Thank you to the judges for their exhausting and oft thankless task!
I have a problemNone of the the nominations in the Free RPG category are by philanthropists. They are all cut down marketing versions of commercial games. The ENnies are about showcasing the best of the hobby and I feel that philanthropy, which has been a part of the hobby since it began, is not being represented here.
Logically speakingAll the games are free in that category. They all belong there. The judges believe en masse that quick starts and previews are more worthy than the free games submitted.
We don't have review criteria for the free RPGs category as the judges are left to decide on their own. Judging is hard work as it is without having to solicit feedback about whether X was chosen over Y. There are no guidelines for judging a free RPG so all the judges have is the category title.
Where it gratesJustin submitted Heroes Against Darkness this year and suffering sour grapes for not getting a nomination. I can understand his frustration.
Avoid fragmentationWe don't need another set of awards to showcase the work of philanthropists, the ENnies is the correct place for that. There will, no doubt be the Golden Banana, which will be funded by 1km1kt T-Shirt sales (coming soon). If anything the Golden Banana should be part of the Ennies, or at least complement it.
Become a judge?I would be ill-suited for judging commercial products because I don't play them. I only play free ones. I only review free ones. I only read free ones. I doubt being a judge for a single category is very useful at all.
What the ENnies is notAn opaque box. Tony Law has demonstrated that he's open to ideas, thoughts, feedback and wants to pro-actively find a solution.
Solutions?Either the category needs caveats attached to it, i.e. that commercial marketing quick starts should be given less credence than a full game; or there needs to be a new category that represents the vast amount of philanthropic output each year.
As Tony (and others) rightly point out on Google Plus you need to keep it broad to allow the crazy free stuff equal share with the full game systems. Naming the category appears to be key in getting the philanthropic goods in there.
Once we have the category sorted out, we then need to galvanise the philanthropists for next year. Without submissions, this process is a bit moot and we might as well leave it to the industry.
We're not indie, we're philanthropistsPhilanthropy is a separate beast to Indie. A niche of it but Indie also encompasses those that see PDFs for free and would include Quickstarts of Paid-For Indie products. Philanthropy is about putting your heart into something and then giving it to the world for the love of it. It is not a marketing tool.
Now we need your ideasHow do we make this work? How do we help the ENnies showcase the best of free next year? Surely, with our collective grey matter and Tony Law's help, we can solve this!
If you're a philanthropist and you're feeling disenfranchised then that's OK, it's understandable. But we can change it for next year. We can get representation for the work we do. We can applaud the best philanthropy in our hobby. It is worth it. It can be done.