Another year, another ENnies Controversy!
Every year the GenCon / ENWorld RPG Awards (The ENnies) finds itself mired in some controversy or another. I think this is good for the awards as it keeps them in the public eye, and none of the controversies have been very rough. Previous years included a semi-public battle between a judge and one of the stars of the mainstream industry (Monte Cook); a podcast kicked out for encouraging people to stuff the ballot box; and of course complaints that it is obviously a tool of Wizards of the Coast and not an honest award for RPGs in general.
This year the controversy is as to whether quick-start rules deserve the nominations as best free products.
That’s it. Seriously. And it’s all over the place.
- Grogtard thinks that the quickstarts are not worthy of awards.
- Geek Related says that quickstarts flat out do not count, and goes on to basically say that they are not labours of love.
- Chgowiz agrees that it’s a category about stripped down versions of commercial games, not actually free games.
- The Free RPG Blog feels that they shouldn’t have your support in part because they have the backing of major publishing companies.
- Stargazer feels that the quickstarts are “crippled” unlike real games.
Awesome. That’s hardly a controversy. It’s a minor discussion point regarding judging styles and the perceived value of printed products over electronic products.
Personally, as someone who plays in a lot of games and runs a few, I love quickstart rules. There are many RPGs I would never have had the chance to play without the quickstart versions being out there. The value of a printed quick start set is immense – no printing, no reading from a PDF, and the knowledge that the sample adventure is going to be clean and easy and the rules WILL support it all make them very accessible to the public.
Personally, I would love to see more “full” RPGs get the nominations, but the vast majority of them are electronic only – and thus they are more likely to win in the “Best Electronic Book” category than in the “Best Free Product” category.
Regardless of where you stand on this “controversy”, congratulations to the ENnies that this is as big of a complaint as we are hearing this year. Rock the hell on!