Friday, July 3, 2015

Some Further Thoughts on RPG Industry Awards, Especially as They Concern the OSR

I'm not going to be discussing the ENnies much with this post, except to remark that they are the industry standard when it comes to awards. Origins awards don't have the same kind of bling in the eyes of the gaming public. The fact that the ENnies are backed by the largest gaming con - Gen Con - and one of the most trafficked RPG fan sites - EN World - certainly doesn't hurt. They also cover (in theory) every corner of the RPG gaming universe.

For the OSR we have the Three Castles Award. Most don't realize this, but the Three Castles Award (which is judged by panel of judges that are from the gaming industry) is judged primarily based on design merits (I'm sure other biases also come into play, as such is human nature) . Also, the publisher or a third party has to submit copies to the NTRPG Con for the entry to be considered.

Pretty much all of the yearly winners and finalists from past few years of the Three Castles Award have been the cream of the crop but there are many titles that don't get recognized that most certainly deserve recognition.

Some folks in the previous ENnies post joked that the OSR should have "Tenkies" or some such. Besides the fact that the jokingly proposed name is horrid, any such move to a recognized OSR Award for Best of "X" needs to include the whole OSR Community (beyond just blogs and G+.) Preferably, it would include forums and publishers big and small. I'd rather see the community decide on the top 10 in each category (assuming there are 10 in a category, we are a niche within a niche) and an esteemed panel of judges picking the top three. It keeps it from becoming a popularity contest and lessens the effect of stuffing the ballot boxes.

Oh course, this is just stuff being thrown out there for critique and suggestions. There is no real game plan except for realizing there is no game plan.

And no, I'm not volunteering. This is all firmly in the category of "what if?" at the moment ;)


  1. My suggestion was "Trampies", with a golden statuette of a Trampies Kobold as the prize

  2. I'd prefer to see our efforts go in the direction of introducing non-gamers to the OSR, but also realize the value of OSR awards. It further legitimizes us. But still, primary focus: expanding the audience for paper and pencil roleplaying games.

  3. Erik your having volunteered to run these does my heart good. You truly are a credit to the OSR ;)

    1. Something else to fill up Tenkar's retirement with!!!

      But seriously....we at NTRPG con would love to have more participation in the Three Castles Award. It's a very low key award but I believe it's pedigree is impeccable...voted on my five (or four some years) unbiased design professionals from the hobby. All the winners and nominees have been stellar. However every year something or other falls into the cracks....Erik, maybe each year you could have a "What would you nominate for the Three Castles Award?" post in January, and we could start from there, because alot of designers either aren't aware of the award or don't think they have a chance of winning so don't enter their work (at least two of the past winners had to be cajoled to enter their item after deciding it wasn't good enough to win). I'd love to see a wider range of entries every year, I know there are more than a dozen great OSR publications each calender year.

  4. The ENnies are bullshit. Pay them no attention. Or enworld for that mattr.

    1. Will do. Never heard of them until this week when this blog brought them up anyway.

    2. Well the publishers disagree.
      I know for a fact that ENnie Award = More Sales and more exposure. Sure it is negligible for say WotC, but smaller publishers, like Eden Studios, the ENnie can be be what makes or break a good quarter in sales.

  5. What separates the ENnies from the Origins Awards is that the ENnies are a people's choice award (in theory).

    I will not lie. I am proud of my 2014 ENnies nomination. It reflects nicely on me.
    But maybe an award for smaller DIY publishers would be a nice thing.


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