What’s Afoot, June edition: The last month in games

June is a pretty huge month in the gaming world, with the kickoff of convention season! This last weekend saw two of the biggest: E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in LA; and the Game Manufacturers’ Association GAMA’s Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio.

Before we dig into those, since our last post, we’ve also had the Games For Change Festival, which has posted videos/articles from their conference. Games For Change (among whose directors is Jane McGonigal, keynote speaker at this year’s ALA Annual) are another organisation seeking to expand the field of play to more concretely constructive ends, and are well worth a look.

Origins Game Fair

Origins is home to the tabletop games industry’s awards, the Origins Awards. Because GAMA is a small not-for-profit, there is a charming quirkiness to the way in which high-quality tabletop games are gathered into one place for an awards ceremony… but the information about it is sometimes kinda hard to find. The following list of nominees and winners doesn’t come from the Origins Awards page, for instance, but from gaming industry news site ICv2 and geek news site Bleeding Cool respectively (who in turn got it from the Facebook page of one of the early winners, which may explain why some of the categories towards the end are missing or a little mixed up…) – and a little investigation on Twitter (thanks to Karina Shaffer, @FidgetTBC, for livetweeting the winners!) to fill in the gaps. [NB: this may be the first time they are combined on a single list! That’s sort of a scoop for our loyal IGD readers, right?]

In the list below, games in boldface are the official winners, and games in red are the “Fan Favorites” for that category (which may of course overlap). Without further ado, this year’s Origins Awards go to:

Best Roleplaying Game
13th Age – Pelgrane Press
FATE Core System – Evil Hat Productions, LLC
Mummy: the Curse – White Wolf Game Studio
Numenera – Monte Cook Games
Shadowrun: Core Rulebook – Catalyst Game Labs

Best Roleplaying Supplement
DC Adventures Universe – Green Ronin Publishing
Heart of the Wild – Cubicle 7 Entertainment
Transhuman – Posthuman Studios
Night’s Watch – Green Ronin Publishing
Eternal Lies – Pelgrane Press

Best Board Game
Trains – Alderac Entertainment Group
Time n Space – Stronghold Games
Space Cadet: Dice Duel – Stronghold Games
Krosmaster Arena – Japanime Games
City of Iron – Red Raven Games

Best Collectible Card Game
Pokemon Black & White – Legendary Treasures – The Pokemon Company, Intl.
Pokemon Red Genesect Collection – The Pokemon Company, Intl.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle Pack 2 – Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Super Starter V for Victory – Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Collection 4: Joey’s World – Konami Digital Entertainment

Best Traditional Card Game
Love Letter– Alderac Entertainment Group
DC Comics Deck-Building Game – Cryptozoic Entertainment
Boss Monster – Brotherwise Games
Clubs – North Star Games
Marvel Legendary:  Dark City – Upper Deck

Best Children’s, Family, Party Game
Walk the Plank – Mayday Games
Three Little Pigs – Iello
My Happy Farm – 5th St. Games
ROFL – Cryptozoic Entertainment
Choose One! – Looney Labs

Best Game Accessory
Krosmaster:  Fire & Ice – Japanime Games
Shadowrun GM Screen – Catalyst Game Labs
Fate Dice – Evil Hat Productions, LLC
Space Gaming Mat – HC+D Supplies
Pathfinder Battles: Skull and Shackles – WizKids Games

Best Miniature Figure Rules
Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Vs X-men Starters – WizKids Games
Battletech Alpha Strike – Catalyst Game Labs
Judge Dredd – Warlord Games

Best Historical Miniature Figure/Line
Fife & Drum: Revolutionary War -– Fife & Drum
Highlander Force – North Star Military Figures
Fate of a Nation: Arab Israeli Wars – Battlefront Miniatures
Red Army: 28mm Russian Infantry – Wargames Factory
Devil Dogs and Dragons – Empress Miniatures
Best Historical Board Game
SOS Titanic – Ludonaute
Navajo Wars – GMT, designed by: Joel Toppen
Freedom: The Underground Railroad – Academy Games
1775: Rebellion – Academy Games
Francis Drake – Eagle Games

Best Historical Miniature Rules Supplements
SAGA: Varjazi & Basileus – Gripping Beast
Flames of War: Fate of a Nation – Battlefront Miniatures
Force on Force: Classified – Osprey Publishing

Best Historical Miniature Rules
Fields of Fire 2nd Edition – Proving Ground Games
Fire and Sword – Wargamer
Chain of Command – Too Fat Lardies

Best Miniature Figure Line
Malifaux: The Guild’s Judgement– Wyrd Miniatures
HeroClix: Wolverine and the X-men – WizKids Games
MERCs Mini’s (Shock Trooper, Spy, Eagle, Beacher) – MegaCon Games

Best Game Related Publication
Khan of Mars – Evil Hat Books
Fire for Effect – Catalyst Game Labs
ICv2 – Editor: Milton Griepp
Dork Tower – Editor: John Kovalic
TableTop – Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day

Congratulations to all the winners!

(As a side note, movie buffs might like to know that Origins is also home to movie awards the Smithees.)


E3 gets a lot of media coverage, so here are some starters to other reading: GameSpot’s news index, and some trailers for some of the “best-looking” games in the show.

Random IGD volunteer picks:

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition looks awesome, with over 40 different endings (they said once they write about 6 novels’ worth for each game!). Here’s their latest trailer, too.
  • Nintendo jumps on board the metacreativity train with Mario Maker.
  • Promenade game Dear Esther‘s Dan Pinchbeck returns with another exploration-based game.
  • Ubisoft games Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed: Unity are looking stunning (and apparently you can ride elephants in Far Cry 4!), but have come under scrutiny for their lack of female player character models – including from series creator Patrice Désilets. A detailed recreation of Revolutionary France – with no chance for women to play a part? Hmm, maybe not so detailed after all… still, anyone who’s wanted to sneak through Versailles now has the chance.

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