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The Runners Up (and selected peer feedback):

REIGN, by Greg Stolze / with 29 points

"solid product from an established team Stolz and Law."

Slick, smart, and beautifully designed, Reign is what happens when good ideas from multiple sources gell into a great product by an excellent writer.

Steal Away Jordan, by Julia B. Ellingboe / with 28 points

An excellent first attempt at roleplaying game design.

I can't think of a more dark, grin your nose in it nasty topic than this. The Civil War isn't over and play of this game will show that. Makes you ask the question "Did your family own slaves?" If no, then were you really clean? My family came from Old Virgina and I defy anyone to be truly clean.

History never played so well.

The author has somehow managed to digest the heavy subject matter and create something that gives fun and heroic play. A surprisingly entertaining game.

Breaks new ground in content, addressing a painful portion of American history in a way that is neither preachy nor stereotyped. Well done.

World War 2, crime drama, and teenage sexuality are all brave concepts covered in the games up this year, but Steal Away Jordan's no-nonsense direct look into slavery is by far the bravest RPG ever released. That it has a solid system that delivers for players of all sorts is a bonus, and makes it the game of the year.

Beast Hunters by Lisa Griffen and Christian Griffen / with 17 points

The setting, the tattoos and the hunt all come together beautiful with this one on one RPG.

A cooperative/competative game with a lot of very interesting things to say about the way that we work story and challenge in RPGs, Beast Hunters is miles ahead of many of the heavy-handed attempts at challenge in RPG.

Bliss Stage, Ignition Stage by Ben Lehman / with 17 points

Do not be fooled by the Ignition Stage title, the game is complete and highly playable. With mechanics and a setting that really make the game personal and interesting Bliss Stage is one of the best games this year.

Fun, emotions, action. Blowing things up. Falling in love - and out of it. The horror of being young.

Forward... To Adventure! by The RPG Pundit / with 16 points

Old school, baby, what more can I say?

Classroom Deathmatch by Jake Richmond and Matt Schlotte / with 14 points

If all of the nominated games were drugged and shipped off to an island where they were each given one weapon and 24 hours to be the last one standing, Classroom Deathmatch would win on guts alone.

evocative art and a very Non PC concept. love it.

Blatant carnage is alwasys good.

A fun game with excellent writing and presentation. The sort of game that joyously does exactly what it sets out to do. And available for free.

Dirty Secrets by Seth Ben-Ezra / with 10 points

Brilliant, brilliant design: the plot grid as a natural way to complicate and then solve a noir mystery? Pure gold.

A fun investigation game for a bunch of friends. The stories that come out of the game are twisty, but coherent. Subtle mechanics with emergent properties that aren't obvious when you first read the book.

The Princess Game by Colin Fredericks / with 10 points

This looks like the most fun to play.

I had to vote for this one. I played in a Call of Cthulhu game at Gen Con in the 90's that did this. It's an ultimately cool idea.

The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries by Eric Boyd / with 9 points

An underappreciated game. Committee just excites me, blending the best of competitive Munchausen-style narration with some pretty killer indie concepts.

Hilarious from the very start, CFtEoM is a game that sets out to create funny, engaging, pulp stories of derring-do and outrageous bravado. And it succeeds admirably.


Fae Noir by Justin Bow (8 points), Idyll: Romantic Fantasy by James Stubbs (6 points)