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The Game Design Round Table

303 EpisodesProduced by Dirk Knemeyer & David V. HeronWebsite

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

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#304 Listener Questions November 2023

November 21st, 2023


It’s time for another round of listener questions! In this episode, Dirk and David field questions from the community, discussing a variety of …

#303 Darkest Dungeon 2 with Chris Bourassa and Tyler Sigman

November 7th, 2023


This week, David is joined by Chris Bourassa, creative director and cofounder of Red Hook Studios, as well as Tyler Sigman, designer and fellow co-founder. Together, they discuss Red Hook’s latest venture, Darkest …

#302 Wildermyth with Nate Austin

October 24th, 2023


Dirk and David are joined by Nate Austin, co-creator of myth-making tactical RPG Wildermyth. In this entry in the series on worldbuilding, Nate describes the origins of Wildermyth, and how he and his partners grew the …

#301 Design and Controls with Richard Lemarchand

October 10th, 2023


Dirk is joined by returning guest host Soren Johnson in today's episode in the Design Talk series. Dirk and Soren speak with Richard Lemarchand, distinguished game designer and now-professor most well-known for his work …

#300 Tricentennial Celebration

September 26th, 2023


Welcome to episode 300 of The Game Design Round Table! Dirk and David take the opportunity to celebrate this momentous milestone. They reflect on the …

#299 Worldbuilding with Ryan Laukat

September 12th, 2023


Dirk is joined by Ryan Laukat, designer, illustrator, and co-founder of Red Raven Games, for the second installation in this series on worldbuilding. Ryan discusses his introduction and path into game design, the …

#298 Tchia with Phil Crifo

August 29th, 2023


Today on the show, Dirk and David are joined by Phil Crifo, game director at Awaceb, most prominently known for his work on Fossil Echo and Tchia. He discusses growing up in New Caledonia, and how it serves as an …

#297 Gerson Da Silva Talks Kingdom Rush

August 15th, 2023


Dirk and David are joined by Gerson Da Silva, Director at Ironhide Game Studio and co-founder of Totem Games. Gerson is best known for his work on the Kingdom Rush series, as well as Water 2050. This episode delves into …

#296 Listener Questions

August 1st, 2023


Dirk and David gather for another round of listener questions! They answer how to balance mechanical options and variety in a game, trends in how genres are under- or over-utilized, and the impact of live streaming on …

#295 Kingdoms and Castles with Lion Shield Studios

July 18th, 2023


Dirk is joined by Pete Angstadt and Michael Peddicard, co-founders of Lion Shield Studios, to talk about the design and success of Kingdoms and Castles. They discuss designing in the city builder genre, as well as how …

#294 Worldbuilding with Kaitlin Tremblay

July 4th, 2023


Dirk and David join Kaitlin Tremblay, fiction and collaborative game design author and co-founder of Soft Rains Games. In this inaugural episode in …

#293 Interview with Mark Rosewater

June 22nd, 2023


Dirk and David interview Mark Rosewater, the long-time lead designer of the legendary card game Magic: the Gathering. Mark shares his wisdom on how to make a game that can continue to be designed over time, as well as …

#292 TGDRT Roundtable With Dirk and David

June 6th, 2023


Dirk and David take a stroll down memory lane and discuss their personal journeys, as well as the evolution the show has taken. They discuss the …

#291 Tana Tanoi Talks Mini Motorways

May 23rd, 2023


Tana Tanoi, technical designer at Dinosaur Polo Club, joins Dirk to discuss designing Mini Motorways and Mini Metro, as well as what goes into …

#290 Sustainability in Games with Carlos Flores and jess Metheringham

May 2nd, 2023


Carlos Flores, director of NABERS, and Jess Metherigham, chair of Unlock Democracy, join Dirk in discussing the Green Games Guide, a resource geared towards  sustainability in games, and the reality of what it takes to …

#289 AI and Generative Content with Matt Kim

April 19th, 2023


Matt, Creative Director for Inworld AI, joins Dirk and David to talk about the potential of generative AI to push the boundaries of what games can do. The three discuss how AI has developed, and what possibilities the …

#288 Augmented Reality in Games with Graham Moore

April 4th, 2023


AR game designer Graham Moore joins Dirk and David to talk about his work merging tabletop wargaming with augmented reality technology. Topics …

#287 Diving Into Cards With Rob Daviau

March 21st, 2023


Former cohost Rob Daviau joins Dirk and David to discuss card games in the context of his upcoming game Unmatched Adventures.  After catching up on the state of Rob’s company Restoration Games, the trio start their deep …

#286 Listener Questions February 2023

March 1st, 2023


Kathryn rejoins Dirk and David to answer several questions from listeners in our Discord channel. Former cohost Rob Daviau also records a bonus answer to a question about legacy games.

#285 Round Table on Knowing “When”

February 15th, 2023


In another round table episode, Kathryn joins Dirk and David to discuss three previous episodes on the podcast. The first topic is a discussion on information presentation, specifically how much info to include on …

#284 Fertessa Allyse Talks Book of Villain

January 3rd, 2023


Fertessa Allyse joins Dirk and David to talk about her path in the tabletop industry. She talks about the relatively quick progress she made by iterating over and over on her core idea for Book of Villainy. Then the …

#283 Nikki Valens Talks Artisans of Splendent Vale

November 29th, 2022


Designer Nikki Valens joins Dirk and David once again to talk about a couple of Nikki’s projects since they were last on the show. The discussion focuses on Artisans of Splendent Vale, a co-op narrative and tactical …

#282 Julio Nazario Talks Dulce and More

October 11th, 2022


Board game designer Julio Nazario joins Dirk and David to talk about his success in publishing a variety of distinct games in a relatively short …

#281 Diving into Cards as a Simplifier

September 1st, 2022


Aran Koning joins Dirk and David to talk about his digital card game, Stacklands. Discussions include an in-depth look at how the pack-buying mechanic ended up in a village building game, how progression works while …

#280 Bianca Canoza Talks ARC

August 10th, 2022


Bianca Canoza, also known as Momatoes online, joins David and Kathryn to discuss her pathway into games, the lessons she’s learned, and the Southeast Asian RPG community. Bianca talks about different games she’s worked …

#279 Dominique Dickey Talks Plant Girl

July 29th, 2022


Dominique joins Dirk and David to talk about TTRPG design. Topics covered include Dominique’s pathway into the field through a student internship with Monte Cook Games, the challenges of approaching theme-first design …

#278 Listener Questions June 2022

June 7th, 2022


Kathryn teams up with Dirk and David to tackle another round of listener questions. Topics include microtransactions, free-to-play games, early game design steps, data in game design, and how designers can learn from …

#277 Diving into Cards as a Crossroads

May 25th, 2022


Isaac Vega joins Dirk and David to talk about his experiences in the board game industry and how he has used cards in his games. First the trio …

#276 Round Table on Market Considerations for Game Themes

May 12th, 2022


Kathryn rejoins Dirk and David for another Round Table discussion of past episodes. First, in reference to the recent episode with Sydney Engelstein, the group talks about card-based expansions. Then the discussion …

#275 Diving Into Card-focused Adaptations and Expansions

April 6th, 2022


Sydney Engelstein joins Dirk and David to talk about her history in game design and her work on multiple card-centric games. After discussing some of …

#274 Damon Stone Talks Liberation Haiti

March 25th, 2022


Damon Stone joins Dirk and David to discuss his game Liberation Haiti, a historical-themed deckbuilder and a Zenobia Award finalist. First, Damon talks about his experience in game design and development, including how …

#273 Dave Scott Talks Everyday Heroes

March 9th, 2022


Dave Scott joins Dirk and David to discuss the upcoming tabletop roleplaying system Everyday Heroes, a revived and updated version of the old D20 …

#272 Charlie Cleveland Talks Subnautica

February 22nd, 2022


Charlie Cleveland joins Dirk and David to discuss his work on the underwater survival game Subnautica–an indie hit and a standout in the genre. The …

#271 Lauren Ino Talks The Season

February 9th, 2022


Lauren talks to Dirk about her Regency era game, The Season. She gives a lot of background on the Regency romance setting and the Georgian Era in general. She explains how elements of her game reflect its historical …

#270 Listener Questions January 2022

January 26th, 2022


Once again, Kathryn Hymes joins Dirk and David for another round of listener questions. The discussion starts with a thorough examination of how to best grow an audience for a game when starting at zero. Other …

#269 Joseph Kelly Talks Molly House

January 4th, 2022


Joseph joins Dirk and David to talk about their game Molly House, which was a Zenobia Award finalist. They discuss the historical theme behind the …

#268 Sherria Ayuandini Talks From Darkness to Light

December 22nd, 2021


Sherria joins Dirk and David to talk about her game From Darkness to Light, which explores the intersection between the education of women in Indonesia and the Indonesians’ fight for independence. Plenty of historical …

#267 Crowdfunding on Kickstarter with Anya Combs

December 8th, 2021


Anya, Director of Games for Kickstarter, joins Dirk and David to talk about how the crowdfunding platform works with creatives in the games industry. The three discuss why games, and especially tabletop games, have …

#266 Banana Chan Talks Suburban Consumption of the Monstrous

November 24th, 2021


Banana Chan joins Dirk and David to talk about her experience in multiple areas of game design, and how thematic games can be made in each medium. …

#265 Round Table on Past Projects and Untapped Potential

November 2nd, 2021


Kathryn joins Dirk and David for a round table discussion based on recent shows. Dirk and David get Kathryn’s perspective on card games and how they help her create story-based games. Then discussion moves to market …

#264 Will Thompson Talks Winter Rabbit and PaleoVet

October 14th, 2021


Will returns to the show with Dirk and David to discuss his game Winter Rabbit, a finalist for the Zenobia Award. A contest for designers from underrepresented groups in the hobby, the Zenobia Award pairs promising …

#263 Old World: Sorting Through Feedback

September 25th, 2021


Soren returns to the show with Dirk and David for the third and final episode in this mini-series on his game Old World. They talk about the reception for Old World now that it’s been released, the narrative elements of …

#262 Diving into Co-op Card Games with MJ Newman

September 8th, 2021


MJ Newman joins Dirk and David to discuss co-op card games and her work on the Lord of the Rings and Arkham Horror LCGs published by Fantasy Flight Games. They talk about how these co-op games are designed compared to a …

#251 David McDonough Supports the Player’s Story

January 19th, 2021


Firaxis designer David McDonough joins the show to talk strategy game design with Dirk and David. Topics in their discussion include: player stories …

#246 Omari Akil Talks Rap Godz

September 29th, 2020


Board game designer Omari Akil joins Dirk and David to talk about Rap Godz, Hoop Godz, and the process of making games that connect both mechanically and emotionally with a specific theme. They discuss the hip hop theme …

#245 Listener Questions August 2020

August 18th, 2020


Kathryn joins Dirk and David to discuss the recent Rob Daviau episode as well as answer listener questions. In response to Daviau’s design axiom, the …

#240 Ryan Scott Aims for Balanceable, Not Balanced

June 9th, 2020


Ryan “Morello” Scott joins Dirk and David on the show to discuss his design axiom: balance isn’t important, but balanceable is critical. Ryan discusses why planning ahead for a balanceable piece of content is critical …

#238 Round Table on How Different Game Mediums Handle Edge Cases

May 12th, 2020


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 …

#237 Old World: Utilizing Playtesters Effectively

April 28th, 2020


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 …

#236 Tanya X. Short Makes Game Systems Obvious

April 15th, 2020


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 …

#235 Diving Into MOBA Foundations

March 31st, 2020


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. …

#234 Sen-Foong Lim Designs Edge Cases Out of the Game

March 17th, 2020


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 …

#233 Round Table on the Challenges of Pleasing Customers

March 4th, 2020


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 …

#232 Chris Bourassa Talks Darkest Dungeon

February 18th, 2020


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 …

#231 Tim Fowers Talks Burgle Bros 2

January 28th, 2020


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 …

#230 Rob Daviau Talks Return to Dark Tower

January 14th, 2020


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 …

#229 Round Table on the Essence of a Theme

December 24th, 2019


Kathryn rejoins Dirk and David to talk discuss the past few episodes in the Designing Thematic Games series. The trio talks art budgets, terminology, …

#228 Shawn Main Talks Legends of Runeterra

December 11th, 2019


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 …

#227 Meguey Baker Talks Apocalypse World

November 27th, 2019


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 …

#226 David Dunham Talks Six Ages

November 12th, 2019


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 …

#225 Round Table on Thematic Games #1

October 29th, 2019


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 …

#224 Scott Nicholson Talks Escape Rooms

October 15th, 2019


Dirk and David discuss escape room design with Scott Nicholson, a game designer and professor who has studied escape rooms extensively. Scott talks …

#223 Kynan Pearson Talks Nintendo Themes

October 1st, 2019


Dirk, David, and designer/artist Kynan Pearson discuss what goes into designing games for Nintendo’s popular themes. Kynan talks about his role on …

#222 Elizabeth Hargrave Talks Wingspan

September 17th, 2019


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 …

#221 Nikki Valens Talks Eldritch Horror

September 3rd, 2019


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 …

#220 New Directions with Dirk and David

August 20th, 2019


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

August 6th, 2019


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 …

#218 Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev: Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design

July 23rd, 2019


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

July 9th, 2019


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 …

#216 Playtest Groups and Guilds with Tony Tran

June 25th, 2019


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

June 12th, 2019


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 28th, 2019


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 14th, 2019


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

April 30th, 2019


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

April 9th, 2019


David and Dirk are joined by Anthony Giovannetti, designer of the game Slay The Spire. Together they take a deep dive into the creation and game mechanics of the game.

#210 Listener Questions from SaltCON with Skye Larsen

March 26th, 2019


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

March 12th, 2019


David and Dirk are joined by game designer, Kevin Kulp. They discuss his new game, Swords of the Serpentine and Timewatch. They also discuss how a …

#208 Game Designer Jennifer Scheurle

February 26th, 2019


This week Dirk is joined by Jennifer Scheurle, a multi-award-winning, world-travelling Game Designer and public speaker. They discuss her work, her …

#207 Emily Grace Buck

February 12th, 2019


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

January 29th, 2019


This week David and Dirk are joined by Jon Shafer, a co-founder of The Game Design Round Table. They discuss Jon's game At the Gates and some of the innovative systems designed into the game.

#205 Deep Dive - Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right

January 15th, 2019


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

January 5th, 2019


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

December 14th, 2018


David and Dirk chat with TL Simons of Out of Order Games. They discuss the creation of the game Bloc by Bloc, it's connection to social issues as well as the differences between the first and second editions.

#202 Listener Questions - Accessibility and Get-Back Mechanics

November 30th, 2018


Cole, Dirk and Kathryn take listener questions. They have a great discussion surrounding the topic of accessibility. Additionally they discuss the …

#201 Tim Burrell-Saward and Smart Speakers

November 8th, 2018


Tim Burrell-Saward joins The Game Design Roundtable and discusses games that use smart speakers.

#200 Reflections on 200 Episodes of TGDRT

October 23rd, 2018


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. Enjoy!

#199 Tabletop Game Designer - Scott Almes

October 5th, 2018


In this episode, Dirk and Cole have a conversation with tabletop game designer Scott Almes. The discuss tiny box games as well as Scott's experience …

#198 Michael Woods, 38 Studios and Subatomic Studios

August 23rd, 2018


In this episode, Dirk and David have a conversation with Michael Woods. Michael previously worked at 38 Studios as well as Subatomic Studios. He shares his experiences with work on games large and small.

#197 Megagames with Ben Kanelos and Leslie Loy

July 13th, 2018


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 …

#196 Admired Designers, Unlikely Games Enjoyed and Listener Questions

June 22nd, 2018


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

June 15th, 2018


In this episode, Dirk and Harrison chat with game designer Alex Roberts. They discuss her recent experience with The Star Crossed Kickstarter as well differences between live action and table top game design.

#194 Kickstarter Results and Listener Questions

May 25th, 2018


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 …

#193 Game Designer Kellee Santiago

May 11th, 2018


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

April 20th, 2018


In this episode, Dirk and Harrison welcome Aljernon Bolden to the show. They discuss game design from an engineering approach.

#191 Fireball Island

April 3rd, 2018


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 …

#190 Listener Questions - Cons, Kids, Games and Names

March 22nd, 2018


In this episode, Cole, David, and Dirk get together to answer some listener questions.

#189 Gaming the Past with Jeremiah McCall

February 23rd, 2018


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

February 9th, 2018


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

January 18th, 2018


Description 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 ... David Heron - @DavidVHeron Dirk Knemeyer - …

#186 Looking forward and back, 2017 to 2018

December 29th, 2017


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

December 22nd, 2017


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 …

#184: Narrative Designer Edwin McRae

December 8th, 2017


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 …

#183: Listener Questions with David, Dirk and Rob

November 24th, 2017


In this episode, David, Dirk and Rob finally get back together to catch up on each other's projects and answer listener questions. --------------------- David Heron - @DavidVHeron Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,,

#182: Game Designer Mike Bithell – Thomas Was Alone

October 19th, 2017


In this episode, Dirk and Harrison have a chat with Mike Bithell, designer of games such as Thomas Was Alone, Volume, EarthShape, and Subsurface …

#181: Listener Questions with David and Dirk

October 5th, 2017


Description David and Dirk answer listener questions surrounding game design, board production, 3d printing and play testing. --------------------- David Heron - @DavidVHeron Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer,,

#180: Spy Club from Foxtrot Games; How Collaboration helped deliver results.

September 28th, 2017


In this episode, 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.

September 21st, 2017


Description In this episode, Elizabeth LaPensée joins Kathryn and Dirk and they discuss indigenous self-determination in game development and how a …

#178: Niki Crisci, Will Glow the Wisp

September 14th, 2017


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. …

#177: Tomer Perry, Ethics and Political Theory

September 7th, 2017


In this episode, Tomer Perry, political theorists, avid board and table gamer from Harvard University joins David and Dirk. They discuss how games …

#176: Methodology and Management

August 24th, 2017


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. …

#175: Listener Mail August 2017

August 17th, 2017


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 …

#174: Mo Turkington and LARPs

August 4th, 2017


In this episode, Mo Turkington from Unruly Designs joins Dirk and Kathryn to discuss LARPs and specifically chamber LARPs focused on women in WWII. …

#173: Game Design Axioms

July 28th, 2017


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,,

#172: Mode 7's Paul Kilduff-Taylor

July 14th, 2017


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 …

#171: Gunpoint’s Tom Francis

June 30th, 2017


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 …

#170: Ross Cowman

June 15th, 2017


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,

#169: Listener Mail June 2017

June 8th, 2017


This week, David, Rob and Dirk get together to catch up and answer listener questions. Ice cubes are involved.---------------------David Heron - …

#168: Emily Care Boss

May 25th, 2017


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 …

#167: Chelsea Howe and VR

May 11th, 2017


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 …

#166: John Harper

May 5th, 2017


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 …

#165: Listener Mail April 2017

April 20th, 2017


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 …

#164: Nels Anderson and Firewatch

April 13th, 2017


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 …

#163: Jason Thompson

April 1st, 2017


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 …

#162: Listener Mail February 2017

March 9th, 2017


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 - …

#161: Paizo Games

March 2nd, 2017


Dirk and Harrison are joined by Jessica Price and Wes Schneider from Paizo games to talk about their voluminous tabletop roleplaying library. Paizo …

#160: Dominic Crapuchettes and North Star Games

February 17th, 2017


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 …

#159: Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

January 31st, 2017


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 …

#158: Suzanne Zinsli and Cardboard Edison

January 25th, 2017


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 …

#157: Harrison Joins the Mail Crew

January 4th, 2017


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 …

#156: Kathryn Hymes and Thorny Games

December 5th, 2016


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 …

#154: Essen and Listener Mail

October 31st, 2016


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 …

#153: Riot Games

October 13th, 2016


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 …

#152: Professor Rob’s Mailbag

September 28th, 2016


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 …

#151: Isaac Shalev and Kind Fortress

September 9th, 2016


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 …

#150: Travel Catch-up and Listener Mail

August 11th, 2016


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 …

#149: Jellybean Games

July 22nd, 2016


Dirk brings on guests Peter Hayward and Tania Walker to talk about their work at Jellybean Games. Jellybean places an emphasis on family-friendly …

#148: More Listener Mail

June 28th, 2016


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 …

#147: Black Straw Games

June 14th, 2016


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 …

#146: Soren Johnson and Offworld Trading Company

May 31st, 2016


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 …

#145: Seafall, Powering Up, and Listener Mail

May 4th, 2016


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 …

#144: Chris Zinsli and Cardboard Edison

April 19th, 2016


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 …

#143: The Mailbag Tolls for Thee

March 30th, 2016


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 …

#142: Tim Fowers

March 17th, 2016


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 …

#141: Star Trek Timelines

February 25th, 2016


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 …

#140: Daniel Doan and Black Shell Media

February 9th, 2016


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 …

#139: Justin Gary

January 26th, 2016


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 …

#138: Checking in with Harrison Pink

January 12th, 2016


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 …

#137: Once More Into the Mailbag

December 7th, 2015


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 …

#136: Playing Catch-up

November 11th, 2015


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. …

#135: Isaac Childres and Gloomhaven

October 22nd, 2015


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 …

#134: Expansions and Post-Launch Support

September 29th, 2015


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 …

#133: Designer Alex Kevern

September 17th, 2015


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 …

#132: Rob’s Back, Time for Listener Mail

September 6th, 2015


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 …

#131: David Somerville and Trove

August 21st, 2015


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 …

#130: Catching up and Some Listener Mail

August 5th, 2015


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 …

#129 Daniel Solis

July 14th, 2015


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 …

#128: Listener Mail 5

June 30th, 2015


Dirk, David, and Rob are back to answer more listener questions about budget, toolsets, and …

#127: Meg Jayanth and Games Writing

June 18th, 2015


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 …

#126: Collaboration

June 3rd, 2015


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 …

#125: Stonemaier Games and Scythe with Jamey Stegmaier

May 22nd, 2015


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. …

#124: Listener Questions

May 5th, 2015


Dirk, David, and Rob get together to answer questions sent in by you, the listeners!-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Contact Information Dirk Knemeyer - …

#123: Isaac Shalev and On Board Games

April 22nd, 2015


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 …

#122: Feedback

April 7th, 2015


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 …

#121: At the Gates Update with Jon Shafer

March 24th, 2015


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 …

#120: Project Check-in

March 11th, 2015


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 …

#119: Foxtrot Games with Randy Hoyt

February 24th, 2015


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 …

#118: A Seafall Review

February 10th, 2015


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 …

#117: Chatting with Robin D. Laws

February 5th, 2015


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 …

#116: Buying and Selling with Soren Johnson & Scott Hamden

January 27th, 2015


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 …

#115: Talking with Chelsea Howe

January 22nd, 2015


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 …

#114: Back to the Mail Bag

January 13th, 2015


Dirk, David, and Rob are back to answer more of your questions! This week’s questions cover digital integration, international design decisions, and …

#113: Trekking Along

January 6th, 2015


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 …

#112: 2014 in Review

December 30th, 2014


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 …

#111: Game Design and Education with Erin Hoffman

December 23rd, 2014


Dirk and David sit down with game designer and writer Erin Hoffman to talk about her extensive background in game design for education,interacting …

#110: The Science of fun with Nicole Lazzaro

December 16th, 2014


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 …

# 109: Susan McKinley Ross and Idea Duck

December 9th, 2014


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 …

#108: Funemployed and Boardgamegeekcon

December 2nd, 2014


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 …

#107: Cooperative Gaming with Amy Jo Kim

November 29th, 2014


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 …

#106: Micro Games with Chris Handy

November 20th, 2014


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 …

#105: Mail Call

November 13th, 2014


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,,

104: Trading Mission to Mars with Julian Murdoch and Dr. Bruce Geryk

November 8th, 2014


Dirk and Soren are joined by strategy games enthusiasts Julian Murdoch and Dr. Bruce Geryk to talk about the current state of Offworld Trading …

103: Catching Up

October 29th, 2014


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 …

102: Get Off My Lawn

October 21st, 2014


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 …

#101: Kvasir Games with Kristín Guðmundsdóttir

October 14th, 2014


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 …

#100: Failbetter Games and Fallen London with Alexis Kennedy and Liam Welton

October 7th, 2014


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, …

#99: Stuck in the Ditch

September 30th, 2014


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 …

#98: On Writing....Video Games with Harrison Pink

September 23rd, 2014


The title of “writer” can span from creating conceptual direction to creating dozens of iterations of the same lines of character dialog. Guest …

#97: Karla Zimonja and the Fullbright Company

September 16th, 2014


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, …

#96: The Conventions of Conventions

September 9th, 2014


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 …

#95: Listeners Mail Q&A

September 3rd, 2014


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, …

#94: Offworld Trading Company with Soren Johnson and Jon Shafer

August 26th, 2014


Jon and Dirk talk to game designer and TGDRT regular Soren Johnson about his upcoming game, Offworld Trading Company. His real time strategy economic …

#93: Dynamic Campaigns with Ananda Gupta

August 19th, 2014


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 …

#92: Et tu, Brute?

August 12th, 2014


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 …

#91: At The Gates Progress Report with Jon Shafer

August 6th, 2014


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 …

#90: A Trip Down Memory Lane with Harrison Pink

July 29th, 2014


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 …

#89: Pandemic with Matt Leacock

July 22nd, 2014


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 …

#88: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

July 15th, 2014


Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about information. What are the advantages and disadvantages of perfect information games? How much is …

#87: Working on the Pile

July 8th, 2014


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 …

#86: Choice of Games with Dan Fabulich

July 2nd, 2014


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 …

#85: Bamboozle Brothers with Jay Cormier and Sen Foong Lim

June 24th, 2014


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 …

#84: Marketing

June 20th, 2014


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 …

#83: Games All The Way Down with Harrison Pink

June 10th, 2014


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 …

#82: Checking In

June 4th, 2014


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 …

#81: Push and Pull with Nels Anderson

May 27th, 2014


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 …

#80: Anticipation and Expectations

May 21st, 2014


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 …

#79: Intrinsic or Extrinsic? with Harrison Pink

May 14th, 2014


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 …

#78: Streaming and Live Development with Brad Muir

May 8th, 2014


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 …

#77: Prototyping

April 29th, 2014


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 …

#76: The Inside Scoop

April 24th, 2014


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. …

#75: Infinite Loop

April 15th, 2014


Dirk, David, and Rob get together to discuss the perceived value in infinitely replayable games. Where did this notion come from? The trio discuss …

#74: Procedurally Chaotic with Julian Gollop

April 10th, 2014


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. …

#73: MMOs, RPGs, and Pathfinder with Ryan Dancey

April 1st, 2014


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 …

#72 Playtesting

March 25th, 2014


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 …

#71: Intuitive Design. With Harrison Pink.

March 18th, 2014


Telltale Games’ Harrison Pink joins Dirk and David to talk about the difference between designing by instinct and using analysis and data. Can a …

#70: A Roman Farewell

March 11th, 2014


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 …

#69: Players as Designers

March 4th, 2014


Jon, Dirk and David discuss the idea of players as designers within the context of house rules, modding and optional rules. Other topics covered …

#68: Transparency

February 24th, 2014


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 …

#67: Game Phases & Pivots

February 17th, 2014


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 …

#66: Diplomacy in At the Gates

February 11th, 2014


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 …

#65: Real-Time. With Geoff Engelstein

February 3rd, 2014


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 …

#64: Conflict

January 27th, 2014


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 …

#63: Theme

January 20th, 2014


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’, …

#62: Cheating

January 13th, 2014


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,

#61: Don’t Starve. With Kevin Forbes

January 9th, 2014


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 …

#60: End-of-Year Spectacular 2013

December 30th, 2013


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,,

#59: Race for the Galaxy. With Tom Lehmann

December 23rd, 2013


Board game designer Tom Lehmann joins Jon and Dirk to talk about Race for the Galaxy, co-designing on existing games, and his design …

#58: Death in Games

December 15th, 2013


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 …

#57: Stepping Back, Goals & Pacing

December 9th, 2013


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 …

#56: ‘SeaFall’ & Legacy Design. With Rob Daviau

December 2nd, 2013


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 …

#55: Sharing Game Design Ideas

November 25th, 2013


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 …

#54: Ploy, Race for the Galaxy & Hansa Teutonica

November 17th, 2013


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 …

#53: Mohawks & Martians. With Soren Johnson

November 11th, 2013


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, …

#52: Meet the TGDRT Crew

November 4th, 2013


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 …

#51: Alpha Centauri & Evolving as a Designer. With Brian Reynolds

October 28th, 2013


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 …

#50: Kickstarter & Stonemaier Games. With Jamey Stegmaier

October 23rd, 2013


Jon and Dirk are joined by Jamey Stegmaier, co-founder of Stonemaier Games and designer of ‘Viticulture’ and ‘Euphoria’. They discuss Stonemaier’s …

#49: How to Teach Games

October 14th, 2013


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 …

#48: X-COM & Tactical Games. With Julian Gollop

October 9th, 2013


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 …

#47: AtG Playtest, Agricola & More

September 30th, 2013


Our hosts discuss Dirk's recent experience playtesting ‘At the Gates’, dive deep into what makes ‘Agricola’ great, and lament the loneliness of the …

#46: Theme, Mechanics & Fun

September 23rd, 2013


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? …

#45: Tabletop & Digital Design. With Ed Beach

September 17th, 2013


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 …

#44: Competition, Endgames & Updates

September 11th, 2013


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 …

#43: Randomness

September 4th, 2013


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 …

#42: King of Dragon Pass. With David Dunham

August 26th, 2013


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 …

#41: Paradox Games, Poker and AI

August 19th, 2013


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 …

#40: Multiplayer

August 15th, 2013


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 …

#39: Skyward Collapse, AI and Business. With Chris Park

August 6th, 2013


Jon and Dirk sit down with Chris Park of Arcen Games to discuss his latest game, Skyward Collapse, the development and business challenges of …

#38: Polish, Penalties & Updates

July 30th, 2013


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 …

#37: Failure, Punishment and Learning

July 23rd, 2013


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 …

#36: Occult Chronicles & Life as an Indie. With Vic Davis

July 16th, 2013


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 …

#35: Ethics in Design, Hotline Miami & Updates

July 9th, 2013


Jon and Dirk cover a variety of games they’ve played lately, including the new ‘Walking Dead’ expansion, ‘Ascension’ and ‘1775’. The discussion gets …

#34: Progression Systems. With Soren Johnson

July 2nd, 2013


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 …

#33: Unity of Command. With Tomislav Uzelac

June 25th, 2013


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 …

#32: Don’t Starve, Shogun, Wiz-War & Updates

June 18th, 2013


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 …

#31: Tactics & Repetition

June 11th, 2013


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 …

#30: Design Lessons & Sirlin Games. With David Sirlin

June 4th, 2013


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 …

#29: Solium Infernum, ‘Futbol Strategy’ & More

May 28th, 2013


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. …

#28: Scoring & Victory

May 21st, 2013


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, …

#27: Board Game Design. With Martin Wallace

May 16th, 2013


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 …

#26: Puzzle Strike, Becoming a Designer, & More

May 7th, 2013


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 …

#25: Information & Obfuscation

April 30th, 2013


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 …

#24: Games and the Law. With Dave Fitzgerald

April 23rd, 2013


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 …

#23: Magic, Drafting & Updates

April 18th, 2013


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 …

#22: Bioshock Infinite & Plaid Hat Games. With Colby Dauch

April 12th, 2013


The team is joined by Colby Dauch, president of Plaid Hat Games, the developer behind Summoner Wars and the upcoming Bioshock Infinite board game. …

#21: Free to Play. With David Heron

April 4th, 2013


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 …

#20: ‘Tomorrow’, Abnercon Games & Updates

March 28th, 2013


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 …

#19: Diplomacy & Allan Calhamer. With Jim Burgess

March 21st, 2013


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 …

#18: Spelunky. With Derek Yu

March 15th, 2013


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 …

#17: Kickstarter & Fate Core. With Fred Hicks

March 7th, 2013


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 …

#16: War Stories. With Michael Tan

February 28th, 2013


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 …

#15: Tactics, Company of Heroes & XCOM

February 21st, 2013


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 …

#14: 4X Games & Civilization. With Soren Johnson

February 14th, 2013


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 …

#13: Jon’s New Game - At the Gates

February 6th, 2013


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 …

#12: CCGs & Dominion. With David Heron

January 30th, 2013


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 …

#11: Storytelling & The Walking Dead. With Telltale

January 23rd, 2013


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 …

#10: Battle of the Bulge, Updates, and More

January 15th, 2013


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 …

#9: Journey of a Part-Time Indie. With Jesse Howard

January 8th, 2013


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. …

#8: End-of-Year Spectacular 2012

January 2nd, 2013


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 …

#7: Experience & Replayability. With Scott Lewis

December 27th, 2012


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 …

#6: Running a Game Company. With Uwe Eickert

December 18th, 2012


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 …

#5: Digital vs. Tabletop Game Design

December 12th, 2012


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 …

#4: Storytelling & Crusader Kings 2. With Paradox.

December 3rd, 2012


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

November 27th, 2012


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.

November 20th, 2012


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 …

#1: Hello World!

November 11th, 2012


The Game Design Round Table launches with hosts Dirk Knemeyer and Jon Shafer talking about their background in gaming and design.

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