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.

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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19. Whoops, It’s a Dystopia

Why are our worlds turning out so horrible? We talk about how the framing for worldbuilding can exaggerate a society to cartoonish levels.

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18. It’s Trans Awareness Week

It’s Trans Awareness Week. A short bonus episode about trans allyship, education, and creating better gaming spaces. Trans Awareness Week: https://www.glaad.org/transweek The Trans Language Primer: https://www.translanguageprimer.org/

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17. Games Are Political

We talk about acknowledging—and embracing—the inherent politics of game design. Voting: https://votesaveamerica.com/ Intro music credits: New Ages 1 from Little Big Dog Ears. http://opsound.org/artist/littledogbigears/ http://opsound.org/info/license/ Design Doc Theme by Pat King.

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16. Retreat Forward

In September we met for a mini Questlandia retreat. We talked about how our intentions for the game have shifted in the current political landscape and introduced an unfolding guidebook that will sit at the center of play.

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15. Making Things in Hard Times

How do you keep making things when life throws the unexpected your way? We’re learning what that looks like now.

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14. Social Dynamics at the Table

A good GM can step up to manage social dynamics at the table. But in Questlandia 2, there is no GM, so the rules we write need to do some heavy hauling. How can we keep the excitement and ideas flowing without leaving quieter players out of the fun?

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Hannah S andogyn 2 (1)

Hannah Shaffer

Evan Rowland

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