Tag Archives: awards

The 2015 ENnies, My Analysis

The winners of the 2015 ENnie awards were announced at Gen Con this weekend.  Let’s see who won and who I wanted to win! Here’s the full list of nominees for comparison.

Best Adventure

I’m a sucker for the East Texas University setting and adventures, but my picks this year were also the winners, Zak S.’ Red and Pleasant Land (Silver) and the Call of Cthulhu Horror on the Orient Express (Gold), reissued as a big ass boxed set.  Red and Pleasant Land is a significant step forward for RPGs as an art form and I voted it for Gold, just because Orient is a re-issue of an older adventure and that docks it a bit in my estimation.  The Tyranny of Dragons 5e adventure was just kinda poor, and it looks like the voting reflected that.

Best Aid/Accessory

I find it really hard to vote for these “random junk” categories.  Is this dice set better than this CD of sounds? What does that even mean?  But I know the Paizo Harrow Deck is good quality.  It didn’t win, the CoC dice set got Silver (how good can dice be?) and the 5e DM screen got Gold.

Best Cover Art

Not a great year for cover art, I thought a couple of these were pretty generic.  I love the Wayne Reynolds Freeport cover, but it didn’t win. Rise of Tiamat got Gold (that art style does nothing for me) and Achtung! Cthulhu: Rise of the Secret War got a deserved Silver.

Best Interior Art

Dreamhounds of Paris not winning Silver at least is a miscarriage of justice! The Strange’s very cool and profuse art got Gold and the D&D MM (Silver) is decent if workmanlike, but Dreamhounds is about impressionism and surrealism in art…

Best Blog

I’ll be honest, I don’t read any of these.  I have tried year after year to get into Gnome Stew (Silver) because it always wins, but I never can. I don’t really like the “aggregator site” blog metaphor, it makes a lot of content but much of it of indifferent quality IMO (several of the others have the same metaphor). ConTessa got Gold, which is nice,well designed, and promotes women in gaming. It’s the only one that looks like a Web site from this decade. From checking out the nominees I also like DMDavid, as it’s a simple but consistent blog with good articles.

BeSt Cartography

Hm. My picks were the period maps in Horror on the Orient Express and the “pretty modern computer game” maps of Ninth World (Gold).  The Glorantha book got the Silver instead; it’s a good book but I don’t know about the cartography per se, they seem pretty… Simple?  Lots  of  indistinguishable green expanses?

Best Electronic Book

The D&D 5e free Basic rules are certainly notable and deserve the Gold.  Ken Writes About Stuff vol. 2 got Silver which is also deserved, though his writing is often not my cup of tea (Suppressed Transmission just gave me a headache… “What if the local WAL-MART is staffed by SNAKE PEOPLE who serve CHUPACABRA SANDWICHES to the MORLOCKS in the loading dock…”), often coming across to me like crypto-conspiracy Mad Libs. I like his actual games though.

Best Family Game

I voted Doctor Who, since it’s the one that I got my 12 year old daughter and she actually tried to run for her friends. Atomic Robo, which I hear great things about, got Silver and the D&D Starter Set got Gold.

Best Free Product

Well of course the Basic D&D rules get Gold here. Silver went to the 13th Age Archmage’s Orrery but I liked the Doctor Who Arrowdown adventure, a 15 page pro-quality adventure. Orrery is 64 pages but not pro quality layout.

Best Game

No surprise, we all knew D&D 5e was getting Gold and The Strange was getting Silver.

Best Miniature Product

I agree with this – the WizKids D&D prepaints got Gold and the innovative Paizo Pawn set (real module art, hundreds of pawns for $40) got Silver.

Best Monster/Adversary

Achtung! Cthulhu’s Terrors of the Secret War got a deserved Silver and the D&D 5e MM got Gold. The Strange’s bestiary really did deserve something too, but it was a tight race.  I’m not sure if the 5e MM is really as good or just got the “D&D 5e bump,” it’s a fine MM but it’s much like MMs of years past – not that that’s  bad, but is it award-winning?

Best Podcast

I didn’t like how most of these podcasts were very narrowly focused.  I voted Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff for Gold (the one of these I listen to regularly) and it won, the Miskatonic U podcast got Silver. Since I’m not hip deep into CoC or The Strange or whatever I probably won’t be starting in on any of these others, except maybe NPC Cast, I’ll check that out.

Best Production Values

The D&D Starter Set got Gold and Horror on the Orient Express got Silver, which is bizarre if you open up both and compare them (Horror is like a chest full of cool shit).

Best RPG Related Product

Usually I give this category a big “bah” because it’s an even weirder grab bag than Best Aid/Accessory, but this year’s Designers and Dragons books that are a history of RPGs are certainly notable and deserve their Gold. The Temple of Elemental Evil board game got Silver.

Best Rules

D&D 5e got Gold and it’s pretty well deserved IMO. Mutant: Year Zero got Silver, a game which was nominated in lots of categories and I have never heard mentioned until these awards (and I’m pretty active online).

Best Setting

Red and Pleasant Land got Gold here, and The Strange got Silver, which is all well and as it should be, both of these were true innovators. Dreamhounds of Paris was also good and my friend Bruce is doubtless cutting on himself right now since the Glorantha book didn’t get anything here (though it did get the Diana Jones award, so he’s actually pretty gloaty about it).

Best Software

Gold to Roll20, Silver to Hero Lab – finally we have truly outstanding pieces of software in the RPG space. I use Hero Lab all the time and would use Roll20 all the time if I did much online gaming.

Best Supplement

Gold to the 5e DMG and Silver to Pathfinder Unchained.  (Is the DMG really a supplement and not core rules? Most games have that in their core rules nowadays). Anyway, taxonomic complaints aside, good picks. Paizo continues to innovate inside the 3.x realm with Unchained.

Best Website

Look can someone explain this to me.  Every year The Escapist gets nominated and usually wins, this time getting Gold. Go click on that link.  It’s a dead Goddamned site.  Forums, closed down. Features, not in a decade. Archives, end in 2011. Blog, exactly three posts this year.  WHAT THE FUCK?  Am I missing some large and active part of this site amidst all the dead links? I have to be missing something because as best as I can tell it’s a DEAD GODDAMN SITE GETTING GOLD EVERY YEAR. Politics? Money? Sex? How is this happening? I mean, they do tweet I guess, is it just because of their Twitter stream? Then be honest and link to that!  (And maybe they should put a tweet-stream on their front page if that’s the real draw!)

Tabletop Audio, on the other hand, is a proper Web site that got a deserved Silver.

Best Writing

Red and Pleasant Land took Gold and the D&D 5e PHB took Silver.  I’m not sure I think “Writing” when I read the D&D PHB.  Best Rules yes, but Writing, I mean, technically it is writing, but I expect “Best Writing” to be like, good and not just rules explanation (like in Red and Pleasant Land). Or Designers & Dragons, which is also nominated here despite only being “RPG Related” in category (?)

Product of the Year

The D&D PHB in Gold – I mean, it’s a new D&D release, you gotta expect that.  What’s more surprising is the dark horse indie Red & Pleasant Land getting Silver, bringing it to 4 ENnies and one of them being in the most prestigious category! I hope this means less business as usual and more innovation – even a lot of Kickstartered stuff is “here’s just another FATE game” and more real out of the box stuff (which to be fair Numenera and The Strange also are, as well as adventures like Dreamhounds of Paris).

Fan’s Choice for Best Publisher

Gold for WotC and Silver for Paizo!  Quite an upset because Paizo is very beloved by all their fans.  Mearls and Crawford did a yeoman job in dragging D&D/WotC’s reputation out of the shitter this year (come on, I think that’s fair to say) by being accessible even while not delivering on some things fans care about (like licenses).  Increased transparency has helped a lot here – I’m not sure WotC has gotten better than Paizo in an absolute sense but they sure get a gold star for “most improved,” that’s for sure!

How about you, what did you want to win that did (or didn’t)?

Vote Now in the 2015 ENnies!

It’s that time again, vote for your favorite products in this year’s ENnie RPG awards!

ENnie Winners Announced

Here’s the list of ENnie winners from ENWorld announced at Gen Con.  Let’s see how I did on my predictions

ennies

My Best Adventure pick, Razor Coast, got Silver. For Cover Art I had Mythic Adventures but then Razor Coast again, which got snubbed for Achtung Cthulhu. I had Numenera and Inner Sea Gods tied for Interior Art, they got Gold and Silver. I nailed the Best E-Book, Emerald City followed by Broken Earth. I got the order reversed on Best Free Product, We Be Goblins and CoC 7th. Best minis, Wrath of the Righteous (twice?), same on Best Monster/Adversary, Bestiary 4 and Ninth World Bestiary. 

I picked Numenera for Best Production Values and Numenera as second for Setting (along with Razor Coast, which should have gotten more than one ENnie). Best Supplement – Ultimate Campaign, and I tagged Realm Works and roll20 for Best Software and FATE/Numenera for Product Of The Year. Of course Paizo gets fan favorite, that goes without saying.

So except for the categories where I deliberately didn’t pick, I was pretty darn accurate! I do think RC should have gotten a little more and Numenera a little less – I mean, there was a big buzz around it and yay, Monte Cook, but it’s one of those where I know a batch of people who own it, but no one who’s played it… But in any event, congrats to all the winners! 

2014 ENnie Nominees Are Here

The “Gamer Oscars,” the ENnie awards, are given out each year at Gen Con. And the nominees for this year are… Well, go read the link for all of them, I’m just going to chime in with the parts I have an opinion on. My picks are…

Best Adventure

  • Razor Coast: Heart of the Razor – Frog God Games. Because I helped proof it, because it’s good, because I’m running it in my pirate campaign, because it had an epic journey to finally come to life.  Though I really like that there’s a Dreamlands campaign (The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man) in the running.

Best Aid/Accessory

  • I’m not big into trinkets. I’m also not sure how to reasonably judge some dice against cards against an advice book. Pass.

Best Art, Interior

Best Art, Cover

  • Razor Coast – Frog God Games immediately over Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures – Paizo Publishing. For my money Wayne Reynolds is the Larry Elmore of the 2010’s. He’s basically competing against himself here and the Mythic cover is a little too busy; the Razor Coast cover is classic.

Best Blog

  • Haven’t read any of them except for Gnome Stew which I don’t get a lot out of.  After a quick read I like the feel of The Other Side the best.

Best Cartography

  • Hmm, no opinion.  The fact that there is a Map of the Flanaess is bad ass but it’s not the quality of some of these others. And I love Razor Coast but its maps are not its high point (they tend to be pretty but have some problems in play).

Best Electronic Book

Best Family Game

  • I have no context on any of these.

Best Free Product

Best Game

  • I don’t know.  I mean, it was originally the battle of titans – 13th Age vs Fate Core System vs Numenera. Huge sales, huge buzz. But I have to say, after getting 13th Age and Numenera – I read them, and that was it.  If someone was running a Numenera game I might play.  Not sure about 13th Age. And I have very much not enjoyed the FATE games I’ve played in.  So none?  Sad I know, and it’s not because they are small or bad games. Just none of them interest me. I’ll give Numenera the edge just because I’d play it if asked and might not play the other two if asked.

Best Miniatures Product

  • Pathfinder Battles: Wrath of the Righteous – WizKids Games/NECA. The Pathfinder minis are just beautiful.  I really don’t need any more but I can’t resist buying a brick every time they have a new set because they push the bar forward on sculpts, paints, and weird materials each time.

Best Monster/Adversary

Best Podcast

  • Hmm, I listen to a lot of podcasts but haven’t heard of these.  No RPPR or Fear the Boot?  Come on now! I’ll try out All Games Considered and Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.

Best Production Values

  • Numenera Corebook – Monte Cook Games, LLC. Can’t say anything against the production here, it’s first-rate.

Best RPG Related Product

  • As opposed to “Aids and Accessories?” Trinket category 2, pass.

Best Rules

  • I’m not in love with any of these. 13th Age and Fate Core System leave me mostly cold. Hillfolk is supposed to be all groundbreaking but I found Hamlet’s Hit Points to be pedantic and plodding as hell so I haven’t ventured it.  Shaintar: Legends Arise – “more stuff for Savage Worlds” is fine but I have a hard time pegging a “Best Rules” on it.  Makes me wish I’ve read tremulus because maybe I could vote for it here.

Best Setting

  • Razor Coast – Frog God Games, because I love pirates, followed by Numenera Corebook – Monte Cook Games, LLC, because it’s artsy and unusual if a little less accessible.

Best Supplement

Best Software

  • Realm Works – Lone Wolf Development and Roll20 – The Orr Group LLC. Gaming software’s come a long way since back in the day! I’m more likely to use Realm Works than Roll20 just because I’m a in-real-life guy.

Best Writing

  • Hmm, Numenera is the only one of these I’ve read so I can’t really judge.

Best Website

  • Why the hell is The Escapist nominated every year? It’s infrequently updated, a mass of 404s and “this is shut down now” – I go look at it every year when it’s nominated and try to figure out what I’m missing. Blog? No post in 3 months.  Forum? Shut down. Podcast? Dead 5 years. Escapist Interviews? 404.  What am I missing, because a casual survey indicates this is an old ass abandoned site?
  • Tabletop Audio is pretty and a cool idea. RPG Geek is a good reference site.  See Page XX is engaging, I read it once every 6 months or so, but it’s pretty tightly scoped so one every 6 months is enough.

Product of the Year

  • I assume Fate Core System is going to win just because squee, FATE. Or maybe Numenera on the basis of being the only game that’s not retreading well-trod ground.  Another Cthulhu game? We have enough, seriously. Razor Coast is the one out of all of them I plan to play…

All in all, not a year I’m super excited about. I got a couple fun things, which are mostly not on this list… I do like looking at the lists to see what I may have overlooked that could be good. I need to read tremulus sometime and see if it overcomes the “storygame effect” (entertaining to play – once). How about you, were any of these super winners in your mind?

ENnies Results – Paizo Wins Again!

Courtesy the sharp eyed folks on the Paizo forums…  The ENnies awards results!  Let’s count the Pathfinder wins…

  • Fans’ Favorite Publisher
    Gold: Paizo Publishing
    Silver: Wizards of the Coast
  • Product of the Year
    Gold: Advanced Players Guide, Paizo Publishing
    Silver: The Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat
  • Best Game
    Gold: The Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat
    Silver: Mutants & Masterminds Hero’s Handbook, Green Ronin Publishing
  • Best New Game
    Gold: The Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat Productions
    Silver: The Laundry, Cubicle 7
  • Best Supplement
    Gold: Pathfinder: Advanced Player’s Guide, Paizo Publishing
    Silver: Space 1889: Red Sands, Pinnacle Entertainment Group
  • Best Adventure
    Gold: Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone, Paizo Publishing
    Silver: Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity, Arc Dream Publishing/Pagan Publishing
  • Best Setting
    Gold: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide, Paizo Publishing
    Silver: Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Wizards of the Coast
  • Best Monster/Adversary
    Gold: Pathfinder: Bestiary 2, Paizo Publishing
    Silver: Monster Vault, Wizards of the Coast
  • Best Miniatures Product
    Gold: Mousling Heroes, Reaper Miniatures
    Silver: BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Boxed Set, Catalyst Game Labs
  • Best RPG Related Product
    Gold: Castle Ravenloft Boardgame, Wizards of the Coast
    Silver: BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Boxed Set, Catalyst Game Labs
  • Best Aid/Accessory
    Gold: Hero Lab, Lone Wolf Development
    Silver: D&D Essentials: Dungeon Tiles Master Set – The Dungeon, Wizards of the Coast
  • Best Electronic Book
    Gold: Continuity, Posthuman Studios
    Silver: Shanghai Vampocalypse, Savage Mojo
  • Best Free Product
    Gold: Old School Hack – Basic Game, Kirin Robinson
    Silver: A Time of War: The BattleTech RPG Quick-Start Rules, Catalyst Game Labs
  • Best Rules
    Gold: The Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat Productions
    Silver: D&D Rules Compendium, Wizards of the Coast
  • Best Writing
    Gold: The Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat Productions
    Silver: Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity, Arc Dream Publishing/Pagan Publishing
  • Best Production Values
    Gold: Pathfinder: Bestiary 2, Paizo Publishing
    Silver: The Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat Productions
  • Best Cartography
    Gold: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Poster Map Folio, Paizo, Cartography Rob Lazzaretti
    Silver: Bookhounds of London, Pelgrane Press, Cartography by Beth Lewis
  • Best Interior Art
    Gold: Pathfinder: The Inner Sea World Guide, Paizo Publishing, Art Direction by Sarah E. Robinson
    Silver: Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Wizards of the Coast
  • Best Cover Art
    Gold: A Song of Ice and Fire Campaign Guide, Green Ronin Publishing, Cover by Michael Komarck
    Silver: Shadowrun: Attitude, Catalyst Game Labs, Cover by Echo Chernick
  • Best Blog
    Gold: Best Blog goes to Critical Hits
    Silver: Best Blog goes to Gnome Stew
  • Best Podcast
    Gold: Yog Radio: The Cephalopodcast from Yog-Sothoth.com
    Silver: Chronicles: The Pathfinder Podcast, d20 radio
  • Best Website
    Gold: Obsidian Portal
    Silver: d20pfsrd.com
  • Judges Spotlight Award from Mark Green: Wayfinder #4: The Mwangi
  • Judges Spotlight Award from CW Richeson: Smallville, Margaret Weis
  • Judges Spotlight Award from Wil Upchurch: Outbreak, Hunters Books
  • Judges Spotlight Award from James Surano: Fortune’s Fool, Pantheon Press
  • Judges Spotlight Award from Tracey Michienzi: Eat & Run, Brainpan Games

The way I count it, that’s 9 gold for Paizo directly and then 1 gold, 2 silver, one Judges Spotlight for other Pathfinder related products (Hero Lab is mainly for Pathfinder, really, then d20pfsrd, Wayfinder, and Pathfinder Podcast). Also good to see Green Ronin representing, and Dresden Files getting love (6!). Congrats to all the winners!

2011 ENNie Award Nominees Announced

The 2011 ENNie Award nominee list is up! Winners will be announced at Gen Con.

There’s some really good competition this year.  Sometimes it’s an obvious blowout in the offing. But you have interesting compares, like ICONS, Dresden Files, M&M 3e, and  The Laundry for Best Game.  Wizards and Paizo are represented but not overwhelmingly so – there’s a lot of indie stuff and solid showing by the midrange guys like Pelgrane, Evil Hat, Pinnacle, etc. Even better, I don’t read the list and think “WTF are all these I’ve never heard of them” like in some past years. All worthy nominees, and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.  Good luck all!

 

Submissions Open For the ENnies

The yearly RPG awards are coming around again. Check out the list of nominees. If a good product you know isn’t in there, send this link to the publisher and get them to submit themselves – there’s only a bit to go, May 8 is the deadline. Last year Paizo humiliated all the competition but this year all they have submitted is paizo.com and the Ultimate Combat playtest for some reason so it’s an open field!