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2002 Indie Game of the Year

The Finalists

Game Information Designer Feedback

Children of the Sun

Lewis Pollak

I love the setting... It shows how much I like the setting that it still came out.

Innovative and refreshing in my opinion.

Cartoon Action Hour

Cynthia Celeste Miller & Eddy Webb
Nice layout work. Unique take on an rpg.

Running home from school to catch G.I. Joe, playing with action figures, getting up extra early for Saturday morning cartoons---this game brings back everything that was fun about growing up in the 80's.


Christian Conkle

Fast, action oriented play. Doesn't lose sight of it's goal: cinematic SF. The game play never gets bogged down in too many details. Loads of fun

Dust Devils

Matt Snyder
Although it is a simple design, it has a lot going for it. Lots of role-playing opportunities, and the setup where no single person *runs* the game is nice.

The rules for Dust Devils fit the genre perfectly and the game approaches the wester in a way unattempted by other western rpgs. Simply superb.

Everything about this game is done well, from the rules to the layout to the cover art. This is why indie RPGs need to be taken seriously.


Jared A. Sorensen

A true gem of innovative game design, featuring elegant rules for collaborative roleplaying at its best. It's breaking traditional RPG rules while being easy to play and has the biggest advantage over all other RPGs out there: you don't need to prepare an adventure and you'll never know where the story will take you... a GM's heaven.

Inspectres is a blast to play. One of the funnest games I've played in quite a while.


Clinton R. Nixon

Kick-ass old-style dungeon crawling meets a new-school collaborative and player-driven game engine: Donjon gives you the best of both worlds. Throw in infinite player-created character classes and races and the highest number of d20s ever needed for a single roll - and there's no doubt about it: Donjon rocks!

Few of the other indie games (especially the lower budget indie games) have generated as much attention and excitement as Donjon. Hidden under a veneer of fun parody is a game engine that demands player involvement in creating the game like few others. The list of games which provide an easy entry point into non traditional mechanics for traditional minded players is a pretty short one. Donjon is at the top of that list.

The Riddle of Steel

Jacob Norwood

The Riddle of Steel is the independent game by which all new independent games will be measured, much to their detriment. The quality of design and writing are a hard standard to match. The powerful story-creating motor of Spiritual Attributes combined with a combat system that manages to juxtapose danger and fun -- a task I haven't seen much of before -- make a machine that can't be stopped.

Many games make grandiose claims about how revolutionary their new system is. TROS backs it up. There is no combat system in fantasy RPGs today as fun, exciting, fast playing, and driven by player skill as TROS. There are other games that have had mechanics as effective as Spiritual Attributes. There are no other games that made those mechanics blend so well with the core rules that players who never dreamed they'd enjoy such mechanics become totally hooked by them before they even realize it.

The Runners Up:

3rd Place, with 23 Points Cartoon Action Hour, by Cynthia Celeste Miller & Eddy Webb
2nd Place, with 25 Points The Riddle of Steel, by Jacob Norwood

And the Winner, with 28 Points, is...

Dust Devils
by Matt Snyder

Dust Devils is a "truly gritty Old West role-playing game." It employs poker mechanics and the "Devil" rule to drive characters in a psychologically gripping progress toward one end: "Shoot or give up the gun?"