The ultimate virtual conference for board game development and design!
What is the Conference?
Schedule of Events
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What is the conference
Board Games aren’t just created. They’re meticulously designed to evoke emotions and unleash our competitive nature.
At the Board Game Design Conference, we’re breaking down everything you need to know through educational seminars and valuable insights from industry professionals. Gain the vital guidance you need to help you source board game design jobs and learn what it takes to be an indie game designer.
We have curated the most relevant seminar topics for today’s exploding Board Game Design field. We have spread these live seminars out over three weekends in May to make it as convenient as possible to attend all the events live without missing any. But don’t worry if you can’t catch them all live, your ticket gives you access to a recording of the seminar that you can watch at your convenience.
BGDC strongly believes in supporting and offering educational opportunities for new and novice members of our growing community. That’s why we kept the ticket price for this event as low as possible while still bringing together the best industry presenters for you
Dr. Reiner Knizia
Reiner Knizia is one of the world’s most successful and prolific game designers. More than 700 of his games and books have been published worldwide in over 50 languages with sales reaching many millions of copies. His creations have won numerous international awards – including five German Game Prizes, two German Game of the Year Awards, the German Education Game Award, five Austrian Game Awards, two Swiss Game Awards, three French Grand Prix du Jouet, two Spanish Game of the Year Awards, the Italian Game of the Year Award, the Hungarian Game of the Year Award, three Dutch Game of the Year Awards, the Danish Game of the Year Award, two Swedish Game of the Year Awards, four Finnish Game of the Year Awards, the Australian Game of the Year Award, and three Japan Board Game Prizes.
Reiner Knizia is a master of simple game rules that create much fun and enjoyment for people of all ages.
Reiner Knizia has a Master of Science degree from Syracuse University (USA) and a PHD in Mathematics from Ulm University (Germany). After many years abroad, Reiner Knizia now lives in Munich, Germany.
Special Guest Speaker
Martin Wallace is a British board game designer who has spent most of his life in Manchester UK but now resides on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. He has been designing games since the early 1990s and has a number of notable games to his credit, including Age of Steam, Discworld Ankh Morpork, Brass (Lancashire and Birmingham) and A Few Acres of Snow. Many of his designs have a historical theme. For many years he published games via his own company, first Warfrog then Treefrog, but now he licenses designs to other companies.
Sen is constantly dreaming, even when he’s awake. He is passionate about helping other people lose track of time in ways that they find meaningful. Sen has won many awards for his past games and he looks forward to putting even more interesting and engaging games on your table. Look for Rat Queens and My Singing Monsters to hit Kickstarter this summer! When he’s not designing or developing games, you can find him rolling around, trying to cuddle people to death while wearing pyjamas or co-hosting the Meeple Syrup Show and the Ludology podcast. Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Sen now resides in the undisputed second-best London in the world with his lovely family.
Klemens has worked on the visuals of over 300 games for publishers of all sizes and from all over the world. He has illustrated classics such as Agricola, Orléans, and Isle of Skye, which have heavily influenced the Euro-game art aesthetic. Besides being a freelance artist he is the acting Art Director for Lookout Games, with which he has been collaborating since 2006. Thus he focuses more and more on the backbone of board game visuals – the graphic-design, iconography and usability. Working with new or boardgame-inexperienced illustrators to create games like Hallertau or Cantaloop sharpened his view on how and why boardgames work or don’t work visually.
Kathleen Mercury, M.A.T., M.E.T., has been teaching gifted middle school students for fifteen years using design thinking to create functional art from designing tabletop games and RPGs to filmmaking, cosplay, and more. She shares all of her game design teaching resources at www.kathleenmercury.com for free, and loves to collaborate with educators and industry leaders to promote game design curriculum at every level and format. She currently cohosts the podcasts, Games in Schools and Libraries and On Board Games, and is a frequent guest on other podcasts. She has multiple games in various stages of design, development, and publication with the upcoming titles Greece Lightning from Wizkids, Valkyrie from Greenbriar Games, and Dragnarok from Kolossal. Kathleen thinks happiness comes from being able to create the life you want, and she feels very fortunate that she’s been able to do that
Stephen is an Assistant Professor-in-Residence in Educational Technology at the University of Connecticut with dual appointments to the Neag School of Education Department of Educational Psychology and School of Fine Arts Department of Digital Media & Design. They hold a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and have worked on a variety of game and instructional design projects with organizations including Arizona State University’s Center for Games & Impact, Intel Corporation, Pfizer, UConn Health, and UConn’s Greenhouse Studios.
Operations Director at Leder Games and the Owner of Yanaguana Games
Marshall designed, developed, and produced many games in his career and continues to create and manage the productions of many of your favorite titles. In 2014 Marshall designed a game called “Stir Fry Eighteen” which eventually became the catalyst for a move from his day job to a full time career in product consulting and development in New England. After a few years working as a “hired gun” and on his own projects, Marshall moved to Minnesota and joined the Leder Games studio as the Director of Operations. He’s responsible for producing Vast: The Mysterious Manor, Root: A Game of Woodland MIght and Right (and its many expansions), Fort, Oath, Stir Fry Eighteen, Re-Chord, Blume, and many products that support these titles. Marshall is also the Lead Developer for a number of projects including the Root: Clockwork Expansions and “Bunkers and Badasses”, a soon to be released Borderlands RPG from Nerdvana Games. Marshall lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and two sons, he enjoys cycling, disc golf, building with lego, and games of just about any type.
Director of Board Games, WizKids
Zev Shlasinger founded Z-Man Games in 1999, in order to have new cards for his favorite CCG, Shadowfist. Got into board games in 2001 when he was shown a B-movie horror themed card game called Grave Robbers from Outer Space. As a fan of B-movies, Zev released to no fanfare at GenCon 2001. It sold out and became a hit.
Over the next several years Z-Man Games released nearly 60 board and card games, many original and the rest licensed including: Camelot Legends, Saboteur, No Thanks, Warchon, Primordial Soup, Duel in the Dark, 1960: The Making of a President, Prophecy, Endeavor, Merchants and Marauders, Onirim, and many more.
In 2008, Z-Man Games solidified their place as a top game publisher with the 1-2 punch of Pandemic in February and Agricola in June.
In 2016, Zev left the Z-Man Games and is currently the Director of Board Games at WizKids, releasing over 60 games.
Zev is always on the lookout for ‘wow’ and is not afraid to take risks on new designs and new designers
Owner, Smirk & Dagger Games / Smirk & Laughter Games
A seventeen-year veteran in the industry and the inventor of Cutthroat Caverns, Hex Hex, and Nevermore, just to name a few. He has an equally long career in marketing, copywriting and graphic design as a Creative Director for promotion agencies.
Anne-Marie De Witt
Chief Executive Officer, Fireside Games
Anne-Marie is co-owner of Fireside Games, which has been in operation since 2008 and is best known for Castle Panic. While she enjoys designing games (Bears!, Munchkin Panic, The Village Crone), her role focuses on the marketing and business needs of the company. Piecing together the creative opportunities with market trends and the cold calculus of the bottom line has become a meta-game that rivals the best board games for her attention.
Chief Operating Officer, Wise Wizard Games
Debbie has over 15 years of marketing experience in high-growth businesses. Having attended MIT twice, and marketed to gamers and software developers, she’s well versed in geek/gaming culture. She manages day-to-day operations of Wise Wizard Games and leads the marketing strategies and programs for the company. She created the marketing plan for the original launch of Star Realms, and would love to share the knowledge that she has gained over the years with other game designers.
Andrew Kuplic started his own board game publishing company in 2019, called Flame Point Games. Flame Point Games mission is to create strategy games with fun themes that the entire family will enjoy. Our first games, Magical Unicorn Quest, was first published in 2019. The game was fully funded on Kickstarter and received great and positive feedback. A second version of the game is currently being published and is available on Kickstarter through May 13th. The second version is called Magical Unicorn Quest – Unicorn Traitor. Andrew Kuplic is looking to publish many more games in the future.
Before joining the University of Connecticut as an Assistant Professor-in-Residence of Digital Media & Design, Ken served as an industry Game Designer and Lead Designer for franchises including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Madagascar, Shrek, and over a dozen others. He has managed projects from start to finish, programmed unique scenarios using game development tools, and worked with publishers such as SEGA, Electronic Arts, and Activision. He has been professionally recognized with a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for best video game, Indie Game of the Year, and various Innovation Awards from industry publications. Now, he leads the UConn game design program and serves as a mentor for many of the program’s associated clubs and interdisciplinary projects.
James is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media & Design and History at the University of Connecticut. His research focuses on the development of public-facing, humanities-themed games, and his first project, Cassius, is a first-person narrative exploration game set in colonial Virginia. He is a scholar of the historic architecture and material culture of the early Americas and has worked for over a decade building historical 3D visualizations.
Become an expert
Then, you’ve landed on just the right square. (see what we did there?) Whether you are new to board game design or have a few games under your belt, we’ve put together the ultimate virtual conference for everything board game development and design!
The Board Game Design Conference is brought to you by the gaming wizards behind Which Game First: A Board Game Podcast. We’ve been podcasting for years and are grateful for our loyal and devoted following. But we’re not just podcasters bringing you the inside scoop of the game world. We knew that we could bring a lot more to the table for both aspiring and established board game designers. We are excited to pull back the curtain behind the game design process and help indie game designers get the edge they need to make it in the wonderfully wacky world of board games.