Magpie Games


Magpie Games
QR Code


Oct 10 2020


9:30 am - 4:00 pm



Magpie Games Design Festival

Welcome to the inaugural Magpie Games Design Festival! This one-day event is designed to teach the basics of Powered by the Apocalypse design and theory as we understand and practice them. Attendees will join a 90 minute seminar on the fundamentals of PbtA design, participate in playtesting, and wrap up the day in a peer lead discussion group.

What You Get
Attendees will experience an in depth discussion on the fundamentals of Powered by the Apocalypse design, feedback on their own games, a chance to playtest their game or playtest the game of another designer, and join a group of peers for a guided discussion. 

Ticket holders will receive access to exclusive Magpie Games Design Festival Discord channels, where they can discuss their designs, offer feedback to others, and engage in conversations on their perspectives of Powered by the Apocalypse. They will also be given a guide on playtesting their game and being a good playtester. This handbook will include a schedule for the day as well as tips on making most of each activity. 

The Festival will be hosted on the Magpie Games Discord server.

The Schedule
9:30 AM MST – 10 AM MST: Opening ceremonies
10 AM MST – 11:30 AM MST: Powered by the Apocalypse Fundamentals with Mark Diaz Truman
12:30 PM MST – 2:30 PM MST: Peer playtesting
3 PM MST – 4 PM MST: Designer lead discussion 

Opening Ceremonies
9:30 AM MST – 10:00 AM MST
Join us for opening ceremonies in which we welcome you to the design festival with a special message from the Magpie Games Team, including Marissa Kelly, Mark Diaz Truman, and Brendan Conway

The Seminar
10 AM MST – 11:30 AM MST
Powered by the Apocalypse Fundamentals with Mark Diaz Truman
Moderated by: Kate Bullock

Join Magpie Games co-owner Mark Diaz Truman— designer of Urban Shadows, Zombie World, and Cartel—to learn about how Magpie Games designers engage the Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) engine. Drawing on nearly a decade of experience, Mark will explain how to set up a successful PbtA design, what features make the best PbtA games work, and how to avoid the pitfalls that wreak havoc on many new designs.  

This seminar will be 90 minutes total in length. The first 60 minutes will be a tutorial, with the last 30 minutes being a Q & A session. Questions will be held until the end. 

Peer Playtesting
12:30 PM MST – 2:30 PM MST
Each attendee will have the option to submit one Powered by the Apocalypse game for review using a form emailed to them. All games must be submitted by October 2nd.

A small selection of submitted games will be chosen for playtesting based on attendee numbers. All games submitted will be read and reviewed by Magpie Games, with limited feedback provided upon return. If your game is chosen, we will email you on Oct 7th to inform you.

To qualify, a Powered by the Apocalypse game must have:
★ Basic Moves (or equivalent)
★ Playbooks (or equivalent)
★ Be designed by you or you and a team/co-designer
★ Be in a document we can read

If your game is not chosen, you will be assigned to a playtest based on the information you complete on the form. We ask you to engage in any game you’re assigned to with the goal of having that game succeed. Attendees who engage in bad faith will be asked to leave and may be denied entrance to events in the future.

Designer Lead Discussions
Each attendee will be randomly sorted into a small group of peers for discussing their experience at the festival. Each discussion group will be led by a peer designer or mentor affiliated with Magpie Games, such as a staff member, Curated Play GM, or one of the Ashcan designers. They will focus the discussion on the seminar and playtesting, as well as on the participant’s overall learning. 


If you are unable to afford purchasing a ticket for the event, but would still like to participate, please email our community manager, Kate, at to get sponsorship to the event.

If you have any questions, please contact our community manager, Kate at

Sold out!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.