I was having a back-and-forth email discussion with a good friend today when he brought up the topic of indie games in the ENnies this year. Among the things he asked was which game I thought would be this year's Spirit of the Century. I thought my answer might be of some interest, so I pasted it below:
Well, that's a tough call. There are a lot of great small press products out there--some with the "indie" label, I guess, and some just plain small press. To me, they're all RPGs or gaming supplements, from Blossoms Are Falling to Roma True 20. I think its fantastic right now that we have so many small press publishers cranking out material that competes or even surpasses that of larger gaming companies, but for my purposes here, that is incidental. Forget the label, forget the movement, forget the online following. We deal in RPGs, friend, and that means if the next rules-light pulp hit comes from Evil Hat or CRN or Wizards or Paizo, I'm not gonna care--just that its a damned fine product.
Companies get a reputation for fine products, good production values, or doing something well. With the ENnies, you throw out the records, so to speak. Its a clean slate, and nothing else matters except how it reads, inspires, excites, and plays. Indie, small press, mega-corp--only the product matters. There are no quotas, no token inclusions, period.