Il Role-Playing Game of the Year, with each edition, it brings with it aftermath and controversy in the Italian gaming community.
This year, to present my thoughts, I would like to try to do something different with you who are our readers. I would like to write you an open letter.
So these following lines are for you players.
Atlantis, Wednesday 14 October 2020
Dear Italian gaming community,
who writes to you is the Seeker R, in the century, or millennium, known as Riccardo Gallori.
I am addressing you this letter today to talk about the events that arise each year during or after the nominations for the competition Role-Playing Game of the Year.
Since I started following the events of the play world, since I can remember there has never been a year free from complaints, reproaches, opinions, opinions and any other sort of verbal confrontation, more or less strong, aimed at giving birth controversy.
And this time too it is no less.
The jury Role-Playing Game of the Year has selected five titles as finalists.
The games are:
- Not The End, created by the publishing house Fumble RPG
- Blades in the dark, located by Grumpy Bear
- Spire, located by Illyon Island Editions
- Ryuutama, located by Illyon Island Editions
- Lex Arcana, created by the game publisher Quality Games and in competition, in its Italian edition, through Need Games!
A few minutes after the announcement of the finalists, broadcast live on the YouTube channel of Lucca Comics and Games, the first controversies began to arise and the various support groups for the games admitted to the final were formed.
Let's start talking about the great excluded who, according to many, deserved to be among the five selected for the final: Kaiser 1451. This title, created by Helios Games, narrates the journey of an “infamous column”, let's call it that, towards an unfair battle. In fact, the game speaks of the uselessness of war and how its participants can perceive a sense of injustice and an impending end. The topics covered in this manual are very strong, and I was lucky enough to be one of the beta-testers. If you are interested in the reaction of the face of Helios Games, I advise you to go and watch the live broadcast that Helios Pu uploaded about twelve hours after the announcement.
Personally I am not going to express myself on the fact that this game has been excluded, but on the amazement, mine in the first place of its exclusion. Just amazement. And let's be clear, it's not the only game whose exclusion surprised me: the other is dialect.
But let's continue, that I still have so much to say.
Kickstarter, RPG of the Year and generational clashes
Another ancient issue, which until last year had been handled by the committee of Role-Playing Game of the Year, concerns the use of the Kickstarter platform for the financing of playful projects. In this edition two important games stand out, of the five finalists financed through the aforementioned platform: Not the End e Lex Arcana. Who knows why we never talk about Blades in the Dark and Spire Kickstarter funding? Perhaps it is not so interesting to observe these games from this point of view, because in Italy the localization took place without a Kickstarter as some companies in the sector did?
In any case, this is the first year in which the products, which have been present on this platform, have had access to the aforementioned competition. And even here the controversies, in some quarters, were certainly not spared.
It is interesting to note, however, that the differences between the supporters of these two role-playing games also present a more generational character. The clash between Not the End e Lex Arcana, in fact, it contrasts a game from the nineties of the last century with one created by a new generation of game designers. This controversy is "comparable" to the clash between Boomer and Millenial. I thought that, in the world of role-playing, this kind of confrontation didn't exist, but it's clear that I was wrong.
Game design is a totally personal approach. Each game creator creates something of his own and, more often than not, donates it to the community which, for one reason or another, accepts or repudiates it. This is absolutely normal, but surely the tones should have been as calm as possible in expressing one's opinions.
The complaints in past editions of the Role Playing Game of the Year
Over the past two years, I have also seen several complaints about the winners chosen by the jury.
Two years ago, it was the turn of Lovecraftesque. A controversial game, this is undoubted. A product that not even I have fully digested, since it starts from a false assumption, in my opinion, regarding the figure of HP Lovecraft. However, that didn't stop me from reading it, deciding for myself whether I liked it or not and accepting what the jury had decided.
A similar situation was repeated last year with the victory of Household, a title that has had a widespread distribution in the territory and that has managed to unite many players.
I still remember the events around Italy. Those were different times!
Household won, but controversy over whether Vampires: the 5th Edition Masquerade had not torn off the top step there was no shortage. You also want for a not-so-effective speech during the winner's nomination.
One thing seems certain: our favorite game often didn't win (and maybe never will), but if the judges have made a certain choice, then it will surely make sense.
What to do then?
I'm not here to say that criticizing is wrong. There is a way and way to do it. One way is to bring constructive criticism to the RPG of the Year choice system, but the way is certainly not to attack a title without trying it and bragging about regulations. Instead, it is perhaps fair to say that the game has difficulties in explaining the construction of the characters and it is not exactly intuitive, at the beginning it is choosing how to roll the dice. Of another game we can also note that the development of the shot can be a bit complicated to manage, as well as the unregulated free play, it makes everything a board game, rather than a role-playing game.
These are constructive criticisms. Another could be that a particular game could be summarized in a simple page of rules and that all the rest, however interesting on a graphic level, are just basically superfluous material and outdated by the second game created by the same author.
So it is right to criticize the titles, it is also right to be a fan of a certain system, but argue your opinions, do it with precision, be sincere and above all try to always be polite.
Does it make sense to you to attack a game on Cthulhu just because it's Cthulhu and why: "I don't like it so he shouldn't have won"? I ask you because I have heard it said.
Before saying goodbye, to conclude, I would like to try to sum up what is written in this letter.
We players are not the jurors of the Role-Playing Game of the Year. We may disagree with their choices, we may pull our hair out because our favorite game didn't win, and we may also complain but by doing so, we are definitely not helping the industry in question.
Perhaps, since it is now a bit late to make a declaration of intent within the Italian role-playing community, if I were a new Filippo Tommaso Marinetti I would say that it would also be time to make a Italian Role Play Manifesto, but quoting Aragorn "This is not the day!"
Our goal, as players, should be to have fun with all the tools at our disposal.
What will our intentions be? Do we have the courage to really change, listen to others and continue to have fun playing? Or do we want to get old prematurely and complain about everything and everyone?
I steal a thought from George Bernard Shaw to greet you:
Man does not stop playing because he gets old, but he ages because he stops playing.
Let's go back to playing, let's have fun and try to grow our community with mutual respect and greater awareness at the table!
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I think sometimes too much importance is given to awards, especially when it comes to something that has little objective, like either role-playing games or (in the case of the Oscars) movies.
Or the Nobel Peace Prize given as encouragement to someone who hasn't done much for peace.
Returning to the track, I think it's good that so many interesting games have come out in a year that we have to exclude a certain number from the list of finalists, but they are probably in the minority.
Anyway, whoever wins, I imagine that in a few weeks we could do a bit of can-can, as in the days of Lovecraftesque.