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Winning an ENNIE Award

Last Friday was a big week at Frog HQ - not only did my new Secretlabs chair arrive (Dark Knight edition), but on Friday night as I was settling down to rest I received a tweet from a friend that confused me - the tweet congratulated me on winning an ENNIE.

Now the last time I won an award I was nine years old and I designed an Easter card for a competition at school. (For the record I'm still proud of that win!) I can still remember having a bubbling sense of excitement as the winners were being announced as I was really pleased with the design and I had a good feeling for my chances.

Over four decades later and here I am looking at this tweet, without excitement but lots of confusion. And here's why - the ENNIE awards are sort of the Oscars of the RPG industry. (Which is exactly how I described them in last months issue of The Oracle). They are global awards, anyone can enter an RPG product and they are highly sought after. 1500 products were entered this year and the five judges make selections and put them into categories. Each category has a short list and the public vote for the final winners in each category.

I knew the dates roughly and that the shortlisted nominees would be announced in August and the voting would run up to the beginning of September.

So how could I have won an ENNIE in August? Had my contact mis-read the announcement and did it mean I'd been nominated? That had been my realistic best hope when I submitted Abracadabra: A Guide to Becoming a Magical Games Master as a pdf entry.

But no. I'd won a Judges Spotlight Award!

It turns out this is a special category that the public doesn't vote on. Each judge selects one publication from all of the entries to receive their Spotlight Award and that's final. (

So, I won an ENNIE!

My contact at Campaign Coins told me that I would get a medal as well and I had that confirmed from the ENNIEs last night. The one shown is the one you get if you win one of the other categories. Mine might be a different colour, I don't know exactly.

I'm surprised, elated, humbled and mostly surprised if I'm honest.

Rudyard Kipling cautioned in his classic poem IF about 'meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same' and I also believe that false modesty is as bad as no modesty. So let me say, I'm really proud of winning this reward and I'm really pleased with how Abracadabra turned out. The result was better than my original idea and as a creator that's a fabulous outcome.

I also didn't do it alone, I was ably aided by Jane Spencer my editor and Al from Trinity Knot Studio's who helped craft the Kickstarter campaign. To date, still my most successful campaign. My youngest son provided some excellent creative advice at critical stages (i.e. when I was stuck) and my wife put up with my long hours and very late nights working on it.

This was also the first physical book I'd ever written so a worthy mention to Mixam ( the printers who did a beautiful job on the book. Their customer service team also helped by answering my most basic of questions without sniggering (at least whilst I was on the phone!).

I realise this is turning into a thank you speech but I understand now why people give those. My final thanks goes to you, the backers, not just of Abracadabra but also of the earlier adventures and the works that have come afterwards.

Not only do I do this for a living so your purchases keep me fed and watered but also it's inspiration and motivational when people place orders, give feedback and offer suggestions. When people look to you to create something or to have you entertain them it helps you step up and bring your A game. You've all helped me do that.

Thank you all of you.

Stephen Hart

PS There was also another BIG piece of news from last week but I'm saving that right now.



Abracadabra - in glorious hardbacked physical form - LINK

Abracadabra - in practical PDF form - LINK

OTHER LINKS (the list of winners and nominees) (fabulous editor available to hire) (Kickstarter consulting & RPG goodies available)


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