Judges and sponsors

The game mentors and judges for our event at Gamex 2015 are Brandon Hegland, Eric Elder, John Clair, Kevin John, Mark Chen, and Rex Lorenzo. Our sponsors are Pepperdine University Gameful Design Lab and Gamex.

Eric T. Elder
Founder OW! (Online Worlds) Entertainment

Eric T Elder has been a passionate lover of games since childhood.  He was one of the first kids on his block to get an Atari 2600 in 1977 and has been hooked ever since.

With a background in animation he worked at MTV Animation on the Beavis and Butt-Head feature and moved to Los Angeles in 1997 to work at Film Roman on King of the Hill and the Simpsons.

It was during this time he discovered Boardgame Geek.com and the world of Euro or German style board games.  Starting with Puerto Rico and Settlers he quickly became immersed.

In 2002 he founded the Game Art & Design program at the Art Institute of California - Los Angeles in Santa Monica.  One of the first of it's kind in the world he led the program to be the most successful in the AI system and won international awards.

He managed the program for 8 years and during that time had a 90% placement rate in the industry.  His graduates went on to become Environment Artists, Modelers, Game Designers and more at companies like Blizzard, Activision, EA, and Sony to name a few and work on games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, God of War, Guitar Hero, Bioshock Infinite, Transformers and many more.

Currently Eric is working full time with his company OW! Entertainment to develop virtual reality games and experiences for movie and TV licenses.  He has also started up a new game, animation and VR studio workshop called Black Magic Studios where he offers career coaching and project consulting.

John Clair
Game Designer

Like so many of us, John has been designing games since he was a kid.  He is the designer of Rumble Pie, a real-time battle party game published by Goldbrick Games inc. His portfolio will be expanding over the next 12 months with three games currently in development, one to be published with Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) and two others to be published by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG).

Kevin John
Game Designer

Kevin John is a veteran video game designer and a board game enthusiast. In 2009 he had the honor of interning at Blizzard Entertainment, where he worked on Hearthstone's AI systems and Starcraft 2's UI design. More recently he's worked at Buffalo Studios, makers of several critically acclaimed social games, as a lead designer and producer. He is currently the founder and sole proprietor of Lucid Sheep Games, an independent game company that is focused on minimalist mobile games. Kevin has taken part of and placed highly in several video game jams, including Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam. He brings his experience of video game jams in hopes of making board game jams a reality!

Mark Chen
Directory of Pepperdine University Gameful Design Lab

Mark Chen is Director of the Pepperdine University Gameful Design Lab where he is promoting social change, activism, and personal agency through the development of expertise in gaming practice and game design. He is also helping faculty incorporate playfulness and game mechanics into course work, designing experimental and artistic games that explore moral dilemmas and human nature, and researching esoteric gaming practices. Previously, Mark taught courses in game studies, game design, and games for learning at the University of Washington. Mark is the author of Leet Noobs: The Life and Death of an Expert Player Group in World of Warcraft, which details how a new team learned to excel in WoW and how the team died in a fiery meltdown as expert practice moved towards tech-supported efficiency and surveillance and away from other forms of play. He earned a PhD in Learning Sciences/Educational Technology from the University of Washington and a BA in Studio Art from Reed College. You can read more about Mark on his blog at http://markdangerchen.net

Rex Lorenzo
Board Game Enthusiast

Rex Lorenzo came up with the concept for this event and has organized a small group of local gamers to help him make it a reality.  By day, Rex is a web developer at UCLA, working on learning management systems and an enthusiastic board gamer by nights and weekends. He is a member of board gaming groups, such as Westside Gamers, Westside Game Night, and Westside Geeks and Nerds. He occasionally finds time to hike, preparing to summit Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the 48 states this August.

Sponsor: Gameful Design Lab

The Gameful Design Lab focuses on helping players develop a playful attitude towards lifelong learning. This includes instilling an attitude of bravery, a willingness to try and try again, and the wherewithal to be reflective and critical about their own and others’ actions and situations. When we play, we are constantly thinking of how things *should* be and trying things out over and over again for continual improvement. When we play, we aren’t afraid to fail because we know it’s the fastest way to learn. When we play, we are always pushing ourselves to try on new roles and see the world from a different perspective. When we play, we understand.

Sponsor: Gamex 2015

Gamex (est. 1984) is an annual four-day gaming convention offering the chance to learn, play, watch and buy a wide variety of board, card, miniature, roleplaying, collectible and video games.  Gamex 2015 will bring game demos, shopping, miniature painting, seminars, tournaments and a massive board game library to the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel, May 22 - 25.