Introduction and Platform
Hello, I’ve been playing and running RPGs for nearly two decades now, I’ve read hundreds of RPG books and supplements over the years, and I currently run two weekly games and play in a third.
Why do you play/run RPGs?
Like many people, for a variety of reasons. To explore and experience fantastical worlds, as a fun activity to do with friends, to challenge myself and others, etc. The fundamental strength of tabletop RPGs as compared to other forms of interactive entertainment, such as video games, is the ability to adapt to player choices and preferences that nothing else can really emulate.
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 currently work part time and have a supportive family, so I do have a good deal of free time to commit to judging materials for the ENNIES. I am also open to allowing my gaming group to assist me in parsing out materials.
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 worked as a teacher’s assistant and acquiring a Master’s Degree, I’m quite used to reading multiple text books a week and writing critical evaluations of complex materials in a clear and concise manner. I’m experienced in working with spreadsheet programs and with teams of people to meet tight deadlines. Additionally I have plenty of storage space, both digital and physical, for any and all necessary materials for review.
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 enjoy a variety of RPG systems and genres, though for the past few years I’ve been particularly interested in playing and running OSR style games. I’ve been running a mega-dungeon campaign using Necrotic Gnome’s Old-School Essentials system for nearly a year now and have been enjoying it considerably.
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?
In the past year I’ve played or run Old-School Essentials, Paranoia XP, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mongoose’s Traveller 2e, Troika!, Mothership 0e, GROK?! (pre-release), and Dungeons and Dragons 5e.
My most played games are likely, in order of most played to least played:
1. Dungeons & Dragons 3.5/Pathfinder 1e
2. Eclipse Phase 1e
3. Paranoia XP
4. Dungeons and Dragons 5e
5. Old-School Essentials
7. Mothership 0e
9. A miscellany of one-shots and Homebrew Systems.
The D&D 3.5 rule set will always have a special place in my heart as it was the first RPG system I got into. It was incredibly detailed and had a naturalistic approach to its system design that created a sense of cohesiveness to the world. The Open Game License that went along with it was also incredibly influential in mostly positive, though sometimes negative, ways and allowed to legal framework for the OSR scene to exist in the first place. That being said, D&D 3.5 and its derivatives were a nightmare to run and deeply hostile to new players.
Paranoia XP is a game which I’ve never had a bad session of. Despite, or perhaps because of, being a satire of RPGs in general and capitalizing on the worst impulses of players and GMs alike, Paranoia in its many iterations manages to consistently be a riotous experience of plans within plans that go horribly wrong in slapstick fashion.
Briefly summarize the criteria you will use for judging products in the different categories.
Obviously, which categories are applicable would vary from product to product, but the things I’d generally be looking for are:
5. Game object design (Maps, monsters, etc)
How will you judge supplements or adventures for game systems whose core rules you are unfamiliar with or you believe are badly designed?
If I’m unfamiliar with the rules set, I’d ideally try to familiarize myself with it as best I could so as to better judge the supplement/adventure. If time forbids, then I would consult with someone who is familiar with the rule set to get a better idea of what I should be looking out for. If I’m familiar with the rule set but think it’s badly designed, then I’d do my best to judge the supplement/adventure fairly within the context of being for the system that it is.
How would you like to see the ENnies change? What should remain inviolate?
I have yet to develop any strong opinions on how the ENNIES should be run. The ENNIES seem to pretty consistently put products up front that are of at least good quality. I’m sure that if given the chance to participate as a judge, I’d develop more substantive opinions.
BONUS: (optional) If you were an RPG, what would it be and would you play it?
I’d be a complex and obtuse dungeon crawler game with esoteric puzzles. I’d have a good chance of rage quitting after realizing that the answer to one of the puzzles is a stupid pun.