The Best and Worst of Times

This is a guest post by Camdon Wright, one of the winners of the IGDN Metatopia Diversity Scholarship and designer of the RPG, One Child’s Heart, about his experience at Metatopia 2017.

Trigger warning: Childhood depression and suicide

I have loved gaming since I first stole my cousin’s expert Dungeons and Dragons blue box (sorry, Steven). I never played the game but I spent hours reading through everything it contained. I have obsessed over characters, stories, moments of sadness and joy, and how to create honest moments at a gaming table for most of my life.

I’ve lived all over the west coast but spent most of my childhood in Alaska. When we moved to Denver, Colorado 8 years ago I discovered a substantial and supportive gaming community. I began to seriously focus on my writing and game design five years ago, and in the last year that work has borne fruit. I’ve finished my first game, Madness and Desire, and sold my first adventure to a publisher.

When I submitted my application to the IGDN Metatopia Diversity Scholarship, I didn’t really consider the possibility that I might win. Everything I put in that form was as authentically me as I could make it. I thought that was enough to ensure I would never win. Continue reading

IGDN at PAX Unplugged!

Pax Unplugged 2017

Some members of the IGDN have headed off to Philly to take part in the first ever PAX Unplugged. With its emphasis on tabletop fun, the IGDN decided to get a booth as well as participate in panels, run games, and see what all the excitement is about.

The IGDN booth is #343, and will include such games as: Synthicide, Dreamchaser, Catthulhu, Murders & Acquisitions, and the CAPERS preview edition. There will also be GM screens, dice, and other accessories for some games. Pete Petrusha will be at the booth throughout the con, and will have a matching word game for people to try out. Other IGDN members you might spot at the booth or around the convention are Craig Campbell, John Kennedy, and Jack Berberette.

The Indie Game Bazaar booth is #414, and will be selling Emily Care Boss’s Romance Trilogy, along with her other games. They will have other small press indie rpgs as well.

The Magpie Games booth is #442, and will include new releases like Bluebeard’s Bride, Pasión de las Pasiones, and The Ward. They’ll also have copies of Urban Shadows, Masks: A New Generation, Epyllion: A Dragon EpicVelvet Glove, and more!

Make sure to catch Danielle at her GMing panel at noon on Saturday in the Dragon Auditorium. If you miss her there, drop by the John Wick Presents booth (#438) to say hi!

Joel Sparks will be running his new board game at Unpub on Saturday, CRUISE — The Game of Competitive Tourism!. Craig Campbell will be running both CAPERS and Die Laughing while Pete Petrusha will be running Dreamchaser and the Whispering Road over at the Games on Demand room, so be sure to check out these games.

And don’t miss Marissa Kelly’s Small Talk: Proper Game Mastering at 1 pm on Sunday! She’ll be sitting down with Luke Crane at the Kickstarter booth, #740.

Have a great con!

IGDN Scholarship Winners Games at Metatopia

Metatopia 2017 Double Exposure, Inc. 2017

We announced our winners for the Metatopia Scholarship earlier, but now that Metatopia weekend is here you can go check out their games at the convention!

​Mike Espinoza​

Mike is running five sessions of Nahual. 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 Operacion Bolivar. In Nahual 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.

You can find the game at one of these times.

R164: Friday, 11:00AM – 1:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R287: Friday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R514: Saturday, 11:00AM – 1:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session.
R631: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R804: Sunday, 10:00AM – 12:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY. ***ONLY ONE SEAT LEFT!***

Jessie Yaternick​

Is running two games in three slots. The first game is Capodecina, a gangster card game where players try to build themselves a crew to successfully pull off heists. You can choose to work with other players to complete the crew and share the rewards of a job. You can help other players out of jail or the hospital but you also have the choice to rat them out, shoot them, or steal their crew members. The first player to obtain enough reputation becomes the new “Boss” and wins.

You can find Capodecina at these times:

B177: Friday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, All Ages. This is a HI-TEST session.
B813: Sunday, 12:00PM – 2:00PM; Fun, All Ages

The second game is Quarantine Heroes which is a cooperative card game where the players must keep themselves and civilians alive against the threat of disease. Your team must handle exposures and control infections by finding and equipping gear, managing resources, and sheer luck. If anyone player or a civilian dies, then the game is lost.

You can find Quarantine Heroes at this time:

B540: Saturday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 2 seats left.

​Justin Rogers​

Justin is running three slots of Family Without Values. It’s a dysfunctional family comedy RPG built off the mechanics of the game Swords Without Master by Epidiah Ravachol. In it, each player will choose a playbook a la Apocalypse World and answer some questions to create their scheming, narcissistic, and foolish family member, then begin playing out scenes as creators, actors, and audience. Dice are rolled to determine the overtone of the scene and the tone of each action — will they be “Cheeky and Fun,” or “Tragic and Cruel”? Players slip and struggle against the manipulations of other family members and their own inadequacies until, presumably, nothing is accomplished

You can find it during these times:

R219: Friday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY.There are 3 seats left.
[FILLED] R627: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY.
R841: Sunday, 12:00PM – 2:00PM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session. There are 2 seats left.

​Victoria Cana​

Victoria is running six slots of Gladius, a betting game about guts, glory, and gambling! Over the course of five rounds, players bet on teams of gladiators and play influence cards to alter the outcome of each event. Your goal is to make sure you’re on the winning end by any means necessary. Can you outwit your opponents to profit off of the gladiatorial games, or will you be left empty-handed?

B246: Friday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 4 seats left.
B321: Friday, 8:00PM – 10:00PM; Fun, All Ages. This is a HI-TEST session. There are 4 seats left.
B531: Saturday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
B583: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
B823: Sunday, 12:00PM – 2:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
B858: Sunday, 3:00PM – 5:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.

J​acqueline Beckwith​

Jacqueline is running two sessions of Cobblestone,  A gothic horror PbtA game where the mundane walk among the monstrous. How do you handle being powerless in a world of strange power? How do you make your own empowerment? Manage the delicate balance of your mind and emotions as you seek to understand, destroy, or simply cope with the supernatural. In the end, maybe the true horror is in how we handle it. Take up your lanterns and walk the Cobblestone. Both are filled, but with the way the convention goes someone might need a last minute spot so be aware of this anyway.

[FILLED] R406: Friday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session.
[FILLED] R750: Saturday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. There are 0 seats left

​Jeeyon Shim​

Is running two games with one slot each. The first is In the Vein a game where your last year at Fog Mountain’s School of Magic feels as though it will never end – not least because you managed to land yourself, yet again, in advisory review. You and your other unfortunate peers must pass the school’s most dangerous professor’s tests of your knowledge – even if it costs you your life. In this Trackers Earth LARP, intense interpersonal drama intertwines with herbalism and our Curriculum of Shadows, Trackers’ unique method of teaching stealth and tracking. Players will learn an introduction to the vast array of medicinal – and poisonous – plants that grow in California as well as camouflage with natural materials. Be prepared to get dirty!

L450: Saturday, 9:00AM – 11:00AM; Fun, All Ages. There are 6 seats left.

The second game is Hellboy LARP. Have you ever wanted to work alongside Hellboy as an investigator in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense? Dark Horse Comics joins forces with Trackers Earth to bring you the only officially licensed Hellboy LARP in the country, a truly unique exploration of the supernatural and real world survival skills. Be the first to workshop this exciting collaboration!

L746: [ALPHA TEST] Saturday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session. There are 3 seats left.

Camdon Wright

Camdon is running two slots of One Child’s Heart.  There are moments from childhood that alter the course of a life with their weight. Science has given you the chance to enter the memories of a child drifting toward life’s darkness. Can you, and the rest of your team, support, nurture, and protect a stranger when they need you the most? A heart is a fragile object that contains the power of humanity. Content warning: This game explores traumatic childhood issues like poverty, neglect, malnutrition, and bullying.

R356: Friday, 8:00PM – 10:00PM; Very Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R634: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Very Serious, 18 & Over ONLY. There are 4 seats left.

Jefferson Lee

Jefferson is running three slots of The City. A game where the COMPANY barely tolerates operations by The OPPOSITION, even if they all act under the same OATH, but sometimes national security requires their special brand of graceful brutality. So when something terrible happens and The Opposition shows up in your city, you know that there will be very little room for Traitors like you. You have to do what you can to protect your secrets, your future, and in the process, maybe do some good in the city that you love. The City is a Poker card based game that takes place in Portland, OR. It is a rules-lite storytelling game that has its heart in noir, but borrows some of its style and class from an espionage thriller.

R296: Friday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, All Ages. This is a HI-TEST session.
R413: Friday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
R712: Saturday, 8:00PM – 10:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left

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. Continue reading

Metatopia Scholarship Now Live!

Metatopia 2017 Double Exposure, Inc. 2017

The application for the Metatopia scholarship is now live, and each and every designer from a marginalized community working on their first game is encouraged to apply. This includes women, PoC, and LGBTQIA.

Apply here:

The scholarship is a joint effort between the Indie Game Developer Network and Double Exposure, Inc. to raise the number of diverse designers in the field. It does this by sending a group of new designers to Metatopia to playtest their game. The scholarship provides a travel stipend, designer badge, and room for the duration of the conventions. Scholarship winners will also be matched with a mentor and will join the rest of the scholarship recipients for breakfast every day to talk through their experience.

Continue reading

Gen Con 50 Highlights

Each and every year the frothing hordes of gamers the world over crash land in Indianapolis, IN for the best four days in gaming. Of course we’re talking about GEN CON, the Super Bowl of tabletop gaming. This year the IGDN was there en masse. Our companies were represented well and everyone had a complete and total blast. To all those who came by our booths and played our games and hung out, thank you! Here is a recap of some the goings-on from IGDNers.

The ENnie Awards

“Evil Hat’s Bubblegumshoe was in fierce competition for the Best Family Game, along with two other amazing IGDN games: Epyllion and Masks: A New Generation. But the care taken by Tiara Lynn Agresta in making it beautiful and readable, and by the whole creative team in making it a game adults and younger folks could enjoy seems to have paid off. It felt good to see the Silver go to Magpie’s Masks. So many thanks to the people who fell in love with our sleuths and gave Bubblegumshoe the gold!”

– Emily Care Boss

The ENnies, EN World’s annual award show, is an industry shaper. That site is the one-stop shop for RPG reviews online, so we’re very pleased to have had numerous winners and nominees across many categories!

One of the highlights of the evening was Bubblegumshoe, co-designed by our very own Emily Care Boss, taking the gold in the Best Family Game category. This category also featured Magpie Games’ Masks (which won silver) and Epyllion. Continue reading

And The Nominees Are…

If summer is a time for people to get outside and relax, the opposite applies in the tabletop RPG industry as the biggest convention of the year is only weeks away. That’s right, GenCon. Mixed into the midst of the booth setups and takedowns, handshakes, demos, and meet & greet with fans, the con is also a time to look at what made the industry a success in the past year and recognize those who made something to endure the ages.

The ENnie nominations were announced on July 4th, 2017, and there are a few IGDN members who received some worthy recognition for their work this past year. Started in 2001 primarily as an annual award show for the d20 boom, the ENnies now covers the tabletop RPG industry and has become one of the premier award shows of the season.

With voting currently open to the public until July 21st, all of us at the IGDN want to congratulate the nominees and draw attention to those within our ranks eagerly waiting to see if they will walk away with one of those finely crafted medallions.

Continue reading

Indie Groundbreakers Awards: 2017 Nominees

2017 IGDN Groundbreaker Award

The Indie Groundbreaker Awards are designed to shine a spotlight on excellence in the indie game design community. These awards recognize games (and game designers) who are creating new and exciting game designs that push the boundaries in innovation, in promoting diversity, and in expanding what it means to be “indie.”

The 2017 Indie Groundbreaker judges have spent the last few weeks poring over the submissions, and we’re thrilled to announce the nominees! Your 2017 judges were Kate Bullock, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, Jason Pitre, and Darcy Ross, as our judging panel is made up of four judges, 2 from within the IGDN and 2 from the greater industry.

Our 2017 nominees are:

Continue reading

TAG Sessions Talk

Tobie Abad, IGDN member and owner of TAG Sessions, gave a talk to students of FEU Institute of Technology in the Philippines. They were celebrating their Technofest 2017 this March, which is aimed at prospective game designers. Tobie shared the importance of exploring different types of games, whether tabletop or mobile, in becoming a professional game designer and offered the students some insight on the wide variety of experiences and tools one can utilize as a game designer.  He took the opportunity as well to introduce the students to Dungeons & Dragons, 7th Sea, and even Fiasco and offered them numerous options on how to locally get started on gaming.

Video of the talk can be viewed here:

GM’s Day Sale on DriveThruRPG!

GM's Day Sale 2017 DriveThruRPG

The GM. We call them by many names: Gamemaster; Dungeon Master; Dragonmaster; Loremaster; MC; Navigator; friend; enemy; frenemy. They keep the games moving, usually downwards along with our HP, oversee the rules, and generally plot our demise. They are, at once, cruise director, narrator, evil mastermind, and the nucleus of our gaming atom. On March 4th each year, we honor these special individuals with GM’s Day, and the IGDN is helping the festivities by offering some of our favorite games at a nice, tidy discount. But you don’t need to be a GM to enjoy the savings! Here are just a few of our offerings this year.

GM's Day Sale 2017TAG Sessions has numerous games for sale and Tobie Abad’s excellent A Single Moment is right at the top of that list. This innovative RPG is about the flashing moment of a samurai duel, and is for two players.

Eloy Lasanta and Third Eye Games’ entire catalog is participating in the sale! Sins of the Father is one of his newest creations. It’s a game about “spiritual debt”, magic, and evil and uses an especially cool playing card-based resolution mechanic. Give it a look, along with all the other favorites like the AMP series and Ninja Crusade.

Have a look at Todd Crapper’s many games, including ScreenPlay. In this unique story game, you star as writers creating a great work together, developing characters, and telling tales. Based on this ruleset is the Ironbound setting, a dark fantasy game where you tell the story of magick hunters in an original world. Continue reading