On Friday, the nominations for the 2011 Ennie Awards were announced. For the third year in a row, Critical Hits has been nominated (in 2009 for best website and 2010 for best blog), and I’m honored to add both 2011 best blog to the list, as well as a nomination for best podcast for the Dungeon Master Guys.
Obviously all of us here who have worked on the blog and the podcast are overjoyed at the nomination, and hopeful that this will be the year we take home a prize, and we greatly appreciate the judge’s nominations as well as the support of our readers and contributors.
There are a few entries that I’d like to highlight, as I’ve also done in the past, in the hopes that it helps inform your Ennies voting (that opens this Friday.)
Revenge of the Iron Lich (Best Adventure, Best Free Product): Though not necessarily everyone’s tastes, the first of these “Fourthcore” adventures is worth checking out for any D&D fan, though especially 4e fans. Pushing the boundaries of 4e adventure design in directions that it needed to, there are lessons to be learned from the Fourthcore products in how 4e can be used to great effect for not just one default style.
D&D Essentials: Dungeon Tiles Master Set (Best Aid/Accessory): I’ve said before that the Dungeon Tiles might be the most successful product that WotC has ever produced, given that it’s a game-neutral, uncontroversial, and highly useful product for roleplayers everywhere. The master sets compile the best of previous sets (along with some new additions) to make one box with lots of possibilities.
Best Blog: While obviously we’re biased in this category, I’d also like to add a few notes to the other nominees:
- At-Will is the brainchild of Quinn Murphy, the mad genius of 4e (and other games too). The authority on skill challenges, the creator of the revolutionary solo monster paradigm Worldbreaker, and all around the source for brilliant ideas about 4e variant rules, At-Will is a must for D&D players.
- Gnome Stew: As I’ve said previously, there’s no better site for GMs to follow than Gnome Stew. Their experienced crew puts out regular GMing advice that all GMs, regardless of experience level, would do well to pay attention to. Their books (Eureka and Masks) are just one expression of their utility to GMs.
- Sarah Darkmagic: Tracy brings a perspective in gaming not often found, that of both someone with countless ideas and enthusiasm, without all the baggage that many of us carry in regards to older editions of D&D. Always worth a read for insights into the creative process and gaming at its finest.
- Thistle Games: While I admit this is a new one to me, just the fact that it’s on the list with these other blogs merit a close look.
Old School Hack (Best Free Product): A fast and fun take on classic dungeon-crawling adventure designed to emulate the experience without being beholden to any full game. And of course, a totally free complete game.
Dresden Files RPG (Best Game, Best New Game, Best Production Values, Best Rules, Best Writing, Product of the Year): This RPG powerhouse has already won Golden Geek Awards and both its categories in the Origins Awards, as well as being nominated for the coveted Diana Jones Award. The Dresden Files has a lot to offer, as a complete game for crafting your own Dresdenverse adventures, or crafting any kind of urban fantasy game, or just to read from cover to cover as a dying breed of entertaining RPG manual.
Best RPG Related Product: The Battletech boxed set, Castle Ravenloft, Hamlet’s Hit Points, the great dice bags from Dragon Chow, and The Bones- like many others this year, this is a solid category with no bad choices.
Obsidian Portal and RPG Geek (Best Website): Both websites enhance my gaming experience: Obsidian Portal for helping to manage my campaign, RPG Geek for helping to manage my collection. Both complimentary tools for gamers everywhere.
Those are the games and gaming-related products that I’ve been enjoying over the past year. Voting for the awards opens on Friday. What are some of the nominated products you would recommend?