Some thoughts on the ENnies nominations

ENnies_LogoRecently this year’s nominations to the ENnie Awards have been announced. I have to admit that even though I don’t usually agree with the ENnies judges’ decision I can’t argue that the annual ENnie Awards are an important part of our hobby. It’s also very nice to see that the nominations are not that D&D/Pathfinder-centric as they used to be.

I am especially happy that Reality BlursAgents of Oblivion was nominated for best supplement. After all it’s one of the few RPG books out there, where I am mentioned in the credits. Even though it was just for advice!

Overall I am very happy with this year’s nominations because a lot of products from smaller publishers made the list. I was also quite surprised to see some “unfamiliar faces” in the Best Blog and Best Podcast section. So there might be some hope after all. Winking smile

But that said, I am not that happy about the Best Free Product category. Instead of free stuff for commercial games I would love to see more truly free games like the kind reviewed on The Free RPG Blog. I know of a lot of talented game designers that create professionally looking games and share them for free, but for some reason they almost never make it into the ENnie award nominations.

One reason may of course be that the authors don’t bother to submit their free games. A submission fee of a couple bucks per product may not be that much, but especially for people who don’t make money by selling games it may be another hurdle. Of course I am speculating here, but another reason might be that the ENnies judges seem to favor free stuff by well-known publishers over free stuff by amateur game designers.

Perhaps the ENnies are not the right award for free games anyway. In 2010 I talked to a couple of people at Gen Con that shared my opinion that we need a new RPG award for blogs, podcasts and probably free games as well. The problem with that idea is that it takes a lot of work to pull something like that off.

Regardless of my feelings about the Best Free Product category, I am quite happy with this year’s ENnies nominations. A lot of my favorite products made the list and I especially happy that it doesn’t look as dominated by Paizo and WotC like in some of the years before. Smile

So what are your thoughts on this year’s nominations?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

3 thoughts on “Some thoughts on the ENnies nominations”

  1. I agree with what appears to almost everyone who blogs on the subject that the free product category wasn’t a very good cross section of what’s actually out there for free, but since my favourite game got a nomination for best system, *cough* Unhallowed Metropolis *cough*, I can’t say I have any other complaints. It has made me take the time to get a bit more information on the blogs that got nominated, and also some of the games that I had never even heard of until the nominations.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of discussions were you having with regard to anew series of awards? may be a whole other blog post, but I’m interested in what you think.

  2. On occasion the question comes up “Were any free RPGs submitted?” and the answer is yes, there were several full free RPGs submitted and Heros Against Darkness was among them.

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