Game Writing



Below are a collection of articles, blog posts, and short features I have written on videogames and board games. If you’d like me to pitch for your publication, feel free to get in touch via email: michael.iantorno@gmail.com.


Ephemeral Games and Ambiguous Rights

Since the advent of digital marketplaces, the idea of ownership has become somewhat enigmatic. Although new technologies offer us unprecedented access to game assets and algorithms – something that was nearly unheard of in the hard plastic days – sprawling End User License Agreements (EULA) and stringent Digital Rights Management (DRM) software are contesting and restricting our ownership. Browsing through a games library on Blizzard or Steam feels more like surfing the web than sifting through a collection. Every title has gained an amorphous quality, changing constantly through iterative patches and updates. In many ways we’ve relinquished control over the games we have purchased, as developers can add or subtract content on a whim. This raises a troubling question: do we even own the games that we play?..


Gloomhaven: Rip It Into Pieces

Over the first two play sessions of Gloomhaven, my group found themselves completely incapable of following one of the game’s core rules. Gloomhaven made a request of us that none of us were willing to complete – a blasphemous task that flew in the face of all of our previously acquired board game etiquette. It asked us to rip a card into pieces


Adventures in 8.5×11

Amateur pen-and-paper game design is certainly not a new phenomenon. Since Gary Gygax and David Arneson began their Blackmoor adventure in 1972 – fusing Chainmail medieval wargaming with Gygax’s established Fantasy Supplement – generations of gamers have meticulously crafted their own sprawling dungeons and fantastical campaign settings…


Balance and Momentum in Scythe

When asked to describe exactly what Scythe is, my go-to summary is something along the lines of: “it’s like if Risk Legacy and Settlers of Catan had a steampunk baby.” While not entirely accurate – Scythe tends to be less combat oriented than the former and more luck-averse than the latter – many of the same strategies apply. Your general goals include controlling territory, producing resources, and improving your economic engine by constructing buildings and accumulating power and fame. It’s a pretty polished take on the engine-building genre, where a daunting array of mechanics become manageable through simple turn structures and repetition…

Skills