Friday, July 7, 2017

The ENnies & Origin Awards Are Worthless

In the tabletop gaming world, there are the Origin Awards and the ENnies. The former are named for (and awarded at) the Origins Trade Fair. The latter is a "popular" award (that few know about, or care about) handed out at GENCon. You'd think that my mentioning of them would mean a comparison to other industry awards.

You're not wrong.

The question is: "Are these awards worth your time?" and the answer is an ear-shattering "NO!"

The reason? Winning either award has jack-all influence on later sales or business opportunities. They are close to a fake award as you can get without being literal "I went to the trophy shop and had one made." fake. That, by the way, is before accounting for the SJW convergence factor. Once that comes in, and you have a Hugo-like problem that manifested in a fraction of the time.

Fortunately, the solution is the same: toss them on the trash pile with the Hugos, douse it in jet fuel, and torch the crap castle. Then use the light to guide your way over to the Dragon Awards and participate there instead.

Not that the Drgaons--being only in their second year this year--have proven to actually have an impact on tabletop RPG sales, yet, but simply by the lack of SJW convergence they're already superior to the ENnies and the Origins. But that leads to another problem, a long-standing problem, that the Social Justice Warrior death cult neither started nor escalated.

That problem is the fact that tabletop RPGs are like this: Dungeons & Dragons (at this point, that includes Pathfinder and 5th Edition) is the only game that matters overall. Within specific genres, an also-ran is that genre's top dog (Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, Spycraft) and some genres that are popular in other media are almost absent in tabletop RPGs.

In short, even if an award was incorruptable and wholly meritocratic, you'd still get utter domination by D&D and its ilk by sheer volume of numbers. Why? Because tabletop RPGs are just like telephone networks and the Internet itself: utterly dependent upon the Network Effect for their utility (and therefore justification for existence at all). The more users you have for a TRPG, the more play that actually gets done, and the more useful information about that game that gets passed around (making more people want to play). It's a feedback loop!

MMORPG players know the other side of this effect very well. Once you invest enough time into a game, you are loathe to leave because you're avoiding the admission that you'd have to accept that investment as a sunk cost as the price for quitting. This is why folks who get into a MMORPG (a) gravitate towards the dominant game, (b) rarely leave for anything but the #2 or #3 rival, and (c) usually come back once they realize that the dominant game is dominant for concrete and practical reasons.

The same thing applies to tabletop RPGs, and always has. This is why D&D in general (and the most recent edition specifically, with 4th edition being a bit weird here) has been--and likely always shall be--the only tabletop RPG that matters, such that D&D defines not just RPGs in general but the entire medium of tabletop RPG play (and greatly influences RPG-like play in other media).

With that level of dominance, awards are going to be mostly useless. Those done by insiders (Origins) don't influence the masses, and those done popularly (or "popularly") are going to reflect the domination of the #1 game in the medium. At best it's good only for taking the temperature of the category, a snapshot of a moment to see where the trend goes, and otherwise is utterly useless.

So let them burn to ash. That's what you do with other fake useless things, like $3 bills, so why not these paper crowns?

1 comment:

  1. Origin Awards: You receive a generic token ($2) if you vote in the Awards on site. Table with guy collecting ballots, and stack of tokens. [Roll that one around in your head a moment or two.]

    Table occupants have no idea if you read or played any of the items up for awards. Sort of like the Hugos, I'd guess.