Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Origins Nominations

So last week, at the GAMA Trade Show in Vegas, they announced the nominees for the Origins Awards. The full list is here, but here are the relevant bits for the roleplayers out there:

Nominees for Role-Playing Game of the Year: (Role-Playing College)
Army of Darkness by Eden Studios
Artesia by Archia Studios Press
Deryni Adventure Game by Grey Ghost Press Inc.
Serenity by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.
World of Warcraft by Sword and Sorcery Studios

Nominees for Role-Playing Game Supplement of the Year: (Role-Playing College)
Exalted Autochthonians by White Wolf
GURPS Infinite Worlds by Steve Jackson Games
Mage by White Wolf
Midnight 2nd ed. RPG by Fantasy Flight
Shackled City by Paizo Publishing, LLC.

You may notice the absence of Dyvil: First Edition from this list. Obviously this slight means that the Origins Awards Committee is hopelessly corrupt and beyond any hope of redemption, wallowing in their own crapulence, and should be boycotted forthwith.

Nah, I’m just yanking your chain. Every single product on the RPG list is a better value per dollar than Dyvil, and we were GIVING Dyvil away. But the announcement of the list does kick off the second phase of the Origins Nominations process, which is complaining about how horrible the nominations are, and how the awards don’t matter anyway.

Now, I’ve said this before and will restate it here - you have to enter if you want to win (or even if you want to gripe realistically about not winning). The Origins awards only suggest that the manufacturers send out samples to the Judges (the more highly-valued ENnies demand the samples, and no one seems to mind). By making it optional, the responsiblity to find the best projects falls on the overloaded Judges, who tend to work with what they are given. If you don't think well enough of your work, why should the folk giving out awards?

Could I knit together a better list from everything published last year? Without a doubt. A lot of excellent Green Ronin stuff was published last year, along with Tekumel from Guardians of Order and the intriguing Weapons of the Gods from EOS. PLUS a lot of nice WotC product, not the least of which was the Spell Compendium, which had a bit of work by yours truly. But some or all of these did not throw themselves into consideration and therefore went by the boards in the short time allowed for review. Pity, because I think some of the projects that got nominated would still be on the list even if everything I've listed was in contention (and if any of the above were submitted and didn’t get the nod, then yeah, even I would complain - but that's a different rant).

Anyway, last year, the whining was about how everything was a revision of an earlier system. This year, the whining is about how everything is a license, using a revision of an earlier system. So that’s progress, I suppose.

Actually, I had not heard of Artesia before this list was published, and did some digging on it, and it sounds like an interesting game. So the Nominations have done something in that it has increased the exposure for a number of projects. WoW I’ve seen, and I think Serenity is good both as a license and for its quirky game mechanic system (but I’m prejudiced on that one). I’m glad to see Paizo’s Shackled City make it, and the recommendations for Mage and Infinite Worlds may be enough to push me over the edge and check them out, finally (If only I had, you know, a local hobby store, but again, that's a different rant).

Of course, the critics of the awards will ignore the promotional nature of the nominations, because the important part of the awards is griping about them – right up to the point they are awarded at the Origins convention in Columbus.

At which point the important part will be whining about the winners.

More later.