Rocco Privetera

Rocco Privetera is joining us in Designer Alley for the first time this year. Originally from the Jersey shore, he has resided in the NYC area for the past 16 years. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Saara, a Mainer, and their 4 cats. More than anything else, Rocco really wants a hairless cat. If somebody could make that happen, he would gladly make room for it within his cat family. I personally got the opportunity to play-test Rocco’s game at Metatopia this past November and knew immediately that he would be a great addition to this year’s Designer Alley. I am looking forward to seeing others enjoy his game as much as I did.


  • Rocco has a degree in Jazz Piano/Composition and played in some seedy hotel bars and studios for a while before doing tech. He uses his musical skills now for mostly musical improv shows and noodling at home.

  • He is a storyteller first and foremost. Rocco used to do Moth-type events but had a bad experience at a Moth mainstage event telling a story, so he’s taking a break. He can tell the story, but based on reviews of the show, it's either the funniest thing you ever heard or will make you physically ill.

  • He has been gaming for about 37 years since he was 13. It started with classics, moved onto years of D&D, wargames, years of Warhammer and painting, then hobby games. His highest moment was provoking two people into a fistfight at a Con during a Paranoia game. Bad Rocco.

Questions by Kimberly Revia (KR), answers by Rocco Privetera (RP).


KR: As a designer, I imagine that play-testing is not only very important but a large part of your process. How do you handle play-testing?

RP: I try to get a game to the table as fast as possible. I used to get really hung up on making pretty prototypes first and squashing tons of flavor text on every card because I consider that "fun." I guess I just want to be a writer. Nowadays I just try to get something out fast. I think playtesting requires 100% open vulnerability to having people tell you your game sucks, abandon it, change it, etc. Years of being a musician, standup, artist and performer has gotten me pretty used to feedback. 

KR: How many times do you think you alter a design between conception to completion?

RP: It keeps getting altered until a publisher takes it. At that point I try to empty my headspace of it or else I'll keep obsessing.

KR: What is your favorite part of the design process?

RP: The flavor-text and theme! Seriously, if I can't come up with a weird theme, why bother?


KR: What is your favorite way to spend your free time?

RP: I read a lot, try to fit actual published games in, and enjoy cooking quite a bit. And rolling the cats around.

KR: If you could re-theme any one existing board game, which game would you choose and what would the new theme be?

RP: I'd love to see Ghost Stories re-themed as a "weird west" game. I love western/occult themes, and the idea of a bunch of gunslingers defending a town from an evil gang speaks to me.

KR: When you travel to board game conventions, do you try to split your time between work and playing?

RP: I used to only work because I didn't have a lot of friends in the industry and am just on the spectrum enough that walking up to strangers to game doesn't come easily for me. I've gotten a lot better at and made some good friends now, so going to cons isn't quite the lonely awkward experience it used to be. It's probably 50/50 now.

You can find Rocco and what he is currently up to bly clicking here: