Interview – Greg Porter (Blacksburg Tactical Research Center)

Blacksburg Tactical Research Center is a gaming company that creates the role-playing games and supplements for a small audience of die-hard fans, and for new converts acquired through word-of- mouth advertising.

First off, let me thank you for taking the time to be interviewed for the ENnies. I truly appreciate you taking the time to talk about the ENnies.

Not a problem.

Starting off with a more personal question, Blacksburg Tactical Research Center was founded in 1986. So after being around for 25 years, what keeps you going? What keeps you enthusiastic about working in the RPG industry?

I enjoy gaming, I enjoy the challenge of designing a good game and the satisfaction of seeing others enjoy my work

In 2006, Stuff!, “an EABA-based design tool that lets you design just about anything you need for any campaign, at any level of detail you need,” was nominated for Best Electronic Book. What did you think of the ENnies when you found out that you were nominated?

I don’t know that I thought that much of the ENnies. It was more of a “cool, I got nominated.” thing.

Did your nomination affect short-term sales? How about long-term sales?

As far as I can tell, gaming awards in general do not do a lot for sales, with the possible exception of more mainstream things like a top rating in the “Games 100″ list, which hits a much bigger audience than more narrowly noticed awards like the ENnies. It’s good to see ENnie winners getting press in things like Wired magazine, so hopefully an ENnie nod will become more valuable as they get more notice.

What projects do you have on the schedule; anything you can talk about?

At the moment, EABA v2 is in the works, along with half a dozen gameworlds in various stages of development, mostly waiting for any changes in rule mechanics to filter down. A few print-and-play card and board game designs, like the unfortunately titled “Rape, Pillage and Burn”. It’s a game about Vikings and Villagers. Had some third party interest in the game, but no one will touch it with that title, and unfortunately, the title is the game.

Now that we’ve been around for over a decade, what do the ENnies mean to you both personally and professionally?

Not a huge amount. If I have a product I feel is worth submitting, I’ll do so. I watch to see what does get nominated and see who picked up trophies at GenCon.

Last question; if someone who had never heard of the ENnie Awards walked up to you today and asked, “So what are these ‘ENnies’ you keep talking about,” how would you answer them?

“It’s a yearly award handed out by ENworld. They used to be a D&D only site but have branched out to cover all aspects of gaming. Hell, they’ve even had some of my stuff on the awards shortlist…”

For more information on BTRC, visit their website at www.btrc.net.

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