ENnie voting is open, from now until 25 July, so if you're playing what is currently being shelved as "hobby games", this is a good place to declare what the best of the year is.
The ENnies are given out yearly at GenCon, and run off a two-step process. The first is the "Sage Advisor" stage where a panel of judges winnows down the nominees. Then comes the general on-line voting from all the rest of us. You can vote multiple times on a single ballot, voting "1" for your favorite, "2" for your second fave, etc. Its a nice little system, and no, you don't have to vote for everything.
The vote also allows you, the player, to hear about games that you might not otherwise have been aware of, in the overload that is the Internet. I've always said that the nominations of games are a better tool for bringing attention and rewarding good game design than the awards themselves. A nomination can bring attention to games you might otherwise pass on, and take you to game manufacturers who are otherwise off your radar. I have to check out more on Diaspora and Eclipse Phase, when I get a chance.
And there are some good candidates across the board. Rob Heinsoo is up for his delightful "Three Dragon Ante". Wolfgang Baur is up for a couple awards for Open Design and the Kobold Quarterly blog (but not the magazine - what's the deal with that?). One cool little game that might not get the attention it deserves in this field is Stan Brown's "Warriors" game, which was packaged in the YA novel series of the same name. Yes, it is a game about cats. Like Stan's work on the "Pokemon RPG", this is one of those games that, ten years from now, RPG players will be saying "Yeah, I played that game when I first started out."
Anyway, go check out the ballot and vote. And since they provide links to all the games in nomination, this is a great chance to broaden your horizons and check out games you may never have heard of before.
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