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The Game Design Round Table

Architecture & Design

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

Location:

United States

Description:

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

Twitter:

@TGDRT

Language:

English


Episodes
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#318 Modules and RPGSEA with Pam Punzalan

6/4/2024
Dirk and David are joined by Pam Punzalan, known for her work on personal projects such as Navthem’s End and A Rising Tide, as well as commissioned pieces for Dungeons and Dragons, Blades in the Dark, and Starfinder. Together, the trio discusses the differences between producing hired work and indie projects, as well as the importance of RPGSEA. Topics include how her cultural background affects her work, queerness and race as themes, the processes surrounding commissioned games and working with an editor, tactics games, and being a working TTRPG designer.

Duration:00:53:43

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#317 Earthborne Rangers with Andrew Navaro

5/21/2024
Dirk and David are joined by Andrew Navaro, creator of open-world board game Earthborne Rangers. They discuss how Earthborne Rangers was developed, and the lessons learned from the project. Topics include the making of an open-world board game, diverging story paths, expansions, and when to stop supporting an ongoing game.

Duration:00:58:28

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#316 Citizen Sleeper with Gareth Damian Martin

5/7/2024
Dirk and David meet with Gareth Damian Martin, creator of In Other Waters and Citizen Sleeper. They discuss Gareth’s design journey, as well as the process of creating Citizen Sleeper. Topics include the use of tabletop mechanics in video games, when to obscure probabilities, using literary prose effectively, and how a game of Citizen Sleeper develops as it’s played.

Duration:00:55:10

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#315 Civilization Series 3

4/23/2024
Welcome back to the Civilization Series. In the third installment, David and Dirk break down their experiences with Millennia, the latest 4X offering from C Prompt Games and Paradox Interactive. They discuss what aspects of the game worked for them, as well as what they would like to see develop as patches and updates are to come. Topics include how Millennia iterates on the concept of Ages, thematic dissonance, the unfinished nature of modern games, and what kinds of strategies the game mechanics reward.

Duration:00:52:12

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#314 Designing to Ship with Xalavier Nelson Jr

4/9/2024
Dirk and David interview prolific designer and leader Xalavier Nelson Jr. They discuss Xalavier’s illustrious and busy career, focusing on his philosophy of how to ship a game as well as knowing your own capabilities. Topics include his work and inspiration for El Paso, Everywhere, how he manages to produce so many games, treating staff fairly and with respect, and the benefits of working within your box.

Duration:00:56:46

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#313 Civilization Series 2

3/26/2024
Welcome to the second episode of the series on the “Civilization” games, as well as other 4X titles. Continuing from episode one, the pair talk about the phenomenon of “One More Turn”, using overlapping progression paths, and quality life improvements for the genre. They also share their insights on the game “Humankind”, as well as how their attitudes toward real life affect how they act within a 4X game.

Duration:00:57:15

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#312 Civilization Series 1

3/12/2024
This episode marks the beginning of a new series focused on the Civilization series of games. Dirk and David are joined by Soren Johnson to discuss their background with the Civilization games, and how they got introduced to the series. They discuss the development of the earlier games, as well as the broader strokes of Civilization, including the hallmarks of a 4X game, what design space Civ occupies, and where they would like the series to go in Civ 7 and beyond.

Duration:00:55:31

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#311 Innovating Themes with Anna Anthropy

2/27/2024
Dirk and Kathryn Hymes meet this episode to talk with Anna Anthropy, digital and tabletop designer known for her prolific work with non-traditional themes. They discuss Anna’s career in game design, and her path into becoming an educator. Topics include why violence is an attractive game element, dealing with releasing art and it no longer being one’s own, one page games, and the absence of sex as a theme or topic.

Duration:00:52:45

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#310 Listener Questions

2/13/2024
Dirk and David answer another round of listener questions! They discuss how mobile and desktop games differ, what makes a game “broken”, and tips to follow when designing around a licensed property. They also delve into design stagnation and following what was done before you, as well as when to innovate and when to iterate.

Duration:00:46:35

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#309 Industry and Loose Leaf with Tanya X. Short

1/30/2024
Dirk and David are joined by Tanya X. Short, Captain of Kitfox Games. They discuss the balance between appealing to market sensibilities and following one’s own interests, and how to make them work together. They also discuss the difficulty in funding projects with non-normative themes, barriers toward funding indie games, and the unique problems and solutions created while making Loose Leaf.

Duration:00:55:02

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#308 Narrative AI with Emily Short

1/16/2024
Dirk and David are joined by legendary interactive fiction writer and creative director of Failbetter Games Emily Short. The trio discuss Emily’s career, her contributions to interactive fiction, and some of her thoughts on both traditional game AI and modern generative AI. Topics include modeling relationships in games, player psychology and how much information to give, and how game AI can be used in non-combat oriented experiences.

Duration:00:51:12

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#307 Roundtable with Soren Johnson

1/2/2024
Dirk and David are joined by Soren Johnson, friend of the show and founder of Mohawk Games. The trio answers questions and design problems from the community, and follow up on recent episodes. Topics include achievements and collectables, the importance of having an art style, when to innovate and when to fall back on convention, and how to integrate community involvement in the design process.

Duration:00:52:11

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#306 A Highland Song with Jon Ingold

12/19/2023
Dirk and David are joined by Jon Ingold, narrative designer and co-founder of Inkle Studios. They discuss Inkle’s newly released video game A Highland Song, centered around exploration, discovery, and engaging the human form within nature. They discuss the mechanics around rewarding and incentivizing players in an exploration game, ways to hide the quantum ogre, and how to utilize elements of randomness within a story-driven experience.

Duration:00:57:30

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#305 Thirsty Suitors with Chandana Ekanayake

12/5/2023
Dirk and David are joined by Chandana Ekanayake, Game Director of Outerloop Games and long-time designer. They discuss Eka’s newly released Thirsty Suitors, a turn-based adventure game centering around culture, relationships, family, and self-expression. They discuss Eka’s career, Outerloop’s titles, and what makes Thirsty Suitors so special. Topics include designing in VR, designing the game only you can make, the game’s strengths and weaknesses, and working within budget.

Duration:00:53:34

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#304 Listener Questions November 2023

11/21/2023
It’s time for another round of listener questions! In this episode, Dirk and David field questions from the community, discussing a variety of subjects. Topics include the validity and usefulness of player taxonomies, the pros and cons of game jams, and the considerations that go into creating an expansion for physical and digital products.

Duration:00:58:34

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#303 Darkest Dungeon 2 with Chris Bourassa and Tyler Sigman

11/7/2023
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 Dungeon 2, the road trip sequel to Darkest Dungeon. Topics include the risks involved in making a sequel, the use and pitfalls of early access, the danger in releasing a roadmap, and where Red Hook is going from here.

Duration:01:07:59

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#302 Wildermyth with Nate Austin

10/24/2023
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 game into a true success. The trio also discuss how Wildermyth’s mechanics lead to a character focused over plot focused story, as well as how the game approach death and character progression. Other topics include using different styles of game writing, how systems change, and the perceived conflict between market appeal to story players and more complex mechanics.

Duration:00:51:43

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#301 Design and Controls with Richard Lemarchand

10/10/2023
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 on the Uncharted series. Richard details his journey through his game design career, and the skills and processes he learned along the way. Special consideration is given to control design, and the importance of them on game feel and playability.

Duration:01:01:49

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#300 Tricentennial Celebration

9/26/2023
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 role the show has played in their lives, their own journeys as designers, and hear from friends new and old. Thank you all for listening, whether this is your first episode or you’ve been listening from the beginning.

Duration:00:59:41

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#299 Worldbuilding with Ryan Laukat

9/12/2023
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 creation of Red Raven Games, and different methods that can be used to worldbuild. Topics include the importance of maps, how storybooks are utilized, the benefits and drawbacks of mixed medium board games, and branching narratives.

Duration:00:45:55