Winners & Finalists
Downloads & Prints

2019 Judges

Mariam Ahmad (they/them): Mariam Ahmad is a queer South Asian-Canadian wordsmith & editor for hire, podcaster, and streamer who lives and breathes gaming. They are the GM of The Musafirs, an actual play podcast with an all queer BIMPoC cast set in Sarzameen, a South Asian campaign setting. They can also be found streaming on Welcome to the Party RPG Twitch channel on the weekend. On occasion, they knit things and cuddle cats.

Cheyenne Grimes (they/them) Is half of Glittercats Fine Amusements, which is best known for Laser Kittens and The Fool’s Journey. They were a judge for Game Chef for 3 years and are beyond excited to be joining this great team!
Shoe Skogan (they/them): Shoe Skogen is probably not a cannibal but one can never be too sure. They’ve been part of the FLAILSNAILS scene almost since the beginning and have played everso many games. And now, run the OSR as Crown-Captain, which is a hard job but someone has to do it. Find them @shoepixie on twitter.

Kathleen Mercury (she/her): Kathleen Mercury has been teaching for gifted middle school students for fourteen years, using design thinking to create functional art from tabletop game design, RPG design, filmmaking, cosplay, and more. She has multiple games in various stages of design, the first, Dragnarok, hitting Kickstarter in early 2020. She currently cohosts podcasts, Games in Schools and Libraries, Board Game Broadscast, and more. Kathleen thinks happiness comes from being able to create the life you want, and she feels very fortunate that she’s been able to do that.
Chris Spivey (he/him): Chris Spivey is a writer, game developer, veteran of the United States Army, and CEO of Darker Hue Studios. He writes and develops role-playing games, bringing his decades-old love of gaming, horror, and history, and a mission to create a more inclusive gaming world. His groundbreaking and critically acclaimed game Harlem Unbound won 3 Gold Ennies and the IGDN Groundbreaker award. Some of his other contributions can be found in The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set (Deadman Stomp), Cthulhu Confidential, Harlem Unbound Second Edition, 7th Sea: Land of Fire and Gold, Geist 2nd Edition, Trail of Cthulhu: Out of the Woods and Thousand Years of Night. He is the Line Developer for a new RPG science fiction line for Chaosium. He is currently creating his next Darker Hue Studios project, Haunted West, a book aimed to tell the stories of the often ignored diverse voices of the Old West.

2018 Judges

Jessica Hammer: Jessica Hammer is an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, jointly appointed between the HCI Institute and the Entertainment Technology Center. She combines game design with qualitative and quantitative research techniques to understand how games impact human behavior. She is also an award-winning game designer.

Maxwell Neely-Cohen: Maxwell Neely-Cohen is a writer based in New York City. He is the author of the novel Echo of the Boom. His shorter work has been featured in places like The New Republic, Buzzfeed, and The New Inquiry.

Kelsey Atherton: Kelsey D. Atherton is a New Mexico-based defense technology journalist. When not writing about the robots of tomorrow’s wars, he spends his time reading rulebooks for the grimdark wars of the far past and distant future.
Bronwyn Friesen is an excited and passionate social work student from Hamilton, Ontario, who loves designing small games. Though Bronwyn designs games, they feel it’s important to reject the term “game designer” because they believe that not only can anyone do this wonderful thing, but that term also fails to recognize the myriad other ways of contributing to our cultures of games and play. Outside of games, they’re a loving parent of two, and learning better how to do that every day.

Jim McClure: Jim McClure is a business consultant by day and honorable samurai of Rokugan by night. A total obsession with the ideas and execution of storytelling drives his passion in the RPG world. Jim believes that tabletop RPGs are the highest from of art known to mankind and he desires to spread this message to the world. When not at a game table he is often found reading, writing stories, designing games, or practicing martial arts.

Francesco Rugerfred Sedda: Ruger is an Italian freelance game designer living in Denmark with a mixed background that cover computer technology, media arts, and game studies. He loves wearing hawaiian shirts and plays more than 365 games per year. In his spare time he helps new game designers with their projects in order to see a future full of awesome games.

2017 Judges

Satine Phoenix: Satine is a comic book illustrator, painter, cosplayer, and all-around promoter of gaming. She is the co-creator of the graphic novel New Praetorians and the founder of CelebrityChariD20. In 2010, she revived her art and gaming career at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, California by starting DrawMelt and DnDMelt. Jef Aldrich and Jon Taylor: Hosts of the System Mastery and Afterthought podcasts, they have years of experience reviewing roleplaying games of all kinds. Mostly bad.
Jason Cordova: Jason is one of the organizers of the Gauntlet gaming community. He is co-host of The Gauntlet Podcast and the Discern Realities podcast, and editor-in-chief of the Codex RPG zine. Daniel Adams: Following his debut as a game designer in last year’s 200 Word RPG Challenge, Daniel has been writing, critiquing, and collaborating on story games ever since.
Armand Kossayan: Armand was one of last year’s winners who just feels super thrilled to be a judge this year. His only regret is that he doesn’t get to enter the contest again this year. Armand tools around with writing RPGs on his free time, but most never see the light of day and are part of a grand collection of unfinished works. Abstract Machine: Mathew Downward (Abstract Machine) is an aficionado of weird movies, new-wave science fiction and Nørwegian Surreal roleplaying games. Conceptual breakthroughs are the lifeblood of creativity
Kate Bullock: Kate is a weirdo Canadian who writes an emotion-fuelled blog called Bluestocking’s Organic Gaming. She’s one of a great team who facilitates gaming for Fan Expo Canada, and is one of the main organizers behind Breakout Gaming Convention. You can also find her as a co-host on “The Gauntlet Podcast” and “It’s Like DnD”. When not rolling dice, she’s a massage therapist and doula, and is working on a few games of her own. Brent Newhall: Brent is an independent tabletop RPG designer and publisher. He wrote the successfully Kickstarted, Hayao Miyazaki-inspired fantasy RPG “The Whispering Road,” the satirical “MurderHobos,” over a dozen other tabletop games, and a book on old-school RPGs, “The OSR Handbook.”

2016 Judges

Stephanie Bryant: Last year’s winner, Stephanie has written several rpgs in the past and is currently working on her newest creation: Threadbare. Sarah Judd: An experienced LARPer and gamer, Sarah represents the players rather than designers in this challenge.
Jacqueline Bryk: A freelance tabletop and freeform developer. She has written and run games on such diverse topics as apotheosis, generational abuse, the Great Depression, finishing schools, and ball culture. Marshall Miller: A Boston based researcher and game designer. His games include The Warren and Nanoworld: A Game of Clones.
Kat Kuhl: Host of the One-Shot Podcast and Campaign, she brings her extensive GM and game design experience to this challenge! Grant Howitt: Professional writer and experienced Tabletop designer, Grant has designed a host of incredible games, most recently GoblinQuest.

2015 Judges

Joe Banner: who does some amazing work through his Patreon, and releases a ton of high quality adventures for free! Keith Mageau: A fellow Charlestonian, he’s currently organizing Stormcon2015 down here in the south!
Kat Kuhl: co-host of One-Shot; she’s got a lot of experience with rpgs and one-shots (obviously!) Marshall Miller: An experienced game designer, he hosts a group of micro-games on his own site; and he’s eager to dive into this contest.
As If: aka Tod Foley of As If Productions, designer of numerous games both old-school and modern. A well-known “Auteur GM”, he enjoys games that push the boundaries of role-playing into deep territory. Rickard Elimää: Rickard has done a lot of impressive work on the philosophy and study of games. I always picture him behind a podium with a large chalkboard behind him.