This year I'm in charge of the judging for the RPG awards at UK Games Expo and it's been an interesting exercise in seeing what people look for in their games. There have been a number of different entries into the categories, from independently published games published by one person on their own merits to the massive studio releases with several hundred pages, full colour images done by professional artists and separate maps attached to the back covers.
The present submissions list for the awards is as follows.
Numenera - Monte Cook Games
Intrepid - John Keyworth
Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide - Modiphus Entertainment
13th Age - Pelgrane Press
Maelstrom Domesday - Arion Games
Hellfrost: Tales from the Sand - Triple Ace games.
Rather than hold different categories such as quality and quantity of artwork, rules simplicity, layout and similar to provide an aggregate score, each member of the judging teams have been asked to provide a single score for each product, the score representing the likelihood that they would buy the product. The reason for it being done this way is that (for example), a product such as Numenera has massive production values and a huge backing team to it, but will cost a significant amount more as a result, whereas games such as Intrepid are produced with cost in mind and although they do not contain the same level of artwork and production values, the game itself may have a similar level of interest from other quarters.
At the end of the day, the deciding factor in any game is how many people want to buy it.
So over the next few days, there'll be a cross section of the feedback from the various judges. I should point out that at no point will I be revealing any of the scores for the games, so anyone looking to place bets on the outcome should expect to be disappointed.