2020 Judge – Shauna Ratliff


Online Nicknames

Introduction and Platform
Like most gamers my first game was DnD and I took it home to make my parents play with me. I had to read the rules and teach them how to play. I have always been a big fan of mythology and fantasy so getting to experience it by pretending to be a part of it was exhilarating. I was hooked. Oddly there was a long break before my second game, Marvel Superheroes. Since then I have played a number of games of various genres. I’ve been a player and a GM.

I think the ENnies are an import part of the gaming community. It helps introduce new games, developers and ideas that may otherwise go unnoticed. As a judge, I would like to further the aims and goals of what has become a gaming institution.


Why do you play/run RPGs?
I’m an avid reader and movie goer. I like stories, most people do. While reading books or watching movies many of us have thought the characters should have done or said something differently, reacted differently. We would have done it differently, better. RPGs give us the chance to act out our visions of how characters should be. They give us a chance to experience worlds that are not our own as people other than ourselves.


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 network of gaming friends who would welcome the chance to help me with any ENnies responsibilities. We spend a considerable amount of time trying out new games and discussing the pro and cons of different games that spark our imaginations.


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 co-founder of a GM group dedicated to introducing a larger variety of role playing games to gaming conventions. I have excellent organizational, communication, and problem solving skills.


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 a huge fan of the Cyber Punk genre. Some of my best games have been run through Shadowrun. I have played all the White Wolf games as both table top and LARPs. As a result of my interest for fairies and mythology I ran a game of White Wolf’s Changeling for 3 years. FATE as become a particular favorite in that it gives you a set a rules you can apply to almost anything. I like these games because the players are not specifically bound to only what the game creators made, they can use their own knowledge and imagination to create new things within the paradigm of the given world and essentially make it their own.


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?
In the last year I’ve played FATE, 7th Seas, and Paranoia.

The games I’ve played the most (I loved something about all of them because I played them for extended periods of time):
Shadowrun – Probably my favorite game of all time
Changling – Great story with a lot of problems, most of which were eventually fixed
Werewolf – A great game for all types of playing styles
Mage – I found it the perfect game willing to find creative ways to do almost anything
Vampire – Probably my least favorite of the White Wolf games though full of angsty fun
DnD – Still probably one of the better fantasy games out there
Deadlands – Fun idea and inventive world
Marvel Superheroes – Who doesn’t want to be a superhero at some point?

Any games that emphasizes story, interaction and character development.


Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.
How easy the game’s rules are. Getting bogged down in the rules slows play and pulls players out of the game world and into the real world. Comprehensiveness of character creation and balance of abilities. Character abilities can make or break a game in a lot of cases so balance is very important. I think game setting is also important since if the world doesn’t make sense or isn’t interesting it’s hard to stay in character.


How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?
Everything deserves a fair chance. If unfamiliar with a set of rules I will either obtain the rules or talk to players of the system. Supplements should be comprehensive with minimal system knowledge and could vastly improve a poorly designed game as it’s a chance to improve upon the original.


How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?
It would be nice if more small and independent developers were considered. ENnies is a great opportunity for new developers to get a little light shined upon their efforts.


BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?
Changeling, because fairies and hells yeah I would play!

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