2017 Metatopia Scholarship Winners

Becoming a successful game designer and self-publisher is not an easy task, one each of us struggles with on a daily basis. Getting your foot in the door to start a burgeoning career designing board games, card games, and tabletop roleplaying games can be daunting for many and some traditionally have a harder time than others. It’s for this reason the IGDN, in partnership with Double Exposure Inc., created the Metatopia Scholarship program.

The goal of the program is to help expand the diversity of talent in the independent market by providing them with travel expenses, accommodation, and badges to this year’s Metatopia, an annual game design and publishing conference located in New Jersey. You can learn more about Metatopia on their website.

Thanks to donations from people like yourself and our 2017 partners (Ottawa Story Games, Big Bad Con, Nerd ABQ, and Games To Gather), we’re extremely pleased to announce this year’s eight Scholarship winners. That’s right – eight brand new faces are going to Metatopia! It’s the most we’ve ever been able to assist with the Scholarship and we want to thank all of our donators and the committee members who sifted through the 30+ applications to make these difficult final decisions.

This year’s recipients (and their sponsoring partners) are:

Jessie Yaternick (Ottawa Story Games)
Justin Rogers (Nerd ABQ)
Jeeyon Shim (Big Bad Con)
Jefferson Kwan Lee (Games To Gather)
Miguel Angel Espinoza
Camdon Wright
Jacqueline Beckwith
Victoria Caña

Take a moment to discover more about some of these up-and-coming designers and perhaps you’ll have a chance to sit down and try out their games at Metatopia next month.

Camdon Wright loves to play pretend. He makes games so that other people can play pretend even when he’s not around. To that end, he started the fledgling company Analog Letters. His first game was a social horror game, based on John Harper’s Lasers and Feelings, called Madness and Desire. It answers the never asked question; what would happen if you combined The Bachelor with Cthulhu horror?  He lives in Westminster, Colorado with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Rockford. Rockford is a good dog.

He is bringing a brand-new game called One Child’s Heart to Metatopia 2017. The game is modern sci-fi and explores childhood trauma. In the game, child welfare professionals enter the memories of a young person using a machine called the Central Limbic Engagement Recovery System (CLERS). Characters guide the child though these pivotal moments by providing love and support when it is needed most. The past can’t be changed, but you can save one child’s future.

Website: www.camdon.com and www.analogletters.com

Facebook: camdonw

Twitter: @camdon

Jessie Yaternick has always followed her entrepreneurial spirit. After studying Political Science at the University of Ottawa, she moved on to other projects such as game design, testing and writing. She lives in Ottawa, Canada with her family, and spends her days writing and designing her games. In 2012, she founded her gaming company, Drewling Panda Games, and since then released more than five board games.

One of these games, Capodecina, will be featured at Metatopia 2017. Capodecina (also known as Capo) is a quick card game, that brings the player into missions, jobs and family drama in order become the new head of the family.

Website : www.drewlingpandagames.com

Facebook personal: https://www.facebook.com/jess.edwards.779

Facebook DPG: https://www.facebook.com/DrewlingPandaGames/

Jacqueline Beckwith (aka Jack or Jackie) is a game designer with a special interest in horror and supernatural RPGs. Their works include the self-published ghost apocalypse story game Bated Breath, and a contribution to the charity microgame anthology Two Weeks by Dan Enders. It is Jack’s hope to join and help the rising chorus of queer and mentally ill gamers and game designers. In addition to tabletop, Jack enjoys PC gaming, listening to too many podcasts, and everything about autumn in general. They live in Massachusetts near Salem with two black cats like the living stereotype of a witch they are.

For Metatopia this year, Jack presents Cobblestone: a gothic horror PBTA game about mundane people in an increasingly supernatural world. Cobblestone explores themes of searching for empowerment when feeling powerless, and a meta-analysis of traditional views of insanity in horror gaming. Choose one of a motley crew of professions and navigate a bleak quasi-Victorian landscape of monsters (human and otherwise), depending on your wits and wiles… and the delicate balance of your four humors.

Miguel Angel Espinoza is a Mexican professional graphic designer, illustrator, programmer and fiction writer. He belongs to the first generation of the School for Writers in his home town. In the mid 90’s, he discovered this amazing hobby called Role-Playing Games, he’s been playing them ever since. He’s currently working on his first game design project—Nahual—both in English and Spanish at the same time.

Nahual is a Mexican role-playing game Powered by the Apocalypse set on the universe created by the comic book artist Edgar Clément, started in the graphic novel Operación Bolivar. In Nahaul players are angel hunters, descendants from the powerful brujos nahuales that fought against the invading angels that came with the conquistadores. They have the dormant gifts that allow them to touch the gods and their harbingers, but their memory is lost, impoverishing the greatness of these wonders. Many angel hunters just struggle for survival, some crave power, others look for answers—at the end they all agree in one thing: a nahual lives to hunt down angels. The Universe created by Clément is electrifying, set as a reflection of contemporary Mexico and charged with folklore and myths both pre-Columbian and Christian, thus forming a faithful allegory of what is Mexico, a mixture of cultures and traditions.

Jefferson Lee is a lightly published game designer from Portland, Oregon, who co-created Turn of the Card (TurnoftheCard.com), a Tarot-based role-playing game. He has been actively designing story and role-playing games for nearly fifteen years, playing these games for even longer, and they have become an integral part of his daily life.

He is currently developing a Poker-deck based story game called The City, which uses various locations from his beloved home of Portland to inspire themes and gameplay for a common set of easy to learn rules. Patrons who visited these locations could get a free copy of the game and play in the setting that inspired their copy of The City, and experience both story games and Portland in a unique light.

His game design habits are lovingly supported by his talented and incredible wife, Theresa, and his loud and cuddly Tortoiseshell cat, Seven. When Jefferson finds time outside of work and game design, he plays games and practices illustratration (he really tries his best with illustration).

Justin Rogers, or “J.Ro”, is a writer/editor/musician/teacher/activist/organizer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He had a rather uncommon introduction to RPGs, playing in several unreleased Apocalypse World hacks and “indie hipster barely-a-game” games, but to this day doesn’t really know what a Pathfinder is. Justin has participated in online game broadcasts for Indie Plus, written a series of “Hot Takes” for the Halcyon City Herald supplement to Masks: A New Generation, and is currently working on writing and recording a series of Narcocorrido songs for the upcoming Magpie Games release Cartel. He has too many fantasy football teams and not enough dogs.

Justin’s first foray into game design is Family Without Values, a game about telling the story of the scheming, manipulative, narcissistic, and foolish members of a dysfunctional family — think Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny, The Royal Tenenbaums, or even the Lannisters or Trumps.

Management consultant by day, fledgling game designer by night – Victoria Caña is a normal girl living in Brooklyn trying to publish a game. In collaboration with her loving fiance Alexandre Uboldi, she is is currently working on Gladius, a 2-5 player card game set in Ancient Rome where players bet on and bolster gladiators vying for victory in the arena. Her highest personal interests in life thus far are urban foraging, Pusheen-themed merch, and settling on the offshore island of Catan.

If you are looking for Victoria or her game online, you can find them on virtually any major social media platform under the usernames @victoriacana and @gladiuscardgame. You can also email Victoria at victoria.c.cana@gmail.com.