2022 Design Contest Finalists

Listen to the finalists podcast episode.


1st Place – Lab Meltdown by Amelie Le-Roche

You and your team have been sent to run experiments on the Space Laboratory for Scientific Advancement. Work together to stabilize dangerous chemicals, and complete various tasks in this cooperative, turn-less, rotating boards, pick up and deliver journey in space.

Amelie is an animator/artist/mom/gamer. She is a veteran of the video game industry, now designing and illustrating family friendly board games in her “free” time.

2nd Place – Stoked by Jay Bendixen

Stoked is a family card game about surfing the best collection of waves on a trip to the beach. Respect separates a good surfer from a great one, so surfers need to manage their respect, while out-paddling and out-smarting everyone else. If a surfer paddles too fast – they risk wiping out into someone else paddling the same speed, too slow – they might miss the wave or get stung by a jellyfish!

Jay is an advertising director & writer, dipping his toes into the board game design world. Living near beautiful Australian beaches all his life has certainly played a huge role influencing his first design ‘Stoked’. Once the waves settle from ‘Stoked’, you will be able to find more of his upcoming game designs at www.littlebriefcase.com

3rd Place – Masterpieces Maybe by Christian Beck

Masterpieces Maybe is a roll and draw party game of high art and low expectations. It plays with 3 to 8 players ages 10 and up and takes about 30 minutes to play. The focus of the game is rolling dice and using the results to fill squares on your canvas as you attempt to illustrate an object or idea on a card you drew at the start of the turn. Everyone draws using the same dice, and at the end everyone gets one guess at what someone else drew. It won’t be pretty, but what art is?

Christian Beck is a board game designer from central Wisconsin in the United states. He primarily designs light to medium weight board and card games that usually have a form of bluffing or social deduction. He also runs a local design group and hosts digital playtesting with the group Break My Game.


1st Place – Medieval Hustle by Jeff Grisenthwaite

Medieval Hustle is a casual strategy card game of career advancement in the Dark Ages for 2-4 players, Ages 10+, with a 20-40 minute play time. Players work multiple jobs to make ends meet, applying to new jobs by matching traits with adjacent jobs in their career tracks. Each new job unlocks a useful skill. The first player to land a job in the castle wins. Innovative aspects: the skill tree IS the game, coat of arms matching mechanic, and strategic depth for a 5-minute teach and just 80 cards.

Jeff lives with his lovely wife, two boys and two cats in the suburbs of Chicago. He’s been dabbling in tabletop game design as a hobby his whole life, but 2022 has been the year he’s gotten serious about it. Jeff’s day job is in product management. His favorite games at the moment include: Azul, Agricola and 6 Nimmt.

2nd Place – Witches’ Quarrel by Shanti Pothapragada

Two children learn magic by hurling spells at each other in The Fastest 2 Player Legacy Game. Everything starts inside 36 sealed envelopes: complete rituals as you play to discover new spells and new story. Each deck-building duel is only 10-20 minutes, but it will take 12-18 games to discover everything.

Shanti Pothapragada is a digital and tabletop game developer in Minneapolis. He’s been working on Witches’ Quarrel for 2 years, getting deeper and deeper into the details. Shanti loves collaborating with others and exchanging feedback. He has 1 kid, and is expecting another 2 days after the finals, so if he’s missing then the baby came a bit early!

3rd Place – Follow Your Fear by Chris C. Warner

Follow Your Fear is a competitive strategy game for 2-4 players. Summon the spirits of Courage, Reason, and Hope to overcome your greatest Fear…before it overcomes you. Track, hunt, and battle Fear as it threatens to corrupt the once peaceful land you call home. Then, take control of Fear’s monster. Evade your opponent’s attempts at victory by embodying the one thing that scares them most. Do you have what it takes to Follow your Fear?

Chris is a full time brand designer and amateur illustrator living in San Francisco, California. During lockdown, he decided to design his first board game. After drawing some of his greatest fears using pen and paper, he decided it was time to defeat them in battle. The Follow Your Fear concept is designed to help anyone confront their inner monster. He lives with his boyfriend Ben (the game’s primary play tester) and their six month old puppy, Bonnie. You can connect with him on Instagram (@chriscwarner) or follow the game’s progress at www.followyourfeargame.com.


1st Place – Free Luna by Josh Costello

Free Luna is a cooperative deckbuilder for 1-4 players in which you lead a revolution on the Moon. The Terran government thins your decks quickly by arresting your recruits, but arrests more powerful revolutionaries as you move closer to victory. Dynamic deckbuilding means you move cards between players’ decks by assigning them to missions like Sabotage, or by breaking cards out of Prison. Work together to occupy locations, move public opinion, and inspire an uprising before Terra quashes the revolution.

Aurora Borealis Gala Dinner, Claremont Hotel, Berkeley, Ca. May 2015. Aurora Theatre Company. Photo © Scot Goodman.

Josh Costello has been playing and designing games just for fun since childhood. Single Combat (two-player swordfighting card game) and Free Luna were each finalists for the Luci Award at the Evergreen Tabletop Expo; Single Combat has been signed with a publisher. Gaffle Dice (realtime dice manipulation game) is in development. Josh is an award-winning theatre director in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Artistic Director of a midsize professional theatre company in Berkeley, and the father of two young gamers. @singlecombatcg https://discord.gg/EE5exeDAFz Instagram: pastbedtimegames

2nd Place – Twin Realms by Pawel Owsianka

Twin Realms is a cooperative, legacy dungeon crawler for 1 to 4 players, set in a primordial fantasy world divided into physical and spirit realms. Players take on the roles of elementals and use their ability to switch between those two realms to fight demons. Tactical combat is driven by a set of ability cards with cooldowns and activation mechanisms controlled on the player boards. In physical realm you fulfill the typical roles – Earth is a tank, Water is a support, etc. In spirit world you steal the souls of fallen enemies and use their strength against their allies to unlock combos and chain-kills. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/332843/twin-realms https://www.twinrealms.com/

Pawel was born in Poland and now lives in Melbourne where he works as a surveyor building tunnels. He spends most of his free time with his wife and son and any left-overs go to playing video games, board games and board game design.

3rd Place – Curator: Contemporary by Danny Banks

Curator: Contemporary is a thematic euro game in which players draft artworks, collect sets, and complete dynamic puzzles with completely unique art pieces. Deep strategy plus accessible base rules and strong storytelling potential make Curator enjoyable for everyone. The game simulates the art world with 2 innovative mechanics: combining multiple cards to create one-of-a-kind artworks and using sliding tracks to reveal hidden information over time.

Danny Banks is a lifelong gamer based in the US state of Maine. He is also a little fanatical about new art, music, fashion, *games,* and just about any form of human expression. In his day job, Danny co-directs a local youth-serving nonprofit organization.