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Fabula Ultima, Pasión de las Pasiones and Trophy make 2023 ENnie Awards best RPG shortlist

Avatar Legends and Blade Runner swamped by a sea of smaller tabletop titles in this year’s nomination round.

Image credit: Need Games

The nominations for 2023’s ENnie Awards have been announced, revealing the finalists for one of the larger awards in the tabletop space.

Held annually since 2001, the ENnies claim to highlight the best tabletop RPGs in several categories voted on by the public. Last year, Thirsty Sword Lesbians cleaned house when it snagged the two most prestigious awards - this year’s playing field is more level by comparison.

In fact, established RPGs from companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Paizo and Modiphius seem to have been outshined by games from small teams and independent creators in almost every category. Take the coveted Best Game category, for example. The Final Fantasy-esque Fabula Ultima is joined by Spanish-language telenovela simulator Pasión de las Pasiones, the dark fantasy adventures of Trophy, retro-neon adventure RPG Slugblaster and Flabbergasted’s comedy roleplay set in the 1920s.

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There’s nary a dungeon nor a dragon present in most of the categories, save Journeys through the Radiant Citadel’s nomination for best adventure and product of the year. You might be asking what the difference might be between Product of the Year and Best Game awards, and the answer is not much? The ENnies consciously spotlight some of the hidden labour needed to create tabletop games, such as writing, interior artwork, production and layout. Their philosophy seems to be more categories means more chances to honour worthy art.

Other categories with nominees include accessories, both digital and otherwise, podcast and actual plays, cartography, world setting, and then separate best game categories for free games and family games. The ENnies official website contains the full list of awards and their nominees for easy perusal, but we’ll include some of the larger categories at the bottom of this piece.

Voting is now open on the 2023 ENnie awards nominees and will remain so leading up to the announcement of the winners at this year’s Gen Con convention in early August.

Best Game

  • Fabula Ultima, by Need Games, Rooster Games
  • Flabbergasted!, by The Wanderer’s Tome
  • Pasión de las Pasiones, by Brandon Leon-Gambetta, Brendan Conway, Claudia Sánchez Quiroz
  • Slugblaster: Kickflip Over a Quantum Centipede, by Wilkie’s Candy Lab
  • Trophy RPG, by The Gauntlet Gaming Community and Hedgemaze Press

Product of the Year

  • Broken Tales, The World Anvil Publishing
  • Eldritch Overload: Tarot & Codex, Weird Works LLC
  • Fabula Ultima – Core Rulebook, Need Games
  • Flabbergasted!, The Wanderer’s Tome
  • Household, Two Little Mice
  • Journeys through the Radiant Citadel, Wizards of the Coast
  • Rivers of London: The Roleplaying Game, Chaosium Inc.
  • Swords of the Serpentine, Pelgrane Press
  • Trophy RPG Box Set, The Gauntlet Gaming Community, Hedgemaze Press
  • Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland, Free League Publishing

Judges Spotlight

  • One Breath left, by Ian Howard
  • Dungeons of Drakkenheim, by Monty Martin, Kelly McLaughlin
  • Void 1680 AM, by Ken Lowery
  • Moonlight on Roseville Beach: A Queer Game of Disco and Cosmic Horror, by R. Rook Studio
  • Faecraft, by Will Purves

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Chase Carter

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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.
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