Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


More GAMA/Origins Awards

Discussion for the stupid Origins Awards proposal is scheduled to be end tomorrow, and I just cannot tie up the phone line for the time necessary to engage in the debate about the proposal. Still, I couldn't keep my mouth entirely shut. The "short form" is that it is no more inclusive a proposal than the proposal or changes I made when I was empowered to do so as Academy Chair. More than that, I think it's a LESS inclusive proposal because they made the mistake of opening up the discussion to anyone who wanted to participate ("stakeholders") and then didn't like the results of that, so threw a large portion of those discussions out and came up with a whole bunch of new stuff that might be a good idea, but hasn't been properly discussed or thought through.

Categories have been compressed and whittled down because "most" people want fewer awards (or so we're told) but at the same time they've instituted a Gold, Silver, Bronze ranking (which actually results in more awards, just in fewer categories. Card games now compete directly against card game expansions in one, big free-for-all category. How the 12-card expansion for Bang! is to be judged against a game like Grave Robbers From Outer Space is undetermined. Same for "collectible games" which are now all thrown into their own single category (Magic: the Gathering, vs. ?-Clix, vs. Pirates of the Spanish Main...judged on what? Their excellent collectibility? They've disenfranchised historical minis guys (whose products will now be lumped into the single "best miniature or line" category), Play-by-mail or play-by-email games (which have been dumped entirely, supposedly for lack of sufficient participation over the years, although they never bothered to ask me, as the most recent chairman, how many participating PB(e)M companies we had or how many Academy members were from PB(e)M companies), they've dumped the graphic design awards (thus the "these awards are for *games*" line) again with complete disregard for dues paying Academy members who are artists and graphic designers. At the same time as the Origins staff is trying to reach out to historical gamers and get professional artists to participate in the new Origins art show, the new Board and the paid Origins Awards Task Force Facilitator are willingly cutting out these categories from the Origins Awards. They've also removed public participation, which makes the Origins Awards even LESS relevant to anyone.

Then there's the jury. If the jury "can't" find a game (or if the publisher doesn't feel that sending $1000 worth of product to the jurists for review is a reasonable investment) the product isn't considered. This rewards big companies and those who participate to a MUCH greater extent than the previous system. I was (rightly) criticized because worthy games (board games in particular) were not on the ballot because the companies and creators did not chose to submt them. Now it's the same boat, except that you can look and see that the game is part of the online database of eligible games (a good idea that I'd suggested last year, but GAMA lacked the technical resources and staff to pull it off) but your game can be effectively vetoed by a hostile jurist who claims he doesn't have a copy or "can't" get a copy. And let's say they get a panel of decent, knowledgeable, eager jurists who give you a good result one year. According to this proposal, GAMA cannot (CANNOT) use them the following year! Nope, they can only serve every other year... a needless and ham-handed mechanism to make the board or the FVMs or whoever seems to be worried about control of things feel like they have power to keep anything "bad" from happening by allowing the same people to serve on the jury.

Oh, they do agree to allow the Academy to exist, and for the Academy members to elect their own Chair. Of course, the board can vote to remove the chair at their whim, so the whole "election" is rather empty. Academy membership is free, or you can pay $30 to be a Supporting Member and have a 3:1 vote against those who get in free... tipping the scales once again toward those companies who participate heavily. If WizKids wants to buy 100 memberships for its staff, Wizkids suddenly has 300 votes. The free-Academy would have to be pretty darn big to off-set that kind of bloc...

I know I really shouldn't care, I really shouldn't. But I spent a lot of time on the Academy and the Awards in the past, and to see the contempt with which the participants, the process, the history have been treated, well, it just really, really bothers me.


for this post

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

How about we nickname these awards "the Danceys"?

Your Southern Pal,

Blogger Spike Y Jones Says:

One comment: The manufacturer only has to send 7 copies of each nominated product out, one to each juror. So unless the products are particularly expensive or the company has multiple nominations (both of which do happen), the $1,000 investment won't happen.

Aside from that, nothing else I can quibble with in your comments, and I noted other problems besides.

Blogger Nikchick Says:

I was thinking of a "line" of miniatures in particular, when I made the comment about $1000. Since it's best Miniature or Line of Miniatures now, if a miniatures manufacturer wants to say they had the best miniatures line of Year X, they've got to send that line to the jurists. I figured $143 per "line" of minis wasn't unrealistic.

Blogger Spike Y Jones Says:

Not "best miniature line of year X"; you have to send your entire line from the beginning of its production -- the awards are no longer limited to a single production year. At least not according to the text of the proposal.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Nicole, it's certainly OK to care. After all, you spent several years of your life trying to make the Awards better. At least that rationalization works for me when I think about how the current Board has thrown so much away in only three short months.

Steve Nicewarner


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