Design Doc

Join Hannah and Evan on a journey in analog game design as they set out to redesign their first roleplaying game, Questlandia. Are you a junk poet or a world weaver? Can you Kickstart a roleplaying game in a three-ring binder?  It’s as close to live game design as it gets, and we’re inviting you along for the ride!

Hannah grew up on point-and-click adventures games and purple-aquamarine ‘90s tracksuits, and never really grew out of it. She designs games around themes of queerness, empathy, and optimistic nihilism. You can find more of her work at makebigthings.com, where she creates board and roleplaying games as part of the Make Big Things co-op.

Evan is an avid player and creator of both tabletop and coimputer games. He’s worked previously on Questlandia, 14 Days, Noirlandia, and is developing the upcoming video game Goblin Diplomat. His favorite game is Go. If you ask, he will definitely play Go with you.

When to Add Ghosts to Your Game

28. When No One Is the GM, Everyone Is

Questlandia 2 is a campaign game with no Game Master. Without a designated person in the GM role, that responsibility must be distributed among all players. We talk about how the Junk Poets can support every player as a great GM. Design Doc intro/outro theme song: written by Pat King. Some examples of the Junk...

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27. The UltraLux Bait-and-Switch

Questlandia 2 has been delayed. Now, we’re releasing an entirely different RPG first. We talk about, and try not to apologize for, how timelines and business have to adapt to design difficulties. Design Doc intro/outro theme: by Pat King

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24. We Still Don’t Know Who the Junk Poets Are

Who are the Junk Poets and what do they add to Questlandia? We go over what we know, what’s still missing, and how they could make a GMless game easier to play!

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23. Finding the Game’s Emotional Core

We’ve finished the first two playtests of Questlandia and something is still missing. In this episode we talk about how to hone in on the emotional core of the game. What stories does this game want to tell and how do we make sure it tells them?

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22. Playtesting Progress Part 2: The Spinning Mountain

After playtesting Questlandia’s new kingdom and character creation, it’s time to test some scenes! Bartholomew the anxious city planner and Quincy the cast out justice-bringer will have to make some hard choices. Choices that begin with a cat and end with a geological anomaly. Intro/Outro theme music – by Pat King

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21. Playtesting Progress Part 1: Knotty Business

Welcome to Kingdom Knot, where our people keep vigil over the void at the edge of the world. Something has emerged from that void—a creature for which we have no words, of which we have no memory. For now, we will call it…a “cat.” Music credits: Design Doc Intro/Outro theme written by Pat King Also...

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20. Make-Believe History

Alanna Shaffer joins us to talk about how, even when telling made-up stories, we can be aware of biases in the way we think about history.

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Hannah S andogyn 2 (1)

Hannah Shaffer

Evan Rowland