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And the Winners of the 2012 NYNG Challenge Are…

Posted By Martin Ralya On February 2, 2012 @ 1:00 am In Gnome Gnews | 11 Comments

Here’s one way that you can tell that our first annual New Year, New Game challenge had some excellent entries: After the first round of secret ballot voting for our favorites, there was a three-way tie. We broke that tie with a runoff vote between those three entries.

Because we received over 50 entries in the contest — the threshold for awarding a second prize — we’ll be giving away two awesome prize packages courtesy of our sponsors: DriveThruRPG, Engine Publishing, Obsidian Portal, and Tabletop Adventures. Here they are!

Our two winners both rocked the house with inspiring, entertaining game ideas that made us want to play these games (and of course they followed the contest rules, too).

Second Prize Winner

I’m please to announce that the winner of our second prize goes to Gnome Stew reader BrownBeard, who will be receiving a $30 DriveThruRPG gift certificate, PDF copies of Gnome Stew’s two GMing books, a 6-month Ascendant membership to Obsidian Portal, and two Tabletop Adventures PDFs of their choice. Congratulations!

Here’s BrownBeard’s awesome NYNG entry:

I’m calling my new campaign “Explorers of the Python River Basin.” It already has a fledgeling wiki on Obsidian Portal. The campaign is basically a jungle-crawling Indy-Jones take on Ben Robbins’ seminal West Marches campaign: the players take the roles of your usual D&D fantasy adventurers exploring a ridiculously dangerous tropical rainforest for fortune and glory. They can look forward to fighting all manner of beasts and giant vermin, making first contact with reclusive tribes of goblins and lizardfolk, seeking out the fabled court of the Gorilla King, spelunking vast cavern systems and abandoned mines, and raiding the ruins of a fallen lizardfolk empire.

I want to run this game primarily at my local hobby store’s weekly board game night for a flexible roster of players: whoever shows up that night gets to send their character out with that week’s expedition. Obviously this sort of sandbox campaign, characterized by convention-style pickup groups, is going to stretch my improvisational talents to their limits – it’s difficult to do all but the most general prep when you have no idea who’s going to show up or where they’ll want to go. But I think Kirin Robinson’s Old School Hack game system is up to the challenge. By all accounts it postively thrives on spur-of-the-moment shenanigans. And practically everything that new players will need to learn, rules-wise, is contained on their character sheets and a few other printable visual aids.

The biggest challenge will be recruiting a large enough player pool so that I can count on having a party of at least 2 or 3 PCs for each session. Since the hobby store’s weekly game night only lasts a few hours, I’ll also have to streamline the pacing as much as possible if I want to get the party out into the bush and back to their home base again so I can start a fresh expedition the following week.

Why am I so stoked for this? Ye gods man, it’s freaking Indiana Jones with dwarves and wizards – dungeon fantasy meets pulp archaeology. What more do you want? If this game doesn’t turn into the most hilarious and breathtaking high-octane hurricane of pulp blockbuster tropes seen this side of Exalted, then I’ll eat my GM screen.

Grand Prize Winner

With further ado, the grand prize winner of NYNG 2012 is Razjah! Congratulations on your winning entry! Razjah will be receiving a $60 DriveThruRPG gift certificate, print and PDF copies of Gnome Stew’s two GMing books, a 1-year Ascendant membership to Obsidian Portal, and three Tabletop Adventures PDFs of their choice.

Here’s Razjah’s grand-prize-winning NYNG entry:

My upcoming campaign for the spring semester is a fantasy noir campaign styled game using Burning Wheel. This game takes place in a grim, dark city where crime rules, even the best citizens are only out for themselves, and everyone has a past. Picture a fantasy Sin City; you need to take big risks for trivial rewards, crime is nearly in the open, and you can’t turn to the corrupt officials or city watch. The city will be similar to Venice with as many liberties as I need to take. It is a sprawling city with traders, craftsmen, nobility, crime, and vice.

Some major players operate here. The noblesse de ancienne or the royal family, the three noblesse d’epee or duke families, the nine noblesse de chancellerie or the count families, and the twenty seven noblesse de letters or the baron families. Crossing even the weakest noble family is dangerous. Other famed groups are crime related, the five families and fifteen street gangs. While magic is feared and dangerous it is suspected that these groups employ them secretly.

I’m excited to be running this because I am finally getting a group of players who enjoy role playing their characters and a system that encourages it. Burning Wheel is about testing characters. Testing them and watching them grow and evolve through the campaign. Most other systems I have used have the characters level in all abilities, regardless of use. Burning Wheel has much more organic advancement.

The biggest challenge is going to be keeping the role play intensity high. Hopefully the group will help fuel each other and the system will support this. I am going to be making sure that I follow a new year’s resolution to eat before the game, and not junk “gamer food”, to keep my energy up and to help me stay focused on bringing the world to life. The only other major challenge I see before character creation is keeping the genre strong. In other games I have run in a non-traditional fantasy setting the players slowly drifted back to their comfort zones and dragged the campaign with it.

Thank you to everyone who entered our NYNG contest, blogged about NYNG and new games as part of our first-ever blog carnival, spread the word about the NYNG movement, and otherwise helped to make the first annual NYNG challenge such a rousing success!

If you’re in need of inspiration, check out the 57 game ideas (for 39 different RPGs!) that are now posted on the NYNG website, as well as the 15 blog posts about running new games that were written for our blog carnival.

About  Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. He lives in Utah with his amazing wife Alysia and their awesome daughter Lark in a house full of books and games.




11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "And the Winners of the 2012 NYNG Challenge Are…"

#1 Comment By Razjah On February 2, 2012 @ 9:30 am

Wow. I can’t believe I won. This is awesome. Thank you Gnomes and the sponsors for NYNG. I hope the NYNG tradition lives on for many years.

#2 Pingback By Gaming News from Around the Net: 3-FEB-2012 | Game Knight Reviews On February 3, 2012 @ 4:04 am

[…] And the Winners of the 2012 NYNG Challenge Are… (gnomestew.com) […]

#3 Comment By Martin Ralya On February 3, 2012 @ 5:13 am

Well done, Razjah!

We’re planning to bring NYNG back in 2013. The NYNG website is in hibernation for the rest of the year, but in December it’ll warm up and start letting folks know about NYNG 2013.

#4 Comment By Tsenn On February 3, 2012 @ 9:27 am

Awesome stuff, thanks to everyone that entered! I’ll be putting some time aside to scour the full list for ideas. Congratulations to Razjah and BrownBeard, may your campaigns enter the Halls of Fame!

#5 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On February 3, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

Congratulations to everyone who entered, and especially to the two winners!

A behind-the-scenes peek: Holy crap, this was tough to judge! Y’all are good; I’d play in just about any of these games, and enjoy the heck out of it.

I could boil the entries down to about a dozen great entries (for me), but paring that down to less than six was difficult, and often depended on what mood I was in when I read through them.

As mentioned, there was a tie and a run-off, and just picking the best two out of three was difficult.

#6 Comment By Martin Ralya On February 3, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

BrownBeard, if you’re reading this please reply to my email — I want to get you your prizes as soon as possible!

#7 Comment By Muzeni On February 4, 2012 @ 3:30 am

Congrats Razjah and BrownBeard! I am incredibly jealous of your new found nerdy loot.

Now, I know you judges are busy with running games and you certainly won’t be able to comment on each entry, but I’d like to know more about the three way tie and also about what made you vote for them.

#8 Comment By Martin Ralya On February 4, 2012 @ 5:38 am

@Muzeni – I think it would be cruel to call out the third entry that was tied with these two before the runoff, so I won’t do that. But in terms of why I liked these two so much, my criteria were simple: 1) Does this make me perk up and go “Wow, that’s cool! I want to play this game!” and 2) Did the entry follow the rules. These ideas both offered some excellent depth while making me excited to play them — a great balance.

#9 Comment By BrownBeard On February 4, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

@Martin Ralya – Holy cow, I won something! I gotta check my email more! I’m browsing the DTRPG catalog right now, Martin.

Also, congrats to Razjah. I’ve heard good things about Burning Wheel and its derivatives. If I could round up the players for anything but D&D-style hackfests, I’d probably give Mouse Guard a go.

#10 Comment By Martin Ralya On February 4, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

@BrownBeard – Congratulations again! Email received.

#11 Comment By Scot Newbury On February 7, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

Congrats to those that took home prizes and to everyone who entered, all can be counted as winners. It takes a lot to put yourself out in front of your peers and share your ideas, concerns, dreams, and fears and I look forward to reading all of the entries over the coming days.

Well done all.


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