A photograph of a piece of paper with a stylized word written on it: mentorships. The paper is surrounded by cedar branches and mandarin oranges.

Hi! My name is Avery Alder, and I design games under the imprint of Buried Without Ceremony. I’ve decided that moving into the new year I want to be offering game design mentorships to emerging designers. I’ve been designing and independently publishing games for almost a dozen years, and along the way I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and skills. I’m excited about sharing that knowledge with others!

If you’re interested in mentorship and dialogue on a creative project you’re working on, fill out this form! I’ll be taking submissions on a rolling basis, but the first mentorship(s) will be chosen in early January. If you’re chosen, expect 1-3 hours a month of feedback, critique, excited ideas, and sounding board, over whatever combination of email and skype suits you best. It’s free, and mentorships go on as long as we jive and the project needs support.

Applications are currently frozen, check back every few weeks.

Meet the Current Cohort

To learn what projects these six emerging designers are working on, and a little bit more about them personally, check out this recent announcement post!

Brandon turns left to look at the camera. He's a young black man wearing glasses, headphones, and a stylish hat. His eyebrow is raised.

Brandon

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! 

A picture of a man with long hair, wearing a burgundy shirt, standing in front of a minimal, impressionist mural of a character from Peanuts.

Edward

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.

Jada is a young Serbian woman. In this picture, she is smiling at the camera, wearing magenta lipstick.

Jada

 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.
A picture of a game designer named Jacob Leftin

Jacob

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.

A close-up picture of David Collins face. David is a young Black man wearing glasses and a hoodie, looking pensively off to the side.

David

David Collins is an emerging game designer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently he works in the narrative design space, making hacks for Blades in the Dark as well as Dungeons and Dragons. His goal is to create settings that empower, and properly represent, marginalized persons. David is running a DnD campaign in one of these settings live on twitch.tv/ArchiversRPG beginning March 4th.

A picture of Z, an agender teenager wearing a bowler hat and black-frame glasses, standing in front of a collage.

Z

Z is a homeschooler, blogger (zmkf.me), 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.

A picture of Josie, with wavy, swooped bangs across her face, standing outside on a sunny day.

Josie

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.

Feedback from Mentorships & Consultations Past

"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
Circles of Power
"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
The Warren
"Avery's affirming, precise feedback gave us the courage to alter a core mechanic of our game, which turned out to be exactly what we needed. Despite our inexperience, she took us and our game seriously while providing specific and wise critique."
Amber Gilchrist and Elizabeth Bellisario
Sherzando!

Eager to support the Emerging Designers mentorship? Check out the Goblin Friendship Club, a seasonal subscription that helps carve out resources for me to run this mentorship program, offer low-income discounts, and work on scrappy side-projects.