2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


This Sub-Award is awarded to the game that stretches the RPG experience in new ways. It may be a particular innovative mechanic that has never been used in other games (or never been used as well as previous games), or it changes the dynamics of a regular game group (the standard 3-6 players and one gamemaster). Or, it might even turn the concept of "RPG" on its ear. Innovation and exploration is what this Sub-Award honors.


DOGS IN THE VINEYARD / with 87 points

Selected Peer Feedback:

"DitV -- makes some substantial changes to the way games are played."

"Dogs has the best reward system of any roleplaying game ever imagined. It makes me want to play right now just thinking about it."

"Dogs in the Vineyard puts character interaction first in its very intricate and innovative rules set."

"Really, it's self-evident. A major development in narrative roleplaying."

"Dogs in the Vineyard has shown that even the strangest game can be gripping, and has set a new standard for mechanics featuring an escalating conflict."

"Dogs in the Vineyard: "here's what you do now." All game texts should be like this. It blows my mind that telling people how to run the game is an innovation, but it's our biggest one this year."

"DitV: Begins play where it matters: player choice & consequence. And finally puts the rest of the rules for gm'ing down on paper."



"Most games have one cool new element that breaks ground in gaming, which is sometimes awesome but usually sucks. PTA seems to be entirely composed of these elements, and they all rock."

"A group playing PTA just doesn't work like a standard RPG group. Everybody's "on" all the time. It's like magic."

"PtA: Nothing will ever be the same, now that we have PtA. One word: Fanmail."

"PRIMETIME ADVENTURES is not the first RPG to feature story control issues, but is the first to resolve the system in anything like a satisfactory manner."

LACUNA / with 33 points

"Lacuna -- maddeningly intriguing setting that you just want to plumb the depths of."

"You'd have to go a long way in the innovation stakes to beat a game where the characters' heart beat is their main statistic."

"Lacuna - Freaky spider men! Heart-rate driven dreamstate spelunkery! Jared Sorenson is the indie scene's Philip K. Dick."

"LACUNA PART I may well be one of the few RPGs to address multiple-narrative gaming."

CODE OF UNARIS / with 28 points

"Hacking. Dude."

"CoU: Taking rpg design down new pathways, for the technologies of today."

"Unaris goes for a while new medium for role-playing, and turns what had been an inconvenience into a feature."

DEAD INSIDE / with 26 points

"DI -- I think the potential for highly personal and emotional play in DI is remarkable."

"Dead Inside - The truest inversion of "kill them and take their stuff" ever seen. Dead Inside doesn't just present an unusual setting and exciting premise -- it establishes a new gaming paradigm. Stellar stuff."

"Dead Inside has one of the most original premises I've seen in years."

THE SHADOW OF YESTERDAY / with 25 points

"The Shadow of Yesterday has introduced ideas to RPGS, in terms of customizing one's experience and letting the GM know what sort of game you're interested in, that will be imitated by other RPGs for years to come."

FASTLANE / with 21 points

"Fastlane is nothing if not innovative, not so much for the bread-and-circuses of the roulette wheel and the nature of character relationships and the players' relationships to them."

"Fastlane - man, roulette wheel. And it works! It's a very well-designed game that makes the wheel more than just a gimmick."

"Fastlane has a roulette wheel, for crying out loud, and it's in no way 'novel' or 'gimmicky.' It's in fact clever and entirely appropriate."

"FASTLANE's use of a roulette wheel is innovative, albeit pointless."

"Fastlane is not only innovative for the roulette resolution - what people miss is that it's about betting parts of the character. Not just about getting from point A to point B per the usual for resolution."

BONES / with 17 points

"BONES: unique mechanics with customizable dice."

"BONES has shown the amazing Gamist possibilities inherent in customizable dice. It's "old school" in flavor and intent, but not in mechanics, which makes it a game to watch."

"I find the roll-playing not role-playing bent interesting. It's nice to see a game embracing dice. :)"

NO PRESS RPG ANTHOLOGY / with 17 points

"The NPA has games with strong GMs, with multiple GMs, GMs with secrets, drunk GMs. How more innovative can you get?"

WYRD IS BOND / with 11 points

"Wyrd is Bond: a great new take on urban magic."

CAT / with 8 points

"Cat: Not the first game where you can play a cat, but still a pretty rare concept."

"Brilliant idea. I thought of it years ago and I'm kicking myself for not doing anything with it! :-)"

NINE WORLDS / with 5 points


ENEMY GODS: "Everyone plays two characters; a god and a hero who may not be allied with one another. It\'s the perfect game to capture the darkness of Elric or the glory of the Trojan War."

ADVENTURES IN DELVING: "I think the idea of statting and treating locations and scenes like characters that are in conflict or in support of the player characters is very interesting."

the farm: "Excellent small scale game. Horror from a mundane and still terrifying perspective."

TRIALS OF THE GRAIL: "Trials of the Grail - I love, love, love the idea of same story, different setting. Great stuff."

RUN ROBOT RED: "Fun with a subtext, nice work."

IN GENERAL: "It's all rehash crap, including the stuff we make. There hasn't been innovation in RPGs in years."

IN GENERAL: "Indie games continue to push the envelope, challenge assumptions, and show game hobbyists new wasy to have fun."

IN GENERAL: "I wouldn't know innovative if it bit me on the ankle..."

IN GENERAL: "My dog just got a bath."