About My Work

Hi! My name is Avery.

My name is Avery. I’m a queer woman who recently left the unceded territory of the Sinixt and relocated to amiskwacîwâskahikan.

I want to learn how to build healthy communities, repair relationships, liberate the imagination, and escape the clutches of capitalism.

Our conversations and stories matter, and the ways that we co-create them aren’t accidental. My work blends facilitation, design, and play – bringing keen curiosity and visionary imagination to how we create together.

I design roleplaying games.

For the past seventeen years I’ve been designing tabletop roleplaying games. These are games about community, relationships, doubt, queerness, and the collapse of civilization. They’re designed for new and seasoned players alike.

I believe a few things pretty seriously:
We are strongly moved and informed by stories.
Stories can bring communities together.
Stories reveal who we are.

The beautiful thing is that we don’t owe stories anything. We are free to create them, explore them, deconstruct them and learn from them as we see fit. We are free to draw from them only what we want and need, and to leave them afterward. There is a certain joy to this freedom, which I summarize as a freedom to “bury without ceremony.”

I facilitate workshops and intensives.

From short sessions to weekend-long intensives, I’m proud of the work I’ve done putting together workshops that challenge participants to engage critically, imaginatively, and pragmatically.

Most of my workshop design experience to date has focused on game design and community engagement, but I’m excited to be expanding my focus to include relationship-building, creative living, and queer world-making. Anything I should add to the list?

I offer design consulting.

With a background in roleplaying game design and workshop development, I’ve offered design consulting on a number of projects, including Thirsty Sword Lesbians, Apocalypse Keys, and Yazeba’s Bed & Breakfast. I pride myself in my ability to discern unexpressed goals, offer critical reworkings of the material, and communicate with clients in an empowering way.

From 2018-2020, I ran the Emerging Designers Mentorship Program, an individually-tailored and discovery-oriented program that guided seven tabletop roleplaying game designers through new undertakings. It has since entered hibernation.


Design Consulting

“Avery is a brilliant game designer and her feedback is invaluable. She has offered detailed and actionable critiques of my current project (Circles of Power), both to address the complex social issues associated with the game and the mechanical systems it uses. Her design consultancy is worth it’s weight in gold.”

-Jason Pitre,
author of Circles of Power & Spark

Workshop Facilitation

“I can honestly say I walked away from last weekend with a whole new recognition and respect for [roleplaying games] as therapeutic tools, community-builders, safe playgrounds for self-discovery, and implements for social change. I found your intensive educational, boundary-expanding, enlightening, confidence-building, and frequently hilarious!”

-Mark Holliday,
workshop attendee

Public Speaking

"The kinds of social interaction that can happen in a group, the negotion that can happen in a roleplaying game... the emergent and collaborative storytelling that happens in those types of spaces... For me, there's actually no speaker or thinker who's more inspirational with regards to that stuff than Avery Alder."

-Naomi Clark,
NYU Games Center faculty

Design Consulting

"Avery's consultation is like taking your game to get a makeover from an expert stylist. She has a rare combination of talents: both the creative eye to perceive the heart of a project, and the keen organizational sense to guide it into its most elegant shape. Her feedback is thoughtful, thorough, and precise, with an emphasis on disambiguation and reader comprehension."

-Possum Creek Games, designers of Wanderhome and Yazeba's Bed & Breakfast

Workshop Facilitation

"Designing Games That Matter changed my life. In it, I found community and peace of mind that I do not have in my day to day... I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, and hope to find more of this experience in the future. It brought me more in line with my authentic self."

-anonymous workshop attendee,
Designing Games That Matter

Design Consulting

"Early on in developing my game, The Warren, I was wrestling with a design problem and sought out Avery's advice. She took the time to understand my design goals and then worked with me to develop a much better solution. You couldn't ask for a better mentor."

-Marshall Miller,
author of The Warren