Online Nickname(s): gingerreckoning

Introduction and Platform

I am a podcaster and game enthusiast. I am one of the co-hosts of Character Creation Cast, a show that explores a variety of RPG systems through the lens of character creation. Each month we sit down with designers, podcasters, and game enthusiasts and run through the process of character creation in a game, and talk about what that process tells us about the game itself, our roles as players, and even about games in general. I also had the pleasure of being one of the judges for the 2021 awards and learned so much from the experience, both about the ENnies process and about the industry as a whole.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I believe RPGs offer a unique opportunity for people to explore their place in the world. It is one of the few mediums in which we are actively putting ourselves in the role of another person. It allows us to play out scenarios and emotions that we may not be able to easily express in our daily lives. We can take complex situations and experiences and work through them in a confined space. Alternatively, they can provide a much needed respite from the stress of the day to day and a chance to unwind with friends. They can challenge our critical thinking skills with complicated puzzles, and creating a campaign or even just a character can be an amazing creative outlet.

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 lucky enough to be sincerely supported by family (3 of my 4 siblings are also regular TTRPG players/GMs) and friends who have consistently shown willingness to work with me on balancing workloads and time management. My gaming friends have always bee more than happy to try out new systems with me or to answer my questions on systems I’m not as familiar with.

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?

In my day job I am a regulatory coordinator for clinical research which requires management of approximately 150 different studies across 4 different locations as well as being the main point of contact for the outside organizations we work with. I’m well versed in working on deadlines and managing a huge amount of information while coordinating with people all over the world. It’s what I do every day!

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 particular system’s, publisher’s, or genre’s “fanboy/fangirl/fanperson”?

I sincerely enjoy games that explore emotion and our relationship with the world around us. I also enjoy games with rich world building elements. Almost any game that has some quality intra-personal drama and courtly intrigue is a big hit for me (the clan conflicts in L5R, the politics of Court of Blades). I’ve greatly enjoyed a lot of the Fantasy Flight Games RPGs in recent years, but my “want to play” list is a never-ending pile of character driven/narrative style games.

Generally I am not a big fan of games that focus almost entirely on combat, but I’ve recently seen the light when it comes to a good dungeon crawl.

What games have you played in the past year? List up to 10 RPGs you have played the most. Which ones, if any, have you loved or hated?

I didn’t get to play as many new games this year since I didn’t attend any conventions, but what I think I loved every game that I did get to play!
-Anyone Can Wear the Mask (Jeff Stormer)
-Arium: Create (Adept Icarus)
– Legend of the Five Rings (Fantasy Flight Games/Edge publishing)
-You are the Dungeon (Tracy Barnet)
-Court of Blades (A Couple of Drakes)

Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.

I believe content should be judged based on how well it meets the goal for which it was designed. Games that focus on grid-based combat should be judged based on how well they simulate a tactical experience. Games that want to emphasize social conflict should be judged on whether they have clear mechanics to support that. Supplements should be judged on how well they integrate with and expand upon the previous material. When looking at things like art and layout, I look at how well it emphasizes or enhances the themes and experiences of the game.

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

As part of my work for Character Creation Cast I’ve gotten to learn about a wide variety of systems, and prior to each of our recordings I research each system we are going to cover to get an idea of the tone, the history of the game, and the basics of the rules. Over several years of making the show I’ve learned a great deal about how to quickly familiarize myself with all kinds of games. As previously stated, I believe supplements should be judged on how well they work with the material they were derived from. Even if the original system has flaws, the supplement should be judged by how well it fits within or improves upon the boundaries of the system it was designed for.

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

I think there should be a limit on how many times a product or piece of media can be nominated in order to allow for new voices and points of view to shine. I also would love to see more publishers and designers submit their products! We can only judge the items that are submitted, and there are so many amazing games out there that deserve awards, if only the judges could see them!

BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?

It would be called “Dark Magic Is Perfectly Safe” and I would absolutely play it and it would absolutely not be safe.