In 2011, a couple of indie game designers started thinking how great it would be to have a online space where they could share share game design ideas, bounce business strategies off each other, and commiserate over the ups and downs of working in tabletop role-playing design.
It didn't quite work out the way they planned.
Instead, they discovered the power of collective action in an industry where small creators can feel isolated. They were able to pool their resources to buy a booth at Gen Con, the longest running gaming convention in the world, and show off their games to a bigger audience than they would have access to otherwise. And thus the new vision of the IGDN came about.
Not everyone in the IGDN designs the same type of games. Some make board games, others card games. Some make both, or focus their energy on tabletop role-playing games. There are games that focus on skill tests decided by a dice roll, games that rely more heavily on narrative decisions by the players, and games that don't fit neatly in any category. Some designers hack existing systems while others create their own from scratch.
But everyone in the IGDN brings their own skills, knowledge, and outlook to make the whole stronger than they would be individually. By pooling knowledge and resources, individual members no longer had to reinvent or learn each step of the publishing world from scratch. And once that burden was shared, the members of the IGDN could look outward at the gaming community, and see how they could contribute.
Since 2014, the IGDN, Double Exposure, and supporting partners have been proud to send new game designers from diverse backgrounds to Metatopia, the game design conference, held each November in Morristown, NJ. In addition to our direct contribution, we crowdfund additional money each year to cover the costs. The scholarship covers travel, lodging, and a conference badge so that designers from underrepresented backgrounds can show off their games and make connections with industry professionals.
Several scholarship recipients have gone on to publish games, either on their own or with larger game companies. Some of these individuals include:
- Sarah Richardson, 2014 scholarship winner, author of Velvet Glove and co-author of Bluebeard's Bride
- Darcy Ross, 2016 scholarship winner, Monte Cook Games
- Kiel Chenier, 2016 scholarship winner, author of the ENnie-award winning Blood In The Chocolate
- Jefferson Kwan Lee, 2017 scholarship winner, co-designer of Turn of the Card