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Hillfolk, a roleplaying game by Robin D. Laws,
wins tabletop gaming’s most eclectic
and exclusive trophy

At a private ceremony on Wednesday 13th August, 2014, the Diana Jones Award committee presented the award at the annual Diana Jones Award and Freelancer Party in Indianapolis, the unofficial start of the Gen Con convention. Chosen from a shortlist of fantastic competitors, this year’s winner is Hillfolk, a roleplaying game created by Robin D. Laws and published by Pelgrane Press.

A narrative medium is not art until it can produce Hamlet. Master designer and experienced critic Robin Laws 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 roleplaying 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 ranging from historical espionage to alien contact to … staging Hamlet.

The games in Hillfolk, created by some of the finest designers working today (as well as, it must be admitted, some members of the Diana Jones Award 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 Snowproviding 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.

As one of the few publicly known members of the Diana Jones Award committee, Matt Forbeck revealed this year’s winner before the packed house. Robin Laws accepted the award for Hillfolk and made an enthusiastic and heartwarming speech.

It is the opinion of the Diana Jones Award Committee, that Hillfolk exemplifies excellence in gaming, and we are proud to award it our trophy for this year.

Special thanks to the sponsors of this year’s Diana Jones Award ceremony: