Greg Costikyan

Greg Costikyan

Greg Costikyan, sometimes known under the pseudonym "Designer X"[1] , is an American game designer and science fiction writer.[2] Costikyan's career spans nearly all extant genres of gaming, including hex-based wargames, role-playing games, boardgames, card games, computer games, online games and mobile games. Several of his games have won Origins Awards. He co-founded Manifesto Games, now out of business, with Johnny Wilson in 2005.

Costikyan lives in New York City near his three daughters[3] and is a 1982 graduate of Brown University.[citation needed] He is a frequent speaker at game industry events including the Game Developers Conference and E³.



Costikyan's notable works include:

In addition, Costikyan is a widely-published author on the subject of game design and the role of games in culture. His essay, "I Have No Words and I Must Design"[8] is widely read as a conceptual approach to framing game design.

Costikyan worked on game design for many years, including writing and consulting for Nokia. In September 2005, he left Nokia to join with Johnny Wilson, former editor of Computer Gaming World, in founding the startup indie game publisher Manifesto Games.[9] He regularly contributed to the now defunct Manifesto Games' website, and remains editor in chief to their offshoot game review blog Play This Thing.[10]

In the 1970s and 80s, Costikyan was a leading player of Slobbovia. His novel One Quest, Hold the Dragons includes several stories about crottled greeps, a Slobbovian meme.[11]

In February 2009, Costikyan updated the rules and re-released his 1979 space combat game, Vector 3, under a Creative Commons license as a free PDF download.[12]


Costikyan has written four novels. The first two were parodies of genre fantasy: Another Day, Another Dungeon (1990, ISBN 0-8125-0140-3) and its sequel One Quest, Hold the Dragons (1995, ISBN 0-8125-2269-9). By the Sword (1993, ISBN 0-312-85489-7) is another irreverent fantasy about a young barbarian who is forced by circumstances to make his way in the larger world; it was originally serialized on the Prodigy online service. His latest novel, First Contract (2000, ISBN 0-312-87396-4), depicts (with much dry humor) the vast sociological and economic changes that happen after aliens arrive on Earth, and one entrepreneur's efforts to survive and make a new start.[13]

Awards and recognition

On March 7, 2007, Costikyan received the Game Developers Choice Awards Maverick Award. The award was given for his tireless efforts to create a viable channel for indie games.[14] He was inducted into the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1999.[15]


  1. ^ Ed Hogg. "Violence by Greg Costikyan, writing as "Designer X"". Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  2. ^ "Greg Costikyan (partial ludography)". Pen & Paper RPG Database. Retrieved 2007-10-09. [dead link]
  3. ^ Greg Costikyan. "Personal Stuff". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  4. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1987)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  5. ^ "Charles S. Roberts Award Winners (1985)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  6. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1984)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Retrieved 2007-10-09. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Charles S. Roberts Award Winners (1979)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  8. ^ Greg Costikyan (1994). "I Have No Words and I Must Design". 
  9. ^ Dean Takahashi (14 February 2007). "An Interview With Greg Costikyan, the “Maverick” of Manifesto Games". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-03-20. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Play This Thing Staff". Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  11. ^ "crottled greeps". [dead link]
  12. ^ Greg Costikyan (2009-02-03). "Tabletop Tuesday: Revised Version of My Old Game, Now for Free". Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  13. ^ "First Contract by Greg Costikyan". Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  14. ^ "2007 Game Developers Choice Awards To Honor Miyamoto, Pajitnov". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  15. ^ "Origins Awards (1999)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 

External links

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