The 2005 Award

The WinnerThe NomineesThe Award Ceremony

The Diana Jones Award committee is proud to announce that its fifth annual award is given to Ticket to Ride.

TICKET TO RIDE

game_ticketBy 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.

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:

CODE OF UNARIS

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 Unaristhrough 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.

DOGS IN THE VINEYARD

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.

TICKET TO RIDE

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.

The fifth annual Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming was presented to Mark Kaufmann, co-founder of Days of Wonder, the publisher of the board game Ticket to Ride, on 17th August 2005, the evening before the Gen Con convention (‘the four best days in gaming’) opened in Indianpolis.

The award was made at the Diana Jones Industry and Freelancer Party, organized by the DJA committee, with sponsorship from Adept Press, GAMA, Gen Con LLC, Human Head Studios, Janice Sellers, and WizKids.

As one of the few publicly known members of the Diana Jones Award committee, Matt Forbeck presented the DJA trophy to a beaming Mark Kaufmann. The eager audience of games designers and industry professionals applauded Kaufmann as he accepted the award on behalf of Alan Moon and made a short acceptance speech.

Thanks to all who attended, to the event staff at the venue, and to the ceremony’s sponsors, who paid for all the “free” drinks.

Mark Kaufmann proudly displays the Diana Jones Award in the Days of Wonder booth at Gen Con Indy 2005. (Photo by Rick Thornquist)

Mark Kaufmann proudly displays the Diana Jones Award in the Days of Wonder booth at Gen Con Indy 2005. (Photo by Rick Thornquist)