2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


This Sub-Award is awarded to the game that stretches the RPG experience in new ways. It may be a particular innovative mechanic that has never been used in other games (or never been used as well as previous games), or it changes the dynamics of a regular game group (the standard 3-6 players and one gamemaster). Or, it might even turn the concept of "RPG" on its ear. Innovation and exploration is what this Sub-Award honors.


Sweet Agatha by Kevin Allen Jr. / with 49 points

Redefines what is a roleplaying game with incredible production values.

A unique vision - Sweet Agatha blazes a trail and shows us new things to be done with storytelling and games.

Takes what we think of interactive fiction and turns it on its head. Takes what we presume structure that has to have and turns it on its head. A great example of thinking outside of the box.

In the often strait-jacketed world of "narrative first" indie games, this subversive sandbox game breaks the mold, an act symbolized by the players' physical destruction of the designer's work.

The design reaches out into the real world and forces you to transgress a cultural norm in the basic act of playing. How day you ask me to cut my book?


In a Wicked Age: sword & sorcery roleplaying by Vincent Baker / with 22 points

Combines the hoariest of old-school traditions -- the random encounter -- with the ultimate in story-building.

Oracles have redefined the way the game designer's vision and the creativity of the play group can interact.

3:16 Carnage Among the Stars by Gregor Hutton / with 16 points

Introduced Flashbacks and GM opposition economy in an ongoing campaign. Makes a black and white stat choice, re-introduces Levels and gives genuine drop in PC replacement. It's taken a host of "established" parts of RPGs and thrown them in the bin.

Like 'Duty & Honour', 3:16 makes military roleplaying fun, engaging and exciting. Its very simple, yet multi-layered, mechanics and game advice make the game super-easy to pick up and play in minutes as well as providing all the tools for immensely satisfying long-term play.

Zombie Cinema by Eero Tuovinen / with 16 points

Boardgame meets RPG in a tragedy.

This idea of an RPG that can be played in 20 minutes needs to get out there into the world.

A role-playing game that fits within the physical, temporal, and social space normally reserved for a board game. Accessibility of this level is great achievement.

A Flower for Mara by Seth Ben-Ezra / with 15 points

This merges together genres of play -- larp, improv, Jeepform; but what takes it to the next level is how it draws in the real-life experiences of players.

Breaking down the doors between play, LARP, Jeep, improv, and RPG -- A Flower for Mara is a strong step away from the ordinary.

Sea Dracula by Jake Richmond, Nick Smith / with 15 points

Uh, hello? Dancing!

Serial Homicide Unit by Kat Miller and Michael S. Miller / with 14 points

A game where the lives and dreams of the victims take center stage over a killer and the investigators tracking him down - a brilliant approach and a deeply affecting game.

It's Complicated by Elizabeth Shoemaker / with 13 points

No dice, no GM, no resolution system. Is it and RPG, you bet!

Makes the relationship map into the game engine: elegant and clever.

Especially with the online play edition, It's Complicated moves gaming strongly towards the mainstream and thinks about games as something other than adventures imagined around a table.

Barbarians of Lemuria by Simon Washbourne / with 10 points

A Dirty World by Greg Stolze / with 8 points

Duty & Honour by Neil Gow / with 8 points

'D&H' takes the potential minefield of the military RPG - with all its problems of rank, hierarchy, missions and combat - and weaves a game that creates engaging, thrilling stories no matter if your character is a lowly private or a dashing colonel.

Hot War by Malcolm Craig / with 6 points

Poison'd by Vincent Baker / with 5 points

The Cog Wars: Zero Edition by JL Williams, Dmitri Arbacauskas, Robert Earley-Clark, Levi Kornelsen, Tony Lower-Basch, Stephen Lea Sheppard / with 5 points