Emerging Designers Mentorship Program

The Emerging Designers Mentorship Program began in early 2018, and saw seven tabletop roleplaying game designers through a new undertaking. Each mentorship was individually-tailored and discovery-oriented, following from the needs and goals of each participant. The program is now in a wind-down phase.

Below are the bios they shared at the start of the program, along with a quick status update about the projects they’ve been working on (updated November 2019).

The Participants

Brandon O’Brien is a queer spoken word poet and science fiction and fantasy writer living in Trinidad & Tobago. His work has appeared in Uncanny MagazineStrange HorizonsArsenikaReckoning, and other outlets. He is also the poetry editor of FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction. His project, a fantasy RPG about music magicians using the power of song to defend their neighbourhoods and square off in a Battle of the Bands, is his first foray into game design! 

Status: Brandon continues to work on Soundclash, and has pursued a number of other small projects along the way.

Edward Castle is an artist roaming the deserts of southern California. He loves drawing monsters, ghosts, and making things — usually food.  His (non-food related) project is Travelogue, a drawing and world building game about travel.

Status: Travelogue has been released over Roll20, and Edward is currently working on a print version.

Josie Siino is a burgeoning game designer and character artist from the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s been playing and designing games for a little over a decade, and is looking to publish a game for the first time. As a trans lesbian, she is always seeking to roleplay aspects of the human condition through the lens of queerness. Her current game is called Astrophobia (working title), a sci-fi horror game about delving into personal fears and drives.

Status: Josie continues to refine Astrophobia and is getting it ready for playtest.

Jacob Lefton is an artist and a peacebuilder living in central Germany. He has been exploring games and how they can be used to build peace and make positive change in conflict contexts. His game (in early development) is about political animals, and explores polarization and social cohesion through the founding stories of communities and the agendas that interpret them.

Status: Jacob continues to work on Political Animals as his work schedule allows, and continues to develop new ideas along the way.

Jada Alexander is an emerging game designer from Serbia. She’s relatively new to the hobby, having participated in, hacked, and drafted games for about three years. Her current project, a science fantasy game about a group of people escaping the clutches of politically hardline societies to do some good doesn’t have a name yet, but she hopes to figure that out soon (as well as many other things) through this mentorship.

Status: Jada’s mentorship is currently on hold.

Z is a homeschooler, blogger (www.earthcompromise.com), ocean conservationist (www.operationoceanfixer.org), cook, and game designer. They’re agender and proudly feminine (pronouns: she/her or they/them). They love to play card games such as Nines, Egyptian Ratscrew, Speed, Stress, Presidents – as well as a love for Scrabble! Z’s current game design project is a two-player game called The Drawing Game.

Status: After several rounds of development on Door to Door: The Drawing Game, Z’s mentorship concluded.

DC is an emerging game designer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently they work in the narrative design space, on independent projects and freelance work. Their goal is to create settings that empower, and properly represent, marginalized persons.

Status: DC has released Mutants in the Night, and the Ennie-winning plot ARMOR. They now live in Seattle and are doing amazing community organizing work.