  If you miss it here, I’m also giving it later in the month in Dallas at Big (D)esign.


11:30 AM:Social Gaming After Zynga

Whether you’re addicted to Farmville or can’t wait for the company to exist only as a footnote on a business case study, Zynga has had an undeniable influence on the development, growth, and public perception of social gaming. Now that the company is no longer the undisputed king of the casual sphere and other games take the spotlight, how have they irrevocably changed the way these games are both designed and consumed? Is data truly as important as it seems, or is it useful only in limited applications? How has spoonfed-design practices both changed the next generation of designers and players? How has designing for social evolved past the Zynga model? Do games even need a ‘special sauce’ anymore, and how mass-market should a product really be?

Natasha Bryant-Raible and Cody Kicklighter will be joining me for this one.  And I admit, I have not yet finished this one. :C


Sooooo yeah.  If you’re Atlanta stop by and say hi.  I’m also going to try and bring a few games down with me, luggage space permitting.

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