Congratulations to the 2015 ENnies Nominees!

Hearty congratulations go out to the 2015 nominees for the Gen Con EN World RPG Awards! The winners will be announced at Gen Con on Friday, July 31st, after a public vote which will open on July 4th. And don't forget, you can nominate yourself as a 2016 judge before July 2nd, and nominate a Fan Favourite Publisher before the same date.

Thanks also go to this year's sponsors, DriveThruRPG and Campaign Coins. Nominees can find web-suitable nominee badges here.

Note that the 2015 nominations have been updated following the disqualification of one product in three categories.

[h=4]Best Adventure[/h]
A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen (Wizards of the Coast)
Cake Walk (Fabled Environments)
East Texas University: Degrees of Horror (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

[h=4]Best Aid/Accessory[/h]
DungeonMorph Dice: Explorer Set (Inkwell Ideas)
D&D Dungeon Master’s Screen (Wizards of the Coast)
Syrinscape’s Rise of the Runelords Mega SoundPack (Syrinscape)
Black-green Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition RPG Dice Set (Q-Workshop)
Pathfinder Cards: Deluxe Harrow Deck (Paizo Inc.)

[h=4]Best Art, Interior[/h]
D&D Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast)
Interface Zero 2.0: Full Metal Cyberpunk (Gun Metal Games)
Trail of Cthulhu: Dreamhounds of Paris (Pelgrane Press)
The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Core Rules Hardcover (Privateer Press)

[h=4]Best Art, Cover[/h]
Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Monsternomicon (Privateer Press)
MUTANT: Year Zero – The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Freeport: The City of Adventure for the Pathfinder RPG (Green Ronin Publishing)
Achtung! Cthulhu: Terrors of the Secret War (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Rise of Tiamat (Wizards of the Coast)

[h=4]Best Blog[/h]
ConTessa – Tabletop gaming by women for everyone!
DMDavid Blog
Gnome Stew
House Rule Gaming
NERD TREK

[h=4]Best Cartography[/h]
MUTANT: Year Zero – The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
The Guide to Glorantha (Moon Design Publications)
Distant Outposts Deluxe Poster Map Set (Christopher West’s Maps of Mastery)
Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)
Ninth World Guidebook (Monte Cook Games, LLC)

[h=4]Best Electronic Book[/h]
Dragon Age Core RuleBook (Green Ronin Publishing)
Basic Rules for D&D (Wizards of the Coast)
Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 2 (Pelgrane Press)
Cake Walk (Fabled Environments)
Valiant Universe RPG Digital Initiative (Catalyst Game Labs)

[h=4]Best Family Game[/h]
Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game (Evil Hat Productions)
D&D Starter Set (Wizards of the Coast)
Infestation, An RPG of Bugs and Heroes (Third Eye Games)
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space – Limited Edition Anniversary Rulebook (Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.)
Adventure Maximus RPG Starter Set (Eden Studios)

[h=4]Best Free Product[/h]
Valiant RPG Digital Initiative (Catalyst Game Labs)
Basic Rules for D&D (Wizards of the Coast)
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space – Arrowdown (Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.)
13th Age: The Archmage’s Orrery (Pelgrane Press)
East Texas University: Redneckromancer (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

[h=4]Best Game[/h]
D&D Player’s Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)
The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Firefly Roleplaying Game (Margaret Weis Productions)
MUTANT: Year Zero – The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game (Evil Hat Productions)

[h=4]Best Miniatures Product[/h]
Gen Con Adventurer’s Tavern – Painted (Games and Gears)
D&D Icons of the Realms: Elemental Evil Boosters (WizKids)
Fantasy Pirate Goblin Lieutnant 28mm Miniature (Via Ludibunda)
Pathfinder Pawns: Inner Sea Pawn Box (Paizo Inc.)
Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Roleplaying Game Adventure Kit (Privateer Press)

[h=4]Best Monster/Adversary[/h]
D&D Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast)
13th Age Bestiary (Pelgrane Press)
The Strange Bestiary (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Monsternomicon (Privateer Press)
Achtung! Cthulhu: Terrors of the Secret War (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)

[h=4]Best Podcast[/h]
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff
Miskatonic University Podcast
Translating the Strange
NPC Cast
Grim Dark Podcast

[h=4]Best Production Values[/h]
Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)
D&D Starter Set (Wizards of the Coast)
The Guide to Glorantha (Moon Design Publications)
Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Roleplaying Game Adventure Kit (Privateer Press)
Shadowrun: Runner’s Toolkit: Alphaware (Catalyst Game Labs)

[h=4]Best RPG Related Product[/h]
Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry (Evil Hat Productions)
Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It (Mad Norwegian Press)
Shadowrun: Crossfire (Catalyst Game Labs)
Temple of Elemental Evil (WizKids)
Doctor Who: The Card Game 2nd Edition (Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.)

[h=4]Best Rules[/h]
D&D Player’s Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)
MUTANT: Year Zero – The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game (Transhuman Science-Fiction Adventure in the Second Age of Space) (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
At the Hands of an Angry God (BlackWyrm Games)
Monster of the Week (Evil Hat Productions)

[h=4]Best Setting[/h]
The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
The Guide to Glorantha (Moon Design Publications)
MUTANT: Year Zero – The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Trail of Cthulhu: Dreamhounds of Paris (Pelgrane Press)

[h=4]Best Software[/h]
Roll20 (Roll 20)
D&D Complete Core Monster Pack for Fantasy Grounds (SmiteWorks USA LLC)
Hero Lab (Lone Wolf Development)
Syrinscape’s Rise of the Runelords Mega SoundPack (Syrinscape)
Eclipse Phase: Singularity Character Generator (Posthuman Studios & Snow Dog Labs)

[h=4]Best Supplement[/h]
D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide (Wizards of the Coast)
Pathfinder RPG: Pathfinder Unchained (Paizo Inc.)
Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
Doctor Who – The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook (Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.)
Shadowrun: Run Faster (Catalyst Game Labs)

[h=4]Best Website[/h]
Tabletop Audio
Adventureaweek
Age of Ravens
The Escapist
The Illuminerdy

[h=4]Best Writing[/h]
Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 2 by Kenneth Hite (Pelgrane Press)
D&D Player’s Handbook by Jeremy Crawford, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell (Wizards of the Coast)
The Strange by Monte Cook, Bruce R. Cordell (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
A Red & Pleasant Land by Zak S (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry by Shannon Appelcline (Evil Hat Productions)

[h=4]Product of the Year[/h]
MUTANT: Year Zero – The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)
A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
The Guide to Glorantha (Moon Design Publications)
D&D Player’s Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)
Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Core Rules Hardcover (Privateer Press)
Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry (Evil Hat Productions) Firefly Roleplaying Game (Margaret Weis Productions)
Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game (Transhuman Science-Fiction Adventure in the Second Age of Space) (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)

[h=4]Judges' Spotlight[/h]
Each judge chooses one product which they feel deserves highlighting. These are not ENnie nominations, but they are products which deserve recognition.

Annah Madrinan: Dragons in the Stacks: A Teen Librarian’s Guide to Tabletop Role-Playing (Libraries Unlimited)
Stacy Muth: Wicked Lies and Alibis (Imaginary Empire)
Jakub Nowosad: Posthuman Pathways (Genesis of Legend Publishing)
Kayra Keri Kupcu: Firefly Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics (Margaret Weis Productions)
Kurt Wiegel: East Texas University (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
 

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Perram

Explorer
The paywall argument is tricky since the difference between something I host on my blog and something I throw on CreateSpace or DriveThruRPG is minor and really a matter of time and energy.

Arguably, Pathfinder is free as the rules are part of the PRD. And it's a copy of an established game that borrows much of the IP. You could make a case that Pathfinder is "fan work".
And Fate - both regular and accelerated - are "pay what you want" on DriveThru, so they're as close to free as you can get. It's like a "donate" button or a Patreon link.

Speaking of Patreon, what about the ENworld articles: En5sider and Trailseeker? They're for-profit and paid for by Patreon. However, the Pathfinder one is done under licence (probably) while the 5e one just skirts at the edge of copyright. Is one professional while the other a fan work?

I would find it hard to call any of those 'fan' works with anything but the most technical and finicky of details. This is also making the false assumption that 'fan' work and 'professional' work are mutually exclusive. Look at the video game industry, look at Eldrich. It is every bit a fan work... but it also professional.

'Professional' has a rather specific definition that we have diluted over the years. You seem to want to ignore the connection to the 'profession' part of the word and cast it as a judgement of quality. I can understand why, but I think that this is the mistake at question here.
 

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The removal of the Mass Effect game from the nominations seems like a good idea. Sad it also resulted in the files going down.

There is an interesting discussion on the live of professional vs fan work.


What differentiates a "professional made work"?
The author of the work was paid for his rules writing in the past, making him a professional. It certainly looked professional. It was free, but so are the D&D Basic Rules and Fate Accelerated. If it's using ideas other than your own, wouldn't that include most OSR games? If it's not working for a full time publisher that eliminates most 3rd Party Publishers who operate as a second job.

An unlicenced adaptation is problematic, and that alone seems like reason to omit it. But that's not quite the same as "professionally made".

There's no question it was professional quality. None. Zero. It was gorgeous.

But that was part of the problem. Heck, I'm all about hacking systems for different IPs, and there's lots out there. But almost all of them feature very little, or no, art and minimal, if any, layout. Many are just Word documents.

Personally I hope Don takes the rules, creates his own universe, Kickstarts that baby and has great success with it. He's got the chops.
 

You think that, given dilution of the copyright / trademark's commercial value is one of the more common ways Fair Use claims are shot down, his status as a professional in the relevant industry won't be relevant? You honestly think the context is the same as though he had no published credits to his name and was a car mechanic?
I think they'd respond with a C+D no matter who wrote it.

Defending copyright infringement based on Fair Use is all about convincing the judge or mediator about how the copyrights are perceived. There are no actual percentages or stated thresholds of pass/fail in this section of copyright law. It's VERY subjective. That being so, I imagine EA's lawyer would probably disagree with you about the relevancy of Don's status as an industry professional when Don's defense would be founded on his work being provided in a not-for profit, fan-based capacity.
If the work was advertised on the site as "by the award winning Don Mappin!!" it might be more relevant, but his credits are burred in the site. EA's lawyers would almost certainly argue that his professional nature makes the product seem more official, which is more damaging to the trademarks.
But it's not like they wouldn't lawsuit and ignore the document if it were a car mechanic who wrote the book in their free time.

From all accounts, his work was VERY professional in terms of its quality. If you want to be entirely true to the term, yes it was professional because Don is a professional at creating games -- he gets paid for doing so. The question is perhaps best asked in terms of "should the general ENnie award categories be about COMMERCIAL products or all products?" to avoid confusion in the case of fan made material that is also made by professionals, such as Don. I'm not a fan of people using "professional" as a synonym for "commercial."
The author of the product was a professional writer. What made the book good was the layout and presentation, which Mr. Mappin is not a professional at and is not listed on his resume. In that regard he is as much an amateur as anyone else.

The catch is, it's not *that* hard to make a book look professional anymore. You can do wonders with standard office programs, and InDesign and Photoshop skills are common in many more jobs. I've seen fan works emulating the 5th Edition aesthetics that look much, much better than books I've paid money for. It just takes some skill and patience.
 

I'm glad you feel you've proved a point. Awards are about ego strokes to some degree, so why not message board posts? I have no point to prove, no ax to grind, merely coin to spend elsewhere. Again, you helped me come to that decision, whether it was your intended purpose or not does not change the result. You have my gratitude just the same.
Sigh.

Look, again ... it's not about ego. You just think it is, which, as I said, illustrates why some commercial publishers don't want to mingle with non-commercial products for an award. Opening up anything they have to say to such a subjective, interpretive and reactionary response like you're presenting simply isn't to their benefit.

There are, for example, some absolutely AMAZING "fan", non-commercial movies I can watch in HD via Youtube and the like -- some of which are put out by people who also work professionally in the film industry. However, how do you think the film studios would react if those movies were nominated alongside their own in the Oscars? The mere presence of such films would harm their branding as a studio -- in layman's terms, it would "hurt their name." And do you think that would improve if the fan movie won?

Same thing here. Commercial game publishers spend money on putting out their products and they have reasons related to that money for submitting to awards, so when the risk of brand damage (and other concerns) come up from such a thing, they are placed in a position of risk assessment. Part of this risk assessment is the common perception that the ENnies are a commercial product award. So, when they submit something for a given general category and don't make the cut but a non-commercial product does, that does not exactly boost their product or company branding favourably. Nor does it provide them an incentive to keep submitting. The proper way to handle such a concern would be to either create fan specific categories or an additional, separate fan-based award process.
 

Allensh

Explorer
The removal of the Mass Effect game from the nominations seems like a good idea. Sad it also resulted in the files going down.

There is an interesting discussion on the live of professional vs fan work.


What differentiates a "professional made work"?
The author of the work was paid for his rules writing in the past, making him a professional. It certainly looked professional. It was free, but so are the D&D Basic Rules and Fate Accelerated. If it's using ideas other than your own, wouldn't that include most OSR games? If it's not working for a full time publisher that eliminates most 3rd Party Publishers who operate as a second job.

An unlicenced adaptation is problematic, and that alone seems like reason to omit it. But that's not quite the same as "professionally made".

I define professionally made as "produced by a person or company that is being paid and/or paying to do so". Professional quality is not the same thing as professionally produced. There is no doubt that the ME FATE materials were of professional quality.
 

Oh, and by the way, if anyone is still on the fence about the legality of this product (including Don), he is selling a print version on Lulu at cost (I'm not going to post the link, as any copy sold would only dig Don's hole deeper for him.) Even though he isn't making a profit, even charging cost for something containing someone else's IP without permission is a clear case of infringement. Copyright laws also cover distribution and not just profit.
 


Dahak

Explorer

Steve. First, let me say that I appreciate you taking the time to thoughtfully respond. My concern is much less about fan vs. professional publishing at this point. The Ennies are not the Oscars and Russ can make those decisions for himself.

My problem with the publisher in question at this point is based on this:

Steve Conan Trustrum said:
Other publishers also have the right to disagree and reconsider the value they place on the awards when a product using infringing IP is placed against their own or potentially displaced their products in categories they attempted to get nominated for. Which is the opinion that's making the rounds amongst a number of publishers right now.

If a publisher chooses to politically leverage (bully) an organization into accepting its values as their own, I take issue. My group takes issue with it, so we blacklist the publisher. Decision made. Other publishers have done it in the past, and we did the same with them. As I mentioned elsewhere, it's largely symbolic. Although we do spend large (too large according to our wives and husbands) amounts on gaming books, we won't even cause these publishers to blink. We're simply not that important.
 

DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
The removal of the Mass Effect game from the nominations seems like a good idea. Sad it also resulted in the files going down.

The two things are actually unrelated.

The ENnies removed it from the nominations because they disqualified it for their own reasons and based on their new guidelines (which I agree with 100%).

The author removed it from his website because he is likely to get one or more C&Ds hurled at him with excessive force. This situation not only made that apparent, it likely made that inevitable.
 


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