Backstory

BACKSTORY is an ongoing series of interviews with game designers and other notable members of the role-playing community, hosted by Alex Roberts. This show is all about the person behind the work: how did they get into gaming? Why did they start designing? What are they most excited about for the future? Alex loves getting to know people, and you'll love coming along for the ride.

29. J Li

Larpwright J Li joins Alex to talk emotional immersion, user-centric game design, and engaging in a fictional dialogue with the space around you. Curious about pervasive games, and one-player games? This one’s for you.

28. Rachel Kahn

Artist and GM Rachel Khan joins us to talk about running an RPG campaign based on Persian mythology at the Aga Khan museum in Toronto. Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? We also discuss illustrating for games and the magic of dice bowls. Warning: major spoilers for a thousand-year-old poem!

27. D. Vincent and Meguey Baker

To celebrate one year of Backstory, Alex brings on indie legends and Apocalypse World co-creators Meguey and D. Vincent Baker. Topics range from sex education to censorship to masonic initiation ceremonies and quilt preservation – and yes, it’s all related to game design.

26. Ole Peder Giæver

Game designer Ole Peder Giæver, co-creator of Itras By (with Martin Bull Gudmundsen) and Old Friends (with Jason Morningstar) joins Alex for a dreamy chat about magic, masks, and Norwegian folklore. Also: an exciting announcement.

25. Mo Turkington

Larpwright and publisher Mo Turkington on larping theatrically, embodiment and immersion, and “the unbearable weight of representation.”

24. Avery Alder

Prolific and influential game designer Avery Alder joins Alex to talk about re-entering game design with collaboration and care at the forefront. We also talk queerness, monstrosity, and kids in rpgs. Lots of other stuff too. It’s a good chat.

23. Whitney Beltràn

Game designer, writer, and consultant Whitney “Strix” Beltràn talks designing with fairy tales, role-playing with archetypes, and keeping mythologies alive.

22. Ben Schwartz

Professional organizer Ben “Books” Schwartz talks larping with kids, larping with different traditions, and larping when it’s your actual job.

21. Hakan Seyalioglu

What happens when you publish your own game from scratch? How do we welcome new players to the table? Game designer Hakan Seyalioglu on game publishing, community building, and the beautiful collision of the obvious and the unexpected.

20. Mark Richardson

Do maps make statements, the way games do? Game designer and cartographer Mark Richardson joins Alex to talk publishing games, being sober, and running Vampire larps in the ’90s.