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Best Synergy or Game and Rules

The best way to describe this Sub-Award is "The System and Setting are One". This is an award for the game for which the game rules have been tailor-made to reflect the setting they take place in, and the setting is clearly reflected in the rules. If a game's rules are inseparable from its setting, or are impossible to make "universal", then it has a chance of receiving this Sub-Award.

The Finalists and Selected Peer Feedback

My Life With Master
Every aspect of MLWM's system is there for a specific purpose: to build the groundwork and further the story for a classic "evil master and his minions" style play. No superfluous stats, no missing parts. It makes you think, damn, why didn't I come up with that...

C'mon: 2 attributes: "Self Loathing" and "Weariness". From that, to the Endgame criteria, to all the rules that set the story arrangements in between, it bleeds Synergy.

No closer marriage could there be between the system, color and play of this game.

No feedback currently available for this category.

Promised Sands
The rules and setting for this game fit hand in hand. Furthermore, the rules encourage the kind of player behavior without just resorting to long lectures on how to play it.

The game is evocative and delivers what it promises.

The Valedictorian's Death
I've seen this company put out several support modules for the Wushu game, such as gun-fu, cut-fu, and car-fu.

Wushu does what it says on the tin - it forces players to go balls-nuts and describe Matrix manoeuvers or they simply won't succeed. Good for it.

This is the best meta-setting game for Wuxia yet published.

The Runners Up

3rd Place, with 11 Points
2nd Place, with 19 Points

And the Winner, with 90 Points, is...

My Life With Master
My life with Master's system is so tightly focused on reflected its subject matter that it's difficult to separate them. All designers can learn from Paul's ability to blend everything together into one total package.

Further Feedback:

My Life With Master
MLWM's rules are based almost entirely around its premise.

The rules serve the point of the game to a T, making it easy to have fun doing the things one ought within the genre at hand.

Simply awesome design.

The rules drive the game so closely that "misplaying" the game becomes an impossibility.

Seems to be the tightest mixing I've heard of--and it's a truly unique concept.

This is the RPG -- indie or otherwise -- in 2003; hell, in the last decade; of which this category is the most true.

There is no game but the rules; there are no rules but the game; the two are inseparable.

Paul Czege made a system that delivers the 'feel' of serving an evil genius as his (or her) main henchman --as opposed to simply transfering role-play focus to RPing as a henchman.

This category deals with how the rules of the game connect with and assist the game itself. My Life With Master does this quite well.

My Life With Master's rules capture the tragic, gothic feel of its default 19th century horror setting.

The rules in MLwM ARE the setting, and the setting are the rules. Every little bit of the rules supports the furthering of the story. This is how a game should work.

Social context for play is actually part of the rules; all game mechanics reinforce the commitment to the social creativity.

The system defines everything that's important in play, and the various attributes permeate every aspect of activity in the game.

MLWM identifies the salient points of the genre, and then has rules that encourage the players to reinforce the mood. Excellent!

This game is one of the best cinematic systems next to Atlas' Feng Shui

I don't think any of these deserve this award considering the games that were nominated. Barbarians of Lemuria had a much better integration of system and setting, as did Kathanaksaya, but neither was popular enough to get the votes they needed.