Nearly 100 table top-game enthusiasts, professionals, and Ringling College of Art and Design students attended the fourth annual Anyone’s Game conference hosted by Ringling College’s Creative Writing program from Friday, Feb. 17-Sunday, Feb. 19. Game designers and players traveled as far as South Carolina to attend the events. The weekend featured ten registered game designers with games to prototype, a game publisher who brought several games to evaluate, and four professional designers and publishers who provided games for students and attendees to run playtests.
The conference opened on Friday with a small meet and greet for students and visiting industry professionals at the College’s Lois and David Stulberg Gallery. The featured guests included Banana Chan, game and experience designer whose projects include Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, Scooby Doo Betrayal at Mystery Mansion; Gabe Hicks, designer, voice over artist, and cosplayer behind the projects Session Zero by Steamforged Games; Will Hindmarch, game designer and publisher of Till the Last Gasp by Gameplaywright; and Kenneth Hite, game designer and writer whose projects include Trail of Cthulhu, Night’s Black Agents, The Fall of Delta Green, and is also the co-host of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast. The group played Games Design Scramble, a social game designed by a group of Creative Writing students.
Visitors to Saturday’s event had the opportunity to playtest 25 as-yet unpublished game prototypes. Game designers for the event ranged from industry professionals sharing their latest designs to students and newcomers to the field showing off their first ever table-top games. Gamers were invited to playtest and give feedback on video games from current Game Art seniors.
On Sunday the featured guests led workshops for the students. Banana Chan presented “Create Your Own Micro-RPG.” Will Hindmarch and Kenneth Hite presented, “Play Space: Let’s Make Adventure Maps.” Gabe Hicks presented, “Pitch to Published.”
In its fourth year, it was the second conference that was open to the public. The 2021 conference was entirely online and the 2022 iteration was open only to students and limited guests. All proceeds from this year’s ticket sales were donated to the Diana Jones Emerging Designers Fund. In total, the conference raised $570 for the charity, which amplifies the voices of up-and-coming designers, with a focus on creators from marginalized communities.
The Creative Writing program at Ringling College provides craft instruction from practicing writers/teachers and close interactions with visiting authors, scholars, and publishing professionals. Its classes cover historical, contemporary, and digital literary forms, with a global perspective. The Anyone’s Game conference grew out of the Creative Writing course “Writing for Table Top Games,” taught by Rick Dakan.