Judges

Online Nicknames Hooper

Introduction and Platform

Hello all! I am glad to present myself again for consideration to work as a judge. For those who do not know me, my name is Hooper (that is my full name – yes, like Cher, but without the chaps) and I am currently the Vice President of OGREs: The Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts, Incorporated. Additionally, I am a member of the CAR-PGa, a communal gaming advocacy organization.

I believe in the positive social benefits of communal gaming, and proudly participate in numerous forms of Tabletop and live action gaming with my friends, my children, and my coworkers. When judging a game, my main consideration will be if the game facilitates a fun and engaging environment, and to me nothing is more important.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I was introduced to Tabletop gaming as a child, with weekly family board game and card game nights. My first experience with Tabletop rpgs through White Wolf’s original Werewolf line. This led to Traveler, Star Wars, D&D, and then all bets were off. I love learning new systems and settings. I have GMd often, running games for multiple years and I am currently GMing a game set in Martin’s Ice and Fire universe. I have received playtesting credit from numerous small press publishers, and have written a small amount for the independent game All-Stars.

The ENnies requires a major commitment of time and energy. What resources do you have that will help you discharge these responsibilities? Will your gaming group or other individuals be assisting you? Does your family support you?

I am lucky to have a local gaming group with over 50 weekly active gamers, and over 200 monthly active gamers. Their support, input, and scheduling assistance is a major boon to my gaming lifestyle. My children join in when appropriate, and my family is full of gamers!

It also helps that my workplace is a fun environment filled with fellow gamers.

Judging requires a great deal of critical thinking skills, communication with other judges, deadline management, organization, and storage space for the product received. What interests, experience, and skills do you bring that will make you a more effective judge?

Years of product playtesting coupled with professional roles requiring social awareness and analyzing have hones my ability to “see the forest instead of the trees.” My professional management role requires constant task management and deadline assurance. When it comes to physical organization, I’m lucky to have an in-home dedicated gaming level as well as a home office. I am extremely connected at all times and available for discussion with other judges and individuals. My experience as a judge during 2013 really helped me confirm that these are the essential skills when looking objectively at materials.

What styles and genres of RPGs do you enjoy most? Are there any styles or genres that you do not enjoy? Which games best exemplify what you like? Do you consider yourself a particular system’s, publisher’s, or genre’s “fanboy/fangirl”?

I am fond of nearly all types of gaming genres, being hard pressed to find any that I don’t enjoy. My closest would be horror gaming, which I can still enjoy but wouldn’t pick first. I really enjoy humorous games and games that include political or social aspects. Some of my favorite memories include sessions that had no combat but still plenty of encounters.

I tend to be a fan of a game more than a Creator. I’ll give any company a chance if the product has potential.

What games have you played in the past year? List up to 10 RPGs you have played the most. Which ones, if any, have you loved or hated?

A Song of Ice and Fire, D&D (AD&D, 3.5, 4.0), Pathfinder, Amtgard, Myriad card and board games, Everquest, Star Trek and Star Wars homebrews, Wolsung, Leviathans, and many one-offs. Not to mention all of the great content sent in for this recent ENnies year.

Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.

As mentioned last year, I will be looking for the product’s completeness and ability to convey the creators intended play; accessibility for newcomers to the system or setting; and if the resources available to the specific publisher were used to their fullest ability. This last criteria is a scalable benchmark. Size and format create hindrances and benefits unique to each delivery format, and I will be looking to see if the publisher considered this.

Originality can be a huge boost, but requires an ability to convey concisely, so if done half hearted can become a burden. Using a pinch of tried and true staples and then applying unique takes allows more accessibility and eases the understanding of a release.

How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?

Thankfully, I would first use my most valuable resource as a member of a large regional gaming club and try to locate the product or, if not available, someone familiar with the product. In the unlikely event that fails, researching online would be my next step. I’m a genealogist and member of IAAH and a debt collector: I will find the droids I look for!

How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?

I believe the system is great, but that we should begin to include some Live Action categories. The cross demographic of LARPers and Boffers is high, and we should promote cross-gaming. This last year saw some Live Action material sent in, but mostly it was LA versions of tabletop classics. I think we’re missing out by excluding this shared demographic.

BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?

Bad Luck Brian: The Game. And god no, I’d burn it. And all copies.

Online Nicknames Keri

Introduction and Platform

I was born in 1983 and I’m playing tabletop RPG since 1997. First started with the Basic D&D setting, then started playing AD&D 2nd Edition at 1998. Then I played lots of systems. I usually write my own scenarios for my games and I am working on my own RPG system about Gallipoli (World War I) I am an editor and I edited lots of fantasy books in Turkiye including Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft novels. In 2004, I created the website FRPNET. Frpnet is the biggest RPG website in Turkiye that nearly 50.000 – 60.000 monthly visitors. And also I participated in the organization squad in lots of conventions in Turkiye.

I am still playing RPGs and still writing lots of scenarios and drawing lots of dungeon maps. Still trying to find ways to improve the quality of games!

I am living with my wife and my 2 dogs.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I started to play RPGs in 1997, and after that time, RPGs are a big part of my life. When I was a child, I was watching lots of cartoons (also I wrote a book about cartoons) and I have a good imagination. That’s why my first RPG session impressed me so much.

RPGs are improving my imagination and I am always thinking to create something new. Sometimes a creature or a new campaign etc.

RPG is my lifestyle. I run RPGs because I like to surprise people and I love to see my players find a wisely solution in a difficult situation. I like to play RPGs because these are the one the best moments of my life!

The ENnies requires a major commitment of time and energy. What resources do you have that will help you discharge these responsibilities? Will your gaming group or other individuals be assisting you? Does your family support you?

I know that all Frpnet staff and all my friends will be happy to help. My wife also playing RPGs. At weekends, we are meeting in my home to play RPGs, board games and card games. I know everybody will support me and help me. :)

Judging requires a great deal of critical thinking skills, communication with other judges, deadline management, organization, and storage space for the product received. What interests, experience, and skills do you bring that will make you a more effective judge?

I am playing RPGs for a long time. As the founder and editor of Frpnet website, I am familiar with lots of RPG systems and stuff. Also I worked in publishing companies that publishes fantasy/sci-fi books as an editor and I can judge and I can recognize the good and the bad stuff. And as a game designer, I surely understand a good story. ;)

What styles and genres of RPGs do you enjoy most? Are there any styles or genres that you do not enjoy? Which games best exemplify what you like? Do you consider yourself a particular system’s, publisher’s, or genre’s “fanboy/fangirl”?

Fantasy and post-apocalyptic settings are that I enjoy most. There are not any styles of genres I don’t enjoy. I played fantasy, sci-fi, modern, post-apocalyptic, historical etc. I like every good setting and system. I run lots of D&D and old World of Darkness games but I am not a fanboy. I can run and play everything.

What games have you played in the past year? List up to 10 RPGs you have played the most. Which ones, if any, have you loved or hated?

I played generally D&D, Fallout P&P, Vampire the Masquerade.

I also run lots of Basic D&D, AD&D, D&D 3E, Vampire the Masquerade, Vampire Dark Ages, Call of Cthulhu, Fallout Pen and Paper, Star Wars d6, Alternity Starcraft, Mouse Guard, Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, Marvel and Cortex. And I am familiar with lots of other stuff.

Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.

  • First of all, RPGs are for fun. So everybody must have fun when the session ends.
  • It mustn’t be too complicated to understand.
  • Game mechanics should be good. There mustn’t be contradictions for players and GM.
  • I check that is it innovative
  • If it is an adventure, I watch that my players will enjoy it or not

How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?

I will try to play it with it’s core rules. The judge must be open minded, not opinionated so needs to try everything. If I cannot run the game with the core rules, I will try a familiar system but judge it with it’s core rule system.

If I can find anybody that knows and runs the core rules of this adventure, I can ask him/her to run a game with this adventure.

How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?

ENnies is a great opportunity for the players to see the good RPGs. It is not possible for every player to play every RPG so they can see the good games in ENnies. And ENnies is known by many RPG players year-by-year.

BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?

D&D Tomb of Horros because I am full of surprises! :) Yes, I would like to play it!

Online Nicknames Whirligig

Introduction and Platform

Hello, I’m Stacy Muth and am excited to be considered for 2014 Ennies judge. I live in Dayton, Oho with my husband, Matthew, and two dogs, Eris and Loki. I have a Law degree and a B.A.in English Language and Literature.

I’ve been involved with gaming since my grandparents taught me Canasta at 6 yrs old. I discovered RPGs at 10 years old, when my parents got me the Moldvay Red Box for Christmas. They had no idea what it was but, based on the cover, they knew I’d love it – I did! This led to discovering Ral Partha minis and a lifelong love of painting and using minis for gaming. I spent hours pillaging Barbie’s townhouse with my D&D adventurers. I have since engrossed myself in the hobby ever since. I would say my platform would be summed up as ‘looking to the new while respecting the past.’

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I play and run RPGs because it gives me the ability to be 100% creative and ignore the bonds of reality to tell the story. Running and playing RPGs is a great way to spend time with friends, express creativity, and engage in the shared experience of character development and world building. Whether it’s the spooky nuances of horror or the flare of high adventure, I find gaming to be one of the most liberating and exciting pass times that I love to do.

I also love the camaraderie gaming provides. I’m a member of multiple online communities interested in discussing and promoting gaming in all forms. In addition, I’m a long time attendee/GM at GenCon (12+ years), a Sr. Volunteer/Area Manager for Origins (5+ years), and have organized multiple local gaming shows.

The ENnies requires a major commitment of time and energy. What resources do you have that will help you discharge these responsibilities? Will your gaming group or other individuals be assisting you? Does your family support you? My resources are quite extensive. I have a ready and willing extended group of local friends that are all willing to playtest pretty much anything. I also have access to two local gaming stores that have open role-playing sessions, in case I want to test something to a random group of strangers. In addition, I attend 4-6

Cons a year which affords many opportunities to try new things.

My family is highly supportive and encouraging that I pursue this nomination.

Judging requires a great deal of critical thinking skills, communication with other judges, deadline management, organization, and storage space for the product received. What interests, experience, and skills do you bring that will make you a more effective judge?

My adventures in law school taught me not only how to be a strong critical thinker, but also the value of organization and time management. My skills in this area are exceptionally strong. Currently, I manage other legal professionals and spend a good deal of time coaching them on effective communication, including dispute resolution, and organization. I’m considered the wordsmith on our team and am generally tasked with creating a great deal of the complicated communications that are needed.

What styles and genres of RPGs do you enjoy most? Are there any styles or genres that you do not enjoy? Which games best exemplify what you like? Do you consider yourself a particular system’s, publisher’s, or genre’s “fanboy/fangirl”?

I have a special fondness for horror, fantasy, and superhero genres. The games that best exemplify what I like would be Call of Cthulhu, D&D, and Mutants and Masterminds. There is really no style/genre that I don’t like. I love to try out new systems and play in new landscapes. I don’t consider myself a fangirl of any particular publisher/genre/system.

What games have you played in the past year? List up to 10 RPGs you have played the most. Which ones, if any, have you loved or hated?

I’ve played a lot of games, both RPGs and board games, in the past year. The RPGs include Unhallowed Metropolis, Fiasco, 4e, Pathfinder, Trail of Cthulhu, Night’s Black Agents, Monsterhearts, Mutants & Masterminds, Call of Cthulhu, Dread, Leverage, A Song of Ice and Fire, and Dungeon World.

The games I have played the most are:

  • Mutants and Masterminds
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • D&D (all editions)
  • Fiasco
  • Unhallowed Metropolis
  • Champions
  • Pathfinder
  • Trail of Cthulhu

I have really loved all of them and appreciate the unique qualities that each system brings to the gaming table.

Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.

I will judge the products on their merits by balancing the creative narrative, mechanics and overall game play as well as the elegance of what is presented. I would pay particular attention to what the product does to enhance or further the world of gaming.

How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?

I have a large gaming collection, two local game stores with libraries of games for patrons to use, and an incredibly large circle of friends with game collections and a plethora of experience.

How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?

The ENnies works very well and has been improving itself and evolving year after year. Whereas there may be room for minor improvements, there is nothing that seems to need a major overhaul.

BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?

It would be called Jack of All Trades, the Fearless Diva edition – I’d run it, paint minis of the characters, and bake cookies for the players at the same time.

Online Nicknames Arathi / Arathic

Introduction and Platform

How to spend time with friends and have fun? Answer is very simple – roll the dice. RPGs are the most creative way to find yourself in the different situations every day. And ENnies is a great way to learn about it.

I’m master in law & master in political science (PhD student for now) and a geek. From 2009 to 2012 I was an assistant editor-in-chief, head of the role-playing games section of Paradoks, one of the first portals in Poland. Now I’m working with other gamers as a redactor and reviewer in another site Gry-Fabularne.pl.

I love playing in every game. It’s good? Wonderful. It’s bad? Improve it. You can choose me and see how gamers in Poland are enjoying one of the best hobby in the world. And it will be a honor to be a judge.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I started with playing polish versions of old boardgames – Talisman, Aliens. But it was not enough for me. I saw Middle Earth RPG in the hands of my friend. I was like enchanted. Next years I was playing polish game Wiedźmin (The Witcher RPG). Since then – 17 years later – I’ve been playing in almost 80 different games (boardgames, RPGs, etc). Most of the time as a Game Master.

RPGs gives me a chance to explore other worlds, minds and ideas. It is a great opportunity to learn through entertainment. I like to review every game – to tell other people “hey, this game is interesting; take it and try”. I was an organizer of 15th conventions – not big as a Gen Con, but with good reviews and a lot of fun.

I like to see smiles in the faces of people that are playing with me or attending on my conventions. This is the perfection in hobby for me.

The ENnies requires a major commitment of time and energy. What resources do you have that will help you discharge these responsibilities? Will your gaming group or other individuals be assisting you? Does your family support you?

I have a lot of mana, sanity points and skills to play thousands of games.

With the help of my family, friends (also a gamers) and hundreds of local geeks I can choose wisely and compose different team for different game.

I will try every game with a new players and veterans – then I will have a good overview.

Judging requires a great deal of critical thinking skills, communication with other judges, deadline management, organization, and storage space for the product received. What interests, experience, and skills do you bring that will make you a more effective judge?

Almost 20 years of gaming, 9 years of reviewing and more than 80 of games behind me. I am even making some reviews of historical books, movies and comic books and I am trying to watch and analyze players behavior.

With experience in many spheres I think I know how to judge every game in many different ways. Using my empathy I can see how my players are enjoying the game – even if they don’t won’t to share their view.

What styles and genres of RPGs do you enjoy most? Are there any styles or genres that you do not enjoy? Which games best exemplify what you like? Do you consider yourself a particular system’s, publisher’s, or genre’s “fanboy/fangirl”?

I like to try every genre, but my favorite are sci-fi and espionage. But if the game gives me a good story and mechanic supports this story well, I think I can give 5 stars.

I enjoy every style. I don’t see any style is better than other – every game, every player need other style. The most enjoyable is to mix styles and genres – first hour of playing cinematic , next hour noir and next hour epic battle etc.

What games have you played in the past year? List up to 10 RPGs you have played the most. Which ones, if any, have you loved or hated?

Deadlands Reloaded, Grimm (full version, not Horizon D20), Wolsung, InSpectres, Shadowrun, SWEX Interface Zero, Pathfinder, Armie Apokalipsy (polish game; “Armies of Apocalypse” in english – about angels fighting demons), The Shadow of Yesterday, Star Wars. And all of the wonderful games sent in for this recent ENnies year.

Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.

Game is good when it has an original story supported by mechanics. Doesn’t matter who wrote game – even newbie can make a memorable game.

The look of the game matters, but it is not most important factor.

It shouldn’t be to complex for a new gamers. Players should have a lot of options to customize characters and have a good rules to drive a story without boredom.

In short: game is good when I want to play it again and again; it doesn’t matter is it original – game must give fun.

How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?

I like to see something new. I don’t know it? So what. I will take it, read it, learn it, compare it with things I know. Even if It take a lot of time to know supplement I go out with the assumption that it is profitable and I will not regret it.

How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?

I think categories based on a genres could be a great option. Voters then will have a compiled list of genres and it could help them to choose wisely.

BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?

Mystery, conspiracy and a lot of action – time and place doesn’t matter. Probably I will be a GM.

Introduction and Platform Hi. I’m Kurt Wiegel. I’m a professor of chemistry and a husband and proud father of three. I’m an aging gamer now – 41 years old (“The Gamer in Winter?”), and I’ve been gaming for 34 pretty continuous years, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a way to balance my work, family and hobby. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved in an on-line RPG review show: Game Geeks on YouTube, and I was thrilled to have been elected as a 2012 Ennies judge, and I’d greatly enjoy the opportunity to do so again. One of the things I love about my hobby is the wide diversity of products and opportunities that it offers- so many stories and so little time. We’ve always had a “no negative review” policy at Game Geeks, something I’d continue here if reelected to the Ennies.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

RPGs are like a drug for me. The ability to sit down and spin a story with my friends, to explore the range of schemes, emotion and occasionally dismemberment is an exhilarating experience, especially when contained within a “safe zone” of a rules structure. I mainly run (because there were many years when if I didn’t run, we didn’t play) games: I like anything with a strong narrative focus. My wife says its also a conduit for the voices in my head.

I’m especially excited to see other uses for RPGs: I have a former player who uses games in the troubled youth home at which he works. It’s a great method for connecting to the youth and helping them face their issues.

The ENnies requires a major commitment of time and energy. What resources do you have that will help you discharge these responsibilities? Will your gaming group or other individuals be assisting you? Does your family support you?

I have a very supportive wife and family. I’m used to balancing family life, work and my hobby. For game review and playtesting, I have an active, creative and diverse game group- they will be very active in helping me examine and analyze the products I would review.

Judging requires a great deal of critical thinking skills, communication with other judges, deadline management, organization, and storage space for the product received. What interests, experience, and skills do you bring that will make you a more effective judge?

I’m a scientist and teacher by trade, and as such I’m very accustomed to critical thinking and communicating to diverse audiences through a variety of methods. I always have to work towards deadlines as a teacher, researcher and family man. Having been a judge in 2012, I feel that I have a good handle on the time and commitment needed for this undertaking. I have a dedicated “Man Cave” in our basement for storage and a safe spot to run and hide when I want to read.

What styles and genres of RPGs do you enjoy most? Are there any styles or genres that you do not enjoy? Which games best exemplify what you like? Do you consider yourself a particular system’s, publisher’s, or genre’s “fanboy/fangirl”?

I enjoy playing any game that allows for telling interesting and intricate stories. I tend towards running and playing “rules-light,” more narriative-focused games, such as Unisystem, CORTEX and BRP. Like most gamers these days, time is a precious non-renewable commodity. Since Game Geeks began, I have gained an appreciation for more rules-oriented games, such as Savage Worlds, FATE, Spycraft and Fantasycraft. My favorite genre is the modern fantasy/horror genre, ranging from Buffy and the Dresden Files to Call of Cthulhu.

What games have you played in the past year? List up to 10 RPGs you have played the most. Which ones, if any, have you loved or hated?

  • Savage Worlds
  • Cinematic Unisystem
  • Cortex
  • Dresden Files
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Star Wars Saga
  • HERO Syatem
  • Fantaycraft
  • Pathfinder

Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.

I would start by considering each game on its own merits- some games are a principally rules with minimum setting, and many are more interesting settings with little rules bolted on. Reading and digesting each game is critical to being able to judge each one. Games that are truly epic in scope (very large) are often the most interesting to read and rewarding to understand. For me, PDF products have no substantive difference compared to print books. I think innovation is critical to our developing hobby- games have evolved tremendously from our roots in fantasy wargaming. I like to see games that try something different- I’d rather see a product aim for the fences and fall a little short than play it safe and reiterate what we’ve already seen hundreds of times before.

How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?

There have been very few games I’ve ever encountered that have no redeeming values. I’d get the core rules for any product from a system with which I’m unfamiliar. I think that’s key for understanding a game, even one which is mainly setting. The PDF market is ideal for getting games that are out of print, as are auctions sites like Ebay.

How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?

I’d like to see a category for best story, or best story arc for an adventure. Otherwise the categories and policies are well designed and shouldn’t be changed. I’d be very interested in a “best kids game,” or “best beginners game” being introduced. A lot of older gamers (myself included) have kids becoming interested in the hobby.

BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?

My life as a game would be a very strange combination of comedic Call of Cthulhu and Glee. Yes Glee.

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