Guests for Glory

Take heart! If you come to Big Bad Con this year, you won’t face the duck knights and psychic schoolgirls and perils of a haunted desert alone. Thanks to the community who really came through on our Kickstarter, we’ve provided a pantheon of special guests—game designers, event-runners, and masterminds alike—to make our journey to the heights and depths of danger (and/or New Jersey) the best it can be.

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

Elsa Sjunneson-HenryElsa is a disability advocate and game designer living in New Jersey. She’s the assistant editrix for Fireside Fiction, writes on disability and intersectional feminism at Feminist Sonar, and her nonfiction work can be found in Dragon+ and The Analog Games Journal. She was an Industry Insider at GenCon 2014, and will be at Guest of Honor at OrcaCon 2017. In her spare time she wanders the streets of Hell’s Kitchen with her cane in hand. She can be found at @snarkbat on Twitter.

Elsa will be hosting:

  • Blind Lady vs RPG & Larp, a panel aimed at giving game designers and game runners the tools to make their games inclusive for players with disabilities.
  • Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy, a panel tearing apart the fallacy of the Fake Geek Girl, why this trope is harmful to women and to the gaming community at large.
  • Dead Scare, a game of blood-stained picket fences, makeshift weapons, and survival. You play as the women and children of 1950s American Suburbia. It’s 1953. The radios went off days ago, and here you are at home, on summer break, bored out of your mind. When the zeds come.

Update 9/30/2016: Due to health reasons Elsa will not be able to attend Big Bad Con this year. We hope to see her back in 2017! Elsa has given the funds allocated to her from the Kickstarter to the Scholarship Fund.

Donna “Danicia” Prior

Donna PriorDonna is the Sparkly Princess of Social Media & Community Management in the video game industry. She is the Events Manager for Green Ronin Publishing and the Executive Director of OrcaCon, the Inclusive Analog Games Convention in Everett, WA.

Donna is on the Community Management Advisory Board at the Game Developers Conference. She has spoken about building communities, diversity, harassment, and accessibility at the Game Developers Conference, PAX / PAXDev, Gen Con, Mensa Annual Gathering, NorWesCon, and is the Community Manager Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

Donna is a gamer and a beer geek, often combining both hobbies while teaching new people to game and appreciate beer. She’s also insists she is NOT a Hobbit. You can follow Donna on Twitter: @_Danicia_. Find her also on about.me/Danicia

Donna will be hosting:

  • Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes, a Fantasy Age game exploring the mysterious Rust Wastes, a technological graveyard in the city-state of Nestora that promises grave danger and wondrous rewards. What secrets do the Rust Wastes hide?
  • The Arl’s Ransom, a Dragon Age game — The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong?
  • Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy, a panel tearing apart the fallacy of the Fake Geek Girl, why this trope is harmful to women and to the gaming community at large.
  • Real talk on Tabletop toxicity, a panel on Tabletop’s toxicity problem. Join our discussion for an open discussion on what to do.

Tanya Depass

Tanya DepassTanya is a long time gamer, fangirl, fan-ficcer and spawn point of the #INeedDiverseGames hashtag. She enjoys talking, reading and writing about gaming diversity, feminism, race & racism, and fandom as a way of life and many other topics. She often streams on twitch.tv/cypheroftyr and podcasts over at Fresh Out of Tokens with David Reeves. You can find her on twitter as @cypheroftyr and on Facebook here. You can contact her via this handy link. #DiversifyYourPanels y’all.

Tanya will be hosting:

  • Real Talk on Tabletop Toxicity, a panel discussion on identifying and confronting toxicity in the table top community, featuring Donna Prior, Jessica Price, and Katherine Cross.
  • Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy, a panel on tearing apart one of the most pervasive (and damaging) misogynist tropes in the gaming community at large. Also featuring Jessica Price, Donna Prior, and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry.
  • Diversity in Gaming, a panel to take the discussion on why diversity in games is needed and important beyond the “101” level. Also featuring Katherine Cross.

Jason Morningstar

Jason MorningstarJason Morningstar is a game designer and information technology professional who lives in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Best known for his game Fiasco, which earned him his second Diana Jones Award for Gaming Excellence, Jason’s game design credits include The Shab Al-Hiri Roach, Grey Ranks, Durance, Night Witches, and many other games.

Beyond roleplaying, Jason consults on the use of games for teaching and learning in medical education, most recently with the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kaiser-Permanente Health Care, and the Innovation Learning Network.

Jason has written extensively on game-related topics. His article “Beyond the Game Master,” co-written with Emily Care Boss and Ivan Vaghi, appeared in States of Play: Nordic Larp Around the World. His essay on improvisation, “Agreement, Endowment, and Knowing When to Shut Up” was recently featured in the anthology Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters.

Jason will be hosting:

  • The Grand Warren, a multi-table, multi-warren game of The Warren with over-arching threats affecting all the rabbits in the field.
  • The Skeletons, an RPG about bony crypt guardians. Played late at night for maximum cobwebbiness!
  • Apportionment , a diplomatic parlor larp (The sequel to Sirai: Civil War).
  • Make A Game In An Hour!, a panel, open to young adults only, a bunch of old but OK game designers will shepherd your game from idea to execution, with all the weird, frustrating, hilarious bits in between.

James Mendez Hodes

James Mendez HodesJames lives in a tiny Harlem apartment full of house centipedes and stuffed animals. He works full-time as a RPG writer, but also GMs professionally for children and then makes fun of them on the Internet. His interests include hip hop (including a hip hop translation of Homer’s Iliad), West African religion, Asian classics, and martial arts. Catch James on twitter at @LulaVampiro.

James will be hosting:

  • AfroFuture, a RPG about resisting white supremacy and oppression, inspired by Janelle Monáe, Parliament-Funkadelic, Ishmael Reed, and the Boondocks. (and a second game of AfroFuture!)
  • And Katanas and Trenchcoats and Shinobigami in Games on Demand!

Aaron Vanek

Aaron VanekAaron Vanek has been creating and participating in live action role playing and tabletop role-playing for more than 30 years. He is the editor-in-chief of Larp World Magazine (published by Joseph Valenti), co-creator of the global Larp Census (with Ryan paddy), co-editor (with Sarah Lynne Bowman) of the 2012 and 2013 Wyrd Con Companion Books, and has designed interactive experiences for the Girl Scouts of America, the West Hollywood Book Fair, the Paul Biane Library, Sanrio, Inc., UCLA Game Lab, and the San Diego Public Library, most recently an ARG for their First Folio Exhibition.

He was a keynote speaker at the first Living Games Conference in New York City and will present at the 2016 Games for Change festival, both times concerning educational larps. He has created or co-created 17 edu-larps for four schools in Los Angeles and consulted with Texas State University about their nursing simulation program. He teaches analog game design to junior high students at a private Jewish academy.

Aaron will be hosting:

Jessica Price

Jessica PriceJessica Price has worked in video games, alternate reality games/transmedia entertainment, and tabletop roleplaying games as a writer, editor, game designer and producer on everything from MMOs to Xbox titles to games involving a lot of dice. After helping create the Kinect launch portfolio as a writer/editor at Microsoft Studios, she moved to Paizo Publishing, where she is the project manager for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Jessica can be found on twitter at @Delafina777.

Jessica will be hosting:

  • Hanabi, a deceptively simple cooperative game where players attempt to arrange tiles in order of color, but can only see other players’ hands, not their own.
  • Forbidden Desert, a board game where players explore an abandoned desert city.
  • Pathfinder Beginner Box, an introduction to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
  • Real Talk on Tabletop Toxicity, a panel discussion on identifying and confronting toxicity in the table top community, featuring Donna Prior, Jessica Price, and Katherine Cross.
  • Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy, a panel on tearing apart one of the most pervasive (and damaging) misogynist tropes in the gaming community at large. Also featuring Jessica Price, Donna Prior, and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry.

Barbara Ng (Banana Chan)

Barbara NgBanana Chan is a live action role playing game designer and videographer originally from Ontario, Canada. She is one half of the gaming events/merchandising company/YouTube channel Game and a Curry. She is the writer and co-host of the large-scale larp, ‘The Hades Holiday Party‘ in New York, but prefers writing smaller, weirder larps that are too obscure to function. She currently lives in New York, where she creates videos, writes games on the subway and eats lasagna.

Barbara will be hosting:

Vapor World, a game based on the Internet trend (now relic) vaporwave. The players are demi-gods in a world of Microsoft screensavers and neon palm trees, attempting to become full gods of vaporwave (i.e. talking dolphins).

  • Love and Betrayal, a LARP where players take the roles of actors in a never-ending soap opera, while a director and their assistant berate them.
  • Welcome to New Jersey, a LARP where players go on a really, really long road trip to a gaming convention.
  • Suspiriorum, a LARP where players are stuck in an 80’s nightclub with a killer on the loose.

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