Board game designer shares the grit and glee of the creative process in upcoming BHSU Geek Speak

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, September 21, 2017/Categories: 2017

Karl Lehman, instructor for the BHSU College of Liberal Arts, and designer of a new movie-inspired board game, will present "Imagining Mythica: Hit-and-Run Game Design for the Bullheaded OR Building Narrative Engines for an ADD world at the Intersection of Math, Myth, and Money OR Perseverance and Beginner's Mind: The Eye-opening March from Mythica to Walmart" on Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110.

"Go back three spaces." "Collect $200!" - When it comes to the creative process, Black Hills State University professor Karl Lehman's recent endeavor has taken him all over the game board.

Lehman, instructor of English at BHSU, is the designer of a new board game called "Mythica." His game, a product of Berserker Labs Game Design Studio, will hit Kickstarter on Oct. 18.

Lehman will give the local audience a preview of his movie-inspired board game Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 as part of the Geek Speak lecture series at BHSU.  His lecture is titled "Imagining Mythica: Hit-and-Run Game Design for the Bullheaded OR Building Narrative Engines for an ADD world at the Intersection of Math, Myth, and Money OR Perseverance and Beginner's Mind: The Eye-opening March from Mythica to Walmart."

This Geek Speak's long-winded title shows just how diverse the creative process is-- from collaborating with enigmatic minds, marketing a project on Kickstarter, and presenting to men-in-suits to being halted by failure and doggedly pursing unique solutions.

"If you have any creative aspirations at all, you're going to want to be at this Geek Speak lecture," says Lehman. "It's mind-boggling how it all works!"

A prototype of the game will be brought to the Geek Speak to participants to view and explore for themselves.

Lehman will discuss the fortitude required to be successful in creative work. He'll address the struggle of running into (what seems like) insurmountable obstacles and overcoming the theme of failure that daunts the creative mind.

"This process was similar to writing a novel," says Lehman. "There are multiple drafts, ideas change and fall apart, and you have to edit and cut extensive amounts of work."

While juggling the artwork, rule-making, and business aspects of board game creation, Lehman's process has him steeped in game theory. What is a game supposed to do? What stories are games supposed to tell? Can a game with over 900 pieces interact seamlessly with its players? Every question adds another layer to his design.

During his time spent designing Mythica, he has also learned to manage business finances and leap into the Kickstarter funding program. He and his colleagues have worked to create a unique game during a flourishing, competitive decade of game-creation.

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines. All Geek Speak lectures are free and open to the public. The following on-campus Geek Speak presentations, which are held Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110, are scheduled for this semester:
  • Oct. 5: "'The Meaning of Everything': The Making of the Oxford English Dictionary" by Dr. Andrey Reznikov, professor of English
  • Oct. 12: "Tasting Life Twice: On Life-Writing and Wellbeing" by Dr. Denice Turner, assistant professor of education
  • Oct. 19: "Use of Images for Visualization and Visual Literacy in Language Class" by Dr. Du-Lu Hsiao, assistant professor of Spanish
  • Oct. 26: "Something Wicked This Way Comes: The History, Myths, and Rituals of Halloween" by Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of the Honors Program and associate professor of English
  • Nov. 2: "Veterans Legacies in the Black Hills" by Kelly Kirk, instructor of history
  • Nov. 16: "Searching for Riemann: A brief history and some recent insights into one of the most intriguing unsolved million-dollar problem in mathematics" by Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, professor of mathematics
  • Nov. 30: University Honors Capstone Defenses
  • Dec. 7: University Honors Capstone Defenses

To read short descriptions of each lecture topic, visit

For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email

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