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Indie Game Developer Network announces nominees for 2021 Groundbreakers Award

The awards are "designed to shine a spotlight on excellence in the indie game design community".

The Indie Game Developer Network has announced its shortlist of candidates for the 2021 Indie Groundbreakers Award across five categories, including Game of the Year. The winner will be announced sometime before Gen Con begins on September 16th.

The Indie Groundbreakers Awards have been spotlighting talent in the independent tabletop design community since 2016. According to its official website, the nominations and awards “recognize games (and game designers) who are creating new and exciting game designs that push the boundaries in innovation, in promoting diversity, and in expanding what it means to be ‘indie.’”

In an August 11th post, the judging committee composed of people from within and without the IGDN announced nominees for Game of the Year and the four additional categories - most innovative, best art, best setting and best rules. Qualifying entries must be a LARP, tabletop RPG, board game or related title released sometime between January 1st and December 31st 2020 and be independently published - such distinction is commonly understood but the judges retain final say.

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Winners in the four main categories get a $50 cash prize, rights to apply their win and the IGDA logo to their games and public acknowledgement. Game of the year winners get a $300 cash prize and everything else, plus an invitation to sell their game at all conventions where IGDA attends in an official capacity over the next year.

The nominated games span a breadth of genres, forms and mechanical bases. Mapmaking games sit next to LARPs and anthologies of erotic roleplaying titles, showing the creativity and design space of “tabletop” is a lot more vast than polyhedral dice and hardbound sourcebooks - not that there isn’t games in that tradition nominated as well.

Below are a list of the awards and their nominees:

Most Innovative

  • Beak, Feather & Bone, by Tyler Crumrine
  • The Wizards and the Wastes, by John “Batts” Battle
  • On the Wings of a Red Dragonfly, by NinjaPenguinAM
  • Our Mundane Supernatural Life, by Storybrewers Roleplaying
  • This Discord has Ghosts in it, by Will Jobst

Best Art

  • MoonPunk, by Wannabe Games
  • No Stone Unturned, by Adam Bell
  • Space Goblins, by Viditya Voleti
  • Sunken, by Mike Martens
  • Lutong Banwa, by Diwata ng Manila

Best Setting

  • Barrow Keep, by R. Rook Games
  • Karanduun, by makapatag
  • Visigoths vs Mall Goths, by Lucian Kahn
  • Hounds of the Tsar, by Last Redoubt Games
  • Mainframe, by Gordie Murphy

Best Rules

  • Slayers, by Spencer Campbell
  • Space Goblins, by Viditya Voleti
  • Last Fleet, by Black Armada
  • Mainframe, by Gordie Murphy
  • Our Mundane Supernatural Life, by Storybrewers Roleplaying

Game of the Year

  • Crescendo Giocoso Ritornello, by NessunDove
  • Honey & Hot Wax, by Pelgrane Press
  • Karanduun, by makapatag
  • Our Mundane Supernatural Life, by Storybrewers Roleplaying
  • Space Goblins, by Viditya Voleti

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Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.