So I haven’t talked about it all that much here on the blog, but I’m one of the judges for the Gen Con ENworld RPG Awards (the ENnies) this year. This is not, technically, my first rodeo: I was also a judge in 2009. Our own d20Blonde was a judge in 2007 and 2008. Obviously, we’re invested. Even apart from that, I don’t think I’m stepping out of line to say that the ENnies are — at this point — one of the (if not the) premier awards in the RPG industry.
And this is why I’m writing.
If you want to take a gander at the 2012 ENnies submissions page, you’ll see essentially all of the absolutely fantastic products we’ve been lucky enough to receive and judge so far this year. But guys — this should be just a drop in the bucket. Not to get too crass, but there is some absolutely shit hot product on that list already. There’s stuff that I never would have even glanced at if it had not been entered that I have since fallen in love with. Stuff that I’ll probably be lobbying hard with my fellow judges to get nominated. But there’s still about 3 weeks left in the eligibility period (anything published between 1 May 2011 and 30 April 2012 is eligible for this year’s awards), and almost exactly a month (till 8 May, if you want to be exact) to make sure those entries are post-marked and on their way to the judges for consideration.
Here’s the thing — despite the absolutely awesome stuff that’s already been entered, and the rapid approach of the end of the eligibility period — no nomination decisions have been made. As absolutely gobsmacked as we (at least I) have been with the quality and creativity of what’s already been entered, I’ve also been surprised at some of the stuff that we haven’t received. There’s some pretty prestigious stuff (from companies both large and small) that we haven’t seen entered, and that kind of makes me sad.
If there’s one weakness in the ENnies nomination and judging process, it’s that we can only consider products that have been entered. That’s not to say that most or all of the stuff on the entry list above can’t stand with the best of the best, but I think everyone involved, from the fans to the publishers to the judges like me, would like to know that the nominees and the winners really earned their spot in competition with their peers. With their actual market competition.
I guess I can see that shipping 6 copies of a physical product to the ENnies can seem like taking money out of your pocket, and throwing it at a bunch of greedy, begging assholes. I mean, it cost you money to make that book. I don’t think there are a lot of RPG millionaires out there, and I’ve certainly lived in a world where money was tight.
But ladies and gentlemen — if you’ve got a product you’re proud of, let us greedy, begging assholes help get the name of your product out there. Let us help you get it in the hands of people who might never have picked it up off a store shelf, or would never have found the link where they could download it from the web. I think a nomination for the ENnies means something, and I’ll bet you (yes, you) a dollar that a bunch of folks out there do, too.
In short: there’s still time to get products considered for nomination. There are costs at hand, sure. But don’t let that blind you to the opportunity cost of deciding not to even enter. If you’re a publisher, please get your entries in ASAP, so we actually have time to read, play, and consider. We want to give your stuff the attention it deserves. If you’re a fan (or whatever) and you don’t see something on the entry list that you think should be there, encourage your favorite publishers to get moving. Chances are, if you love it, we’ll love it too.