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INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR, 2009

This is the highest honor of the Indie RPG Awards. It is awarded to the best overall Independently produced RPG of the year, as chosen by peers and members the gaming community. It is given to the RPG and the designer who made it. Everything which makes a game good; from game elements of story, setting, rules, innovation, and overall game design; to physical qualities like graphical design and layout, are taken into account for the awarding of this honor.

THE Indie Game of the Year FOR 2009 IS...

Kagematsu by Danielle Lewon / with 27 points

By far the best evocation of the small press RPG movement in the past year.

A subtle and powerful take on Samurai and the culture of Japan that thrills and provokes in equal measure.

A gorgeous game of reversed perspectives. A real accomplishment and revitalization of the samurai genre.

So bold it feels like a throwback to a more adventurous time of RPG design, and then you realize it is exactly that, a game rescued from an earlier time and brought to loving completion by someone who'd never forgotten it. The hobby should do more of this.

 

THE RUNNERS UP:

Fiasco by Jason Morningstar / with 22 points

It all goes wrong, every time, very badly. And that's FUN.

tricky to get started with, but once you are off it quickly devolves wonderfully

Beat to Quarters by Neil Gow / with 18 points

Neil has tapped into a hitherto untapped area of roleplaying with BtQ and Duty & Honour - Napoleonic military roleplaying, but done in such a way that it's uncluttered with historical realism and instead taps into the feel of the setting. Great stuff.

Finally, a game that captures, the drama, spirit, and derring-do of Hornblower, Aubrey, and Maturin! Like its landlubber predecessor Duty & Honour, it circumnavigates the problems of rank and military procedure, allowing you to enjoy thrilling games of action and adventure on the high seas.

Little Fears, Nightmare Edition by Jason L. Blair / with 18 points

All said, Little Fears was a great game when it first released, and the Nightmare edition is a journeyman's reworking of a great apprentice showing. I cannot recommend this enough.

Diaspora by B. Murray, C.W. Marshall, T. Dyke, and B. Kerr / with 16 points

A great evolution of FATE, well tailored for the hard sci-fi genre.

Diaspora is an exemplar of what third-party handling of Fate can really achieve. It's a stellar book, no pun intended.

Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies by Chad Underkoffler / with 15 points

Strongest PDQ game to date by a substantial margin.

Montsegur 1244 by Frederik J. Jensen / with 15 points

A historical game that breathes life into the genre.

On Her Majesty's Arcane Service by clash bowley / with 14 points

Does just what a traditional game ought to do in play. Smooth operations, fleshed-out characters, engaging missions.

A Penny for My Thoughts by Paul Tevis / with 14 points

44: A Game of Automatic Fear by Matt Snyder / with 14 points

Unlike most games that come out each year, this one is inventive, fun, and has a professional presentation.

Solid, and creepy.

Chronica Feudalis: A Game of Imagined Adventure in Medieval Europe by Jeremy Keller / with 12 points

Jeremy Keller is on my Ones To Watch list. Can't wait to see what his catalog looks like five years from now.

It's running princess history!

Ganakagok by Bill White / with 11 points

A fascinating game of tribal relationships, pre-Dawn cosmology, and fiddly dice mechanics. Great replay value!

This game has changed the way I look at running adventures. It has inspired me to look at player narration as a major device in telling stories.

Escape from Tentacle City by Willow Palecek / with 10 points

Great sense of impending doom and drive to move. Really captures the feel of "we're going to die if we don't do something."

Hellcats and Hockeysticks: A Role-Playing Game of chaos, anarchy, and decidedly unladylike behavior by Andrew Peregrine / with 9 points

With a name like that....

S/Lay w/Me by Ron Edwards / with 9 points

The best two-player game written also happens to be the best take on Robert E. Howard's Conan. Simply phantastic.

With few elements, this game provides a surprisingly robust platform for heroic pulp adventure/storytelling. The elegant sparsity of the dice mechanism, the single-sentence setting elements, the tightly structured narrative rules combine - like the musicians in a minimalist three-piece new wave band - to create intense and deep atmospheres.

Lady Blackbird: Adventures in the Wild Blue Yonder by John Harper / with 9 points

Free. Fun. Gorgeous. What's not to love?

Very interesting newcomer. I hope to see more of this game in 2011

Shotgun Diaries: A Zombie Survival Roleplaying Game by John Wick / with 8 points

Badass, and everything you want. It really drives a narrative forward and blends it features into a cohesive package. THIS is game design.

Time & Temp by Epidiah Ravachol / with 8 points

A riotous good time with cunning mechanics and wonderful presentation.

Atomic Highway - Post Apocalyptic Roleplaying by Colin Chapman / with 7 points

A refreshing approach to the somewhat hackneyed 'Road Warrior' trope of the post-apocalyptic genre.

The first PA game to capture the essence of the genre in a single book.

Slasher Flick by Cynthia Celeste Miller / with 7 points

Very well done and researched. A game to entertain those who enjoy the genre

Norwegian Style by Erlend Sand Bruer, Tor Kjetil Edland, Arvid Falch, Ole Peder Giæver, Martin Gudmundsen, Matthijs Holter, Magnus Jakobsson, Håken Lid, Lasse Lundin, Anders Nygaard, Tomas HV Mørkrid, Erling Rognli, Margrete Somerville, Øyvind Stengrundet, Even Tømte, and Rune Valle / with 6 points

The Drifter's Escape by Ben Lehman / with 6 points

A sleek, hard-hitting game from a little-explored genre. Published with refined short-stories by the designer's brother, giving us a rare thing: a truly literary role playing game.

Umläut: Game of Metal by Rich Stokes / with 6 points

A game of big-haired characters and over-the-top rock - what's not to love? It's never failed to produce a great game for me, either.