I am a freelance game designer, who has been dreaming up games for as long as I can remember. Growing up in San Jose, my passion for game design was fostered at a young age by a babysitter who brought his own Wild West game over one night. From that moment, my creative spark was lit. So what if no game met expectations, just create your own!
How would I describe myself? Restless Imagineer, Ancient World Academic, Rocket Scientist, D&D Devotee, National Park Lover, Vintage Trailer Enthusiast, and All-Around Geek Girl.
My spare time is spent playing and GM’ing RPGs (especially various flavors of D&D) and tending to my vegetable garden. Sadly, the last of my pets, twenty-year-old cat Dakota, has now passed into that great, grassy field in the sky.
Game Design Philosophy
Where did Dream, Build, Play, Learn come from?
It’s how I describe my creativity cycle, so to speak. By my nature, first and foremost I’m a dreamer. I am constantly coming up with ideas of all sorts – from game ideas to kitchen organization. Basically, my imagination is on overdrive the majority of the time. However, I also have a strong desire to bring things to fruition. So, building is important to me too; I want to put my ideas into action. From creation, I can then enact the remainder of the cycle – play and learn. Interaction or playing with the creation generates perspective. Through perspective, I learn. Learning then triggers dreaming; and the cycle begins anew. It’s an iterative and generative cycle, one that is at the core of my approach to game design (well, and so much more in my life).
I will note that two transitions – dream-to-build and play-to-learn – are quite difficult. The first transition is explicitly difficult. That is to say that there is great risk inherent in daring to breathe life into any dream. You leave yourself open to criticism from your own voice and those of others. The second transition is more implicitly challenging. Once you’ve produced something, can you then engage with it honestly enough to learn? Talk to any game designer who took a game through serious playtesting. You have to set aside personal investment and really listen. It’s harder than you may think. But it’s where the real satisfaction is – making something not just for your own expressiveness, but to engage other people too. Perhaps that’s the engineer speaking in me, perhaps it’s just the humanist.
My Principles of Game Design
Rich (thematically): There are just so many games out on the market right now in this golden age of board game design. In response, at least in my opinion, a designer must find ways to make her game standout. Richness of theme is a crucial component to combat the competitive market. Don’t mistake me, I don’t mean to just slap theme haphazardly about. Theme should be applied thoughtfully; it should be woven into the fabric of the rules and mechanics, not just the art. Theme well done, engages players on multiple levels, and by doing so, increases player enjoyment and investment.
Accessible: Similarly, because there are so many games right now, a designer needs to appeal to a wider audience. It’s broader than just using a popular theme that appeals to a wide demographic. I mean the game should have the ability to be both quick to engage and functionally approachable. If you can do both, then naturally your game will be accessible to more people.
Educational: Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that my games are exercises in classroom simulation. Rather I mean that I want my games to have some learning value beyond lessons in communication, strategy, and group etiquette. It can be subtle. In fact, it’s probably better if it’s subtle. Incorporate the learning into the theme, mechanics and rules and players won’t know that they are learning.
Living Greyhawk, Theocracy of the Pale
Paladin 6/Pious Templar 8
Templar of Heironeous
Phallen of Pholtus
Faithful Companion of Alethea (Hippogriff Familiar)
Bearer of the Ashes of Karistyne
Seeker of the Sword of Virtue Beyond Reproach
"Never Die Easy"
Living Forgotten Realms
Elemental Dual-Weapon Ranger 10 /Earthforged Horizon Walker 10
Hammer Maiden of the Ironfist Clan
Faithful of Berronar Truesilver
Savior of Silverforge
Ex-Knight of Cormyr
Flaming Fist Apprentice
Keeper of Charms
"First to the keg guarantees first for seconds"
Serpent Skull Campaign
Wielder of Mantis
Catcher of All Diseases
Magnimar Culinary Academy Graduate
Tanglefoot Consortium Covert Agent
Owner of Joy of Cooking Calistrian Text
Ursula “The Crow” Helgasdottir
Savage Tide Campaign
Universalist 15/Loremaster 10/Figther 1
Iggwilv's Herald of Doom
Slayer of Demogorgon
Witchwarden Red Dagger
Traveler of Worlds
Captain of the Sea Wyvern
Owner of Mnemoic (Pet Researcher)
"Always try something once"
Prudence Valoura Pureheart
Wrath of the Righteous Campaign
Cleric Crusader 10/Holy Vindicator 11
Devotee of Torag
Slayer of Deskari & Noctulia
Wielder of Torag's Optimal Shield
Friend of Uber Bob (Unique Celestial Elder Earth Elemental)
Bearer of Terendelev's Scale
Wearer of Many Medals
Armor Class 67
"Of course, we'll go"
Skull & Skackles Adventure Path
-Near-TPK during shipboard duties tryouts (first PC actions in the AP)
-Sweat Box as Spa with endure elements
-Pirate Idol new entertainment sensation sweeping The Shackles
-Launching Besmara's Kiss off of a coral reef during the Free Captain's Regatta
-Master of the Gale's awakened kraken randomly attacking all ships
Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path
campaign still underway in Xin Shalast
-Meddling teenagers drive Father Zanthus to Worldwound crusading
-The new 'Glow Veranda' at The Bag in Sandpoint
-"Do you suppose they valet park Mammoths?" at Jorgenfist
-Ghlorofaex & Madame M'Vashti! Who knew?