If you were to ask most gamers about RPG awards they would probably mention the Origin Awards or the Ennies. If they’re in a certain segment, they might mention the Indie awards or the Golden Geek awards. But if they mention the Diana Jones awards, then you can be sure that they’re a big freaking nerd.
The Diana Jones award may be the most mysterious of the RPG awards. A secretive council of gaming luminaries (no, I don’t know who they are) hash out a short list of nominees, then give the award to one of them at Gencon. There are no categories, and no particular limits on what might be nominated. Most of the nominations are for games, but they can be for stranger things – ideas, projects, podcasts, organizations, people – anything related to gaming is on the table. It’s not a popular award, or a structured award, and I’m not even sure whether it can be neatly summarized. In the way that some actor’s are “an actor’s actor”, the DJA feels like the deep geek’s deep geek’s award.
Every year, the Diana Jones shortlist seems like a summary of what has been great and interesting in the past year. Running back through the shortlists of years past provides a snapshot of each year in turn and a sense of what sort of fantastic things have been going on. This year, Evil Hat made it onto that list with The Dresden Files RPG.
As ever, the rest of the list is fantastic as well. Sorencrane’s Freemarket, Bully Pulpit’s Fiasco, Catacombs from Sands of Time and Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, from Cranio Creation. Now, coming clean, I don’t know Catacombs or Aliens, but their mere presence on the list is enough to encourage me to go correct that.
All of which is to say – wow. It’s amazing to be on that list. I am utterly blown away.