Introduction and Platform

I have been gaming for over 40 years and enjoy discovering new games and books/modules. I run games at conventions, online, with my local players as well as running my own “mini conventions.” Gaming is my passion and enjoy contributing to the hobby to help make it grow. I believe my passion for the gaming hobby as well as my depth of gaming experience makes me a great fit as an ENNIES judge.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

RPGs allow both the GM and players to expand their horizons, expand who they are, and develop incredible social skills. As a GM, RPGs allow me to tap into my experience to create an adventure or campaign that my players will thrive in. Adventure or campaign creation allows me to develop a backdrop, with a storyline. As the GM, I present the storyline/task to the players, and keep the players moving forward, allowing room for the party to move in another direction/side quest, etc. A GM should never railroad the players. A GM should have a storyline but must be flexible as the party will seek different paths as the storyline moves along. This is one of the greatest achievements of a great GM. As a player, I enjoy RPGs as they allow me to collectively work with a group of people/characters to achieve an end goal. It allows me to develop my character, interact with other characters as we move along in the campaign/adventure.

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 semi-retired and have complete control over my schedule. Being a gamer for over 40 years has given me an impressive set of contacts within the industry (players, hobbyists, and professionals). As a judge, I will access my vast network of gamers to assist with my duties as an ENNIES judge. My family has always been supportive of my gaming and will be supportive if I am selected as an ENNIES judge.

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?

I was a Chief Information Officer for multiple public and private entities when I was working full-time. In order to be successful, I had to a) be a great communicator to all parties/departments/companies, b) manage multiple projects and deadlines to meet deliver dates, and c) organize my day to meet all demands placed on me as well as all new demands that came up during the course of each day. I also use those same skills in my gaming hobby to a) track my over 3,000 D&D& figures, over 1,000 games/gaming modules and rule sets and b) to organize and run multiple events at conventions and for my home playing groups.

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”?

My favorite RPG genres include fantasy, horror, and science fiction. These genres fit into many type of timeframes (cyberpunk, historical, thrillers, adventures, westerns, etc.) I will try any genre/game system at least once. As far as games go, I enjoy cooperative games as it allows all players to get involved and focused on solving a common problem. I also enjoy competitive games as they allow me to push for a personal conclusion/win of the game. For RPGs, I have played all versions of Dungeons and Dragons (4th edition is my favorite), Traveller (New Era is my favorite followed closely by Mongoose), and Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green.

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?

Games played in the last year include:

The Thing
Gloomhaven
Pandemic
Terraforming Mars
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Versailles 1919
Labyrinth
Lords of Waterdeep w/expansion

10 RPGs I have played:
Dungeons and Dragons (all editions – 4th edition is my favorite)
Traveller (all editions – New Era is my favorite)
Call of Cthulhu (5th, 6th and 7th editions)
Delta Green – a favorite
Space 1889 (GDW version)
Twilight 2000 (all editions)
Vampire/World of Darkness – a favorite
Star Wars
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a favorite
Pathfinder

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

I would judge a product on its own merits. While I do buy some products (RPGs systems/modules) and amend my tastes, I would review each product as it is out of the box. After reviewing each product (getting insights from other judges, gaming friends, etc.) I would ask myself if I bought this product, would I be happy with my purchase. It does not matter if it is a game or RPG system, or what the theme or genre is. What matters is does the product meet my honest expectations of a quality product that I would be happy with if I purchased the product.

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

The first thing I would do is get information/basic understanding of the rules in question (Internet searches, feedback from other judges, feed back from players, buy a pdf copy of the rules if available). The first item is how does the writing flow. Is it well written? Does the item convene its message in an easy to understand format? For a supplement, does it add value to the core rules/system? Does it offer content to advance my campaign or the campaign setting? Is the content well defined or is it “sandbox” content that requires the GM to invest time and effort to make it work? Adventures contain four main pieces – 1) A plot, 2) a start point, 3) a storyboard/workflow and 4) the finale/conclusion. If the plot clearly defined? Are the starting and ending points defined and are they a reasonable part of the storyline? Is the storyboard/workflow a clear path from the start point to the end point or is it nothing more than a group of unrelated adventure nuggets/red herrings? If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, the adventure has a problem.

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

I believe the ENNIES must continue to evolve as the hobby evolves. Think about how the Oscars have evolved through the years. Getting input from gamers/manufacturers for new categories/modifying existing categories is critical – no one person is a subject matter expert in the gaming industry.