2019 went by super quickly! This was a very busy year for me and games, but most of it was through my consulting firm Leveraged Play. Also – spending a chunk of the year traveling (including 3 months in Japan) made it a little harder to playtest and iterate on my consumer games.

Leveraged Play / Serious Games

You can read a recap of my activities through Leveraged Play on my personal blog. It covers five games I developed and ran this year:

  • HAL of Justice (exploring internet policy)
  • Climate Change / Land Use (prioritizing interventions during a summit)
  • Walking the Future (envisioning urban change)
  • Threatcast 2020 (election manipulation through technology)
  • Trust and Safety (on fraught decisions on a trust and safety team)

Fun Games

On the Diegetic Games front, I designed two games this year: Dungeon Court and Questing to Build a New Home.

Dungeon Court is a hack of Ghost Court that I designed with Raph D’Amico for the 2019 Roguelike Celebration. We ran it on stage in front of a huge audience and it went incredibly well. You can watch the session on YouTube or read more about it in this blog post.

Questing to Build a New Home was my submission to Golden Cobra this year. It’s an experiment in hybrid larp / tabletop where players are hanging out in a tavern in-character and then occasionally grabbing missions from a “quest board” leaving the room to resolve (out of character) how they went. I barely had time to work on it before the deadline so it’s pretty bare bones but I’m excited to experiment more with this type of hybrid format.

Other Activities

At the start of the year I teamed up with Mike Masnick to run the Gaming Like It’s 1923 game jam – celebrating new works entering the public domain. We got some great submissions and it was fun to organize and judge. We’ll be running 1924 version again next month so keep an eye out!

Big Bad Con in the Bay Area is always a treat and one highlight was running Behind the Lasers (a sci-fi hack of Behind the Magic) in front of an audience. My co-facilitator was Karen Twelves and she is a brilliant improv expert and did a phenomenal job keeping the story focused as the ship’s AI. We also had some amazing players: Nathan Black, Ash Cheshire, Banana Chan, and Jeeyon Shim. I’m super happy with out the session turned out and the audience seemed to love it too!

Hopefully 2020 will be full of plenty more game designs and conferences – I’m looking forward to it!