Sean started playing games at 5 with his Uncle Dave every day after school. He first played Chess and then moved on to Feudal and Thinking Man’s Golf. By the age of 7, his older brother Shad had caught the full bug for D&D and the two played role playing games with their close friends Ryan and Dwayne for the next 10 years. At 12, he was consumed by the Gamemaster series of games by MB, mostly Axis and Allies but also Conquest of the Empire, Broadsides, and Fortress America (still to this day, his favorite — thanks Mike Gray!).
After spending a year developing the game Teraforming (while recovering from knee surgery) Sean attended his first Gencon to sell the game and landed a job with Eagle Games doing demos. He later helped to build a distribution network (FRED) and continued developing and distributing games for Eagle Games.
With Mr. B Games Sean has utilized Kickstarter to provide the financial backing to fulfill his lifelong dream of running his own game company. His current offerings are Alien Uprising, Spurs, Realm of Heroes, Clockwork Kingdom, Posthuman, WarQuest, Prospectus and Helionox.
Mike Fitzgerald entered the game design world in the early 1990’s with his Collectible Card Game Wyvern. Then he did CCGs for Wizard of the Coast including X Men and Nitro. Later in that decade, he created Jack The Ripper, Case #1 in the highly acclaimed Mystery Rummy Series. Many more Cases followed over the next 15+ years: Murders in the Rue Morgue – #2, Jekyll & Hyde – #3, Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld – #4, and much later Escape from Alcatraz – #5. He also created a few other games related to the Mystery Rummy Series, but not in the official canon: Wyatt Earp, Bonnie and Clyde,and Histories Mysteries.
Mike has created many other games in the interim, including his Hit Diamonds, and Baseball Highlights 2045, which hit the market in 2013. Although it started with a modest fan base, it has grown stronger and stronger as more and more fans have discovered and promoted the game all over the world.
Rob Heinsoo is a game designer at Fire Opal Media. His most recent publication is Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre, for Cryptozoic. Rob worked in Wizards of the Coast R&D and led the design of the 4th Edition D&D Roleplaying Game. His 4th Edition design credits include The Plane Above and the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide. His other game designs include Three-Dragon Ante and Inn-Fighting. Before joining Wizards of the Coast, Rob worked at Daedalus Entertainment, Chaosium, and A-Sharp on trading card games, roleplaying games and computer games including Shadowfist, Feng Shui, and King of Dragon Pass.
He is currently working on the 13th Age fantasy roleplaying game with co-designer Jonathan Tweet.
Lukas Litzsinger is a full-time game designer for Fantasy Flight Games and the lead designer for Star Wars: Destiny. He has worked on many different games, including XCOM: The Board Game, Civilization: The Board Game, Warhammer: Diskwars, Runebound 3rd Edition, and The Lord of the Rings Card Game. He also rebooted the classic game of Netrunner into Android: Netrunner, which won two Golden Geek awards and continues to release regular expansions. When he isn’t playing with chance cubes, Lukas can be found watching college football or reading the first half of books. He is currently working on some unannounced projects for FFG and and lives in the Twin Cities.
Selected as one of Geek & Sundry’s “Women in Tabletop You Need to Know”
Dice Tower is ubiquitous as a source of information about tabletop online, and Suz is a prominent contributor. She talked about how she started as a fan of DT and approached them. “I realized that there weren’t a lot of women or Asian contributors. I emailed Tom Vasel to see if he could use his platform and following to elevate the visibility of women in gaming. Tom was quite gracious about it,” she describes, as Tom himself wanted to tackle but felt unable to fully address it as a white male gamer.
While she stepped up to be the change she wanted to see in tabletop commentary, and we here have previously discussed her commentary about diversity, she isn’t simply a token voice on the platform, relegated to talking about diversity issues. She continually covers topics pertinent to all gamers, starting her segment on boardgame apps for Board Game Breakfast over two years ago and taking over the crowdfunding segment last year. Her perspective on the broad range of tabletop topics is one reason you should be keeping up with her.
You can keep up with Suzanne by subscribing to the Dice Tower and following her on Twitter.
Dice Tower: Board Game Corner
Boardgame Corner is Mark Streed, Randy White, and Ann Pohl. We hail from Fort Collins, Colorado. We’ve been part of the Dice Tower network for over 3 years now. We do live shows, reviews, and contribute on Board Game Blender. We have played everything from video (every flavor) to board games over the years. But in the last few years board games have taken over as our number one go to. Anymore, our favorite gaming console is a table and chairs. Our passion was inspired by bringing family and friends together to enjoy this amazing hobby.
Boardgame Corner will be covering GameFest with interviews and panel room hosting, bringing their viewpoint of the TableTop hobby directly to you.
Jeff Arbough – SpyGlass Games
Since before I can remember, I have always had an uninhibited drive for game creation. While I cannot accurately recall the first time I rode a bike, I vividly remember the first board I drew for a game on a sheet of scrap paper. So it has been no surprise that, between board games and video games, my destiny has always been with game design. Straight out of High School, I sought out the (at the time) brand new field of Game Design specific Degrees, and earned my Bachelor’s Degree. Along the way, I have had the great fortune of meeting many other gamers who share my enthusiasm, and have seen many nights turn into morning before we finally called the evening. Finally, from one such night of gaming driven fervor, a myriad of games that designed themselves overflowed the conversation, and SpyGlass was born!
Keith Avallone – PLAAY Game
The idea behind all PLAAY.com sports simulation board games is to provide the same kind of experience you’d get from reading a good novel. Every game is designed to make you feel like you’re “watching” the game or event unfold before you. Add your imagination, and all of a sudden simple words and numbers printed on cards and charts are transformed into vivid, exciting, often dramatic sports action! Use teams or athletes from the past, and it’s like a sort of sports time-machine!
From Keith: I started PLAAY.com from scratch in 1999, offering nothing but SECOND SEASON Pro Football Game, a game that I had been playing and polishing since 1978. It had long been my dream to have my own football game company, a dream that seemed to have died when board games began to fall out of favor in the late 1980s but one which was revived with the advent of the internet. I began to make “finished” versions of other board games I had been experimenting with, drawing on my fondness for sports that have not seen much of a board game presence. FACE TO THE MAT Pro Wrestling Game came along in 2000, ROLLER RUMBLE Roller Derby Game in 2001, BOWL-O-RAMA Championship Bowling Game in 2002, CRASH AND SCRAMBLE Pro Indoor Lacrosse Game in 2003, DEMO DERBY SMASH-DOWN Demolition Derby Game and COLD SNAP Canadian Pro Football Game in 2009. In April of 2010, I introduced my new pro hockey game, HOCKEY BLAST. In February of 2012, RED WHITE & BLUE RACIN’ Stock Car Action Game debuted. In December 2012, I re-introduced pro indoor lacrosse to the PLAAY world with LACROSSE BLAST, using the basic hockey game engine. We did the same thing with soccer in 2014, with SOCCER BLAST. HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL came along in 2013. HISTORY MAKER GOLF will be released in March of 2017. In the works, I have some ideas on basketball and horse racing…
Michael Knight – SpyGlass Games
My name is Michael Knight, and I am a native Coloradoan who has been an avid gamer for over 30 years. I cut my gaming teeth on the basics: Clue, Life, and Monopoly, moving on to video games and Role Playing Games, which I still play religiously to this day. When I moved to Denver, I discovered a whole new world of board games, including Puerto Rico, my first Euro game. My passion and love of gaming has intensified over the years, and has contributed to my vast collection of over 200 games. I spend a great deal of my free time playing these games with friends, both new discoveries and classic favorites. It was during one of these game nights that I decided that creating games of my own would be the next step in my personal gaming evolution. So, taking my very fertile imagination and passion for gaming, I have teamed up with Spyglass to design and crowd-fund games. When I am not working my primary job or spending quality time at home with my girlfriend, Chihuahuas and friends, I am coming up with new ideas for games, or refining those games already in the design process.
We are pleased to have McSparkleHappy join us as she shares her love of party games and bringing people together. Known to start mini gameshows on the spot, you never know when you will be caught by this yellow-jacket-wearing wonder.