Monday, August 19, 2013

On the Radar: Some Thoughts on the Ennies

I was browsing through the winners of the Ennies, trying -- I suppose -- to see how up-to-date and in tune I really was with the popular view of the RPG industry. Overall, I sense that I'm really a niched kind of gamer, with off-center tastes, but I'd hesitate to call myself eccentric or unusual given the pool of gamers out there.

Here are a few things that caught my eye:

Night's Black Agents gets the Silvers for Best Game AND Best Writing


I did an Armchair Review for this RPG and its related campaign, The Zalohzny Quartet, and I heartily agree with the award. It's a lovely crafted subgenre that does spectacular work in focusing on the parent genre -- espionage -- for genre emulation.

I think a lot of people recognize its many merits; after all it was nominated for Best Rules, Best Interior Art, Best Game, Best Writing and Product of the Year!

On a meta level, the Gumshoe ruleset is certainly coming along nicely. It's gotten so that the ruleset allows for a greater variety of genre scope.

In fact, with Night's Black Agents, Ashen Stars, Trail of Cthulhu, and Mutant City Blues, a possible sub-campaign premise in my developing Confederation Chronicles campaign would be:

Not all Lasers are released into the wilds of space. Some are tasked to keep track of worlds and systems being brought into the fold of the expanding Confederation -- to make sure that the weaknesses, dangers, and existential threats that might be lurking beneath the surface of these rediscovered wonders do not destroy all that the Confederation has built.
Trained, Motivated, and gifted with special abilities that set them apart from their peers, these Ultra-violet Lasers stand against another Fall of Night, as the Confederation struggles toward a true rebirth.

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space wins the Gold for Best Family Game AND Doctor Who: The Time Traveler's Companion wins the Silver for Best Supplement

I quite like this RPG, and I'd never actually thought about it as being a family game. The de-emphasis on combat (and rules that support this -- with talking and running taking place before any combat initiative-wise) was, in my mind, a great nod to this genre of TV show.

In retrospect, it does have a family appeal with the emphasis on resorting to communication first, before resorting to an out-and-out rumble.

The supplements for this RPG have also been astounding, with real love for the entire series very evident. A review of the Second Doctor's sourcebook will be upcoming.

Other Items of Note

Eldritch Skies gets a Judge's nod -- a game whose take on the Cthulhu mythos deserves a return, beyond my initial Armchair Review. Certain themes and aspects of the themes and tone make it a fresh feel on the standard mythos treatement, in my humble opinion.

Also, this Pathfinder RPG seems to be really popular. ;) Probably should give it a read.

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