My Best Four Days in Gaming

Gen Con started badly for me. I flew out from DC on Wednesday morning; my girlfriend Kristen on a direct flight and me with a connection through Chicago. Some bad weather meant my flight from DC left late, and my flight—and the flight before it—to Indianapolis were cancelled. There was no chance of going standby on a later flight, so after I figured out that my bags would continue to Indianapolis without me, my cries to the twitterverse were answered and my rock-star designer friend Tiara zoomed by the airport to pick me up on her way to the convention. This turned out to be a fun little car trip, although I was sad that I missed spending a half-day in Indianapolis with Kristen.


Gobsmacked. In a year where Paizo’s stack of ENnies needed a hand-cart to take them back to the booth, winning the Silver ENnie for Best Product may as well been Gold for us. A gold for Best Writing and a silver for Best Cover Art rounded out Eclipse Phase ENnies. In the Best Production category, Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition caught Silver. I can’t deny that I voted for Eclipse Phase in that category, but I joined Randall from Catalyst onstage and, since he was already wearing the ENnie’s medal, I yoinked the certificate. I had no idea I was going to be up there until I had started walking. Shadowrun 20th Anniversary is an awesome book and I am proud as all hell of it.

Eclipse Phase

Sunward was released, the GM Screen was available, and we had ample stock of them and the core book to satisfy our fans. We also had some miniposters, t-shirts, and some plush monsters from OhNo!Doom, a Chicago art collective, to round out our swag. Our booth was busy, sales were good, and our games were very well attended. Our gamemasters kicked ass in accommodating tons of players per game. We gave all the players feedback forms, and from the sampling I’ve read so far our GMs are very well loved!

This Just In … From Gen Con 2010

I appeared on This Just In .. From Gen Con on Saturday at 5PM. Fifteen minutes earlier, I was walking to our hotel room with Kristen saying “I’m feeling the need for some introvert time. Are you cool with just hanging out by yourself for awhile?” Of course, she was … and she got to. I didn’t, because I remembered at the last minute that I needed to be podcasting—not an introverted activity—in another hotel. So I dashed over, and thankfully I was paired with the awesome E Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl, who carried the show. I mostly talked about the ENnies, Creative Commons-licensing stuff, and how twitter functions as the “water cooler” for those of us that work from home but need feedback/stimulation from colleagues.


I hugged my friends extra tightly this year.

Magic: the Gathering and other Acquisitions

I didn’t manage to play any MTG at the show, but with my trusty iPad and some good timing, I was able to score a copy of the From the Vault: Relics set. Beyond picking up my comp copies of Sunward and the GM Screen, Sixth World Almanac, and the Dresden Files, I didn’t buy anything at the show. I bought a lot of games over the last year that haven’t been played much, so I didn’t want to add to the unread/unplayed piles.


We pitched game concepts and playtested things that will become Posthuman Studios’ next games. We have some cool stuff brewing! Refinement starts … tomorrow.

ENnies Award Voting 2010

Voting for the 2010 ENnie Awards is now open.

I can’t deny that this year’s ENNie Award nominations aren’t a little bittersweet after the events of earlier this year. Projects that I worked on are well-represented, and the great number of worthy entrants in every categories indicate something that has been true for a long time: gamers are spoiled for choice!

Shadowrun: Seattle 2072 received an honorable mention nod in the Best Setting category. Steve Kenson did a bang-up job with this title, melding Shadowrun’s past to the present and setting groundwork for the future.

Eclipse Phase in the following categories:

  • Best Cover Art: Stephan Martiniere’s gorgeous cover art will launch thousands of campaigns.
  • Best Writing: Developer Rob Boyle has had his hand in many great gaming books, and for Eclipse Phase he may have assembled the best writing staff he’s had to date: Lars Blumenstein, Brian Cross, Jack Graham, John Snead; with additional writing from Bruce Baugh, Randall N. Bills, Davidson Cole, Tobias Wolter, with Jason Hardy and Michelle Lyons on editing.
  • Best Production: This is the best-looking book I have ever made, with cool visuals that don’t overwhelm the art, and a huge thrust towards making the 400-pages very navigable, most notably the two-page spreads that open each chapter and point you to important information.
  • Product of the Year: With nominations in three of the “pillar” categories, plus the intangibles of Creative Commons-licensing, our trend-setting low price point for the electronic version, and of course a great game to play in a setting that has unlimited potential … I think a nomination in this category is well-earned.

Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition got nods in these categories:

  • Best Interior Art: Art Director Mike Vaillancourt and myself butted heads a lot on this project, but in the end, the artwork in this project is really strong and takes Shadowrun in a new direction.
  • Best Production Values: Apparently I build good-looking well-organized books consistently! The giant index that covers not only itself but all the other SR4 rulebooks is so freaking cool.
  • Best Game: Personally, I’d love to see “Best Game” and “Best New Edition” categories. But games don’t get produced for 20 years if they don’t see actual play, and Shadowrun has always erred on the side of being a game that should be played, not just read.
  • Product of the Year: A punched-up and improved version of one of the most successful RPGs ever certainly qualifies.

In every category we are up against other amazing titles: Paizo’s Pathfinder juggernaut, Green Ronin’s Dragon Age Boxed Set, FFG’s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Boxed Set (which looks gorgeous … I have to make the time to read through my copy!), and others too numerous to mention.

To spread briefly about category’s I’m not in: Jess Hartley’s One Geek To Another deserves props in the blog category for doing something different by offering advice about gamer etiquette, something sorely needed. For Best Setting, you can’t accuse the guys at HERO of not taking a chance with something different in Lucha Libre Hero

… and Best Publisher could just be Posthuman Studios.

2005 Ennie Nominations

The Ennie nominations are now online.

Very pleased to see Dreaming Cities [which I art directed] nominated for Best Interior Art, and it’s also good to see Authority and Ex Machina nominated for Best Cover Art, plus a best Production Values for Authority.

Some other cool stuff I like was nominated, too — d20SRD.org for Best Fan Site, Vampire: TR for Best Interior Art, Burning Wheel for Best Rules, and World of Darkness Core Book for Best Writing. All good stuff.

Voting is here.