Thanks to all of our 2018 guests, listed below! 2019 guests will be announced as they are confirmed.


Aviva is a game designer, developer, and editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design from DigiPen Institute of Technology . She currently works at Lone Shark Games where she worked on Apocrypha Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, The Ninth World, and Thornwatch. She develops small indie games in her free time and her favorite games to play are resource management and simulation games. In addition to making games, Aviva teaches Krav Maga and trains in weight lifting.


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. He recently collaborated with Girl Genius on a strategy card game: Girl Genius: The Works. His latest project, The Island of Doctor Lucky, will release in August 2018.


Joseph is the co-designer of Fantastic Factories, a dice placement engine building tabletop game that won the 2017 Northwest LUCI Award for best game design. Fantastic Factories will be on Kickstarter in May/June 2018. Joseph is also an avid member of the Seattle tabletop game design community. He attends weekly meetups and can often be found at PlaytestNW events and local conventions checking out all the latest game prototypes. Learn more at


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, or on Twitter as @JaymGates.


Thomas has worked professionally on video games for over decade but has been obsessed with games of all sorts for much longer. Being active in the local tabletop scene Thomas helped found PlaytestNW and launched the Northwest LUCI Awards for indie board game designers. Thomas currently works at Xbox building technology to power skynet and is often seen gaming in the untamed coffee shops of the Pacific NW.


Rob Heinsoo is co-founder and CCO of Fire Opal Media. His many game design credits include 13th Age and 13th Age in Glorantha (co-designed with Jonathan Tweet), the upcoming Wrestlenomicon (a pro wrestling slamfest between elder gods on Kickstarter now-ish), Epic Spell Wars, Three-Dragon Ante, Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China, Inn-Fighting, contributions to the King of Dragon Pass iOS game, co-design of Shadowrun: Crossfire and Dragonfire, D&D Miniatures, and lead design of 4th edition D&D. He blogs at


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.


Doug is a long-time industry professional who got his start by helping develop Al Leonardi’s Ace of Aces while still in high school. While pursuing an acting career in New York, Doug slid sideways into professional game design at West End, where he helped design roleplaying systems and adventures as well as the still-being-published Arabian Nights Adventure Book game. Over the last 30 years he’s worked at companies such as Microprose, Big Huge Games and Zynga on products such as Civilization II, Rise of Nations, and Frontierville.


Derek is an aspiring game designer based in the greater Seattle area. He can be seen at many playtest venues around the area, learning and trying to help others refine their games. His passion is goofy, simple games which encourage people to come together and have fun. His bio, life, and games are a work in progress.


Marie’s worked in finance and business consulting before moving into tabletop. She is now CEO of Fire Opal Media. She worked her way through college as an accountant, majoring in non-profit agency management.  Years later, she was lucky enough to have the opportunity to join her fellow gamers and use her business skills  to entertain the world. She believes in community involvement and currently serves as VP of GAMA. Marie’s credits include The Ninth World, the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game, Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, The Maze of Games and Thornwatch. Follow her at @rollwithmarie.


Polo Schlemmer is the dashing, daring, courageous, and caring game designer and co-founder of S.H.E.L Games. He likes to design games with player interaction, something the whole families can enjoy. He is currently known for Card Castle a reactive card game, and is working on adding more titles to his resume.


Liz specializes in weaving rich themes into game experiences. Over the past decade, Liz has worked in a number of roles for game companies such as Harebrained Schemes, Flying Frog Prodctions, and Aesterlight Studios. She once became her own board game publishing company with a steampunk exploration game, Incredible Expeditions. Today, Liz is the Card Shark for Lone Shark Games, designing mechanics for new games such as the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game. She is also a leading expert in designing games for dogs.


Shawn Stankewich is the lead designer and co-founder of Flatout Games, a board game design collaborative focused on creating innovative and elegant games that the whole family can enjoy. They are advocates of inclusivity and equality in gaming as well as opening up the game design community to as many new people as possible!


Craig is a Seattle-based tabletop game designer who teaches game design at DigiPen Institute of Technology. An active member of several gaming communities, he has taken on the role of Director of the ETX 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.


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 he is a developer on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.


Mike Selinker is the president of the Seattle area game company Lone Shark Games. Games he has designed and developed include the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Apocrypha, Lords of Vegas, and Unspeakable Words. Many of his teammates will be here this weekend, so go to their panels!


Lindsay is a part of the passionate and talented team at Forrest-Pruzan Creative, known for their wide range of mass market games and products. Forrest-Pruzan works with retailers, publishers, and esteemed clients in a multidisciplinary product development studio to produce about 70 products per year and boasts a 300+ game portfolio.


DigiPen graduate and professional child Nicholas Trahan began his career in games as an artist at Nintendo, contributing most notably to the Metroid Prime series on Gamecube and DS. Later, his independent endeavor Studio Walljump produced Liight, a puzzle game on the Wii and a PAX 10 selection in 2009. Nicholas has since moved to board game design, and is the designer of Villainy. He loves creating, refining and playing prototypes.


Cassidy started her career in the tabletop indsustry as an intern at Paizo. Since then, she’s done a little bit of everything, including editing, web develpment, licensing, marketing, and more. Her current position is Marketing Director for Cheapass Games. When she’s not working, she bakes, reads, and plays games with her gorgeous husband and bossy lionhead rabbit (pictured).


Ruby is a part of the passionate and talented team at Forrest-Pruzan Creative, known for their wide range of mass market games and products. Forrest-Pruzan works with retailers, publishers, and esteemed clients in a multidisciplinary product development studio to produce about 70 products per year and boasts a 300+ game portfolio.