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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Is "An ENnie" Anything More than a Popularity Prize?

When it comes down to it, are the ENnies anything more than a popularity prize?

First off, the judges aren't industry professionals (see below) that are judging the works by professional standards. The judges are self nominated and the ones with the greatest social media reach are going to be the ones that come out on top and get picked.

Then there's this for the 2016 judge self nomination:
not have any professional relationship with any RPG publisher during the period from January 1st, 2014 to August 1st, 2016
That cut's off just about every professional and semi-professional in the industry, because if you aren't working making games you aren't making money from games.

Secondly, the companies that want to be considered must submit physical copies of their product (if it is available as such - the unofficial, unlicensed Mass Effect FATE hack was only available digitally - so send away, as it cost nothing.)

Now, you don't send copies to a central location that packages it up for judges all over the world. That would keep expenses reasonable, especially for the smaller publishers. Nope, you have to send those copies out to each judge. How much money was wasted sending individual packages to Turkey?

Interestingly enough, this means that nearly every publisher on RPGNow could submit their work for free.

Oh, did I mention all of that free gaming material is for the judges to keep? Only the top 5 finalists are listed per category, but there are dozens of entries for most categories I am sure.

Now, I heard (can't confirm so I won't mention the name) that at least one of the judges from this year's ENnies is trying to crowd fund a trip to Gen Con this year. Shit, just sell a portion of the pile of gaming supplements you got for free and you should be good to go. Literally. It's called eBay.

Then when the votes start for the five finalists in each category, the ballot stuffing begins. It's as bad as the Baseball All Star voting, but the ENnies are given actual weight by those in our hobby.

I'm not sure how things could be run better, but I think removing the self nominating aspects from judges and submissions would be a start.

21 comments:

  1. They're not supposed to be industry awards - they're supposed to be fan awards. Judged by fans, voted on by fans.The Origin Awards are the industry awards. I'm really not sure what the issue with that is. And I'm not sure how you have fan awards without self-nomination. And I'm really not sure what the problem with having judges outside of the US is lots of fans are outside the US.

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    1. The problem with the judges being outside of the US is it means that you have to ship your submissions internationally, which is substantially more expensive. WotC can afford to do that. Paizo can afford to that. Smaller publishers: maybe not.

      If things didn't have to be physical wherever possible, this wouldn't be an issue.

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  2. I was going to sign up to judge, but I didn't have the ability to travel over a year into the future and discern if I would be working for an RPG publisher during that time. How do they enforce that anyways? Timecop?

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  3. Still no idea why the EN in capitalized or what it's supposed to mean.

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    1. The ENnies are awarded by EN World. I believe the E.N. is someone's initials, and the ENWorld forums started off as a forum for their game world.

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    2. EN stands for Eric Noah. He started ENWorld mostly as a blog back when 3rd Edition was just announced, and was mostly blogging about all the expected changes. ENWorld was formed from that--eventually he retired and gave it to Morrus.

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    3. I see. Never heard of this but I don't visit many blogs. Least of all ones about D&D. Thanks for the info.

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  4. To be perfectly honest, I think all awards are just popularity contests, they just reflect popularity with different groups. The ENnies are theoretically "fan" based awards, but they're trying to avoid close ties with gaming publishers. It seems, from the rules you posted, that gaming crititcs (such as they exist) are welcome.

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  5. Annah Madrinan is a judge, and she has a product in the Judges' Spotlight. Sounds like a conflict of interest...

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    1. I think you're confused. Annah is a judge and she has awarded her spotlight prize to Dragons in the Stacks - that is not her product. But if you're talking about something else, please elaborate.

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  6. Hey if the Supreme Court packed with political appointees can stop a vote count to make sure their buddy gets to be president, what's a little conflict of interest between friends?

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  7. I agree that the international shipping costs are a big deal, and create a substantial barrier to entry.

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  8. So when are we going to see Tenkar's Trophies? Tenkarwards? Tenkies? Hell, even just an award nomination system for the OSR crowd would be interesting.

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    1. The award can be a tankard. So it is both decorative and functional.

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    2. The award can be a tankard. So it is both decorative and functional.

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  9. The thing that made the entry cost insane for me was indeed shipping 2 boxes overseas (Turkey, Poland) especially as each shipment required 2 packages. However, I knew I did not have a prayer of winning but entered anyway because I a) think many of the nominees have been deserving (Jeff Talanian for example) and b) had never been in a position in my life to try anything like it. I was glad I did because, for all the flaws in the system, it made a difference in sales and awareness that the product even existed. It was worth it, but it is what it is. I would certainly enter it. I had a free product or electronic only product without hesitation. I would love a first entry (which I would not be eligible for) and a small press category for those of us who wont ever beat huge companies (Paizo, FASA, WizKids were all in my categories for example, they got lucky though ;) )....Z

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    1. A small press category would be a great idea.

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  10. If you have your product at GenCon, you can drop it by the booth on Sunday and The ENnies will cover shipping it to the Judges.

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  11. Submissions do not have to be physical if there is an electronic version available. It is the publisher's choice which to submit.

    From our "How to Enter" page: "You may submit either a print copy of your product or an electronic copy of your product, but not both."

    -- ENnie Awards Submissions Coordinator & Publisher Relations

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  12. Yup, fan award = popularity award, generally speaking. I'm still impressed when OSR stuff gets nominated or wins anything because it's such a small niche within the hobby. And I still can't believe they have a "best production values" award. That alone tells me it is a very award.

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