The nominees for the 2014 ENnies awards have been posted and I don't know what 90% of this stuff is. Was I completely out of the loop in 2013? I feel like that was probably my most attentive year regarding mainstream RPGs. Looking over the lists, I'd think I was in a coma for the entire year if it weren't for the release of Shadowrun 5e and Razor Coast.
However, having a pathetically inadequate knowledge of something has never prevented me from forming an opinion about it. Here are my picks for the 2014 Ennies.
Best Adventure: Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies. Haven't read it. Could have if the ToC Bundle of Holding was more successful. I'm still bitter about that. Regardless, it's a campaign for Trail of Cthulhu, which makes it pretty awesome.
Best Aid/Accessory: Noteboard. The only accessory on the list that looks actually usable for most GMs.
For all that is holy, please don't vote for the Fate Eldritch Dice. They are just fudge dice and they don't even have the best color scheme of all the dice set that Evil Hat made.
Best Art, Interior: Numenera. I don't know much about this game, but I've been consistently impressed with all the artwork associated with it. Shadows of Esteren is a close second.
Best Art, Cover: Razor Coast. Honestly, none of these are great covers. Busy art with a million characters throwing magic missiles does not impress me. That shark guy is probably the only cool thing in this category.
Best Blog: Illuminerdy. The only nominated blog I remember visiting in the past year. I don't remember what brought me there but I enjoyed the stay.
Best Cartography: Qelong. I don't know shit about the maps in any of the nominated books. I do know what Jez Gordon was robbed for his amazing work in Qelong.
Best Electronic Book: Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores: Prince Charming, Reanimator. This is the only book on this list that I even recognize. As such, I assume it's the only one that made any impression on games as a whole.
Best Family Game: Camp Myth: The RPG. It takes place at a summer camp for mythological beings. From what I've heard from podcasts, the system is pretty dandy too.
Best Free Product: Super Powers Companion Villain Supplement. It's about 15 pages of stats and write ups for generic supervillains for Savage Worlds. It doesn't attempt to sell you anything. Is pure function. (By the way, quickstart rules should be banned.)
Best Game: Pass. The only one I have read on this list is Fate Core. Consider this a unvote for Fate.
Best Miniatures Products: Whisper & Venom Collector's Set. This must have been a rough year for minis or mini producers just don't care about the Ennies. Still, the minis in the Whisper & Venom set are very cool and instantly made me regret not getting in on the Kickstarter.
Best Monster/Adversary: Creature Decks. I saw these at Gen Con and had a hard time passing them up. Monsters are made to be on cards.
Best Podcast: Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. I can't believe I was so slow to actually listen to this podcast. It's Ken Hite and Robin Laws talking about various things that are always relevant to my interests. What more can you ask for?
Best Production Values: Whisper & Venom Collector's Set. Seriously impressive for an independent publisher.
Best RPG-Related Product: Strange Tales of the Century. Seems to be the only usable product in this list. I don't understand RPG soundtracks as they seem like more trouble than they are worth at the table. And that card game definitely shouldn't have counted.
Best Rules: Pass. Like "Best Game," I didn't read most of these books. The only one I did read is Fate Core. While they seem like pretty good rules on the surface, most of the chatter I hear about the game is people not understanding how to actually run the game. That's not the sign of a good rule set.
Best Setting: Numenera. Sci-fi high fantasy is something we needed this last year.
Best Supplement: M&M: Power Profiles. Seems like many of the books in this category are companion pieces to very recently published games. Sort of seems like the stuff that should be included in the core books. The Power Profile books isn't that, so that's why I like it more than the others.
Best Software: Old School Monsters Database. There needs to be more good RPG apps for Android and this seems like a step in the right direction.
I did kickstart Wild Card Creator and the software shows a lot of promise. Unfortunately, the last time I used the program it was buggy and missed key features that prevented it from being at all usable. It's an ambitious piece of software that is maintained by just one guy.
Best Writing: Doctor Who RPG: The Third Doctor Sourcebook. Haven't read it, but if it stands up to the standards of the other Doctor Who game books, this it a good one.
Best Website: See Page XX. Why are most of these sites so fucking ugly? See Page XX has tolerable design and is usable at the table. Tabletop Audio seems cool for people who use music at the table.
Product of the Year: Fuck if I know. My hunch tells me that Fate Core will get it as they made a huge splash with it and people are still riding the high that comes with vague, theoretically malleable rules. I suppose I'm rooting for tremulus, which appears to be the dark horse candidate.
By the way, I've nominated myself as a judge for the 2015 ENnie Awards. Please vote for me. I can't make promises, but I would do my best to keep a card game from getting nominated for anything.