2020 Judge – Christopher Gath

Online Nicknames

Introduction and Platform
I have been gaming for decades and have enjoyed the advancement and creativity that gaming offers. I want to see what new and creative voices that are challenging the way games are written and being played have to say. I like to see old ideas done in new and exciting ways. If I am lucky enough to be a judge this year I vow to offer a voice for the small press games and the PDFs. I look for creativity in rules and setting no matter how it is presented.


Why do you play/run RPGs?
I do it for the community. I enjoy talking about games and how adventures and campaigns are structured. I like bringing joy to players by presenting them with challenges and opportunities to shine. I like to introduce people to gaming and to introduce new games to gamers that might not be aware of them.


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 friends and family support me in doing this. They know it is a priority an that I will have to miss other important activities because of it. I have a large group of gaming friends that help me in evaluation and playtesting new games. My friends and family know that in May and June I will be available less because that is the busiest time for the Judges.


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 an accountant. Meeting deadlines is one of the most important things I do at work. I constantly have to organize large amounts of data and interpret them in many different ways. I have to present finding at meetings and explain my actions and choices to superiors. I have been an active gamer for a long time. I play and read many games on my own and have a large space already dedicated to my game library. I look forward to debating with the other judges and challenging their arguments while they do the same with mine.


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”?
Lately I have really been enjoying Fantasy and Urban Fantasy. Right now my two favorite games of those genres are Forbidden Lands and Luminal. If there is one genre I am a bit tired of it is Cthulhu. I enjoy games like Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu but the mythos seeps into other games that it does not fit well. It can be jarring to read and interesting sourcebook to a game and then see that the author has included Cthulhu mythos items that don’t fit and don’t get the support in the book they need. I would prefer seeing the creativity of an author develop new horror ideas.


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?
Within the past year I have played and ran Leverage, Masks: a new Generation, D&D 5e, Forbidden Lands, Mothership, Dresden Files, Trail of Cthulhu, Black Hack, City of Mist, and Archives of the Sky the most. Many of them were played with friends so even a bad game with friends is an enjoyable experience. Some of them were convention games and that limits the experience somewhat.


Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.
In general I am looking for something I have not seen before. I want creativity in rules and or setting. I want something easy to read and understand but still have enough depth for multi session campaigns. I look for a good layout and editing. I want to be immersed in a game with the art that supports the prose. I want to get exciting while reading it to the point that I want to talk about it with other people.


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 gaming collection that does include many games so hopefully there will not be too many I have to seek out. But if I do need to I first go to friends and see if anyone has the core book that I need. If the game sounds interesting I will just go out and buy myself a copy of the core rules. For a game I feel is badly designed or I just don’t like I still need to be able to look at the supplement on its own merits. Some of the best supplements or setting books I own are for games I feel are badly designed. Many gamers like myself are notorious for taking ideas from one game and applying them to another. I always want to look for the good in any book I read.


How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?
I think the ENnies needs to focus more on gaming and less on the peripherals. Podcasts for instance are huge and there are so many of them out there that the ENnies can not do them justice. They have out grown what the ENnies can do and I feel they need to set up their own awards. The ENnies needs to find a way for everyone to compete including Wizards of the Coast and Paizo. These are two of the biggest companies in our industry and the ENnies needs to find a way to get them involved again.


BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?
The complete tax code for the modern day Wizard. It would be Epic.

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