Online Nickname: “Tom” and “tkingwv”


Hello! My name is Tom King. I’ve been an avid RP Gamer since the early 80s when my friends and I discovered Traveler and the Purple (reprint of Red) box. I’ve played in a multitude of games, campaigns and one-shots. Though primarily I’ve been a (mostly) DM for life situation. Pulling groups together and setting up adventures with them across various systems. In my day life I’m a Project Manager with governance over several processes for our company’s many clients. In addition, for this process governance, I lead a team of 5 individuals across several time zones and backgrounds.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

Primarily, the collaborative story telling elements. I enjoy experiencing a world created by GM and players. I enjoy going on journeys across multiple genres and systems. And, who doesn’t like the social interactions of it all? Those out of character chats, the in character moments, and, of course, the situations and rolls people talk about for years to come.

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 run two groups. One meets weekly and the other weekly over this summer, then back to every other week. Also, the local gaming store has a steady supply of those craving new gaming experiences. There are one-shots ran there pretty much every Tuesday, and they are looking into expanding the RP activities into Thursdays as well.

My wife and I are both avid gamers and she is fully behind me doing this. Additionally she is someone I can bounce opinions off of.

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 have for 20 years successfully ran teams, processes and projects for several IT companies. I am familiar with all the requested items as for skills. Free time I have 5 days a week that I can spend evenings looking over materials, and days when work is slow. Storage space might be tricker, though I have a garage I can stockpile the hard copies. My diversified interests include games that span from horror, science fiction, fantasy, supers. I don’t think I have met many a genre that I haven’t liked. I’ve been a forever DM for over 30 years and a player off and on during that time. I bring project management, effective communication and presentation skills. I’m an active reader and listener.

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?

Lately the genre that I’ve been enjoying the most is Fantasy, in particular D&D 5E. Though, before that I had ran a Mutants & Masterminds game for several years and have always enjoyed the supers genre a lot.

I feel like my favorite 5E publisher right now has been Kobold Press. Almost everything I read of theirs has great production values, are easy reads, and have original spins on things. I’m currently running a series of one-shots for one my weekly groups based in their Shadow Realms setting.

For supers it’s definitely Green Ronin’s Mutants and Masterminds. I feel like I can create and run/play anything in that system. It’s like Champions or GURPS but with ease of use. Their setting is also a lot of fun to play in and create within.

Lately I’ve been incorporating things like “Fill in the Blanks” and other OSR supplements into my 5E games. It has allowed me to run more expansive campaigns that engage the players, are creative, and aren’t totally bound in.

I am, as hinted above, primarily a fan of Fantasy and Heroes genres, with Horror bringing up third place.

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?

I haven’t played in many, but the ones I did I really enjoyed.

Rivers of London – Was being ran as a one-shot by one of my friends and I couldn’t resist modern ghost hunters with a Cthulhu feel. It was somewhere between Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green. I liked it the most.

Animal Adventures – A flavor of 5E in which you play awakened cats and dogs. This was a fun break from more serious games and was fun to “goof around” and play off tropes while fully embracing them.

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?

D&D 5E, I’ve been running two campaigns using this system. One, a campaign at the local game store, has been happening weekly for over a year. It started off as Adventurer’s League but then I got a steady group of players and it became something of a closed campaign. I was drawn to that one because the store owner and a friend asked me to help get AL running up there. Now it “sells out” space every week and we have 5 – 6 tables running at a time.

The other 5E game is a home game that’s been running since January. It’s an old-fashioned Hex Crawl. The player group has changed some due to one couple getting too busy. But, overall it’s steady and all of us are really enjoying it.

Backwater, an indie game by Backwards Games, about a post apocalyptic setting that is also kind of post Civil-War. I wanted to run this because of the uniqueness of the setting and was both horror and survival. Once we realized the game system wasn’t working for us, we switched to the same setting using Gumshoe. This was a very enjoyable experience.

A one-on-one Mutants and Masterminds game that I’ve been running with the wife for nearly our entire relationship using different systems. M&M was just the most recent system we adopted to. The basic premise is hunters for Homeland looking out for supernatural threats.

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

When I’m looking over a new product that I’ve purchased, or am gifted, I look at several factors.

  • Writing style: I prefer conversational style writing that is easy to read and digest. I don’t expect to be reading a technical manual the whole time.
  • Details: If something is mentioned that appears important, I want it to be addressed somewhere. If it’s not in the book I’m reading, point me to which book or substitution I can make. Otherwise, I just substitute my own. I don’t like it when there is a reference like “The players will then need to collect the key in room 5 to open this door.” go to read room 5 and there is no mention of a key. I mean, of course, I’m going to insert it there, or somewhere else, but that just feels sloppy.
  • Layout: It doesn’t have be AAA big company layout. But, give some thought to the layout of the material. In how the material is organized and presented.
  • Fun: This is hard to quantify, but, is the material fun? Would it be fun to read, imagine, plan, create for and play?
  • Art: I hate to admit it. I like books that have a good aesthetic. Doesn’t mean polished. Like MÖRK BORG has great Aesthetic, but is not anywhere what I would call polished. If all the above is good, though, this can be overlooked. I’ve done that more than once for various zines.

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

Content, Creativity and Readability.
There are plenty of things I’ve read that I did not know the core rules for. Just so I could adopt elements of it into a system I do like or understand.
Also, just because the core book and rules are bad doesn’t mean that associated materials or content are bad.  While Backwater wasn’t for me mechanically, the  the fluff and setting were amazingly fun.

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

As an observer, I do not see anything to change. If selected to be a judge, I may have input on the inner workings.