The Diana Jones Award is an annual award created to publicly acknowledge excellence in gaming. The award was first made for the year 2000, and the first award ceremony was on August 4, 2001.
The committee considered a long list of nominations for the fifth annual Diana Jones Award. The following three (shown in alphabetical order) make up this year’s shortlist:
By Gary Pratt
Published by Goldleaf Games
Code of Unaris is the first Internet ‘Chat’ roleplaying game to use the medium, instead of just being in it. Gary Pratt’s design ushers in a new era of games which turn the text interaction into part of the system through ‘hacking’. Hacking means changing words as you see fit, as permitted by the rules. Playing Code of Unaris through Chat allows people easy, fun access to role-playing without feeling stifled by the computer screen, as hacking brings them closer to each other’s words even than many tabletop games allow.
By Vincent Baker
Published by Lumpley Games
Vincent Baker’s Dogs in the Vineyard is as spare as Greek tragedy, and almost uniquely among roleplaying games, it is designed to tell stories of similar power. Using the classic framework of the Western, it sets the scene for characters who must act decisively to restore morality to a world overgrown with sin. The moral argument, neither handwaved nor infantilized, is the heart of this game. Combining the best of character-driven, psychological roleplaying with careful attention to setting and conflict design, in Dogs in the Vineyard Baker produces an uncompromising exploration of justice and responsibility, and a virtual master class for game designers in hitting what you shoot at.
By Alan Moon
Published by Days of Wonder
Ticket to Ride is a masterful work by a veteran designer at the height of his powers. Nothing about the board game can be faulted: the rules are simple and clearly explained, the strategy is intriguing, the gameplay is balanced, engrossing and tense, the components are beautifully produced, the design is polished till it gleams, and the whole demands to be played and replayed. The addition of an online version with free access for purchasers of the physical game is the flourish on the icing on the cake. Not only is Ticket to Ride the best introduction to the pleasure of playing board games in years, it shows the elegant art of games design at its very best.