Keynote Speaker: James Ernest

James Ernest is best known as the President and Lead Designer at Cheapass Games, a small tabletop game publisher in Seattle. Cheapass Games started publishing in 1996 with their flagship title, Kill Doctor Lucky, and they have won many game design and graphic design awards.


Ernest has designed more than 200 digital and tabletop games, including card games, dice games, board games, and gambling games. Some of his best-known titles include Tak: A Beautiful Game (with Patrick Rothfuss), Pairs, Button Men, Lords of Vegas (with Mike Selinker / Mayfair), Pirates of the Spanish Main (with Jordan Weisman / Wizkids), and the Fable II Pub Games (with Carbonated Games / Microsoft).


James Ernest is also an author and teacher, contributing to several books about poker and game design. He created DigiPen's Introduction to Tabletop Game Design course in 2013 and gives frequent design lectures about the fundamentals of tabletop game design.