This article originally appeared in the April/May 2015 issue.
I’ve accepted, at the age of 49, that I’m not going to win an Olympic medal, a Nobel prize, or even an Academy Award. At least it seems vanishingly unlikely. As a 7 or 8 year old living in Virginia for a couple of years I remember a similar disappointment at realizing I could never be President of the USA because of my birthplace.
It was, therefore, with some interest that I came across the Zhodani Base awards in January of this year, and it was with considerable delight and astonishment to learn that two items of mine had been nominated in three categories. Now, I’ve no idea how widely these are known or what regard they’re held in; they are what they are although this is the fourth year they’ve run. But it’s a website I’ve long enjoyed visiting and I hugely respect the work and quality that goes into it. So I think I can admit to being “dead chuffed”, as we say here in the UK—particularly when I saw what exalted company had also been nominated.
The awards (‘Zobies’, perhaps?) are, of course, solely for Traveller so I have a good knowledge of all the other contenders and can form my own opinion of the worth of various books. The awards also have various categories, just like the Oscars, so it was possible to see one approach to recognizing excellence across the huge range of material that’s published for the game each year.
In the event, the “Best Adventure” went to Cirque. There’s lots to love about it, and a mass of material that will provide a lot of adventure. Much though I love my own effort Into the Unknown as the first game I ever refereed, not quite the first adventure I put together, and for a special moment at TravCon I’ve written about elsewhere, it was hardly a disgrace to lose to such excellence.
The “Best OTU Product” included the third adventure I’ve ever run in Three Blind Mice which was also my first attempt at running an adventure based on more limited notes rather than nigh on 100 pages (in an attempt to quell newbie nerves). But the eventual winner was The Traveller Adventure which (unfortunately?!) had a rerelease in 2014. Well, what can I say… merely being mentioned in the same breath was award enough. And perhaps the mice came close with Berka’s parting shot: “Better luck next year 13Mann. I really like your products.”
Which might also explain the ‘bonus’ category which Three Blind Mice did win: “Best Free Traveller Product”. Well, perhaps it was an afterthought, but to win at all and to win against a GDW product and the terrific Colonial Times was certainly an honour and I shall treasure my Zobie accordingly.
In any case, it might not have the excellence of an Olympic gold, the cachet of a Nobel, or the controversy of an Oscar, but it's encouraged me to keep on writing. Surely no bad thing?