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Heart: The City Beneath, Alice is Missing and Slayers all nab multiple 2021 ENnie Awards nominations

The dark delving RPG from Rowan, Rook and Deckard place top of the list with noms in eight categories.

The ENnie Awards nominations for 2021 have been announced, rounding up shortlists of roleplaying games in the running for one of the hobby’s more prestigious annual awards.

This particular award has been given out since 2001 to a crop of the best tabletop RPGs decided by a public vote. Last year, the popular Swedish thrash-and-trash RPG system Mörk Borg left with a bevy of nominations, winning in all of its nominated categories, but it ultimately lost out to Best Game winner Alien: The Roleplaying Game.

Along with a list of Judge’s Spotlights, the ENnies comprise 22 separate categories ranging from art and adventures to layout and production values, and even podcasts, digital aids and specific categories such as family games and free games.

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Making out like a thief is Rowan, Rook and Deckard’s Heart: The City Beneath, which has been nominated for eight separate awards including Best Game and Product of the Year. The title invites groups to traverse a twisted world with a dark and parasitic organism at its core - the eponymous heart - and come from the team of Chris Taylor and Grant Howitt, who previously worked on Spire.

Free League’s latest offering, Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying, clinched three nominations for Best Interior Art, Best Cover Art and Best Monster/Adversary. The art of Johan Egerkrans depicting its world of dangerous folklore and myth encroaching on society at the brink of industrialisation does wonders to sell a fraught fantasy.

Also up for three awards is Spense Starke’s suspenseful and unique Alice is Missing. The game where players can only communicate via text message in their search for a Californian Teen has been nominated for Best Rules, Best Game and Product of the Year. Wheels wrote about his experience last year, describing it as unlike any RPG he had played before.

A delightful surprise is seeing a somewhat healthier crop of indie designers nominated across categories narrow and broad. Spencer Campbell’s Slayers placed in the Best Rules, Product of the Year and Best Games category. The creator of the Lumen System and Nova has a history of successfully adapting video game design to the tabletop, and Slayers does so with an ever-changing, roguelike-esque city full of monsters and the Slayers hunting them down.

Along with Alice is Missing, Slayers and Heart: The City Beneath, the Best Game category is rounded out by Cam Banks’ Cortex Prime Game Handbook and Sentinel Comics: the RPG from Greater That Games.

The winners, which are normally part of Gen Con’s annual event, will instead be announced on August 27th, after final voting is completed. The full list of nominees can be viewed on the award organisation’s website.

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