Diana Jones Award 2014

13 August 2014, Indianapolis - The 2014 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming has been awarded to Hillfolk, a story-game system designed and written by Robin D. Laws and published by Pelgrane Press.

The winner was announced by author and game designer Matt Forbeck at the annual Diana Jones Award Party, an event for anyone working in the games industry, at Jillian’s in Indianapolis on Wednesday 13 August, the day before the annual Gen Con games convention.

The Diana Jones Committee gave the following statement about its decision:“A narrative medium is not art until it can produce Hamlet. Master designer and experienced critic Robin Laws has framed, analyzed, and solved the challenge in that sentence with Hillfolk, a game about tribal politics in the Bronze Age.

“The answer at the core of that conundrum – and of the design conundrum that brought it forth – is the DramaSystem, a role-playing game engine that places dramatic personal choices and emotional conflict not just alongside but elevated above procedural and tactical gameplay. Hillfolk further demonstrates the breadth and robustness of its dramatic core by including thirty other games of personal drives and human relations drawn in dramatic relief against settings from historical espionage to alien contact to ... staging Hamlet.

“The games in Hillfolk, created by some of the finest designers working today (including, it must be admitted, some members of the Diana Jones Committee), open up as many new worlds to as many new kinds of stories and gameplay as any book ever has in the history of roleplaying. With its sister volume Blood On The Snow providing 33 more ‘series pitches’, Hillfolk showcases a leading ludo-narrative designer at the height of his powers, and inviting his friends to come and play.”

Also shortlisted for the 2014 Award were the games-publishers Evil Hat and Paizo Publishing, the family/party board-game ROFL, and the strategy board-game Terra Mystica.

The unique trophy that represents the Diana Jones Award is presented annually to whatever in the opinion of its mostly-anonymous committee shows or exemplifies gaming at its best.

Anyone and anything within the games industry and hobby is eligible to win the Diana Jones Award, including individuals, products, publications, publishers, distributors, retailers, clubs, organisations, conventions, events, trends, innovations and concepts. Previous winners include Peter Adkison and Jordan Weisman, the RPGs Nobilis, Sorcerer and Fiasco, the boardgame Ticket to Ride, the card game Dominion, and a coffee-table book about Nordic Larp. Last year’s winner was Wil Wheaton’s web-series Tabletop.

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