Elizabeth Hargrave is a board game designer. Her game, Wingspan from Stonemaier Games, won the prestigious 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres (Game of the Year). She also boasts over 20 years of experience in health policy, focused on Medicare, Medicaid, and prescription drugs.

Name: Elizabeth Hargrave
Vocation: Board game Designer
Years of experience: 5, but only very recently full time
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Shipped game titles:
Tussie Mussie

1. What are you currently reading and/or playing?
PARKS, Point Salad, lots of unfinished prototypes by myself and other designers

2. First time you knew you wanted to work in games was…?
In late 2013 I had been playing board games for years and was just getting really dissatisfied with the typical selection of themes.

3. What was your favorite mistake?
The dice tower in Wingspan came about because of a mechanic that didn’t stay in the game. But we decided to keep the dice tower!

4. What was your favorite success?
The success of Wingspan has been far, far beyond anything I could have imagined.

5. What’s the best advice you ever got?
For game design: Games don’t work on the table the way you think they will in your head. Playtest early, with a super-simple prototype. Don’t spend time polishing it until you understand where it’s going. 

For life: Go for the things you want, as if you will succeed. If people tell you no, that’s still better than not asking in the first place. And sometimes they say yes.

6. Share one thing few know about you.
I’m on the board of a local mushroom club in Washington DC, which has about 500 members.

7. What’s one thing or trend you’re most excited about in the industry?
The pool of designers is getting more diverse, and we will see more interesting variety in games because of it.

Feel free to reblog with a link back to this post. If you are a lady dev who’d like to be profiled or would like to nominate one, please contact wigsig [at] igda [dot] org