Online Nickname(s): Tabletop Santa

Introduction and Platform


I am Rick Ankney a retired Navy Corpsman and former video production manager for Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors (Game Trade Media AKA GTM). I am now the owner of Thunderforge Studios a video production studio that supports many of the Gaming industries publishers with their social media needs, especially on Tiktok. I currently help manage and provide Content for the following companies as examples: CMON, Ultra Pro, TheOP, Wyrd, Wizkids, Gamehole Con, Gary Con, Deepwater Games, Enhance Gaming, Catalyst Game Labs, Monster Fight Club, Hunters Entertainment, Monte Cook Games, Renegade Game Studios and many others. I believe I would make a good judge due to my immersion in this industry and my love for the promotion of the Tabletop Gaming community especially when it comes to the RPG side of the gaming world and because I already represent such a broad scope of the industry I hope that brings value to the ENNIES.

Why do you play/run RPGs?

I run and play RPG’s for the experience, I especially like playing and running games for new players or new to my table players. This allows for broader exchange of ideas and the ability to make and forge new friendships. I also found that RPG’s where a great anchor for me growing up I spent my High School years in the foster care system and I believe my connections I made through gaming are what helped me through those tough times, then when I was in the military (for 20 years) I always found my people through the local gaming scene. So I don’t only play for the experience but for me, but hopefully to give someone else at the table a good experience that might be an anchor for them and who knows maybe in 10 or 15 years one of them might be filling out this same form because of their time at a table and maybe even be because of the time at my table.

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?

Well because I have a video production studio, I can call on my staff to assist in some tasks I am sure. My family is supportive in so much as they wouldn’t be a hindrance to my responsibilities.

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?

Again, Running a video production studio already requires a great deal of communication with publishers, staff and talent to get the jobs done here and those skills will easily transfer over to the tasks involved with the ENNIES. Also my space is 3600 sq ft, so I have plenty of space to facilitate any product (Now it makes me think that the ENNIES need to be on TIKTOK lol)

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 every genre and system of RPG. ( I know that may sound cliche’ but it is true) I do gravitate towards the Fantasy, Supernatural and Sci-fi genres but I enjoy sitting at any table and bringing a new character life regardless of the genre. I like many others do play a lot of D&D and it is my favorite system. I also finding the new Essence 20 system to be a lot of fun and I would say one of my favorite publishers is Monte Cook Games, and the Cypher System.

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?

Here is the list of RPG’s I have played in the Last year and an * will let you know I loved them.
Dungeons and Dragons 5e*
Kids on Bikes*
The Excellence*
Fate of the Norns*
Malifaux Through the Breach*
Outbreak Undead*
Justifiers RPG* (this is an old school RPG that I still enjoy)

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

I will judge the products on the following more likely than not.
-Easy of entry into the system
-Genre representation
-RP vs Mechanics

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

I would judge these based on
System compatibility
Flow/pacing of Story if an adventure supplement
Usability in play

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

I would have to get more familiar with the ENNIES mechanics and workings before I make any assumptions or recommendations on what may need a re-evaluation.

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

If I were an RPG…Wow throwing the hard ball questions. I would be “Almost Famous: The RPG” A game where all the players are the folk who make the celebrities look good and facilitate getting the things done to make that happen. But are also always on the edge of become a celebrity themselves but due to the mechanics of the game aren’t allowed, and if they do they become an NPC.