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The Finalists

Game Information
Designer Feedback

The entire game is focused on a behind-the-scenes look at pro wrestling. The game's setting is"the pro-wrestling business." 'Nuff said!

Fighting the darkness and staying in business - that's what InSpectres' game system is all about.

Inspectres is about players who run a start-up ghost busting franchise. Every single rule in the game is about the business and the jobs the players go on. With a minimum of rules or complexity the game captures the challenge of keeping a small business afloat, the zany adventures of a bunch of misfit paranormal investigators who split their time between being Stressed and spending company money on therapy. A text book example of what can be accomplished when the designer focuses on the design goals of the game rather than starting from how things have been done before.

No game promotes the feel of the Western Drama via mechanics as well, and few games link system to setting in a more effective manner for any genre.

Dust Devils is kickin' ass this year. The card-based system, the "devil" on your back, the flavorful text and character creation: it all adds up to be atmospheric as all hell.

Poker is always the right mechanic for the West.

Great Stories are driven by great characters, and great characters are driven by their motivations. The Riddle of Steel gives fantasy gamers exactly what the genre needed: character-motivation driven adventures. Finally a game, in which the characters' goals are what is deciding the stories, not the other way round. How could we live without it all these years?

The Riddle of Steel combines the most realistic medieval combat system I've ever seen with mechanics that make it feel exactly like every pulp fantasy story I've ever read. (Wait - make that plain-ol' pulp story. It works with gritty detective fiction just as well.) It's a well-oiled machine...

The setting *is* the rules.

What other game makes characters smoke to accomplish something. It applies perfectly with the genre.

The Runners Up:

3rd Place, with 14 Points
InSpectres by Jared A. Sorensen
2nd Place, with 17 Points
Kayfabe by Matthew Gwinn

And the Winner, with 33 Points, is...

Dust Devils
by Matt Snyder

Dust Devils is a "truly gritty Old West role-playing game." It employs poker mechanics and the "Devil" rule to drive characters in a psychologically gripping progress toward one end: "Shoot or give up the gun?"