Richard Malena-Webber is a guy who loves to make things. And teach things! Also, do things. Anyone who wants to contact Richard about making/teaching/doing things should.
Richard is also experienced and available to assist as a freelance consultant on a variety of creative tasks, including board game playtesting, analysis, and development, puzzle playtesting and creation, role-playing game writing, editing, and development, Kickstarter design and analysis, and reviews for any of the four.
Talk to me about things: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to support Atomic Game Theory, Richard is now on Patreon! A little bit of crowdfunding goes a long ways, and Patreon support helps pay for all of this content without worrying about site hosting, video and audio editing, or purchasing graphics and design. Patreon is also a great way to get a little more involved in Atomic Game Theory and become part of the team!
Atomic Game Theory began in 2016 as a series of videos on YouTube tying some of Richard’s favorite games together with one of his favorite teaching topics. Atomic Game Theory was the natural extension of presentations on Games and Game Theory at colleges like DigiPen Institute of Technology and conventions like PAX Dev, PAX South, and Rose City Comic Con, which were all extensions of instructing game theory courses as a high school teacher. While game theory is traditionally used for topics like economics and politics, showing how it comes up in board and video games is a particularly fun exercise. Once these conflicts are brought up in a natural way, they become much easier to see in the rest of the world. With AtomicGameTheory.com, Richard plans to put video, text, and audio all to use to bring game theory to everyone who wants to learn.
For the August 2017 release of Activision’s Call of Duty: World War II, Richard was tasked with designing a series of forty-five ciphers of increasing difficulty for an event called the Emoticode. Each of the ciphers were transmitted over Twitch using their unique library of emotes built up over years of streaming and spectating. Many of the ciphers, such as Semaphore, Morse Code, and Caesar Shifts, can be found in the Puzzle Keyring. The special medium also allowed Richard to build in more modern codes like Vigenere, One-Time Pads, and even the famed Enigma machine itself. In the end, the Emoticode took thousands of solvers more than forty-five hours to complete, and the stream was viewed more than eight hundred-thousand times over a three day span.
In January 2017, Richard launched a successful Kickstarter for The Puzzle Keyring, a guide to puzzle solving for hunts and escape rooms. Initially spurred on by the Make/100 Initiative, The Puzzle Keyring is now a set of twenty cards, each detailing a different cipher and its method of decryption. The Keyring includes basic ciphers like Morse Code and Semaphore, and more advanced ciphers like Polybius and Book Codes. After meeting the initial funding target of $4,000 in a mere six hours, the project generated over 300% of the goal by the end of the month. The Puzzle Keyring is currently on schedule to reach 290 backers around the world in July 2017.
Richard is the cohost of the Going Last Tabletop Gaming Podcast, a biweekly look at the latest in board games, gaming industry news, and gaming Kickstarters. Going Last is two hundred episodes strong, filled with interviews with game designers like James Ernest, Mike Selinker, and Keith Baker. Besides talking about games, Richard also loves to pore through the newest 5th Edition D&D homebrew creations on the Dungeon Masters’ Guild, looking for Masterpieces in the rough. Through forty episodes of Going Last, Richard has studied and reviewed more than 250 gaming Kickstarters, from totally independent releases to million-dollar campaigns from the giants of the board gaming industry.
Gosh Darn Fiasco is a live-play podcast dedicated to the Fiasco Roleplaying Game. Along with host and producer Angela M. Webber, the GDF team improvises a story based on a prewritten playset. Fiasco is designed to play like a Coen Brothers movie, but GDF strives for comedic narratives. Special Guests on Gosh Darn Fiasco include a variety of friends, from comedians and improvisers like Jackie Kashian and Lucia Fasano, to authors like Keith Baker, Chelsea Cain, and Gail Simone. Richard and Angela have performed Gosh Darn Fiasco Live on the high seas on the JoCoCruise, at conventions like Rose City Comic Con and PAX East, and locally at the Kickstand comedy theater.
Richard is an editor, developer, and longtime playtester of Phoenix: Dawn Command, a roleplaying game by Keith Baker and Dan Garrison. Phoenix is set in the world of Dalea, which has come under threat by the mysterious Dread. Characters are able to play superhuman heroes who can be dropped into deadly scenarios where victory is never assured. Unlike many RPGs, Phoenix uses a deck of cards to resolve conflicts, and characters level up and gain power and abilities only when they are killed in action. Richard created a series of YouTube videos introducing the game during early development. Besides his editorial work on the initial rulebook, Richard has run demos of Phoenix at GenCon, and is currently in the middle of writing a series of three new adventures for future release.
Betrayal at House on the Hill has long been one of Richard’s favorite games. It’s a fantastic cooperative game where one player betrays the rest, but no one knows who it will be or how it will be done until midway through the game. Betrayal at House on the Hill comes with fifty different Haunts, each detailing a specific method of betrayal. For Halloween 2016, Avalon Hill and developer Mike Selinker decided to revisit the House and add some new horror in an expansion called Widow’s Walk. And they brought along a bunch of their friends. In what Richard will forever see as the product of some kind of celestial harmonic convergence, he was able to co-author a brand new cat-themed Haunt for the Widow’s Walk expansion with his partner Angela M. Webber. Richard was also asked to develop a second Promotional Haunt called “Walk Among the Stars” which aired on “Game the Game” with developer Elisa Teague on the Geek & Sundry channel.
Richard has been the advanced mathematics teacher at Pacific Crest Community School in Portland, Oregon for the last ten years. As a teacher in a small school, Richard taught a wide variety of classes, sometime teaching seven different courses in the same semester. With small class sizes and a lot of editorial freedom, Richard was able to build a dense portfolio of educational experiences in a relatively short amount of time. Many of these involved Special Advanced Seminars, where Richard was able to take college-level material and introduce it to younger students in a discussion based setting. While teaching at Pacific Crest, Richard received commendations for excellence from Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Portland State University.