Last year I posted about the Three Castles Design Award and how the NTRPG Con was proud to present this beautiful hunk of statuette each year to the RPG game rules, adventure, supplement or settings that was a high point of achievement in the hobby for the past year. In the last few years there has been an explosion of releases, mostly by solo writers or designers, that are a testament to the intelligence, imagination and resourcefulness of gamers playing and writing RPGs. What better way to put a small regional con like ours on the map than by sponsoring an award like this, and recognizing a field that often gets short shrift in other yearly awards (the RPG field, specifically the OSR).
After due consideration the Steering Committee was able to choose five nominees of the many submitted to move onto the final round of judging. Some seminal names in the history of the hobby...Dennis Sustare, Paul Jaquays, Steve Winter, Tim Kask, and Rob Kuntz....have been asked to choose among these five for the first ever winner of this annual honor. The standards are very high, yet I feel that these five items are the creme of the crop of last year's releases, and one should walk away with the award. As you can see all four finalists (one had two nominations) are solo game designers often operating at small profit or even a loss, and it is our hope that by winning this award (or even by being nominated) they can all see a small boost in exposure and profits. I won't pretend this award will make or break anyone, but hey I can dream!
We plan on changing members of both the Steering Committee (who are different than the judges and are kept secret so as not to bias the proceedings in any way) and the group of five judges every year to keep things from becoming predictable or stale, and will choose members from the fields of game design, art, writing, and production, as well as the occasional respected fan or blogger to make things interesting. We are also looking at possibly working each years previous winner in the mix somehow as either a judge or special guest at the NTRPG Con.
This is the first year of the award, and I hope the standard it sets will cause it to grow in stature year after year, someday becoming as respected an achievement as winning, say, and Ennie is at Gencon every year. Anyway, we hope that if you are reading this and don't have all five of these products in your library you use this chance to purchase these and see why they were selected as this year's nominees.