Benjamin Ellinger broke into the game industry more than 30 years ago at Steve Jackson Games, where he worked on board games such as Car Wars and role-playing games such as GURPS. Later, he worked as a programmer and designer on real-time strategy games, including This Means War! and Dawn of War, and MMOs such as Ultima Online, Ashen Empires, and The Matrix Online, as well as Bicycle® Texas Hold ’em, Fable II Pub Games, and the secret Microsoft Kinect prototype project. Ellinger has worked for small start-up companies, as a freelance contractor, and full-time at Microsoft as both a developer and a program manager. He has taught at DigiPen since 2003.


Claire Donaldson moved to Seattle from Detroit after graduating from College for Creative Studies in 2015. Her first job as a board game illustrator was at Daily Magic Games where she worked on games like Go Nuts For Donuts and Food Truck Champion. Since then she has continued to work as a freelance illustrator with them and other board game companies. As an illustrator, she enjoys working on board games because the community is truly encouraging, and the work involves designing for an engaging physical medium.


Damon Brown works as an illustrator, graphic designer, and more as a multi-disciplinary artist. He’s worked on art for tabletop games for over twenty years including Mirror Mansion, Echidna Shuffle, and the Paizo edition of Save Doctor Lucky. He currently works at Funko. Learn more about Damon and see examples of his work at https://theinklab.carbonmade.com.



David Gerrard is the game designer and team lead for Junk Spirit Games, publisher of Junking, By Order of the Queen, and more family-friendly strategy games. He was the owner of a brick-and-mortar game store in his hometown for over eight years and worked with Sabertooth Games, Games Workshop, and Microsoft in the past. David lives in Snohomish, WA with his wife and two daughters. Follow him on Twitter (@dagerr) and Instagram (@junkspiritgames).


DC is a Black non-binary queer game designer and writer currently residing in Seattle, WA. While being the creator of Mutants in the Night and plot ARMOR, they also focus on community management and education. DC is the Director of the Babble On Equity Project, a fundraising platform created to financially support marginalized communities within TTRPGs. Currently they’re focusing on design theory, a new game, and working on Dungeons and Dragons with Wizards of the Coast.


Derek is an aspiring game designer in the Seattle area. His focus is goofy, simple games which encourage people to come together and have fun. He spent about 7 years in Microsoft Game Studios. For the past 5 years he has been working on his own game designs and actively participating in several local game designer meetups and play-testing groups. He loves to discuss how games work and ideate over all prototypes. Connect with him or learn what he is working on via Twitter (@HyperEnter) and at http://hyper.games.


Dylan Birtolo is a Seattle-based author, game designer, and professional sword-swinger. As an author, he’s written both in his own world and for IPs including BattleTech, Shadowrun, Vampire, Exalted, Dungeons and Dragons, and Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar universe. He’s also contributed to tabletop game design books for Modern AGEPathfinder, and Shadowrun. On the game design side, he is one of the team members of Lynnvander Design Studios and has been part of the design team behind games such as Dragonball ZEvil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness. His first game sold was Shadowrun Sprawl Ops.


Dylan Mangini is a Seattle based graphic designer and game designer. He’s worked with large publishers like AEG and has illustrated, designed and published his own card game, Mephisto, from the ground up. He loves playing Castles of Burgundy, Gloomhaven, Scythe, and Magic: The Gathering. Learn more about Mephisto, a dungeon crawling card game where players compete to collect monster souls for the archdemon Mephistopheles, at http://mephistocardgame.com.


Eric Cagle was hatched at Wizards of the Coast, working on Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars RPG, and D20 Modern. He is a prolific freelance writer and designer with credits for Games Workshop, Green Ronin Publishing, Kobold Press, Paizo Publishing, Glu Mobile, and Microsoft Games Studio. In addition to serving as the Content Manager for the D20PRO virtual tabletop system, he’s currently an adjunct professor of the Department of Design for Digipen Institute of Technology, teaching game design, narrative design, and user experience. His body is comprised of 45% cheese products.


James Ernest is the President and founder of scrappy industry legend Cheapass Games. Since its launch in 1996 and release of flagship title Kill Doctor Lucky, Cheapass Games has brought light and joy to the hearts of dozens of humans. James has worked on such notable titles as Lords of Vegas, Unexploded Cow, and Tak. His latest project, Cheapass Games in Black and White, is a retrospective of the early titles and days of Cheapass Games releasing in October 2019.


Jay is a game design-producer and educator, best known for his Xbox LIVE megahit Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers. In the TCG community, he is known as a theorist for his discovery of the MTG Mana Curve & the related Sligh deck. Other credits include the Championship Chess instructional curriculum, NERO-SE & SOLAR LARP games and Pervasive Clue Wearable Computing Game. Currently, Jay is Fire Opal Game’s Operations Manager and lectures on game design at the University of Washington. He is active as the principal designer on Shadowrun: Crossfire and Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonfire, as well as executive producer for the 13th Age and 13th Age in Glorantha RPG lines.


Jaym Gates is a Seattle-based editor, author, and game designer. She has edited nearly a dozen anthologies, including tie-in anthologies for Eclipse Phase, Vampire, and Exalted, and is an Acquisitions Editor for Falstaff books, the Line Manager for Nisaba Press, and Green Ronin’s Editorial Coordinator. She’s written for Blue Rose: 2nd Ed, Firefly: Smuggler’s Guide to the Rim, Modern AGE, and more, and is a lead designer on an upcoming Fantasy AGE project. Find out more at jaymgates.com, or on Twitter (@JaymGates).


Jeremy Holcomb is a game system designer focusing on board, card and collectible card games. He has designed and published over 20 board games, including The Duke (Catalyst Games), Timesteams (Bucephalus Games), and Anachronism (TriKing Games). Holcomb’s The White Box (Atlas Games) provides a tool kit for new designers looking into making board games, and he has been teaching game design for over a decade via the ASUW experimental college and DigiPen Institute of Technology, where he now serves as the program director for the Bachelor of Arts in Game Design program. His personal quest is to play every game that exists at least once.


Jo Cronk is a software engineer and UX specialist with over two decades of experience in the video games industry. She has a B.S. in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington, where she received the Undergraduate Award of Excellence for demonstrating special strength in innovation. Coming from a background in gameplay and tools programming at studios such as Crystal Dynamics, Snowblind Studios, PopCap Games, and Wargaming, she now teaches Technical Design at the DigiPen Institute of Technology while conducting research in related topics across multiple fields.


Jonathan Tweet has designed influential roleplaying games, such as Ars Magica (1987), Over the Edge (1992, 2019), Everway (1995), and Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Ed (2000). He’s devoted to roleplaying games because they draw out the players’ creativity. Roleplayers create their own IP instead of consuming a corporation’s branded content. Tweet’s book Grandmother Fish (Macmillan 2016) is the first to teach evolution to preschoolers. Find both Jonathan (@JonathanMTweet) and Grandmother Fish (@GrandmotherFish) on Twitter.


Craig is a Seattle-based tabletop game designer who also teaches game design at DigiPen Institute of Technology. An active member of several gaming communities, he serves as Director of the ETX Game Design Academy. He is best known for Toon Ace Catalog and Witches of the Revolution. Regularly found at friendly local game stores, he likes to connect gamers with games they will like, and aspiring game designers with a publisher who will like their latest prototype. You can engage with him on Twitter (@toon_ace).


Nate Heiss is a 13 year game industry veteran and a Senior Designer for EA PopCap. His design work includes acclaimed games such as Plants vs. Zombies Heroes, Magic: The Gathering, and Paradise Bay. During the day, he makes video games for the masses. During the night, he makes board games such as the co-op Battle for Greyport…mostly for himself. Occasionally, he dabbles in teaching game design to others! His favorite game designers are Richard Garfield and Vlaada Chvatil.


Nicole Jekich is a passionate game designer and tabletop community organizer in Seattle, WA. She is best known for co-designing Food Truck Champion, a card game combining her love of food and gaming. Nicole is the director at PlaytestNW: a community of game designers and playtesters who help each other to build great games together. Currently, she works at Funko as a games producer and uses her BFA in Media Arts and Animation to direct artists and designers on projects.


Paul Peterson started his game design career at Wizards of the Coast working on Magic: the Gathering, Pokémon, and his card game, Guillotine. Since then he moved between the worlds of electronic and tabletops games. His recent titles include Smash Up and Unexploded Cow, and Pairs. He is also developer on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. He lives in the Seattle area with his beautiful wife and daughters and various pets, including a corgi named Moonlord.


Richard Thames Rowan is a twenty-four-year game industry veteran, having worked on over 50 games in his career. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft Game Studios, Gazillion Entertainment, Glu Mobile, and Auric Games. He has published tabletop games through Rubicon Games, Gaslight Press, and The Everway Company. He is currently Chair of the Department of Design for DigiPen Institute of Technology, where he teaches game design and user experience design. He is also working on a second edition of the Everway roleplaying game, first published in 1995 by Wizards of the Coast.


Ryan is the Chief Operating Officer of Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG), publishers of Smash Up and Mystic Vale. His past work has included the creation of Legend of the Five Rings, overseeing the launch of the 3rd Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, working as the CMO at CCP on Eve Online and the World of Darkness MMOs, and serving as CEO of Goblinworks during the development of Pathfinder Online. Ryan lives in Everett with his wife. Follow him on Twitter (@rsdancey).