Elizabeth Hargrave

#222 Elizabeth Hargrave Talks Wingspan

Designing Thematic Games


Dirk, David, and designer Elizabeth Hargrave discuss the hit game Wingspan: how she decided on the unique theme, why that theme might have been so successful, and when she had to choose fun or function over thematic fit.

Episode Outline

00:53 An introduction to Wingspan

02:17 Where did the idea for Wingspan come from?

04:02 Why Wingspan might have been popular and resonated with its audience

06:46 How did the first prototype and idea transition into a playable, thematic game?

10:20 How do you balance adding thematic elements with mechanical necessities for the game’s genre?

12:50 What were the design and development processes for Wingspan?

16:07 A discussion on unpub events

21:38 Some of the compromises between best capturing theme and making the game fun

24:53 A discussion on Wingspan’s components

30:24 How important theme is to Elizabeth as a player

33:34 Future themes Elizabeth will or would like to cover

38:26 Encouraging women and non-binary people to design games

43:51 Advice for new designers who want to design a game around a specific theme

In this Episode

Elizabeth Hargrave - @elizhargrave, elizhargrave.com
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

New to TGDRT?
Start here!

Listen on these podcast services!

Subscribe to our
low-volume newsletter