My panels for Metatopia 2015

by Gil Hova

Metatopia is quickly becoming one of my favorite game design conventions. There’s a lot of good playtesting that happens there, both for raw prototypes you can show to fellow designers and late-stage prototypes that you can show interested gamers.

But what makes the convention really special for me is its enormous, wall-to-wall schedule of panels. Historically, a lot of these panels have been RPG-centric, so I’ve submitted a bunch of board game-specific panels, or that at least explicitly include board games in their setup.

I’m really excited about the panels I have set up. Here they are, with the official descriptions pasted in:

Writing a Rulebook for your Board Game
Friday Nov. 6, 3 pm
We all know that it’s vital to write a good rulebook for your board game. But how? What makes a rulebook “good?” What can you do to make your rulebook as good as possible? And is there any way to make the process a little less painful? Join published designers Gil Hova and Geoff Engelstein as we discuss what makes a good rulebook, and how you can make your board game’s rulebook as good as possible, without too much extra discomfort.
(I’ll be joined by Geoff Englestein, of Space Cadets and Ludology fame.)

Nerd Fountain Podcast
Friday Nov. 6, 9 pm
Hello and welcome to The Nerd Fountain, live at METATOPIA! This panel will feature a live recording of The Nerd Fountain podcast featuring your host and Executive Producer Jeffrey Norman Bourbeau, along with special guests from the tabletop industry. Topics will include emerging design trends, what we’ve been playing, what we’ve been working on, BGG Q&A, and Nerd Love Advice.
(I’ll probably have a short guest appearance at this panel.)

Board Game Design 101
Saturday Nov. 7, 11 am
What are the basic, fundamental concepts a new game designer needs to keep in mind when designing a new board game? You can spend years finding this the hard way, or you can attend this panel and learn about them in an hour! Join designer Gil Hova as he discusses the most fundamental concepts in game design: flow/fiero, core engagement, and heuristics.
(I’ve been wanting to do a seminar like this for a long time now!)

Two Player Board Games – Peaks and Pitfalls
Saturday Nov. 7, 1 pm
Explicitly two-player games are tricky to design, and harder to sell, for a lot of reasons. Much of the easy dynamism that is readily available with more players are simply not present. We’ll talk about what makes two-player games great, where and why there are drawbacks to this constraint, and think about how to push forward in this niche field.
(I’ll be joined by Tim Rodriguez [Ghost Pirates] and Dan Cassar [Arboretum, Cavemen: Quest for Fire])

Crossing Over – An Exploration of Different Fields
Saturday Nov. 7, 5 pm
How is designing RPGs different than designing board games? How different is a video game designer’s mindset? What about someone designing for change or artistic expression instead of pure recreation? In this one-of-a-kind panel, Gil Hova, Nik Mikros, Jason Pitre, and Sara Williamson will discuss game design from widely different perspectives, looking for commonalities and differences.
(Egads, this panel is the one I’m most excited about! A bunch of different game designers all joining together to talk about what makes working in our specific fields unique.)

Talk with Board Game Designer LIVE
Saturday Nov. 7, 8 pm
Talk with Board Game Designer will be filmed before a live studio audience. Jennifer Chan will be talking with top game designers and will be mediating your questions. Expect the same in-depth analysis that you get from a normal episode of Talk with Board Game Designer.
(I was assured that there’s no way I would be featured on this panel, so I guess I don’t know why I’m putting it here…)

If you want to see the other featured panels, they’re all listed here. Playtesting event schedules will come in a couple of weeks.

If you won’t be able to make it to Metatopia, I’m going to try to film all my appearances. I can’t make any guarantees that I won’t forget to hit record or turn my microphone on, though…

Hope to see you there!