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Quest, Alien and Mörk Borg among nominees for best RPGs of the year at 2020 ENnie Awards

Mech RPG Lancer withdrawn from shortlist in opposition to 2017 controversy.

The nominations for this year’s ENnie Awards have been announced, revealing the games in the running at the annual RPG awards show.

The ENnies have been held since 2001, and award the best tabletop RPGs of the year as voted for by the public. Last year’s winners included rules-light family RPG Kids on Bikes, the latest editions of classic titles Call of Cthulhu and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and sci-fi RPG Mothership, which was named the best RPG of 2019.

The awards are broken into a variety of categories, varying from best rules, writing and artwork to specific products, accessories and releases for games.

Among the RPGs leading this year’s nominations is Dicebreaker favourite Quest, which has four nominations including Best Family Game/Product, Best Layout and Design, Best Writing, and Product of the Year. (Which, it should be noted, is separate to Best Game.)

BFF! Best Friends Forever, a colourful roleplaying game about the friendships between a group of tween girls, has five nominations, including Best Interior Art, Best Family Game/Product, Best Layout and Design, Best Production Values, and Product of the Year.

Also racking up four nominations apiece are gothic Swedish metal-inspired RPG Mörk Borg - receiving nods for Best Game, Best Writing, Best Layout and Design, and Product of the Year - and Trilemma Adventures, a collection of fantasy adventures recognised for Best Adventure, Best Cartography, Best Layout and Design, and Product of the Year. Joining the four-nomination club is Zombie World, with the card-driven RPG appearing on the shortlist for Best Rules, Best Game and Product of the Year, while its expansion Zombie World: The Mall is in the running for Best Supplement.

BFF! and Quest join the adventure game based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, The Excellents: Excellent Princess Roleplaying and the second volume of Strange Adventures for Kids on Bikes in the Best Family Game/Product category.

Meanwhile, the Best Game shortlist to decide the best RPG of the year includes Alien: The RPG, last year’s acclaimed RPG based on the sci-fi horror movie, alongside A Cool and Lonely Courage, Mörk Borg, Royal Blood and Zombie World.

Massif Press, the publisher behind mech RPG Lancer, withdrew its 2020 nomination for Best Electronic Book in response to Blood in the Chocolate, a supplement for RPG Lamentations of the Flame Princess, receiving an ENnie Award for Best Adventure in 2017. The publisher described the book as containing “casual graphic sexual assault and racism”, and criticised the ENnie Awards for “implicitly endors[ing] openly harmful gaming products” in awarding the title. In a Twitter thread, the publisher included a screenshot of its email to the awards’ organisers requesting to be withdrawn from consideration and stating it would not participate in the future until “the situation changes”.

Following the removal of Lancer, the ENnie Awards announced that Uncaged Vol III, a collection of adventures for Dungeons & Dragons 5E that subvert stereotypical depictions of female mythological creatures, had been added to the short for Best Electronic Book. The rest of the shortlist includes Killer Kobolds from Outer Space, Beowulf: Hermit’s Sanctuary, the second edition of New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley and Wolves of Steadwick.

The winners of the 2020 ENnie Awards will be announced on July 31st as part of Gen Con Online, the digital event replacing the US convention where the physical awards show is typically held.