Tag Archives: ennies

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!

Pathfinder Sweeps the ENnies!

Well, it’s gratifying to see most of you voted like you were told.    Paizo is liveblogging the awards and they are winning and winning and winning.

  • d20pfsrd – silver for Best Website.
  • Kobold Quarterly – gold for Best Blog.  (They’re half Pathfinder!)
  • Pathfinder Bestiary – gold for Best Cover Art.
  • Pathfinder Core Rulebook – gold for Best Interior Art.
  • Pathfinder Chronicles City Map Folio – gold for Best Cartography.
  • Pathfinder Core Rulebook – gold for Best Production Values.
  • Pathfinder APG Playtest – gold for Best Free Product.
  • Great City Players Guide – gold for Best Electronic Book, it’s for Pathfinder by 0one Games.
  • PFS #29, The Devil We Know – silver for Best Electronic Book.
  • Pathfinder GM Screen – gold for Best Aid or Accessory.
  • Pathfinder 31 – gold for Best Adventure.
  • Pathfinder Bestiary – gold for Best Monster/Adversary.
  • Classic Monsters Revisited – silver for Best Monster/Adversary!
  • Pathfinder RPG – gold for Best Game!
  • Pathfinder RPG – gold for Product of the Year!
  • Paizo – gold for Best Publisher!

For those keeping track, they won gold or silver (or both) every category they were nominated in.

And it’s well deserved.  I do kinda hate to see anyone win it all, but if there’s a single game company that deserves it, both in a cosmic sense and because of the unflagging high quality and volume of product, and customer support – it’s Paizo and Pathfinder.  It really is great, among the very top handful of RPGs ever.  D&D 3.0 itself was the only previous game that hit my gaming groups with anything near this amount of excitement.  It’s a game meant to be played, supported by the best adventures since 1e AD&D.

And it’s great that other companies publishing for Pathfinder won too; yay third party ecosystem!

If you haven’t tried Pathfinder yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.  It really is great.

Here’s the full list of winners, now that it’s available!  Congrats to all of them.

The Correct Choices for ENnies 2010 Voting

Like my fellow bloggers, I encourage everyone to vote for the 2010 ENnie awardsMad Brew and others only told you how they voted, but I will go one step further and tell you how to vote!  You are all commanded to adhere to this right thinking agenda without deviation.

I’ll start by just noting that I’ve disqualified Catalyst and Shadowrun this year due to their adoption of “criminal conspiracy” as their new business plan.  Once the men responsible are rotting in unmarked graves, Shadowrun can win an award again.  Till then, I’m not going to bother even mentioning them below.

P.S. The nominees page has links to more info on all the products, I’m not gonna bother to link the products here.

1.  Best Cover Art

Ah, an interesting field.  I am not in love with any of them even though they’re all technically decent – Pathfinder art is usually excellent but I don’t think the Bestiary cover is the best example of it, going over the line into a bit cartoony/goofy.  Rogue Trader’s is a decent example of that style but strikes me as a bit too “staged.”  I really don’t like the style they use on Gathering Storm; I’ve seen that style (or even the artist, who knows) on novels and some other game products and it seems too busy for me.  “I got a deal on wisps!”

That brings it down to Rough Magicks and Eclipse Phase.  I really like them both, especially the audacity of the Rough Magicks cover.  In the end it seems a little too Photoshopped to me though, so I give lead honors to Eclipse Phase – even though their cover art doesn’t cover all that much of their cover, which seems like a bit of a waste.  Anyway, Magicks is at #2, then the rest.

2.  Best Interior Art

Here, it’s no shame to anyone else, but the Pathfinder Core Rulebook internal art is just super.  Copious and excellent.  Why, I can tell that Seoni the sorceress wants me just by her depiction in the book.  They clearly get my #1.  (And yours!  No exceptions!)

Rogue Trader and Warhammer have good if varying internal art – Rogue Trader goes from really good to “blobule-derived” in places.

And a surprise nominee from “so indie I haven’t heard of it” land, Escape from Tentacle City, with a striking stylized black and white approach.  I give it #2 for not making me say “meh!”

3.  Best Cartography

The Paizo maps are all awesome.  In fact, I figured this was a total sweep until I saw the Maps of Mastery – those are shockingly bad ass.    Apparently that guy used to do the good maps in Dungeon and now has his own thing.  I will allow you to choose freely between the two for top honors, as I am magnanimous.  I chose the Paizo Pathfinder City Map Folio maps though as that extra “it’s directly relevant and useful to me” factor overcame the sheer technical niceness (though see the Minis category below).

4.  Best Writing

I really like the Eclipse Phase writing.  Top billing.  I haven’t read Kerberos or Victoriana, but “oh another pulp or steampunk game” doesn’t thrill me at this point – about a hundred of them have come out over the last couple years.  I’ve leafed through FantasyCraft and its writing isn’t what comes to mind, seems like a strange nomination, would be better in Best Rules.  And I’ve leafed through the Native American game too and it’s pretty good but not as good as Eclipse Phase.

5.  Best Production Values

This one’s hard.  This year saw a lot of great produced games, and they’re all on here.  Give it to Warhammer because of all the gewgaws they shipped with the game?  Hmm.  In the end I interpret “best” not as “most expensive” but “makes the game reading/using experience really nice” so I’ll have to go with Pathfinder, but that may be my “prefer less board game in my RPG” aesthetic talking.  If you vote for Warhammer I won’t excommunicate you (but don’t think I’m getting soft).

6.  Best Rules

Hmm, another hard one.  Many of these rulesets aren’t new per se but are variants on previous ones.  Hero – I had a brief fling with it but it’s just too much rules for me.  BASH is very nice, but sometimes I think maybe that’s too little rules for me.  Voting for Diaspora is really a vote for FATE and a vote for Wild Talents is really a vote for ORE, both of which are fine systems.  The v6 engine of Atomic Highway didn’t seem that notable to me when I read it; I mean, it’s fine, but I wouldn’t have selected it for a rules nomination over the 100 other games around.  On the balance, I guess BASH#1 and ORE #2 but I feel conflicted about that.  And do I really like BASH more than FATE, or is that “FATE burnout” talking?

7.  Best Adventure

You can’t beat the Pathfinder APs in the adventure category.  Just can’t be done.  However, The Grinding Gear has made the old college try at it, coming in with #2.  And a really honorable mention for the Armitage Files, that’s great too.  Ah, I love that adventures are back to their rightful place of primacy in RPG products, having emerged from the decade-plus of “mouth breathers what love their rules supplements” ghetto.  Keep up the good work, all of you.

8.  Best Monster or Adversary

A lot of good stuff here.  I really like the Aces & Eights offering, and it’s extremely helpful for a more “subtle” game (not monsters, just all Wild West people, so it can get stale without great NPC ideas) and the Pathfinder and Hellfrost books are good too.  I’ll have to give a tough #1 to the Classic Horrors Revisited though – it’s more than just “here’s a bunch of monsters,” it takes its time on how to use each of them.

9.  Best Setting

Although Ken Hite has been known to turn me off (I find Suppressed Transmission’s “schiophrenic consipracy theorist gobbledygook” approach grating rather than charming), The Day After Ragnarok is the best setting this year.  Audacious and entertaining.  Kerberos Club suffers from being pulp game #20 over the last 2 years; Judge Dredd is entertaining but I’ve read it before; I don’t believe in awards for a second edition.  The Rome setting looks really interesting; I haven’t read it though, same with Goblin Markets.

10.  Best Supplement

Lucha Libre Hero is great stuff.  Usually Hero is way too rules heavy for me, but I have played it on occasion, and this supplement excited me the first time I heard about it.  I’ve got a soft spot for psychotronic stuff.  I also like Hollow Earth Expedition – though pulp in general has gotten overexposed, something with a specific focus like this still gets me.  I’m not sure why the Rebellion Era product is a “supplement” and not a “setting”…  I don’t know much about the rest of the field here.

11.  Best Aid or Accessory

This is another category where “they’re all good.”  My top billing has to go to Hero Labs though – I did a roundup of char creation software earlier this year and it was way better than its competition (PCGen, RPGXplorer) and was so good I bought it, and it’s come in very useful.  Second is the Pathfinder screen – it’s the highest quality screen ever!  Textbook-cover thick.  I like the idea of the Gaming Paper, and it’s cheap – the problem is, no one here has it, and buying it from the Paizo store doubles its price once shipping & handling is added on.  The Battlegraph dry erase “puzzle pieces” are nice and avoid the “have to erase that because we’re moving off the table” problem.  And I like the idea of the Campaign Coins, I really wanted coins to use in my campaign for Infamy Points and ended up having to go with plastic party favors, but I wish that in execution they had gone more “historical” than “looks like what a WoW gold piece would resemble.”

12.  Best Miniatures Product

I don’t have the patience for elaborate metal mini construction and painting any more, so I’m not interested in the Alkemy, and the D&D minis used to be better but look like a first grade art project nowadays.  I’ll give this one to Maps of Mystery to compensate for their whisker-thin second in Cartography.

13.  Best Regalia

I hate this category.  It means “other geek shit they sell as impulse buys in gaming stores, that isn’t really a game or mini.”  Kinda.  Though Grind is just a board game/minis game isn’t it?  If they want a board game category they should sack up and have one.  Similarly, two of these are fiction books – have a fiction category or forget it, how’s someone supposed to rate “random crap” against each other?  It’s ridiculous.  But for lack of anything better to do, vote for Lost Tales of Pine Box, Texas, as I encourage settings based in Texas, greatest nation on the Earth.

14.  Best Electronic Book

The only product I’m familiar with here is The Devil We Know Part 1: Shipyard Rats, an excellent Pathfinder adventure.  The others are probably lovely, though…  There are literally thousands of electronic products so it’s really hard to do them as a popular vote kind of thing – if they were popular they would be in print :-P  By their nature there’s going to be a small minority of gamers that have been exposed to any one of them.

15.  Best Free Product

I have to give it to Wayfinder #1 - call me a Paizo fanboy, but that fact that this is a fan publication is impressive as hell.  It’s fun (Ask a Shoanti is a hoot); my only complaint is it’s a little fiction-heavy for my tastes.  Lady Blackbird is a nice little one-shot game in a box, with great art too, and gets my silver nod.  The Pathfinder APG Playtest – is that really a “free product?”  I guess it was semi polished,and Paizo’s dedication to public betas that are as good as full free product is impressive, but it doesn’t get my vote.  I’m not totally sure what to make of the Warrior Cats game; I appreciate games being aimed at kids but I kinda feel like the practice of just using a normal traditional-but-somewhat-stripped-down RPG for it is lazy and never going to work out well.  And I have to say – I am one of those “4e haters” that doesn’t like it’s “WoWiness,” so  I wasn’t sure what to think of Combat Advantage’s “lets make D&D more video gamey!” approach. Initially I thought it would make me incontinent with rage, but after reading it I kinda like the boldness of them owning it and saying “Well… Let’s pretend we are not trying to be a realistic game at all, and just making an interesting variant.”

16.  Best Website

Interesting.  The two Pathfinder contenders are the d20PFSRD.org and the Pathfinder Wiki.  d20PFSRD has all the rules, but way more than the old d20SRD site – they get everything up there in moments after it’s posted (beta stuff too); they have value added info, “Labs” stuff for house rules, etc.  I use it all the time and it’s awesome.  The Pathfinder Wiki is its counterpart that has all the setting info.  It’s awesome that a company doesn’t mind this – it has more setting info that anything I’ve ever seen online.  I do wish it had a little more comprehensive editing, but it’s good too. I have to give #1 to d20PFSRD.org, though.

Obsidian Portal and Epic Words are different takes on campaign Web sites.  Epic Words is newer and has a slightly better design but it looks like Obsidian Portal still has the functionality edge; I do wonder why they are better than any other blog or Google group or whatever for the purpose, however.  I guess there is the “community” aspect to it, though from going and surfing the sites it seems like if you wanted others to read you’d still have to go post updates in Story Hour forums and whatnot, they don’t really do a great job of surfacing active campaigns to casual readers.  I’ve looked at Obsidian Portal from time to time but always return to just posting my campaign stuff on WordPress.

Pen & Paper Games seems OK, but I’m not sure why it’s not “just another” RPG.net/ENWorld “here’s some forums” RPG site.  I mean, it might be; pretty much one forum site is like another, it’s about getting a critical mass of people there and then not having the moderation be a big self serving cliquey mess of goons, so it wouldn’t be hard to beat out RPG.net or ENWorld if you can just get the critical mass…

17.  Best Podcast

I don’t listen to podcasts, so I have no basis from which to judge.  I’m trying to start, but my limited time (and short commute) means reading is a much more concise way for me to consume content.

18.  Best Blog

They’re all good, but in the end Critical Hits is the one I read the most especially since it joined several big blogs into one.  I like Kobold Quarterly too but it needs some navigation help.  I read the others from time to time too.  Gnome Stew is in my blogroll and I slandered them by saying they had gotten 4e-focused and lost my interest, but upon further review that’s not true. Maybe I was thinking of another one of them.  Anyway, all the RPG bloggers are great, and helping further the community of gamers.

The big thing missing here is any OSR blog.  I’ll be honest, though I don’t play the retro-clones I find a lot of the discussion in the grognard circles to be more interesting and useful than the big mainstream ones, which seem to often have very short articles with about one little takeaway in them – “Did you know you could make your game more interesting by spicing up… <random roll> X in your game?  Well you can!  OK, thanks for reading…”  As an experienced player and GM, I appreciate longer articles with more complexity to them.

19.  Best Game

Pathfinder baby!  It’s brilliant, I love it, my whole extended gaming group loves it.  Best thing to happen to D&D since the launch of 3e and the OGL.  The others are nice, but this one is awesome.

20.  Product of the Year

Hmm, is it Pathfinder again?  There’s some strong stuff here…  Warhammer was a daring but controversial new direction for the franchise.  Dragon Age is a computer game tie-in with a lot of promise.  Eclipse Phase, with the “free but you can buy it if you want” approach, is innovative in business model and the game setting itself.  I have to say, it’s a close run between Eclipse Phase and Pathfinder for me but in the end… Pathfinder is more of a major industry changer (spawning its own third party ecosystem, etc.)

21.  Fan Award for Best Publisher

Paizo‘s the obvious choice for #1, but a lot of these companies are very good – open, innovative, good at communicating with and supporting their customers.  I think Pelgrane Press and their games are underrated.  Posthuman, Green Ronin, Cubicle 7, and many more – all good guys.  There’s a couple high profile dumbasses in the industry – Catalyst, Outlaw, Palladium – but there’s a lot of people out there working hard and advancing the gaming community.

All right, you have your marching orders… Go vote!

2009 ENnies Winners – Questionable At Best

The winners for the 2009 ENnies, the yearly RPG awards, have been announced at Gen Con.  Let’s review and see how that stacks up to my picks.

Best Cover Art:

  • Gold: CthulhuTech, Catalyst Game Labs
  • Silver: Pathfinder #19: Howl of the Carrion King, Paizo Publishing

I had picked 3:16 for the win, though the CT art is nice enough.  There were a lot of good covers this year.

Best Interior Art

  • Gold: Dark Heresy, Fantasy Flight Games
  • Silver: Mouse Guard, Kinoichi / Archaia Studio Press

I had actually picked CthulhuTech for this category instead.  I feel like the winners for interior art, cover art, and production values are just assigned at random from the “pretty games,” not sure people really distinguish correctly.  In this case I like Dark Heresy’s production values, but the interior art is sparse enough I don’t think it deserves a win for this subcategory specifically.  What art there is splits between good and “black blob style.”  The good ones are really really good but… Gold is a stretch.

Best Cartography

  • Gold: Pathfinder Chronicles Second Darkness Map Folio, Paizo Publishing
  • Silver: Star Wars: Scum and Villainy, Wizards of the Coast

Exactly my picks in that order.

Best Writing

  • Gold: Kobold Quarterly, Open Design
  • Silver: Don’t Lose Your Mind, Evil Hat Productions

I had picked Don’t Lose Your Mind for the gold.  Nothing against KQ, it’s serviceable writing equivalent to Dragon Magazine of times of yore, but this is an instance where the “D&D popularity” factor overwhelms actually artistically superior work.

Best Production Values

  • Gold: Dark Heresy, Fantasy Flight Games
  • Silver: Mouse Guard, Kinoichi / Archaia Studios Press

Though all pretty, I thought the game Anima was actually higher in this all around area.  But it was a very tight field this year with many very deserving contestants.  Yay to everyone.

Best Rules

  • Gold: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Players Handbook, Wizards of the Coast
  • Silver: A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Green Ronin Publishing

I had picked Dark Heresy for best rules.  Though it’s pretty, I don’t think its art should have won over other contenders, but its rules really are better than 4e’s.  “Of course I hate 4e so I’d say that.”  I like Green Ronin but don’t find the SIFRPG rules really that awe-inspiring; they seem more servicable as the line is more about the setting.

Best Adventure

  • Gold: Pathfinder #19: Howl of the Carrion King, Paizo Publishing
  • Silver: P1 King of the Trollhaunts Warrens, Wizards of the Coast

Of course Pathfinder for the gold, they make the best adventures hands down.  Not familiar with “Trollhaunts Warrens” but I never hear anyone talking about it online (while they do talk about Shadowfell Keep, etc.) so I’m suspicious on that count.

Best Monster Supplement

  • Gold: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Monster Manual, Wizards of the Coast
  • Silver: Dark Heresy Creatures Anathema, Fantasy Flight Games

Oh, major boner here in leaving out Freedom’s Most Wanted for Mutants & Masterminds.  And the MM has been one of the least well received 4e books, definitely no brilliant new monsters that will be part of everyday RPG conversation.  Well, the ENnies got their start coattailing on the 3e release so I reckon you can’t criticize them for sticking close to their roots.

Best Setting

  • Gold: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, Paizo Publishing
  • Silver: Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Atomic Sock Monkey / Evil Hat Productions

Golarion, the setting of the Pathfinder Chronicles, is the new Greyhawk.  It’s the clear winner, which is a little bit of a shame since the rest of the field is very innovative too – Hot War and Candlewick Manor I wouldn’t have minded seeing in a three way tie for second…  Setting and production values had a lot of very qualified nominees this year.

Best Supplement

  • Gold: CthulhuTech Vade Mecum, Catalyst Game Labs
  • Silver: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Wizards of the Coast

I had picked Clone Wars, definitely.  Good for Cthulhutech for grabbing the gold.  I just can’t get into the game, and this is from someone who has a huge shelf of Call of Cthulhu stuff. And I’m an Evangelion fan to boot.  You think those two would combine to make me love it but it just doesn’t grab me.  But I don’t begrudge it a win.

Best Aid or Accessory

  • Gold: D&D Insider, Wizards of the Coast
  • Silver: Kobold Quarterly, Open Design

Spare me.  The most delayed, incomplete, incompetent item on the list gets the gold?  Let’s give Boston’s Big Dig awards for engineering too!   (Well, people have in that case as well…)  I am willing to say maybe the 4e rules could win best rules but Insider is one of the worst things WotC has failed to deliver on.  They still haven’t delivered the stuff they said would be part of it at 4e launch!  You only have to visit any online forum to see people unhappy with their current functionality as well.

I had picked KQ for the win, as a post-rant aside.

Best Miniatures Product

  • Gold: Game Mastery Flip-mat: Waterfront Tavern, Paizo Publishing
  • Silver: DU1 Halls of the Giant Kings Dungeon Tiles, Wizards of the Coast

I gave silver to the Tavern but the E-Z Terrain cliffs are so much neater than both these 2d tiles!

Best Regalia

  • Gold: Battletech: The Corps, Catalyst Game Labs
  • Silver: Art of Exalted, White Wolf Publishing

I refused to pick a winner here because “Regalia” is a totally stupid category that’s a mishmash of totally unrelated products.  (I’m surprised the Gygax posthumous novel didn’t win out of sheer Gygaxity though.)

Best Electronic Book

  • Gold: Collection of Horrors: Razor Kids, White Wolf Publishing
  • Silver: Tales of Zobek: An Anthology of Urban Adventures, Open Design

I liked the other Open Design entry better since it’s by Nick Logue, but different strokes.

Best Free Product

  • Gold: Song of Ice and Fire Quickstart, Green Ronin Publishing
  • Silver: Swords and Wizardry, Mythmere Games

Sad.  There was actually a movement generated by this category; many of the entries were quickstart rules, which should not be in this category.  A company can spend their loads of money developing a game and them at no cost to them clip part of it out and release a “quickstart”.  This category should be only for “real” free games that are full games released for free, not advertising teasers.  The ENnie judges apparently don’t see the wisdom in that even though a lot of the community does.

I like Green Ronin but they don’t deserve a win in this category for this reason.  I had picked S&W for the win.

Best Website

  • Gold: Obsidian Portal
  • Silver: Kobold Quarterly

I like Mad Brew Labs more but these are great sites too.

Best Podcast

  • Gold:  All Games Considered
  • Silver:  Order 66

I don’t listen to podcasts, so have no opinion.

Best Game

  • Gold: Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, Wizards of the Coast
  • Silver: Dark Heresy, Fantasy Flight Games

Dark Heresy was my pick here!  (I am disregarding 4e because it’s a plant, see below.)

Product of the Year

  • Gold: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Players Handbook, Wizards of the Coast
  • Silver: Mouse Guard, Kinoichi / Archaia Studios Press

Mouse Guard was my pick here!  (I am disregarding 4e because it’s a plant, see below.)  But this one is even more egregious.  Mouse Guard is a) a complete game, b) uses innovative rules, c) merges with a rich licensed setting…  The D&D PHB, even if you like 4e, is just player rules and is nowhere near a complete game.

Best Publisher

  • Gold:  Wizards of The Coast
  • Silver:  Paizo Publishing

And this boils down the suck-up nature of the ENnies to a clear point.  The company that bungled the 4e launch, failed to deliver on D&D Insider, pulled all their PDF products off  the market permanently, alienated the industry with the GSL and the fans with website shutdowns and failure (till after voting) to deliver a fansite policy – they’re “best publisher?”  It’s OK to like 4e, but to pretend that WotC has done anything but fuck one thing after another up this year – this ENnie is like Pres. Bush giving the Medal of Freedom to George Tenet, or passing up Metallica for Foghat [edit: Jethro Tull] for a Grammy, it simply degrades the award’s worth in the future.

Conclusion – 2 Strikes For The ENnies

ENnies – you are on warning.  Two strikes this year – allowing quickstarts to win in the Free Games category and in blindly allowing WotC/4e to win categories that they are clearly not contenders in (electronic product, best publisher especially).   How is someone else supposed to feel good about their award when it’s clear so many of the decisions reward the *antithesis* of the award category?

Again, sure, maybe the 4e PHB wins best rules.  But the across the board 4e/WotC wins in clearly laughable categories?  What’s up with that?

Recently Returned Roundup

Hey all, back from vacation and working up a bunch of back session summaries.  Here’s a quick roundup of stuff that I thought was interesting in RPG land from over the last week…

The Plutomancer, a three-level prestige class for Pathfinder, by Erin Palette (I consulted on it some).  I like mini-prestige classes.  Too many existing p-classes seem like three levels of concept stretched out into ten levels of grind.

Public voting is now open for the ENNies.  Go vote, ideally how I tell you to!

There’s a cool new supplement for Mutants & Masterminds, the OGL superheroes game, called Mecha & Manga.  It brings a mess of anime tropes to the excellent M&M system.  Many of the better old manga-ey systems (Big Eyes, Small Mouth most notably) have passed away, so this is a welcome addition to the strong M&M line.  There’s a bunch of previews to look at over at mutantsandmasterminds.com.  Take feats like “Bishonen” or “Kawaii”!  Or even “Ninja Run” or “Sense Murderous Intent,” for your other genres.

There’s also an awesome supplement (though has everything in it to run standalone) for Hero/Champions called Lucha Libre HERO, where psychotronic hits the mainstream!  I liked octaNe and ’45 Hot Rod Retropocalypse, previous psychotronic RPGs which included luchadores as one of their many zany elements.  This one, using the Hero 5th Edition rules, focuses on being a Mexican wrestler and after reading the RPG.net review I have to say it sounds boss.

The short list for the 2009 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming is out.  Dominion (card game), D&D 4e, Jeepform, Mouse Guard, and Sweet Agatha are in the running.

Oh, and a late addition – just went by my FLGS and they had Hard Helix, an adventure supplement for Mutant City Blues, Pelgrane Press’ RPG of low level supers law enforcement, so I snapped it up.

You are now more well informed if not actually smarter.  Congratulations!

ENnie Nominees and Voting Guide

The big annual RPG awards, the ENnies, have narrowed down to their final list of nominees.  Fan voting begins on June 24th, when you get to vote and decide whose cuisine reigns supreme!  Here, pretend you’re watching FOX News, and I’ll tell you what to think to prepare you for the occassion.

Best Adventure

Analysis: You can’t beat the Paizo Adventure Paths, they are all brilliant.  Well, Second Darkness stumbled, but Howl of the Carrion King is back to the superb form of Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne.  No one makes adventures like this any more, if they ever did.  Big win!

Best Aid or Accessory

Analysis: Wolfgang Baur’s Kobold Quarterly is the real successor to Dragon Magazine.  Great content.  Plenty of interesting free stuff (interviews, etc.) on their Web site as well.

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Bit of ENnies Furor

The ENnies are a set of yearly RPG awards put on by ENWorld.  I usually like the results, though I did note that the results seemed a bit wonky this year.  Now there’s a bit of breaking news; one of the ENnies judges, Zachary the First, has resigned over what he feels are unfair practices re: publisher favoritism and lack of transparency.   The ENnies have responded already at the bottom of their main page.

My take – Zachary’s whole thing about podcasts is a little drama queeny but he has some good points, the best of which (lack of transparency, bending of rules for publisher favorites) the ENnies don’t respond to in their statement.  Although I am not privy to anything going on over at the ENnies, I’ve been involved in a lot of online RPG organizations and they seem to attract people who like closeted power.  I resigned as VP of the Christian Gamers Guild over similar behavior, and saw the same thing with the RPGA especially regarding how Living Greyhawk was run (I was an original Triad for the Yeomanry region).

Whether it’s at the President of the US level or the online group of like 12 people level, there’s a lot of people who like to hoard power and make back room decisions, it validates them somehow.   (Many of these people end up as forum mods somehow.)  And for every one of those, there are five people who enable them by not calling them on their BS.  So, I don’t know whether Zachary is “in the right” or not, but I like to see people willing to call shenanigans on a group even when it is not in their interest to do so (no more free games for Zach this year!).   I raise a Lone Star to you.  Fight the power!

Vote for the ENnies! Show some love!

Voting is open for the ENnie awards… Oh, crap! I went to the site to link it to this post, and it says they lost all the votes anyone cast Monday, actually up through Tuesday morning. That means me. OK, so if you want to vote or if you already voted and they hosed it up, go to ENnie Voting and cast your ballots for your favorite games. I guess I’ll do it again as I write this. Again, GO BACK AND VOTE IF YOU ALREADY VOTED BECAUSE THEY LOST YOUR VOTES. Some kind of Diebold-using chad-hanging conspiracy I’m sure.

I already mentioned some of my favorites that were nominated, but I’ll tell you who all I voted for after the jump!

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Award Season

Apparently the time has come for all the annual RPG awards. I like these because they turn me on to games that may be good that I haven’t heard of before. Especially this year, I’m surprised about all the games I’ve never heard of. The majority don’t have a single rpg.net review.

First, we have the 34th annual Origins Awards, already presented. I already posted on these; my biggest takeaways were that Aces & Eights and Codex Arcanis got the big wins and I had heard of neither one. My copy of Aces & Eights is in the mail, though! This got me interested and when Kenzer & Co. decided to exert their legal rights by putting out a 4e supplement without signing the hideous GSL, I was sold.

Next, we have the ENnies, which have the nominees set. I really liked RPGpundit’s line by line analysis of the nominees, it’s hilarious and I agree with a lot of it especially the categories I don’t care about. “Best Regalia” my ass. Although I think he’s too rough on some of the nominees – Alpha Omega certainly looks beautiful and cool from its PDF preview, and Aces & Eights seems fun too. Voting starts July 21!

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