Ennies and the OSR
The OSR (Old School Renaissance or Revival) community is comprised heavily of small indie publishers working multiple jobs, solo entrepreneurs who LOVE games, small companies scraping to get by, or giant companies with very deep pockets. WOTC and Paizo haven’t ignored the OSR as they release and re-hash old titles, so they are included. Of course Paizo had a major hand in making the OSR possible with Pathfinder’s divergence from D&D 3.0 pushing the limits of the Open Gaming License.
What does this have to do with the Ennies?
I’m glad I asked. The Ennies are the yearly awards at the worlds largest RPG convention, Gen Con. They recognize excellence in the gaming arena and there are a lot of nominees. However, it’s also become a “David and Goliath” battle. For the most part, many small indie producers take the nomination as an honor and check out. It’s difficult to wrangle votes for an indie publisher even for the best of products when you are up against huge markets, giant companies, and deep promotional pockets. Small press publishers don’t print 300,000 copies of anything, or have thousands of marketing dollars. And it’s not for lack of quality, it’s often for lack of voice. They also don’t have mailing lists and magazines that are 100,000 or more subscribers deep.
WOTC, Paizo, and other big players of course, do produce note-worthy products with mind-blowing art, writing, and production value. Again, they can afford to do this with dozens or hundreds of hired minds. When an OSR entrepreneur creates something of note however, they too deserve the recognition and reward of a glimmer of hope of achieving the notoriety an Ennie brings within the community. We shouldn’t ignore the small voice in a gale of the storm at sea. Consideration of these small OSR companies (Like Fail Squad Games) in these big oceans can make or break the scenario for some.
Who of note in the OSR are nominees?
Some of the nominees taking on the goliaths are as follows:
- Hobbs and Friends RPG Podcast, zines, and materials.
- Frostbitten & Mutilated (RPG Setting)
- Vaginas are Magic
- The Midderlands
- The Scenario from Ontario
These are all small press OSR folks producing quality gaming materials who are up against the goliaths of the industry for votes and attention. Being nominated for an Ennie is certainly an honor, but winning a category can truly shift gears for a small press. I urge all the Fail Squad Games readers and supporters to check out these entries to this year’s ENnie awards and consider them along side the others when you are voting.
Share their links and their products. They deserve a splash of the spot light. Trust me when I say – This isn’t an easy business to survive in, it takes LOVE of gaming to make it happen at all.