GDC | Board Game Design Day

Board Game Design Day

The Board Game Design Bootcamp is a one-day deep dive into the art and science of designing non-electronic board (and card) games. Featuring multiple notable speakers from the world of board game design, this is an opportunity to get deep into the design mechanics behind innovative and popular board games, and hear about the design ethos that has shaped standouts in the resurgent world of board game development.

Board Game Design Day Highlighted Sessions

All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required.

Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition: Postmortem of an App-Integrated Board Game
Andrew Fischer (Fantasy Flight Games)
The new edition of Mansions of Madness combines the collaboration and camaraderie of a co-op board game with the complex branching narrative and hidden information of a digital RPG. Creating a game that could only exist as both a board game and an app while feeling as seamless as either of those on their own presented significant challenges. In this talk, Mansions scenario designer Andrew Fischer will share the conceptual knowledge the team learned while tackling in this unique cross-genre of games and will detail the successes and failures in applying this knowledge in this game and its expansions.
White, Brown, and Pink: The Flavors of Tabletop Game Randomness
Geoff Engelstein (Mars International)
Randomness is not equal. There are a variety of flavors, including white, brown, and pink noise, input randomness, and output randomness. Because the impact of randomness is more visible in tabletop games, using the appropriate technique is critical to generate the desired player experience. This talk examines the different types of randomness, when each is applicable, and how to generate and use them in a board game context.

Board Game Design Day Advisors

Simon Carless
Simon is currently an Executive Vice-President at UBM Technology, a division of UK-headquartered FTSE 250 company UBM. He oversees strategy for the folks running the Game Developers Conference shows worldwide, plus the major Black Hat set of information security events and other properties including Gamasutra & more.

He's also Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Games Festival, which holds its awards at GDC yearly, & co-founder of the Independent Games Summit, and co-runner of seminal video game database MobyGames, which he helped rescue a couple of years back. From 1996 to 2003, he spent most of his time as a full-time video game designer in the UK and Silicon Valley on titles like 'Looney Tunes Racing' (PlayStation) & 'Terracide' (PC).
Soren Johnson
Soren Johnson is the founder and CEO of Mohawk Games, where he applies years of experience developing strategy games as both lead designer and gameplay programmer. Mohawk released its debut game, the economic RTS Offworld Trading Company, in 2016. While at Firaxis, Johnson designed Civilization IV, a fan favorite that remains one of the highest-rated strategy games of all time. Johnson is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and was a design columnist for Game Developer Magazine. Johnson's other development credits include 'Civilization III', 'Spore', and 'Dragon Age Legends'. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University. His thoughts on game design can be found at
Rob Daviau
Rob Daviau is an award-winning game designer whose games have been sold world-wide. He is the co-designer of 'Pandemic Legacy' (Season 1), the highest-rated game on Since 1998, he has designed and published over 70 games from children's games to family games to party games to more in-depth games for the hobby market. Rob has largely designed tabletop games but has also done work with hybrid physical-digital games and some work with digital games. Rob is a writer as well as a designer, having spent much of his 20s as an advertising copywriter. He also wrote a chapter in Kobold Design's Guide to Game Design, was a contributor to DRAGON magazine, and has written various articles on game design. Rob has spoken at game conventions, participated in dozens of radio interviews, performed live TV segments, and contributed live color commentary for ESPN during the 2009 Monopoly World Tournaments. He has guest lectured at MIT, Carnegie-Mellon University, and NYU on game design. He was an adjunct professor of game design at NYU in 2013 and was a visiting professor of game design at Hampshire College in the fall of 2016. He is the Chief Restoration Officer at Restoration Games, a company that brings back great out of print board games.

Follow Us

Our Community

  • Game Developers Choice Awards
  • Independent Games Festival
  • Gamasutra
  • GDC Vault