Tuesday, July 29, 2008

False Start

Crikey. The ENnies voting evidently had a glitch, and if you were like me and voted Monday, you gotta do it again. That's two years in a row, I believe--ouch! Still, thanks to the folks who I'm sure worked hard to get the problem fixed--I'm sure they aren't any happier about it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More ENnies Thoughts

So the ENnies voting is in full swing. There's plenty to keep track of this year, if you're preparing to or finishing up your ballot, and looking to stay busy:

-Summer Revolution: How well will the indie and small press games do this year? Is there a dark horse in the running out there? Last year, Spirit of the Century scored a Silver ENnie--can anyone improve upon that this year? Watch for a groundswell or break for one or two particular products.

-WotC: On a day where Wizards of the Coast announces Gleemax is shutting down, they still stand toe to toe and look to flex their muscle against other multi-nomination giants like White Wolf, Green Ronin, and Paizo. There is a vocal contingent who believes Wizards of the Coast will sweep every category they are nominated in, due to the size of their fan base. We'll have to see how it plays out.

-Watch the fan forums: A lot of push comes from the fan communities--not just company-specific boards, but places like RPGnet and ENWorld, and online social networking communities. This is where a lot of the rumble will come from--"Sell Me' threads, increased discussion about certain games, product questions, publishers stumping and answering questions about their games. A savvy watcher can likely spot a product with some momentum from this.

-Judge Nominations: Right now, with the nomination deadline having expired, there are ten judge nominees for the 2009 ENnies for 5 spots. Looks like a strong field. (Yeah, I'm in there. I'll get on the stump next week, but needless to say I'd be honored to have your support). Take the time to read the judge's Q&As--there's definitely some differing experiences and viewpoints in there, and its worth seeing whose philosophy lines up the closest to your own (even if it isn't me).

ENnies Product Voting Is Live!

The ENnies voting site is up, and you can now cast your votes for your favorite products now through August 6th (judge nominee voting starts Aug. 7). So, look through your choices, get out there and vote!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

RIP N. Robin Crossby

This has been a bad year for the hobby in this regard. Too many lights going out.

My condolences to his loved ones, and my thanks for his making our hobby better.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Shot At D6?

I don't know if it'll get thrown back in my face or what, but I've brought up the idea of some of us going after the d6 license, share-holder style. Make sure there's an Open d6, make sure there's a d6-centered company that's by and for gamers, with an open culture and open license, one that preserves the past while giving opportunities for the future. Might be a pipe dream, but I'd kick myself if I didn't try.

Tor.com's RPG Blog

So word's getting around that tor.com has Bruce Baugh on as their RPG blogger. Good luck to him, and I hope he does a great job.

That said, he does introduce us to an interesting new word:

At the same time, the tabletop rolegaming field is consolidating in the wake of a recent shift of consensus about how to present environments for players and gamemasters to use.

Rolegaming?

Really?

You'll excuse me--I have some dicechecking to do--I have to meet my group in a half hour for sessionhaving.

(No harm meant. Heck, I hope it catches on).

ENnies Voting...Delayed Slightly

Yeah, ENnies voting was supposed to start today. From what I hear and what's on the voting page, there's a bit of a software glitch. I'll pass along whatever I happen to hear. Don't worry--there will still be a full two weeks of voting, so there's plenty of time to lobby for your faves.

ENnies Judge Nominations Open

Later today should see the ballot box open for ENnies finalist voting. However, sort of lost in the shuffle is the fact that judge nominations for the upcoming year are currently open through July 27th. I've decided to throw my hat in the ring once more--and I hope to have plenty of company. Its a lot of work, but if you can follow through with good communication and diligence, it can be rewarding as well. I'll need a lot of support to get elected, so we'll see what I can come up with.

Back to the ENnie finalists: so, we'll see how the voting goes! Who will make a push online for votes this year? What small press companies could pull off the upset? I'm excited to find out!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

RPG Blog Goes Live (Journal)

I've begun to cross-post my entries here over to my new LiveJournal. I may also be posting a little extra off-topic stuff over there. I really like the Blogger community, but there are also a lot of great folks and great posts over at LJ, and since I'm already reading a number entries over there on a pretty regular basis, now is as good a time as any to get more involved with some really interesting, thought-provoking gamers, writers, and artists. So, read me here, read me there--all the same to you, all the same to me.

My Podcast Interview

I just did a podcast interview with the guys from Animalball to promote the ENnies and answer some questions. In it, we discuss a bit of the ENnies process, some of this years' issues and controversies, and they then do their best to get me in trouble. Take a listen and see what you think!

And as I mention in the interview, aside from answering questions here and online, I do try to make myself to anyone who wants to talk about the ENnies--whichever podcasts, website, blog, etc., it may be.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Camping

Time for the Campfire Song! I'll be off camping & relaxing here this weekend. Catch you back on Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Public Discussion & More

I have to admit, I was expecting a bit more of a firestorm over the ENnies judging. There have been a few crapstorms online, but by and large I think this year has been pretty sedate. Everything has room for improvement, though, and I really thank those of you who have forwarded some suggestions to me. Whether or not I am elected as a judge for this upcoming year, I'll be passing those along.

One thing I'm really curious about: what are the songs the nominees have chosen to play as they walk up to the podium as they win? Every ENnies nominee is asked to supply a track or music for if they actually win a Gold or Silver. I'd like to know, but likely I'll just have to wait to find out.

Aside from emails and answering questions on here, if you're looking to get the word out about the ENnies, I am available for any sort of Q&A, as several folks have asked. Keep in mind I'm a neutral party, not out to pimp any given product, and will be happy to answer procedural and general ENnies questions as I can to promote the awards and garner interest for them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Renovating Reviews

I've been trying to think of ways to renovate theRPGsite's reviews system, which I think could be an excellent resource with a bit of work. Is there something you've always wanted to see in terms of an RPG reviews system, as a fan or publisher? Stop by and give your two cents, or if you can't stand posting there, feel free to post it here. :)

I'm compiling my love/hate mail from the ENnies, and will hopefully have some excellent excerpts for you soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is It 1860 again?

Likely by now a good number of you have heard Green Ronin is the latest publisher to announce they will not be going with the GSL at this time. The list of companies who are either rejecting or going around the GSL continues to grow. I've no doubt there will still be many companies (some of them new) who embrace the GSL, but in my history-addled mind, this is starting to remind me of the time leading up to the American Civil War, where state after state slowly began to secede from the Union, one at a time. A horrible, inaccurate, and tongue-in-cheek comparison, but I am still expecting to see this pop up on one of those companies' sites any day now:



Certainly we have enough hotheads on both sides for it, eh?

Monday, July 14, 2008

2009 ENnies Judge Nominee Questions

The ENnies selection process starts with the selection of judges. These individuals are responsible for choosing the products that will be the nominees and honorable mentions of the next year's awards.

Judge nominations are around the corner, and part of the voting/nomination process for judges consists of a Q&A session, in which the judges respond to a standard array of questions put to all the nominees. If you've got one you'd like to ask, you can join this thread in progress here.

I cannot stress enough--grill the judge nominees for next year--including me. Put 'em through the ringer for the honor and privilege of that great trust. And take the time to read their responses when they come out. Publishers and writers trust their "babies"--their work, their time, their money--to this process, and they deserve the damned best we can offer.

If you don't feel like doing that, wait till they announce their candidacy, then snipe 'em with it on some public message board.

Friday, July 11, 2008

ENnies Nominations By Publisher

This is from a spreadsheet I made up--I'm not saying its 100% accurate, but it should be close. My apologies, as I'm having horrible difficulties getting it to display right.

PDF Link

And yes, I am making the rounds still, so if you have a question for me here or an a message board, let me know. If I haven't answered right away, there's a chance I missed it, so feel free to email me as well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Few Ground Rules...

...I was going to write about the recent GSL rebellion (Kalamar 4e, anyone?) but since the ENnies are out tomorrow and we should have some traffic, I wanted to mention a few things:

1) I expect the ENnies announcement will come out sometime over the course of the day tomorrow. I will be at work until about 6:30 Eastern time, then I need to spend some time with the kids, etc. I will be online tomorrow night, and will peruse all the forums, boards, announcements, flame wars, and rants at that time. If you see a discussion you feel could use my input, leave a comment or shoot me an email! Heck, if you have a question, let me know! I'm all about being as accessible as possible!

2) Some of the judges are not comfortable facing the onslaught of commentary and unfortunate nastiness that generally seem to accompany the announcement of, well, anything in our hobby. That is their call. I'm willing to discuss anything under the sun, but please keep in mind that I need to respect the other judges' privacy (so know, I can't tell you what their vote sheet looked like, numbers 1 through 5). If they want to share, they'll share. I'll discuss as far as the nice ENnies folks will allow, and if I'm elected again next year, will push to make that discussion go even further.

3) Please don't ask me to say anything really not nice about a product. I get it--you'll be less than happy with some of the nominees or folks who missed the cut. Hey, I've got products I liked that missed out, too. I'm just asking you to remember whatever you or I think of a product, that's someone's baby. And as fairly and impartially as it needs to be judged for the awards, I'm not going to go off on how much I hated Game X or Podcast Y.

4) Stand by for more commentary as reactions for the awards nominations and reactions to the same unfold. And, as I said, if you see something I don't, keep me posted! I am to be as public and accessible as possible--that's what you guys elected me on, and that's what you're gonna get.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Soo...

I guess we're all just waiting until Thursday, huh? Yeah, the anticipation is killing me, too, and I know who got the nods (not to rub it in!)

In the meantime, for something to pass the time here's ChattyDM's open letter to Wizards of the Coast, touching on, among other things, the state of their online and software tools for D&D and Magic: The Gathering.

And, of course, the ENnies are accepting fan-driven nominations for best publisher. Nominate or second your favorite publisher out there!


.....look, just try not to think about it, ok? Its coming soon!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Just a few...more...steps...

OK, so we're close now. We have a final list of adjustments/changes to vote on, and that's it. If this final lists goes through unamended, I'll be pretty happy--yeah, not everything I wanted is in there, but more than I'd hoped at this time a few days ago. Thanks to the ENnies members who've been willing--very willing--to hash things out. Its a good feeling to know this is almost done.

I've heard results may not be announced until Thursday, as a few days might be needed to get the technical side of things tidied up. I'll let you know when I have the definitive word.

And I will say this: I may not agree with all the decisions the other judges have made, but never doubt that they and the top of the ENnies food chain really do want to make the right calls and have the best lists possible. We may disagree sometimes on how that should come about, but the sincere hope and intent for the best nominees and awards possible is definitely there. And they ARE interested in your opinions and suggestions. This should be a fun, engaging celebration and discussion of the best of our hobby. You can help that by holding judges accountable, really, really reading and questioning the judge nominees' Q&A answers to ensure involved, conscientious judges become elected, and to encourage the widest ease of entry and accessibility for all publishers. These are your awards, too, or as much as you wish them to be.

Still At It....

Aaaaand you guessed it. Final votes still being tallied. And me liking a product is still the kiss of death for it about 50% of the time. Its been a weird mix of happiness for some of the companies and products that made it or squeaked in, and total frustration at seeing products that were in my Top 5 overall just crash n' burn. I thought I was a pretty good judge of what constitutes gaming quality, and I felt pretty well-informed about the nominees after playtesting almost 95% of the RPGs and games we had submitted (and did multiple read-throughs on the others).

Now, don't get me wrong--we are having wonderful products nominated all over the place. I'm just wishing there was a little bit more of the wonderfulness I picked out there, is all. Irs late, and I need to go to bed--things will no doubt be clearer at some point tomorrow.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th Update!

First off, to all my fellow Yanks, Happy 4th of July! To all my British friends, don't take it too hard, you still did this a bit later on, so that's something.

Yep, we're still slogging through the final adjustments and tallies to the awards. If anyone cares to read my updates, I've started a running thread of sorts over at TheRPGSite. It was a tough start, as a lot of products I felt superior did not end up where I thought they should be, but additional adjustments and tallies have seen some definite refinements in choice.

I'll look forward to seeing the results released--July 8, get here soon!