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INDEPENDENT GAME OF THE YEAR, 2006

The Runners Up (and selected peer feedback):

Burning Empires, by Luke Crane / with 44 points

"A glorious triumph of games design and production. The book is beautiful, features well written and edited text, and is robust to play."

"A masterpiece of physical production, rules expansion, and dedication to the conflict at the heart of the story. Another home run for Luke Crane."

"Burning Empires siezes on the promise of space opera--You can make a difference!--and produces it through play. All the while dramatizing just how difficult and heart-wrenching choosing the greater good can be."

"Burning Empires pushed the boundaries of how games are set up and structured, and did so in combination with a whole host of mechanics that help structure and control the competitive play that it sets up. I want to see more games follow this example and help players set up their games as a group, and do so in a way that is more than just vague advice. Burning Empires takes the emphasis off pointers and puts it onto rules that construct play in a magnificent way, and deserves acknowledgment for that accomplishment."

The Zorcerer of Zo, by Chad Underkoffler / with 43 points

"Full of whimsey and imagination, this game really brings the PDQ to fruition."

"A wonderful attempt at fairy tale-style gaming. The self-analysis format doesn't always work out, but it's still a really good game."

"A wonderful how-to book of campaign play in a fantastical and rich setting."

"Genuinely delightful and mechanically sound; the immense amount of in-depth Actual Play is unprecedented and well done."

"Zorcerer ... man, Chad stuck a big book-shaped syringe into his brain's joy gland and extracted it for this one. It's been a blast to see the PDQ system finally "arrive"."

"Fantastic, fun, and done with a love, pride, and heart that is rare, Zo really shines. The fact that this book contains a complete write up from an AP campaign as well as explicit and specific listings of the authors inspirations and how they were turned into game material, also sets it above, because it shows in a direct and fantastic way the love and energy of the game, as well as giving a clear idea of how the designer runs the game and envisions play."

"There needs to be more close-up looks at how to put together and run a campaign."

Lacuna Part I (second attempt) by Jared Sorensen / with 23 points

"This is what you get when a good designer hits his stride."

"A mystery wrapped in a pancake, or something. Lacuna is a wonderful Rorschach test for the entire group; its ambiguity requires the GM to sharpen up and stay focused, and lets the group read several different potential stories from the same session."

Don't Rest Your Head by Fred Hicks / with 18 points

"This game keeps me awake at night. Again with the tight focus, coupled with some really fun dice mechanics and a killer setting."

"DRYH has both of the things I look for in an RPG: innovative mechanics and a creative, original setting. It should be in every indie gamer's library."

"A wonderfully focused, disturbing game whose mechanics do exactly what they're supposed to."

A Thousand and One Nights, by Meguey Baker / with 14 points

"This is an elegant storytelling game that brings everyone to the table with simple but effective and evocative rules."

"A simply-constructed, yet richly-evocative game that coaxes players into unleashing their own creativity."

"Ground breaking, accessible and dripping with luscious setting, 1001 Nights is the best short game going."

Shock: Social Science Fiction, by Joshua A.C. Newman / with 12 points

"Shock: is the first game that lets us talk actually write stories that push our ideas about science fiction forward, instead of retreading ideas that were once cutting edge. A great collaborative game."

Faery's Tale, by Patrick Sweeney / with 10 points

"An artful, well-balanced product, encompassing system design, layout and art, and setting details. A tour de force."

"A great game that parents can play with their children, as a more intelligent alternative to board games that do not engage a child's imagination or intellect."

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach, by Jason Morningstar / with 10 points

"Mechanically tricky, both socially and numerically, but it pulls it off in spectacular style. The best Lovecraftian game in a decade."

"An inspired concept for a structured game of descent into madness."

"Possibly the dirtiest fun you can have around a gaming table."

In Harm's Way: A Napoleonic Naval Roleplaying Game, by Clash Bowley / with 10 points

"This is a great game powered by Flying Mice's well-established StarCluster 2.0 mechanic. It successfully covers a specific historical era. It is very focused on Naval roleplaying and because of that it delivers at the game table."

OTHERS:

Agon (9 pts), Cold City (9 pts), EABAlite (8 pts), Mortal Coil (8 pts), Hearts & Souls (7 pts), Roanoke (6 pts), Covenant (5 pts), six gun assassins (5 pts)