Contact & About US
About The program
The Tabletop Mentorship Program was founded in May 2019 to provide a platform for experts in the tabletop industry to share their knowledge, resources, experience, and guidance with other members of the community. The goal of the mentorship program is to grow the collective knowledge, skills, and experiences of the tabletop industry. In 2022 we re-organized with a board of directors to help take the organization to the next level.
who we Are
Mike Belsole (he/him), Founder and Executive Director
As a game designer and member of the tabletop industry, I wouldn't be where I am today without the support and guidance of my mentors. They have had such a positive impact on me and my experiences, and I can't ever repay that kindness. I started this program because I wanted to make it easy to give that opportunity and experience to others. I wanted to pay forward what was given to me so freely and generously. This is a passion project, and the plan is to run it indefinitely as long as there is interest.
Board of directors
Alyx Bui (they/them)
Alyx Bui is a tabletop RPG game designer, writer, artist and GM, in addition to being an activist and filmmaker. They are devoted to bringing more authentic queer Asian representation to the media and play. Alyx is focused on stories that expand narratives divergent from the mainstream. They have published a D&D 5E module in 2020, "The Great Zodiac Race", an adventure that allows players to re-enact the Great Race origins myth that determined the Chinese Zodiac and Lunar calendar. They are a Curated Play Program GM with Magpie Games and have also contributed to thousands of dollars bring raised in various TTRPG Actual Play charity streams. They are currently designing a TTRPG that focuses on immersing players in emotional and impactful Chinese ghost stories.
Behrooz ‘Bez’ Shahriari (she/her)
Designer, developer, consultant, artist, self-publisher, streamer, reviewer. Previous work includes: Yogi (the best partygame of physical constraints); Kitty Cataclysm (chaotic cardplay and a whole lot of cat puns); the ELL deck (a lovingly-curated game system); and many other things.
Bez currently streams daily at 10am UK-time - interviews, discussions, chats, and play-alongs. Bez is open to having guests.
Bez also enjoys chatting, tasting new things, hula-hooping, music, and reading comics. Trying to get back into reading, walking, exercise, playing the keyboard, and making pictures.
Passionate about human connections, experimentation, and thoughtful self-expression.
Calvin Wong Tze Loon 黃子倫 (he/him)
Calvin is a games writer and cultural consultant whose most recent projects include Twilight Imperium, Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Summoner Wars 2nd Edition, and Project Nisei's Netrunner. He was also in Crazy Rich Asians.
Grace Kendall (they/them)
Grace is the designer of Celestial Stories (part of the Dice & Ink anthology), and co-designer of Trick or Treat: The Aftermath and the forthcoming riddle party game Smug Owls. You'll often find Grace teaching games as booth staff at conventions. They have been co-organizing the Tabletop Mentorship Program since its second session.
Kenechukwu Ogbuagu KC (he/him)
Kenechukwu Ogbuagu KC is the owner and creative director of NIBCARD Games; a Nigerian Tabletop games designing, publishing and production company. He is also the convener of the African Boardgame Convention (AB Con); a yearly boardgame convention since 2016. He has self-published 27 games and also manufactured 4 other Nigerian games for different Nigerian designers. Among his games are Wan Wan Touch, Village War; the calamity, Concentration Concentration, Battle of Adrica, Luku Luku and Homia.
Matt Fantastic (he/she/they)
Matt primarily does freelance game design, development, and art direction for publishers around the world as the Creative Director of Forever Stoked, the studio they founded over a decade ago. They also own a game shop/library (Elm City Games), are sometimes an adjunct instructor of game design, publish indie games, books, zines, vinyl records, and other creative weirdness with killjoy and Prettiest Princess, founded the New Haven Game Makers Guild, are on the board of GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association), the Tabletop Mentorship Program, and GameDev CT, organize Fantasticon and the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games, and do consulting/fixing across the game industry as well as for corporate, NGO, and institutional clients like Netflix and Yale.
Raven McKenzie (she/her)
Raven McKenzie is a game designer based in Michigan. She draws on her love of food and passion for travel in most realms of her life, from her game designs to her career in international education and her ever-growing reading list.
Sen-Foong Lim (he/him)
Sen-Foong Lim burst onto the board game design scene in 2011 and quickly earned a reputation for being one of the most versatile designers in the industry. His diverse portfolio includes Belfort (a Euro-strategy game), But Wait, There’s More! (a party game about pitching wacky products), Junk Art (a family-oriented dexterity game), and Akrotiri (a game about unearthing lost temples in ancient Greece) - all co-designed with Jay Cormier.
A life-long role-player, Sen has written for many systems including Kids on Bikes, Teens in Space, Gears of Defiance, the North Sea Epilogues, Never Going Home, and The Curse of the House of Rookwood.
As one of the co-hosts of the Meeple Syrup Show, a weekly design-centric webcast, since it's inception in 2015, Sen has carved out a niche in tabletop media. Sen also joined the Ludology crew in 2021 as one of the co-hosts for the podcast.
T. Caires (they/them), COO & Co-Founder at Snowbright Studio
With nearly 10 years of tabletop game industry experience, T. is passionate about supporting people in achieving their goals in any part of the industry. T. has experience that ranges from content creation on their own YouTube channel to running a multi-million dollar games division at HABA USA. They now find themselves starting fresh again at their own publishing company, Snowbright Studio, that has a strong commitment to publishing games in an eco-forward way.
Tim Fowers (he/him)
Tim Fowers is an independent designer/publisher of games such as Paperback, Burgle Bros and Fugitive. www.fowers.games
What we stand for and against
The Tabletop Mentorship Program stands firmly with the people and organizations that fight for equality in all its forms. We believe that Black Lives Matter, trans rights are human rights, reproductive rights are human rights, no person is illegal, and that representation matters. We stand against white supremacy, homophobia, racism, sexism, and any kind of discrimination against those who are not in positions of power in their society. If your values are not consistent with ours, then this organization and its programs are not for you.
In the media
Tabletop Mentorship Stories is a blog featuring updates from 2021 mentorship participants about their experience in the program
Mike and Grace discuss the program with Mark on the Game Designers of North Carolina podcast.
Sen hosted Friday Night Forum video discussions with members of the 2021 program: Xoe and Femi, Alyx, Paco, Jamie and Steven, and Austin, Kevin, and Andy.
Mike, Grace, and Carman talk about mentorship on the Meeple Syrup Show with Sen and Erica.
Grace and Mike discuss the micro-grants program with Ezra for the "Building a Bigger Game Table" segment of The Spiel.
Geek Native did a text interview with Grace and Mike
Iain, Adam, Mike and Grace discuss the program on Brainwaves
Grace and Mike discuss the program with Sophie on Finding Games.
To make a monthly donation, visit our Patreon Page.
To make a one time donation, visit paypal.me/TabletopMentorship.
If you have any questions, comments, or are looking for ways to contribute, please contact us.
Mentorship Email: TabletopMentorshipProgram@gmail.com
Micro-Grant Email: TabletopMicroGrants@gmail.com