Welcome to Tabletop Mentorship Stories

Hello, reader! Thank you for coming to our community blog! We have invited members of our mentorship program to document their journey as a tabletop creator and share their stories here. We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into the life of a tabletop creator. If you'd like to get the latest blog posts straight to your inbox, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the page.

Wrapping up...

This was originally an update post, but with my crazy schedule, it has turned into a wrapup post instead! So where am I on my goals that I set at the beginning of the program? Editing Time:   A full episode is at about 3-4 hours of editing time now (roughly) as opposed to my original 8-10 hours when I first started.  I'm getting much better at identifying visual opportunities to edit instead of having to listen directly to the audio. Organic Reach:   I've spent much more time trying to improve my organic reach through interacting with other accounts on Twitter and Instagram,.  Not only have I been increasing visibility for my channel, but I've also learned about some other great games and creators!  In addition, I've connected with designers, publishers, and artists that I've been able to talk to on the show. Improving Content:   My focus has shifted towards providing updates on my shelf of shame count which was the entire reason I started doing the podcast.  This a

Reached the Shore Safely

Grace and Mike, thank you again for conceiving of, starting, and refining this amazing program. You guys must do a TED Talk so the program can be an inspiration and model for other communities and industries. The program is an act of generosity, from you and anybody who assists you to strategize, refine the tools, write the announcements, schedule the events, manage the platforms, to the mentors that commit to 3 months of attention to another person, to even the mentees because I think they give back to the mentors, even if just by validating the mentors’ knowledge.  I would like to write a post about the details of my projects, but this is a post about my overall experience across two back-to-back semesters of mentorship. I am incredibly grateful for my two mentors - two lovely people who I feel will be friends and allies forever. My Fall mentor was Mandela Fernandez-Grandon, a designer in the UK. His game Glasgow (he’s Scottish) is high on Rhado’s list of favorite games of 2020. I b

And just like *THAT*.....

I had my last meeting with my mentor today. But we aren't done.  I'm not.  The program still has days left.  My last playtest associated with these 12 weeks is on Sunday. IT'S. NOT. OVER. DAMN. IT! But who am I kidding?  It's done.  I may have experiences in the next 5 days that warrant one last post after this, but I am working on the assumption that this is the end. And where am I? Well, in a certain respect, ten days ago I tossed out the game I've been working on throughout this. Or did I just start designing a game based upon the one I originally started with? The fact is that somewhere around (it's still substantially TBD) 75% of the materials going into the new game are either the exact same components as what existed before, or a direct descendant thereof. But that ignores the fact that 75% of what did exist has been jettisoned. My mentor, Jonathan - have I used his name before? I don't think so.... has been great. He's had a fraught few months -

Time to Get Started

It seems I lost my groove. I have excuses. Busy at work.  Spring break.  Death in the family - and a death in my mentor's even more immediate family. It all adds up and the less-immediate - in this case, dutifully contributing to the mentorship blog - falls to the wayside. And now - nearly a month after my last post, we are approaching the end of the program. Less than two weeks to go. In that time I've attended two virtual conferences - presenting The Queen Must Die at both - and done a top-to-bottom overhaul of the graphic design and wording of just about everything except the rulebook. The first conference was my local annual conference - Terminal City Tabletop Convention. A year ago it was the first conference I was attending that got cancelled and the first to pivot to on-line. It did the latter in mere days... and, well, to be kind to the first on-line event a year ago, the second one was a vast improvement. Of course it was. I got some playtesting in and it was fine. It

Game Nights of the Round Table

 …That’s a terribly misleading blogpost title in search of some grain of ‘cleverness.’ As all participants of the Tabletop Mentorship Program should know, this past Saturday (yesterday as I write this) was “ Round Table Da y.” My day started before dawn and ended after nightfall. I joined five very different round table discussions and managed to squeeze in my weekly D&D session and went on two quick excursions with my daughter, just to get out of the house and clear my head a bit. Being of the mindset that if you are “on time” you are late I signed in to each session a few minutes ahead of schedule and as a result ended up getting the additional benefit of a few minutes one-to-one in most sessions with the roundtable “leader.” My pre-dawn session was on Prototyping and Production with Geoff Engelstein. Our one-to-one was very small-talky. We’ve exchanged a few Tweets in the past – and my experience has always been that he is nothing if not approachable and friendly. Geo


The Queen Must Die is a long game.  Not Twilight Imperium long. But well over an hour, realistically two even without the shackles of Tabletop Simulator. For the first half of the mentorship that was my big goal – to trim the game down. And I knew it was happening – but I really couldn’t know for sure to what degree thanks to the ‘playing-one-handed-with-an-oven-mitt-on’ experience of playing on-line.   What was important was that the game had been trimmed enough that I was no longer feeling like that was my main issue. I even said, out loud, that I felt like the low-hanging fruit was getting to be pretty small. Never say that stuff out loud. Right? I knew that I needed to play the end of the game more. Due to the length it was not uncommon for us to not get to the endgame in a playtest. And the endgame is one of the outstanding ideas of this game. And not by a little-bit. Consistently it was what people who I explained the game to keyed in on as the most exciting element to th

Drawing from Alyx's Imagination: A Sketchbook Diary Feb/21

  I would say I'm a decent traditional artist. But I want to draw what I have seen, rather than what I see. Here's an example of my most current work I've written and illustrated, "The Great Zodiac Race" , a D&D 5e adventure that  is a story of Chinese mythology and the origins of the Chinese Zodiac and Chinese Lunar calendar. Adventurers are able to re-enact the Great Race to determine the Chinese Zodiac and standard measurements of time within China.    The cover is painted with acrylics and on canvas. It tells the story of the Great Race that determined the Chinese Zodiac, the order in which the animals came in and how they arrived at the finish line. There's even the environments and objects you'll encounter in the story painted there.  And it took 7 tedious hours.  I entered the Tabletop Mentorship Program with the goal of improving my digital art illustration skills. To create some concept art for the second revision.   But one month i