Amelia Grace Antrim

Online Nickname: ‘gingerreckoning’

Introduction 

I am one of the co-hosts of Character Creation Cast, a podcast that explores RPGs through the lens of character creation by sitting down with designers and experts to run through the process of making characters in a wide variety of games. We also have a series of episodes on how to become a better player at the table. I have been making the show for a little over five years, and have been involved in a number of other RPG and podcast projects over the years, including being an ENNIES Judge!

Why do you play/run RPGs?

RPGs give us the chance to spend time with friends, to tell amazing stories, and to explore unknown parts of ourselves. RPGs have led me to incredible friendships I never would have had otherwise. They have changed how I see the world and my place in it. They allow me to challenge myself in different ways. I get to find just the right combination of skills to make a character perfect. I can force myself to overcome my fear of embarrassment by running a game with people I don’t know. I can express myself in ways I wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

The ENNIES requires a major commitment of time and energy. What resources do you have that will help you discharge these responsibilities? Will your gaming group or other individuals be assisting you? Does your family support you?

I have been a judge before so I’m very aware of the commitment it requires. I have been making my podcast for six years now and it has led me to an excellent community of friends who support me in the endeavor, and my family is wonderfully supportive. My brothers and I love playing together when we get the chance!

Judging requires a great deal of critical thinking skills, communication with other judges, deadline management, organization, and storage space for the product received. What interests, experience, and skills do you bring that will make you a more effective judge?

Having been a judge before I know how to navigate the process and how to manage the challenges that come with it. In my day job I also work as a regulatory coordinator for Oncology research, which requires to me me to communicate and work closely with a lot of people, and to manage many projects at the same time. I currently work on over 100 different clinical trials!

What styles and genres of RPGs do you enjoy most? Are there any styles or genres that you do not enjoy? Which games best exemplify what you like? Do you consider yourself a fan of a particular system, publisher, or genre?

I love games that promote story telling and world building. The biggest thing I look for in games are mechanics that promote the story the game is trying to tell. Math is not my strong suit so I tend to personally shy away from really crunchy games, but I still love the thrill of finding just the right combination of stats and skills to do incredible things. While I don’t have a particular genre preference, my favorite games are ones that allow you to build your own world as part of process, and games that allow for intense emotional moments (and even some intraparty conflict).

List (up to 5) games you’ve played in the last 2 years. What drew you to playing them? Which did you like best and why?

In the past few years I’ve spent a lot of time reading and talking about RPGs, and creating so many characters, but playing a full session has been a rarer experience. I was able to play in a short campaign of DIE recently, and I got the chance to enjoy a family game of the Fallout RPG, along with playing a number of micro RPGs with friends.
Micro RPGs are great for low-prep sessions when you just want to play games with friends but find scheduling to be a nightmare.
DIE is one of those games that has changed how I view games entirely. The ability to build deep emotions into the mechanics is something that feels like it was made for my style of play. When it comes to RPGs my favorite color is morally gray.

Have you been a game master in the past 2 years? If yes, what games have you run? What made you decide to run those games?

I always prefer to play games rather than running them. I have the utmost respect for the forever GMs out there who make that possible for me, but it is not where the fun in gaming lies for me. That said, I would love to run Arium: Create for friends or at a convention. I found the game through the ENNIEs back in 2021 and it has captured my attention and imagination ever since then. It’s collaborative world building: the game!

Summarize the criteria you would use to determine if a game deserves to be nominated for Best Game.

The best games to me are those that challenge our ideas of what a game can be, that create new ways to marry mechanics and story, or showcase new and exciting takes on old ideas. The best games should be well written, play tested, and full of creativity.

How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?

Supplements should be judged by how well they enhance or expand on their source material, even if it is a game I’m not in love with. Great supplements expand the understanding of their source. When I’m unfamiliar with a game I talk to friends who have played it or are familiar with it, or look up reviews or breakdowns of the base game.

How would you like to see the ENNIEs change? What should remain inviolate?

The ENNIE awards are a celebration of all styles of games, and having a panel of judges from all sorts of gaming backgrounds allows the awards to showcase the depth and breadth of what is out there. It also makes the voting process manageable for people. I’m glad the ballot doesn’t just list the hundreds of submissions and ask people to pick from there!

I think there have been a lot of valid critiques about the process, particularly in relation to the categories and which entries fit where. I also recognize that amid the changing landscape of RPGs it is something that needs to be constantly reviewed and revised to best fit the current state of the hobby/industry, and that there isn’t always a clear cut correct answer!