Brenda Bakker Harger

Brenda Bakker Harger is a theater director (MFA Carnegie Mellon University), improviser, and professor of Entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center where she teaches improvisational acting and leads diverse interdisciplinary projects. As an improviser, Brenda has performed with Pittsburgh Theatresports and SAK Theatre, and has led improv workshops nationally and internationally from theater improvisers to executive leadership training (Carnegie Bosch Insititute) to video game companies. Bakker Harger is also director of a unique award winning theater company at Carnegie Mellon, which uses live interactive theater to address controversial issues in the workplace and classroom. She has produced an exploratory DVD-ROM for interactive theater, and is currently pursuing her interest in further exploring her theory and skills in directing and improvisation with technology, both in gaming and theater.

Recent projects include: making a demo/prototype of a game based on the film Night of the Living Dead (with George Romero); creating a toy/exhibit featuring virtual representations of The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum’s Puppet collection; and interactive robots - creating a robot which had distinct character and was able to convey emotion and intention. In theater, Harger has directed and developed plays as technologically based interactive experiences, one which premiered at the Humana New Play Festival at the Actor’s Theatre in Louisville, Virtual Meditation #1, and another, Full Spectrum, which premiered at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City. In addition, Harger engages in ongoing research on using improvisational methods to create more believable virtual characters.

Matthew Berland

Matthew Berland is an assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning & Teaching at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University in 2008, studying computational literacy, systems literacy, and the design of constructionist learning environments. In 2009, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin working on AI systems and human-robot interface design. His current projects include an NSF-funded handheld robotics project; a computational thinking project using tabletop boardgames; a project to investigate the learning processes of novice programmers; and novel assessments for constructionist classrooms.

Greg Costikyan

Greg Costikyan has designed more than 30 commercially published board, roleplaying, computer, online, social, and mobile games, including five Origins Awards winners (ludography at; is an inductee into the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame; and the recipient of the Maverick Award for his tireless promotion of independent games. At present he is a Senior Designer at Playdom, a social game developer, and also runs Play This Thing!, a review site for indie games. He is also the author of four published science fiction novels.
URLS: - personal website - a review each day of an indie game

James F Dunnigan

Jim Dunnigan writes books on military affairs, technology and history, builds his own computers, considers risk management a splendid leisure time activity, manages software development, can conjure up simulations on anything and considers problem solving a favorite indoor sport. He studied to be an accountant and during his time in college he got involved in designing wargames for Avalon Hill. He also got involved in developing online games, and continues this, along with writing a book or two a year. To find out more about playing wargames and have some fun, visit:

Ira Fay

Ira Fay is a Senior Game Designer at, where he has lead Pogo iPhone game development, released several top web games, and championed playtesting and telemetry. Prior to Pogo, Ira worked at Z-Axis on X-Men 3, at Maxis on The Sims 2, and at Walt Disney Imagineering on ToonTown Online. Ira graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science (‘00) and master’s degree in entertainment technology (‘04). Ira has given guest lectures at various universities worldwide, including USC Interactive Media, ETC Osaka/Silicon Valley/Pittsburgh, and GNW Digital Media Vancouver. In his spare time, two of his favorite activities are playing and designing boardgames with friends.

Simon Ferrari

Simon Ferrari is a doctoral researcher in digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he studies expressive game design, criticism, and competitive play. His first book, co-authored by Ian Bogost and Bobby Schweizer, is Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010).

Richard Garfield

Richard Garfield designed the first trading card game, Magic, in 1993. At the time he was a math professor, but the success of Magic led to him leaving academics and going into game design full time. Since then he has published half a dozen other trading card game designs, as well as a number of board and card games. Since 2001 he has been consulting on game design with companies including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and the Pokemon Company. His recent games include King of Tokyo (boardgame), Let’s Jet (boardgame) and Spectromancer (PC). In the last 5 years he has been teaching a class “Characteristics of Games”, the material for which has been made into a textbook published by MIT Press. He continues to play, study, and design games out of an academic interest for what makes great games.

Pat Harrigan

Patrick Harrigan is the co-editor of the MIT Press volumes Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives (2009), Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (2007) and First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (2004), all with Noah Wardrip-Fruin. He is a former marketing director and creative developer for Fantasy Flight Games, and co-edited FFG’s The Art of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos (2006), with Brian Wood. His work has appeared in Pagan Publishing’s The Unspeakable Oath, Chaosium’s Arkham Tales, and in the Gameplaywright volumes The Bones and Things We Think About Games. He has also written a novel, Lost Clusters (2005).

Kevin Jacklin

Kevin Jacklin is a long-standing member of Reiner Knizia’s playtest/design circle, receiving credit on several dozen Knizia game titles. He is the co-designer with Knizia of Hollywood Lives – the Movie-Making Party Game.

John Kaufeld

John Kaufeld believes that great boardgames can change the world, one family at a time. He loves helping parents -- especially dads -- build connections with their kids through family time around the game table. He’s a best-selling author, long-time boardgame evangelist, and self-proclaimed Chief Elf (whatever that means). You can reach him at

Chris Klug

Trained as a theatrical lighting designer, Chris Klug worked on Broadway, in regional theater and opera, and toured with various 70’s rock n’ roll bands. Through the intercession of a photographer friend, Chris took a part-time job designing RPG adventures for a NYC game company, Simulations Publications, Inc. After delivering a handful of freelance assignments, he was asked to join the design staff in 1981, and assisted with the design of Universe, then designed the 2nd edition of DragonQuest, Horror Hotel and Damocles Mission. While at SPI he edited the role playing section of Ares magazine. When TSR bought SPI in 1982, Chris and the rest of the SPI staff moved on to form Victory Games. There Chris headed up the role playing games group, designed the James Bond 007 role playing game and oversaw the entire Bond product line. At Victory Games, Chris designed a half-dozen more titles and was, for a time, Design Director.

After leaving Victory Games, Chris became a freelance computer game designer and worked for SegaSoft, TSR, Hasbro Interactive, 3W, THQ, Simon and Schuster Interactive, Target Games, h2o Interactive, Gizmo Games, Westwood Studios, EA, GT Interactive and Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. Some of his computer game design credits include Star Trek DS9: Dominion Wars, Europa Universalis, Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, Diamond Dreams Baseball, Aidyn Chronicles: First Mage, Earth & Beyond, and Stargate Worlds.

In academia, Chris is currently a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. In addition to teaching at the ETC, Chris has taught Interactive Storytelling at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh as well as the Art Institute in Phoenix. Chris is a playwright and member of the Writer’s Guild of America West.

Stone Librande

Currently working as Creative Director at EA/Maxis, Stone Librande, (M.S. MIT Media Laboratory, B.F.A. California Institute of Arts Film/Video School), has worked in a wide variety of technical and creative fields. He has been employed as an art director, video producer, software engineer and freelance illustrator. On weekends he is either teaching a game design course at Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, CA. or creating his own custom card and board games.

Brian Magerko

Brian Magerko, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006.  His research, funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other federal institutions, focuses on the use of AI to personalize digital game-based experiences and the design of educational games. His blog project, The Digital Tabletop, is a multi-year transmedia comparison of the game mechanics employed in modern boardgames and digital games.  His interest in boardgames has influenced both his design research as well as his approach to teaching.  He has recently incorporated boardgames as a core component of his Game AI course, which prompts students to develop AI approaches for opponents for boardgames as a means of focusing on deep Game AI problems. Dr. Magerko has recently been spending his spare time playing copious games of Dominion online and testing the capabilities of the AI in the new release of Ra on the iPad.

Ray Mazza

Ray has degrees in physics, computer science, and entertainment technology. He enjoys writing, random skills (like shuffling a deck of cards with one hand), and long walks in game stores. If he can entertain and enlighten, he is a happy guy. Ray was last seen working as a lead designer on the hit videogame franchise The Sims.

Peter Olotka

Experienced in the development and design of games, activity kits, museum exhibits, public programs and products.

Worked in multiple media and platforms including: board, card, computer, web, CDROM, radio, TV, print. Served as creative consultant for multiple science museums for staff and program development. Responsibilities range from providing conceptual design, researching and writing content to managing entire projects - budgeting, hiring subcontractors, etc. Projects involve meeting with the client’s designers, marketers, technical staff and outside contractors in order to synthesize and unify competing interests.
Founded Eon Products, Inc
Founded Future Pastimes, LLC
Founded Creative Consultants
Designed over 70 published games, products, exhibits and public programs
Clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as leading non profits
50 Game Design Awards
MA Mass Communication,
Thesis: Telecommunications Event Design, Emerson College, Boston, Ma.
BA History, University of Colorado, Boulder, Co.

David Parlett

A Londoner by birth and residence, David Parlett has a degree in modern languages and was a high school teacher and then a technical writer before joining Games & Puzzles magazine in 1972 as a contributor and subsquent editor. He has been inventing games since childhood and has always delighted in recreational mathematics. Involvement with Games & Puzzles led to the first of many books on games, especially card games, that he has written down the years, and to the invention of his first and most successful game, Hare & Tortoise, which was first published in 1974, won the first ever German Game of the Year award in 1979, and has been in constant production ever since. His best-known books are The Penguin Book of Card Games (1979, latest edition 2008), The Oxford Guide to Card Games (aka A History of Card Games, 1991) and The Oxford History of Board Games (1999). His advice is often sought on the staging of historic games in period films and dramas. An active member of the International Board Games Studies Association, he has written many papers on the historical and philosophical aspects of games and play in general. Full details of his productions, together with the rules of many of his original card games, can be found on his website at

Lewis Pulsipher

Dr. Lew Pulsipher started playing boardgames more than 50 years ago. He designed his own games, then discovered strategic “realistic” gaming with early Avalon Hill wargames, and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history at Duke University. His first commercial title was published in 1978. He is designer of Britannia, Dragon Rage, Valley of the Four Winds, Swords and Wizardry, and Diplomacy Games & Variants.

After a 20 year hiatus from game design to teach himself computing and work as a programmer and chief of PC support at a major Army medical center, Lew has come back to designing games. Britannia (2nd edition) appeared in 2006, with foreign editions (German, French, Spanish, Hungarian) in 2008. Britannia is among the games covered in the book Hobby Games: The 100 Best, edited by James Lowder. It was described in an Armchair General online review of a 2006 edition as “ready to continue on as one of the great titles in the world of games”. Players of Britannia, a strategically deep, four-player game depicting the history of Great Britain from the Roman invasion to the Norman Conquest, play primarily for entertainment, but some schools use it to teach Dark Ages history. Other games are forthcoming, among them an abstract boardgame from Mayfair Games.

A former contributing editor to several role-playing game magazines, and author of over a hundred game magazine articles, he is now a monthly contributor to GameCareerGuide and Gamasutra. These sites, owned by Game Developer Magazine, are the premier Web sites for those interested in videogame creation.

He is a contributor to the books Hobby Games: the 100 Best and Family Games: the 100 Best (Green Ronin), and to the forthcoming Tabletop Game Design (ETC Press). He is finishing his “howto” book, Get it Done: Designing Games from Start to Finish.

“Dr. P’s” day job is teaching game design and other videogame creation topics in the southeastern US, where he has 17,000 classroom hours of experience, mostly teaching computing and especially computer networking, in college and graduate school. Current projects are at PulsipherGames.Com. Blogs:,

Some of his recent Web articles that have received widespread comment include “All I needed to know about games I learned from Dungeons and Dragons”, ( and the controversial “Too Much Like Work” ( and also (extended)

Ian Schreiber

Ian Schreiber has been in the game industry since the year 2000, first as a programmer and then as a game designer. He has worked on five published titles, two serious game simulations, and several other things he can’t talk about without breaking NDA. Ian has taught game design and development courses at Ohio University, Columbus State Community College, and Savannah College of Art and Design.

John Sharp

John Sharp is an interaction designer, game designer, art historian and educator. He has been involved in the creation and study of art and design for twenty years. John’s design work is focused on social network games, artgames and non-digital games. His current research is focused on game design curriculum for after-school programs, the artgames movement, the history of play, and the early history of computer and video games.

John is a professor in the Interactive Design & Game Development department and the Art History department at the Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta. He is also a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, a group of academics including Mike Edwards (Research Faculty, Design & Technology, Parsons the New School for Design), Colleen Macklin (Associate Professor, Design & Technology, Parsons the New School for Design) and Eric Zimmerman (Professor, New York University Game Center) which focus on Twitter as a game and research platform. John is also a member of the Leisure Society, a group dedicated to the intersection of games, narrative and art. The Leisure Society is composed of Jesper Juul (Professor, New York University Game Center), Colleen Macklin, John Sharp, Michael Sweet (Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music) and Eric Zimmerman. John is also a partner in Supercosm, where he focuses on interaction and game design for arts and education clients.

JT Smith

JT Smith has founded a dozen businesses, three in the gaming industry. In his spare time he speaks internationally on technology and business, and has also authored several books, and dozens of articles on those subjects. He lives with his wife Sarah in Madison, Wisconsin where they both enjoy the food and fun that the city has to offer.

Noah Wardrip-Fruin

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he co-directs the Expressive Intelligence Studio, one of the world’s largest technical research groups focused on games. He also directs the Playable Media group in UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media program. Noah’s research areas include new models of storytelling in games, how games express ideas through play, and how games can help broaden understanding of the power of computation. Noah has authored or co-edited five books on games and digital media for the MIT Press, including The New Media Reader (2003), a book influential in the development of interdisciplinary digital media curricula. His most recent book, Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies was published by MIT in 2009. Noah’s collaborative playable media projects, including Screen and Talking Cure, have been presented by the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Krannert Art Museum, Hammer Museum, and a wide variety of festivals and conferences. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization. Noah holds both a PhD (2006) and an MFA (2003) from Brown University.