Billy McDonough

Online Nickname: @scott_thinks, threads and insta scottthinks, twitch gaijinzen


I have been playing and running TTRPGs and video game RPGs since I was in middle school. I have played so many it’s honestly hard to recall all of them. This, I have a broad range of experience. I am a teacher and understand how to communicate and evaluate both content and instructions. I love RPGs and feel I could help choose/evaluate those that are presented.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I love RPGs because they allow people a safe space to explore their own feelings and experience universes that can only exist in imagination. I have seen shy people become more confident and poorly behaved people become better people in these safe spaces. RPGs are ‘life’ simulators to st help people grow.

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 am single and this have few commitments that I need to work around. I also have a dedicated group of players that would be excited to help evaluate products.

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?

As mentioned, I am a teacher with an MA in Government. My abilities to parse language and see the broad implications of approach is well demonstrated in both my academic work and in my professional life. I am extensively traveled, well read in across many genres. I own my own home, so storage will not be a problem.

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 am a fan of all genres. The only one I don’t enjoy are where players are sexist, racist or generally ‘evil’. For instance in a superhero game where players would be expected to play characters like Homelander from the television show would not be of interest.

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?

Dungeons and Dragons (played because it was my first and I have been playing it my life) is really the only TTRPG I have played in the last 2 years. I have experimented with a number of video games recently. These range from World of Warcraft to Starfield.

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 have and am currently running a DnD campaign.

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

Setting – must be engaging
Player Agency – players should feel they have the freedom to make choices about the characters they would like to play and not feel overly constrained
Systems – the systems to resolve interactions must not be so complex as to negatively impact players experience.
Production Quality – the items provided by the publisher should be of high quality, attractive, and sturdy

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

I will gain some familiarity with the core rules. Additionally, I would use the criteria above. If I could not gain this familiarity, I would use the factors listed above to evaluate these items.

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

I think the current structure is fine and do not feel qualified at this time to offer critique. As to what should remain inviolate, I feel that the focus on the fans and players of RPGs is central. The awards must remain impartial and focused on the players.