As of tonight, I believe I have around 4/5ths of my categories finalized. Best Supplement, Free Product, and Interior Art are especially tough for me right now, and are still at least partially up in the air. I have a little more reading to do, and if I can squeeze out 1 or 2 more playtests this week, I will. By this weekend, everything should be done and submitted. Then I wait to see how many categories I was with the judging majority on, and on how many I stand alone.
One later entry that I had already had a little experience with this year was Mongoose Traveller (affectionately known as Riki-Tiki-Traveller), which I'd like to discuss for a minute:
I admit to being a junior member of the Traveller's Grognard Society. That said, I really wasn't blown away with Mongoose Traveller the first time I read it. In fact, whether I was in a pissy mood or just not feeling it, my initial "wow factor" for this new edition of Traveller--Traveller!--was close to nil.
But you know what? The more I think about it, the more I admire what this product did--stuck pretty close to the base simplicity of Traveller while adding on some of the better innovations that came through the later refinements and editions of Traveller. Right now, I'm arguing to see if and where this will find a spot on my lists--it won't win on Production Values, and obviously Interior Art won't cut it, but how can you argue with Traveller getting at least a look for its rules? I'm not saying I'm 100% sold yet, but its amazing what a little re-reading and time for consideration can do. And here I thought Thousand Suns might be the only sci-fi/space game I was really, really sold on this year.
The more I read it, the more I admire what they've done here--namely, resist completely reinventing the wheel when it didn't need reinventing, but being brave enough to tweak what needed tweaked. This might--might--even be a late addition to my Best Product list--aside from Rules, it hardly stands out in any category, but overall, I think it pulls off what it wants to do quite well. But we'll see--even if I decide it has a place, there's 4 others folks who might not agree.