Industry Guests for 2019

Rone Barton:  Author | Designer | Podcaster

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Rone Barton began gaming as a wee six-year-old in the 1970s and then in his teens Dragon magazine bought his very first professional submission. Imagine the ego on that kid. In 2010 he won two gold ENnie awards. One for Best Podcast: Atomic Array, and one for Best Electronic Book: The Great City Player’s Guide. Imagine the ego on that now much larger kid. He publishes Iron GM Games for which he co-created the Starfinder compatible low-magic sci-fi horror setting Grimmerspace, and aside from writing for Iron GM Games, he’s also game designed for TSR, Frog God Games, Goodman Games, 0one Games, and Terra/Sol Games. Rone co-produces and co-hosts the Iron GM Tournament which tours conventions around the land in search of the world’s greatest game masters. In 2008, he launched the oft award nominated Atomic Array podcast and then created three new podcasts, the award-nominated Open Design Podcast and Iron GM Podcast, and RPG Countdown.

Paul Alexander Butler: Author | Designer | Retailer


Paul Alexander Butler is one half of Lightbreaker Studios, the creative team behind the Overlight roleplaying game from Renegade Games. Separately, he has also been a contributor to roleplaying games such as The One Ring, Shadowrun Anarchy, and the Origins Award-winning Adventures in Middle-Earth. Paul is also a partner at Gaming Days LLC, the new owner of Free RPG Day, which provides new and exclusive roleplaying game content to gamers through their yearly event, held every June in participating stores around the world.

By day, he is the owner of Games and Stuff, a large hobby game retailer located near Baltimore Washington International Airport in Maryland. He’s also spent the better part of the last ten years as a consultant to board game, miniature game and RPG publishers, and as a presenter of retailer-to-retailer educational seminars. He has been both a board member of the GAMA Retail Division, and a member of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design.

As always, he would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to his brother Scott for puking all over page 10 (Blink Dog) of the Monster Manual in the early 1980s.

Helaina Cappel: Designer | Publisher


Helaina Cappel is a game designer and a publisher with a number of successful titles under her belt. Noticing a lack of strategic family games to play with her own kids, Helaina was inspired to create Kids Table Board Gaming. As a publisher, she focuses on creating accessible games for gamers and non-gamers. Some of their titles include Foodfighters, Haunt the House, and Wreck Raiders. Helaina, along with her husband Josh, co-founded Burnt Island Games, which focuses on heavier titles and just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for In the Hall of the Mountain King. Helaina lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Josh Cappel: Designer | Illustrator


Josh Cappel wears many hats in the board game industry. He works as an illustrator, an art director and a game designer. Some of his art credits include Endeavor: Age of Sail, Belfort, and Artemis Project. His design credits include Haunt the House, Kokonana, Wasabi!, and Wreck Raiders. Josh co-founded Burnt Island Games with his wife Helaina, and they just recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for In the Hall of the Mountain King. The couple also created a family-friendly brand, Kids Table Board Gaming, with titles like Bugs on Rugs and Foodfighters. Josh lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Banana Chan: Designer | Publisher | Writer


Banana Chan is a role playing game (tabletop and larp) designer, as well as the owner of the board game publishing company, Game and a Curry. While most of her written work is either comedy, horror or a mix of both, she is most interested in ideas of identity, our identities in a digital age, and how technology has shaped the way we play games.

Banana has written for TTRPGs such as 7th Sea: Khitai, Kids on Bikes, and The North Sea Epilogues. Her larp work includes They’re Onto Me (winner of the 2016 Golden Cobra Challenge for Best Pervasive Larp), which was published in The Imposters anthology, Grimasques (published in Itras By: The Menagerie), Zero (published in RESISTOR). Game and a Curry is the publisher of Yeah! Diamonds and Judge Dredd: Block War.

Jessica Davis: Developer | Publisher


Jessica Cassady Davis is a Board Game Developer from Boston, MA who has worked with Artana and Maple Games. Her first solo game development is Lovelace & Babbage, coming to retail this year after a highly successful Kickstarter last Fall.

As a member of the Jontourage (See Jon Gilmour below), she has to admit that her greatest weakness is also writing bios and the color green. So she is copying Jon Gilmour’s bio and additionally asks that you let her have that player color if you join her in a game. She would add jumping through hoops of fire to her love of long walks on the beach and play testing games at the same time and contrary to Jon, though she supposes that he likes these games too.

Jessica’s favorite games are Ginkgopolis, Nations, Dominant Species, Sidereal Confluence and the 18XX rabbit hole while maintaining her status as the world’s leader in plays of The Mind. She has been to almost every board game convention under the sun so attending Grand Con was a must.

Bryan Donihue: Author | Publisher


Early in his life, Bryan decided that he would try as many different jobs as possible. Well, it was his high curiosity and low attention span that decided for him. He started in fast food and has worked in sales (retail, used car, business-to-business, door-to-door, credit card processing, vacuum cleaner, and firearms). Bryan has also been a security guard, police officer, and armored car vault manager. And he was a youth pastor.

Eventually, he decided he'd take the "easy path" and become a writer. He was an idiot. Writing is not easy, but it turned out, he was pretty good at it. People seemed to like his stories, so he kept telling them.

Bryan is currently a published author (fiction and non-fiction), game designer, graphic artist, web designer, consultant, trainer, ministry leader, and multiple-business owner. He is also happily married to his wife of over 20 years, Christina, and father to six or seven kids, depending on the day. He even sleeps occasionally.

Bryan is currently writing from a hidden bunker in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At least that's what he claims. We know he sits in a basement home office with a brass plaque that reads "Dungeon" affixed over the door.

Bryan is the creator of the World of Incursion

Bryan is also the primary designer of the upcoming RPG - Hidden Worlds: Incursion

Geoff Engelstein: Designer | Educator | Podcaster


Geoff Engelstein is an award-winning table-top game designer, whose titles include Space Cadets, The Fog of War, Pit Crew, and The Expanse.

He is also a noted podcaster. Since 2007 he has been a contributor to the Dice Tower, the leading table-top game podcast, with a series on the math, science, and psychology of games. He has also hosted Ludology, a weekly podcast on game design, since 2011.

Geoff is currently an adjunct professor of Tabletop Game Design at the NYU Game Center.

Geoff has lectured at a variety of venues, including GDC, Pax, Gencon, Rutgers, and USC. He has degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is currently the president of Mars International, a design engineering firm

Ken Franklin: Designer


Ken Franklin has been a gamer since age 5, and started dreaming of publishing games at age 9. He has a degree in Computer Science, an MD degree, and specialty training in Family Medicine. He served 25 years in the Army, which included deployment to Desert Storm. Ken retired in 2002 and worked in a rural Family Medical clinic for another 15 years, during which he resumed his hobby of game design. Ken's published games include The Mansky Caper by Calliope Games, and Imagineers (in collaboration with Chris Leder) by Maple Games.

Jon Gilmour: Designer | Publisher


Jonathan Gilmour is a Board Game Designer from NW Ohio. His credits include: Co-designer of Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, and Vault Wars. His greatest weaknesses are writing Bios, and the color green. He loves long walks on the beach and play testing games. Sometimes at the same time. His favorite color is Orange, so please let him have that as a player color. His favorite games are Cosmic Encounter, Nations, and Hanabi. His least favorite game is "The What Game Should We Play" game. He and his wife have four children, with the goal of having a built in game group any time they want it.


Gil Hova: Designer | Educator | Publisher


Gil Hova designs and publishes board games. His games offer challenging and interesting decisions, offset by approachable and usually humorous designs. He started designing board games in 2000. His first game, the word game Prolix, was released by Z-Man Games in 2010. Battle Merchants followed in 2014 from Minion Games. Later in 2014, Gil founded Formal Ferret Games to publish his own board games. He has released 3 games this way: Bad Medicine, The Networks, and Wordsy, with more games coming soon. Gil is a fixture on the board game convention circuit, and enjoys speaking on panels and giving feedback on board game prototypes.

Gil is a dedicated podcaster, co-hosting Ludology with fellow designer Geoff Engelstein, as well as co-founding the popular show Breaking Into Board Games. He also runs the NYC-Playtest board game design group.

Gil lives in Jersey City with his partner and two adorable ferrets.

Chris Leder: Designer


Chris Leder is a game designer, content creator, and overall familiar face in the gaming industry. His game designs include Roll For It! by Calliope Games and Trainmaker by AEG, as well as collaborations on City of Gears (with Daryl Andrews) by Grey Fox Games and Imagineers (with Ken Franklin) by Maple Games. Chris created the tongue-in-cheek tutorial series Shut Up And Watch Dice Hate Happen on YouTube, and serves as the Director of Fun™ at Calliope Games, the publisher of Tsuro. When not busy in the world of tabletop gaming, Chris has fun with his wife and three kids in a quaint town outside Chicago.


Brian is a board game designer from Lansing, MI. His credits include Dinosaur Island (Co-Designed with Jon Gilmour), Titans of Industry, and MINT Cooperative. Brian currently has several games out in the wild with WizKids, Pandasaurus Games, and Gozer Games. Brian's player color is red, he loves all types of games, and composes choral music in his spare time.

Sen-Foong Lim: Designer | Educator


Sen-Foong Lim burst onto the scene in 2011 as the co-designer of the Euro-styled strategy game Belfort and has since rose to prominence with games like But Wait, There’s More!, the party game about pitching wacky products, Junk Art, a family-oriented dexterity game, and Akrotiri, a 2-player game about unearthing lost temples in ancient Greece. The vast majority of his published works have been co-designed with Jay Cormier.

As his games have met with critical and financial success, Sen has been requested to design games featuring some of fandom’s most beloved properties including “The Legend of Korra” (with Jessey Wright), “Orphan Black”, “The Godfather” (both with Jay Cormier) and “Dungeons & Dragons: Rock, Paper, Wizard” (with Josh Cappel and Jay Cormier). Sen has also begun to put pen to paper on the RPG side of tabletop design, contributing scenarios and settings to Kids on Bikes (the brainchild of Doug Levandowski and Jonathan Gilmour), Gears of Defiance (from indie stalwart Ryan Schoon), and The North Sea Epilogues (by Tim and Kristin Devine). He is also a highly sought-after developer and rules editor, with an ability to take other people’s games across the finish line. He has worked in this capacity for companies like WizKids, Everything Epic, and Meridae Games.

Sen is a well-regarded personality in the design-o-sphere as the co-host of The Meeple Syrup Show webcast. He speaks academically at the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier and is frequently a panelist or moderator at Gen Con, Breakout Con, FanExpo, GenreCon, Forest City ComiCon, AnimeNorth, ProtoTO and ProtoATL. He loves talking about game design, so reach out anytime!

He may have to use jiu jitsu on you if you choose to play as yellow before he gets a chance but you can always try to distract him with good BBQ.

Emerson Matsuuchi: Designer | Developer


Emerson Matsuuchi runs Nazca Games, a game development and design studio. Nazca Games primarily focuses on game design for tabletop games and apps, but has also done 3D modeling work for other companies and have consulted on projects with other publishers. Emerson is a software developer, developing software professionally since 1998 (almost 20 years). He always had a love of games of all types. Playing board games and RPGs at a young age, he first started making his own games at the age of about 8 or 9, when he created a giant Mecha-Robot RPG game. Although he doesn’t recall the details, but he just remembers thinking how cool it was and how fun it was to create it. He attempted making other games at various points in his life. He made a roll and move game for a school project in elementary school. Then he created a very very rudimentary text based computer game in middle school for another school assignment. Through high school, he had dabbled in trying to make abstract games on the computer. It was only relatively recently that he pursued creating games in a more serious capacity. In 2012, he self-published his first game. It was a very small Halloween-themed (the holiday, not the horror movie) game consisting of a deck of cards. "I wanted to start small and build from there. And I have continued to pursue the craft since."

Ian Moss: Designer | Developer


Ian Moss is a game designer from Ohio who definitely knows how to fill out a bio. He's one of the many designers of News@11 from Floodgate Games, and designed Duelosaur Island from Pandasaurus Games. He's also written modules for RPG's like Kids on Bikes and North Sea Epilogues. When he's not writing bios, which he is obviously very good at, he is probably working on other designs that you will see in the coming years, like Wonderland's War from Skybound and Druid City Games

Lance Red: Artist | Illustrator

Lance Red is a traditionally trained digital freelance artist with a love for fantasy illustration. He has brought many characters to life for companies such as Paizo Publishing, Minotaur Games, and Legendary Games.  His art is characterized by its rich details, vivid colors, and love of characters. You can view his current work at or on Instagram: lancered_illustration

Adam Sadler:  Designer


Adam Sadler has been designing games for over 10 years. He began his career in professional game design while working at Fantasy Flight Games. During his time at FFG, he worked on several projects but was probably best known for his work as lead designer for Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition. Since leaving FFG in 2012, Adam has been designing games as a freelancer with his brother Brady. Together they have designed several games, such as Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, The Walking Dead: No Sanctuary, Street Masters: Rise of the Kingdom, Myth: Dark Frontier, and Awful Fantasy the Card Game. Adam continues to design games on a freelance bases with Brady and they have several exciting games to be announced and released in the near future.

Brady Sadler:  Designer


Brady Sadler is a graduate from Purdue University with a degree in Creative Writing. Originally setting out to be a fantasy novelist in the same vein as George R.R. Martin and Steven Erikson, Brady got into gaming through heavy metal and fantasy literature. After forming the fantasy melodic metal band Lorenguard with his twin brother Adam during college, Brady penned his debut novel "Eve of Corruption," the first book in a planned trilogy that told the story behind their band's conceptual music. However, Lorenguard was put on hiatus when Brady got offered a job at Fantasy Flight Games, relocating him to the frozen north. After serving as a marketing copywriter and creative content developer at FFG, Brady eventually departed to pursue a freelance career with his almost-as-handsome co-designer and brother, Adam. Together, the brothers have worked on such popular product lines as Descent: Journeys in the Dark - 2nd Edition,  X-Wing, Mansions of Madness, Gears of War, and many other FFG titles. As freelance designers, they have done core designs for Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, The Walking Dead: No Sanctuary, Myth: Dark Frontier, Street Masters: Rise of the Kingdom and Awful Fantasy: The Card Game. As of summer 2018, the brothers have several exciting designs in the that have or relased or are in the works that they can't wait to announce...

Zev Shlasinger: Designer | Publisher


Zev Shlasinger founded Z-Man Games in 1999 to publish his favorite CCG, Shadowfist. The first games premiered in Gen Con 2000. In 2001, Grave Robbers from Outer Space was published on a whim and become a success. This led to more card games and eventually, seeing the board game market grow, Zev determinedly pursued board games to add to the catalog.

In 2008 the one-two punch of Pandemic and Agricola solidified Z-Man’s position in the game industry.

In 2011 Zev sold his company, but continued to worked for them for 4.5 years in the role of game acquisitions and development. In 2016, Zev and Z-Man parted ways but two weeks later, Zev was hired by Wizkids to be the Director of Board Games. Since that time, Zev has brought over 40 games to market, from family games to gamer games – using the same philosophy that he had at Z-Man: taking chances on the quirky and unique.

Edward Uhler: Reviewer | Heavy Cardboard


Edward Uhler is the founder and host of Heavy Cardboard, a board game media channel dedicated to teaching, playing, and discussing medium and heavy strategy boardgames, war-games, 18XX and thinky-filler. Throughout his life, board games and card games have served to bring family and friends together. As a kid, he played Risk, Payday or Life with his nomadic family followed by passing time in the USMC playing Spades, Hearts, and Magic the Gathering with his fellow Marines. Later on, he found a profession playing Poker in Las Vegas for a number of years before stumbling on hobby board games in 2009. At that time, he entered the hobby full on with a dedication to heavier, more intricate games for the competition of decision making they provide. He enjoys everything from heavy Euros to 18XX games to war games and he is as enthusiastic about discussing these games as he is about playing them. Within Heavy Cardboard, Edward has helped establish a warm and welcoming community of gamers worldwide, whose focus is not only on the games but also on the people who play them. In addition to being a board game enthusiast, he Is an avid cook and foodie as well as one hell of a moody Gemini.

Isaac Vega: Designer


Isaac Vega ( is a strong, proud, independent woman that don't need no man. He has an unhealthy addiction to Anime and has been black listed by Square-Enix due to his obsessive fascination with Final Fantasy. After being introduced to Plaid Hat Games, by his overly intrusive mother back in 2010, Colby has taken this budding designer under his wing and propelled Isaac into the wonderful world of board games. As the designer of Dead of Winter, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, and other hits, Isaac Vega is true force of gaming.