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  • Writer's pictureBreanna Boersma

Studio Dispatch #4

Conversation Piece by Yoko Ono

Summer 1962

Two weeks ago, I visited GR Zine-fest with my friend Helen. I had never attended Zine-fest before and I was elated to be surrounded by creative energy. I realized just how much I missed being around other creatives.

While I was there, I happened across the booth of game designer Adam Wass. Adam has been producing limit print runs of his TTRP games (Table Top Role Playing) and zines and is a part of a larger community of indie game designers.

While at his booth, I picked up a copy of his Trunk and Aurora games, and we got to chat about his process. Adam explained that he had started out playing Dungeon and Dragons, but quickly got bored with the fantasy aspect of the game. As a result, he started making his games and distributing them.

After zinefest, I reached out to Adam, and we got coffee to talk more about his games. To be candid, I had heard about DND but had never actually played. Until meeting him, I had never realized the potential reach of TTRP games. I think I had hundreds of sparks for ideas for my senior thesis project while talking with him. We talked about creating spaces that allow for play and how the person/character that shows up to play may not be the person sitting at the table. We discussed whether it is more important to create the method of play (game cards, zines, dice, etc…) or the actual story. And so much more!

Adam and his friend Will Jobst, produce a bi-weekly podcast called Brain Trust. During each episode, they bring the listener on their journey of developing a new game. I’ve listened to a few of their podcasts and find the process fascinating.

When it comes to my Senior Thesis or Independent Project (IP), I’ve been interested in themes of people gathering, meal sharing, and storytelling/conversations. After talking with Adam, I think I’m interested in developing a TTRP game as a part of my senior thesis!


Here are some indie game designers and TTRP games that I’ve been looking at!

Jay is one of the better-known indie game designers. They are most widely known for their lyric game Esoteric.

Yoko Ono first popularized lyric games in her artist book of action poems titled Grapefruit. Lyric games often are poems that ask the reader to perform a specific action.

For The Queen - Is a story building game that asks the players to answer questions and then decide in the end whether or not to betray their queen.

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