icv2 has published the list of Origins Awards nominees. The nominees are decided by retailers at the GAMA Trade Show, and then attendees of Origins vote on the winners, and are announced at a ceremony on site (which we’ve covered two years in a row now).
Opinions vary on the validity and choices made by both the nominating parties and the voters themselves, but they still remain the premiere awards that cover the entire adventure game industry, not just one sub-set. Plus, while it might not matter much to the average gamer who doesn’t attend Origins, it’s still an immense honor to the game designers and publishers to be recognized by the award. (Some day I shall have a Calliope of my own!)
Here’s the categories I know a good amount about the nominees, and what I think will win in each.
My pick to win: Agricola, hands down. Not only has this been a consistent hit among the core “German-style” board gaming crowd, but also the Columbus board game club has a strong presence at Origins and will swing it over. Pandemic would be my guess for second, unless there’s a groundswell for dungeon crawling for TOMB.
Children’s, Family, and Party Games
My pick to win: This will be a battle of who can mobilize more effectively at Origins. Bucephalus is likely to have a strong showing at Origins this year and has been coming on strong, but Say Anything debuted at Origins last year (so has more of a built in audience) and isn’t splitting their votes between two different games, thus it gets my nod. In the end, though, they’re all good choices (though Baron Munchausen on that list, really?) and I’d happily recommend anything on the list.
My pick to win: Dominion Dominion Dominion. As much as I’d love Monty Python Fluxx to win, Dominion is a mega-hit across multiple cross-sections of gaming (and in fact, occupies some conceptual ground with MPF) and I predict will easily pick up the award.
My pick to win: An interesting selection to be sure, and notice the lack of Dragon, Dungeon, AND Pathfinder. My guess is that none of those are particularly appealing to retailers nowadays. Kobold Guide to Game Design is great, as is Things We Think About Games (my favorite book about game design to come out in a while), but both are very niche game design products without a lot of exposure to the general audience. I don’t know if Privateer Press has a strong enough presence at Origins or not, so I give this a toss-up between the other two, with it falling to Tour de Lovecraft, both for subject matter and author.
Miniature Figure Game Rules
My pick to win: Another very strong category, which surprises me given how little attention miniatures games seem to have gotten in the past year. 40k is clearly the 800 lb. gorilla here, with WoW being more recognizable outside of the adventure game circle. However, both are somewhat controversial. Monsterpocalypse also has some followers, but also isn’t tearing up the world. For the combination of satisfying rules and name recognition, the winner here will be Classic Battletech: Tactical Operations. Note that this is not for the core rules (that won last year), but an expansion… which I think will still be enough.
My pick to win: Two WotC games, two Cthulhu games, and Mouse Guard. Sorry Mouse Guard, as much as I love you, you’re toast. CthulhuTech has been getting a lot of attention, but was actually nominated last year from its previous publisher and lost. I think it’s going to come down to the two WotC games, and Star Wars is going to win that battle, since it has support from both 4e and non-4e fans, whereas I could easily see an organized campaign to vote against 4e.
Role-Playing Game Supplements
My pick to win: Once again, I think it’ll come down to the two WotC products, and Star Wars will win, especially when coupled with a popular license outside of RPGs. Plus, Star Wars stuff rocked the Ennies last year. Hero Lab, being a software program, is an unusual choice to put in this category, but I could see that pulling an upset.
My pick to win: A very strange category, and seemingly one with some glaring absences as far as good gaming accessories go. This is a category that is really hurt by being decided by retailers, since there’s lots of good stuff that doesn’t hit retail channels. (Though whoever does Living Arcanis’s marketing has done a good job). I think this goes to the Munchkin product.
The Origins Award winners will be announced on site, on Saturday, June 27th.