Ben scouting for CitydashBen is an independent game designer and writer, and producer of live games. In 2020 he is working on an alternate reality game with a major Australian university.

He was the “Games Mechanic” (head game designer) at Melbourne’s premiere live games company, Pop Up Playground, from its inception until it closed in 2018. He designed dozens of games for and with the company, including large-scale social deduction game Spy Catcher, creepy clown chase The Curse, #TrueRomansAll (a choose-your-own-adventure version of Julius Caesar on the streets of Melbourne, commissioned by Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye program), epic bicycle adventure 1000 Cities (for City of Melbourne), Viking battle The Ride and hit immersive bank heist adventure Small Time Criminals, set in a two-storey ex-bank building.

Ben’s first videogame as head writer and narrative designer was Tin Man Games‘ PlayStation VR title Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown, which you can read more about on the Games page. He has also worked on localisation for indie game Inmost and consulted on educational game design.

Prior to Pop Up Playground, Ben co-created several improvised comedy formats, including Set List, Macguffin and Dungeon Crawl. He’s also worked on the Freeplay Independent Games Festival since 2011, and spoken about games at Freeplay, PAX Australia, the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference and Nerd Nite Melbourne. He occasionally writes about games at Losing An Eye on Medium.

In 2012, Ben contributed to Magpie Games’ Our Last Best Hope, a storytelling game of heroic sacrifice and humanity-threatening disaster. The Companion book introduces a variety of new ways to play it, including Ben’s rules and guidelines for playing the game as a comedy. He also contributed some ideas for the main rulebook. The game is available on DriveThruRPG and through the publisher’s web site.

He currently has several tabletop games in early stages of development, and runs workshops for children and adults in game design and Dungeons & Dragons both independently and with 100 Story Building in Footscray.

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