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Guests of Honor & Special Guests

Guest of Honor

Renee Nejo

Renee Nejo is a freelance 3D artist and independent game designer in Denver, Colorado. She is a proud Diegueno and a literal card carrying tribal member of the Mesa Grand Band of Mission Indians. Renee is an unapologetic advocate for education and self determination of Native people. She has recently contributed to the art and design of Ever, Jane, a video game in the world of Jane Austen as well as a few illustrations for Gravity Ghost. She is also currently a volunteer mentor for at-risk youth at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver. Renee is the creator and designer of Blood Quantum the video game, her “experiment in education games”.


Special Guests

Gabriel de los Angeles

Gabriel de los Angeles is a Snoqualmie tribal member and PhC in Learning Science and Human Development at the University of Washington. His research interests are development across the life course through play and learning in informal environments. His life combines his love of popular culture, fandom, and games with nearly two decades of experience with fan-made events and community organizations around the world. He examines these things through equity, equality and indigenous philosophies.


JS Thomhave

Jonathan S Tomhave, PhD (Hidatsa, Ho-Chunk, Prairie Band Potawatomi) s an enrolled member of the
Three Affiliated Tribes of Ft. Berthold. Although Jonathan doctoral background is in Communication
(media studies) Jonathan has been playing games since THAC0 was a thing. Jonathan, along with his
research partners at have been examining, discussing, researching, podcasting,
writing, and developed the game Potlatch: A Game About Coast Salish Economics that addresses the
need for educational materials for Washington States Time Immemorial curriculum initiative.

Jeanette Bushnell

Jeanette M. Bushnell, PhD. Citizen of Anishinaabe Nation. Along with Dr. Tomhave and Tylor Prather, her partners at The N.D.N. Players Research Group (, she is spending time with ideas associated with indigene and games. Our recent work includes an academic paper on the subject, a list of indigenous game tags and genres (available on, and a distribution-focused Kickstarter campaign to launch our first game, Potlatch: A Card Game about Coast Salish Economics.


Katherine Cross

Katherine Cross is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Centre in New York, and a contributing columnist to Gamasutra. Her work has focused on everything from game design to community management to online harassment. As a social and gaming critic, her work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including Rolling Stone, Bitch Magazine, The Baffler, Time, The Verge, Polygon, First Person Scholar, and The Daily Beast. She is also a sought-after thinker on technology whose commentary has appeared on NPR, ABC Radio National, Le Monde, and Dagens Nyheter among others. Recently, she has begun to enter the world of game design, contributing writing and scenarios to games like the Pathfinder RPG and Eclipse Phase. She yearns for the robot uprising and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Beth Sobel

Beth Sobel is a board game illustrator living and working in Bellingham, Washington. She has an MFA in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design, and feels incredibly fortunate to be able to work in an industry she loves. You can find her work on board games such as Herbaceous, World’s Fair 1893, Viticulture and Tuscany, Lanterns, The Last Garden, Coldwater Crown, Path of Light and Shadow, Between Two Cities, and more. She has also contributed art to the Lord of the Rings LCG, the Firefly and Star Wars RPGs, and Legend of the Five Rings.


Joseph Carriker

Joseph Carriker is a game developer for Green Ronin, having helmed A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying for several years, as well as working on other games such as Fantasy AGE and the Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting books. He has worked in the gaming industry for over fifteen years, including doing work for Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, and Onyx Path Publishing during that time. He is an outspoken queer gamer, having helped found the annual Queer as a Three-Sided Die panels at Gen Con and other conventions. He is also novelist, having recently published his first novel, Sacred Band, about a team of LGBTQ superheroes. Joseph lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancé A.J.


Nicole Lindroos

Nicole Lindroos entered the game industry in 1989. In that time, she co-founded Adventures Unlimited magazine, served on the board of the Game Manufacturers Association and as the chair of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art and Design, volunteered both on the advisory committee and as the head of the Origins Awards, and has been an active freelancer for large and small companies alike. Since the year 2000 she has been co-owner and General Manager of Green Ronin Publishing. Her recent projects include contributions to the Dragon Age Tabletop Roleplaying Game and Titansgrave: Ashes of Valakana.

She’s also the sweetest person you never want to piss off.

Jaym Gates

Jaym Gates is an editor and author based out of Seattle. She is the Managing Editor for Nisaba Press, an imprint of Green Ronin Publishing, and an acquiring editor for Falstaff Books. Her anthologies include War Stories, Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Conflict, Genius Loci, and Strange California. Her RPG work includes Blue Rose: Six of Swords, Firefly: Smuggler’s Guide to the Rim, and Lost Citadel. In her spare time, she trains jousting horses, consults for futurist interests, and practices Systema.



Wes Schneider

F. Wesley Schneider is co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and author of dozens of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons adventures and accessories. Beyond roleplaying games, he’s written a variety of short stories, video game dialog, and tabletop game designs.

Wes has strong opinions about horror, world-building, and storytelling, and has spoken at length on inclusivity and LGBTQ topics in gaming—most notably at Gen Con’s annual Queer as a Three-Sided Die series.

His novel, Bloodbound, released in December 2015, while his most recent major roleplaying offerings include The Hellfire Compact and In Search of Sanity from Paizo Inc.
Wes lives outside Seattle with his husband and a particularly unlucky black cat.


Lillian Cohen-Moore

Lillian Cohen-Moore is an award winning editor, and devotes her writing to fiction and journalism. Influenced by the work of Jewish authors and horror movies, she draws on bubbe meises (grandmother’s tales) and horror classics for inspiration. She spends her days introducing people to cosmic horror and Bronze Age fantasy as Director of Marketing and Media for Chaosium Inc. Currently living in New Orleans, Louisiana. 



Liz Courts

Liz Courts – Liz blames her brother for all of this. An avid gamer for almost thirty years, Liz has worked on over 70 different RPG products, helped organize the first unofficial PaizoCon, started and headed the Wayfinder fanzine for its first four issues, went on to work for Paizo after being a member of its community for five years, and is now a mostly organic, free range freelancer. Liz also likes art, baking, coffee, and all things ninja, but not always in that order. She is not a werewolf.



Crystal Frazier

Crystal Frasier is a writer, game developer, and graphic designer with eighteen years’ experience, best known for her work on the Pathfinder line of roleplaying games and adventures. She strives to make games worlds where everyone can see themselves reflected. She is a survivor of both the Art Institute of Seattle and New College of Florida, and pulls heavy inspiration for her work from European, Central American, and African history as well as the works of L. Frank Baum and Lewis Caroll. In her free time, Crystal reads comics, plays with her dog, and obsessively rewatches old cartoons from the 80s and 90s.


Lynne Hardy

Lynne Hardy – Although I trained as a biomedical research scientist and spent many years as a lecturer at a local further education college, I am now a full time freelance writer, editor, games designer & educator.
Over the years I’ve worked on many games, including SLA Industries, Dying Earth, Victoriana 3e, Achtung! Cthulhu (where I was the lead designer, writer & editor on their Kickstarter project), Katanas & Trenchcoats, 13th Age, and my own steampunk game, Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks.

I’ve been gaming (tabletop and LARP) for more years than I care to admit, and I also teach embroidery and crafts to community groups of all ages!


Jenn Sandercock

Jennifer Sandercock – Jenn is driven to create a world of games built on friendship curiosity, and challenge. As an independent game developer, Jenn’s determination has led her to come up with 52 game ideas in 52 weeks and then implement 12 games in 12 months. She was a coder/designer/producer on the modern adventure game hit, Thimbleweed Park. Her current project is a series of edible tabletop games where you eat the pieces. When she’s not focused on building games, you can find Jenn baking, exploring her local Seattle neighbourhood, organising Indie Adventures, posting about her brooch collection and eating gourmet chocolate.


Tifa Robles

Tifa Robles is the founder & organizer of the Lady Planeswalkers Society (LPS). With almost 80 chapters worldwide, LPS creates welcoming, friendly environments to learn and play Magic: The Gathering regardless of gender, skill level, or anything else. The organization also teaches Magic and participates in panels at many conventions. In her 9-5 job, Tifa works as an Account Representative at GTS Distribution, helping game stores grow all across the world. She formerly worked at Xbox and Wizards of the Coast. Tifa is a hardcore lifestyle gamer and a feminist, who enjoys combining the two. She and her husband are also new parents, enjoying introducing all things nerdy to their baby boy.


Jennell Jaquays

Jennell Jaquays professional life has centered around game making. She pioneered pre-made RPG scenarios in her Dungeons & Dragons fanzine The Dungeoneer in 1976 and is STILL known for her D&D adventures Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia. She assembled one of the first video game art and design studios at Coleco to make ColecoVision games. After working independently as an illustrator and game content designer, and then as a cover artist and director of graphics for TSR, Inc., the original publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, she returned to computer games in 1997, first as a designer for id Software on Quake 2 and Quake 3, and later as an artist for Age of Empires III and Halo Wars, and level design lead on CCP’s World of Darkness MMO based on Vampire the Masquerade.

She is considered one of the founders of The SMU Guildhall in Dallas, a leading master’s degree level video game development school within Southern Methodist University. She was instrumental in both establishing the structure and focus of the program and designing the first art curriculum for it. Her son was an early graduate of Guildhall and works as a senior level artist in the digital game industry.

Jennell currently divides her creative energy between projects for design studio Dragongirl Studios, her Fifth Wall brand of game adventures and miniatures, and serving as the creative director for Olde Sküül, Inc. a digital game developer and publisher based in Seattle, Washington which she founded with three other veteran female developers in 2012.


Kiva Maginn

Kiva Maginn is the Lead Designer for BattleTech at Harebrained Schemes, where she’s making giant robots fight and making their pilots kiss. She’s been in the video game industry for 15 years, doing game system design and battling her impostor syndrome. She’s worked on large-scale MMOs and tiny mobile games and all the stuff in between, and been an engineer, a designer, and for a brief and terrible few months, an artist. She collects old and obscure RPG systems like other people collect comics. You can follow her at @HBS_thratchen, or follow her game at She is friendly, has had her shots, and does not bite.



Brittanie Boe is known most prominently in the world of tabletop as the unstoppable Bebo, editor of TheGameWire.Com, host of the GameWire YouTube channel, and handles the social media for the brand. The GW brand is the marketing arm of GTS Distribution, of which Bebo is the face. Helping people learn about new
and exciting games (as well as fun classics) is her job, and one she relishes. She also helps her daughter create her own tabletop gaming videos and at times they create them together. You find her around the convention playing games and creating content! Feel free to say hi or stop by to take a selfie!


Liz Argall

Liz Argall – A SF author, roleplaying gamer and cartoonist, Liz doesn’t remember her first D&D game, because she was four. As a teen she grew into herself an eclectic gaming world that ranged from Traveller to Hunter Planet and an Australian convention scene that encouraged syncretic approaches to games and systems. Systemless games, multiforms, freeforms and theatre forms were particular loves (similar in some ways to Scandinavian LARPS). Her fiction can be found in places like Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, This is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death, and Escape Artists’ podcasts. Honors include Best New Designer Award at Phenomenon Roleplaying Convention, been a finalist for the Aurealis Awards for best YA short story, and was a recent associate artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Liz creates the webcomic and has worked on roleplaying games for Onyx Path and 13th Age.


Amanda Hamon Kunz

Amanda Hamon Kunz is the Development Coordinator at Paizo Inc. and an ENnie award-winning tabletop game developer and editor. At Paizo, she works on the Pathfinder RPG is co-designer of the Starfinder RPG.  Her freelance writing, development, editing, and game design has appeared in products from publishers including Paizo, Kobold Press, Hammerdog Games, Zombie Sky Press, and others. In addition to waxing nerdy about fantasy worldbuilding traditions and theory, she has spoken extensively about the intersectionality of feminism and gaming. You can find Amanda on Twitter at @amandahamon.


Jess Hartley

Jess Hartley – For the last 15 years, Jess Hartley has been an avid novelist/writer/editor/game creator in the tabletop game industry. She helped create the award-winning Changeling: The Lost for Onyx Path, as well as other game lines in the World of Darkness (Promethean, Mage, Werewolf, Hunter and more). She has also had the pleasure of working for Margaret Weis Productions, John Wick Presents, and Magpie Games, as well as other industry giants. Jess is an enthusiastic LARPer and board/card game player, with a particular fondness for silly games as well as those that involve cooperation, collaboration, and deep moral conundrums (much like life!)
Jess makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, where she dwells with her husband/technical support Viking, Valkyrie-daughter, and a veritable menagerie of other interesting animals. In her copious (LOL!) spare time, she enjoys crafting, cooking, watching very polite people bake competitively, and reading a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. Her favorite color is green, and her favorite number is 3.
Ari Marmell
 Ari Marmell would love to tell you all about the various esoteric jobs he held and the wacky adventures he had on the way to becoming an author, since that’s what other authors seem to do in these sections. Unfortunately, he doesn’t actually have any, because real life is boring—hence the focus on fiction. His published work includes fully original novels, such as Hot Lead, Cold Iron and the Widdershins series; licensed/tie-in novels for multiple properties; and role-playing game material for games such as Dungeons & Dragons. He has worked with publishers such as Del Rey, Pyr Books, Titan Books, and Wizards of the Coast.

Ari currently lives in an apartment that’s almost as cluttered as his subconscious, which he shares (the apartment, not the subconscious, though sometimes it seems like it) with George—his wife—and two cats who probably want something right now. You can find Ari online at and on Twitter @mouseferatu.

Nicole Jekich

Nicole Jekich is a passionate game designer and tabletop community organizer in Seattle, WA. For the past four years, she has shared her tabletop gaming experiences and support of indie games on her site, AcrossTheBoardGames.Net. Food is her other passion and she is always looking to bring people together around gaming and food. Nicole is a co-designer on Food Truck Champion- a competitive card game that includes some of her favorite foods (like lumpia)! You can find Nicole running community events and playtesting local games with playtestNW and collaborating on cool projects and games for her company WhiskeyGinger. Join her at Orca Con and enjoy demos from a curated selection of her favorites games! Twitter: @njekich @board_crossing Websites:

Erin M. Evans Erin M. Evans got a degree in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis—and promptly stuck it in a box. Nowadays she uses that knowledge of bones, mythology, and social constructions to flesh out fantasy worlds. She is the author of the best-selling Brimstone Angels Saga, beginning with the Scribe Award winning Brimstone Angels and concluding with The Devil You Know. She lives in Washington State with her husband and sons.



Jeremy Crawford

Jeremy Crawford is the lead rules developer of Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, as well as the game’s managing editor. He is the co-lead designer of 5th edition, the lead designer of its Player’s Handbook, and the co-lead designer of its Dungeon Master’s Guide. Over the past decade, he has worked on numerous books for the game, spanning all its editions. Before coming to Wizards, he co-designed the Blue Rose roleplaying game and wrote for Mutants & Masterminds and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. He can be reached on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford), where he continues the Sage Advice tradition.

Mike Robles

Mike Robles (TheMikeRobles) is a former Community Manager for some of the biggest games in both the video and table top industries. He’s worked with Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Minecraft, Killer Instinct and more. He spends his free time playing lots of video games on his Twitch channel and writes reviews for Marooner’s Rock and The Mommy Gamers. When he’s not playing video games he’s helping Tifa behind the scenes of The Lady Planeswalker Society and helping raise their beautiful baby boy Xander.


Susan O'Brien

Susan O’Brien is Chaosium’s boardgames line editor. Sue loves boardgames – as a player, playtester and designer. Most recently she has been working with game design legend Reiner Knizia on his two titles for Chaosium – Khan of Khans, set in Greg Stafford’s Glorantha, and a new Call of Cthulhu-themed boardgame, Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection. Other projects in the works include a new edition of Chris Gidlow’s Credo, a card game simulation of theological disputation at the Council of Nicaea AD325, and a new cooperative game involving 10th century Japanese love poetry and red string. Sue’s professional background is in editing, publishing, and project management. Her career has also included coordinating clinical research trials across the world, working as a jillaroo on a sheep station in the Australian Outback, avoiding being kidnapped in the Philippines, and serving as the ghost writer for various Arabian dignitaries. After a decade living and working overseas, Sue returned to Melbourne, Australia several years ago, where she lives with her husband (game designer Michael O’Brien) and their two teenage sons.