Linguist, author, and game-designer M.A.R. Barker (b.1926 as Philip Barker) died on March 16. Barker created the role playing game Empire of the Petal Throne, which was published by TSR in 1975. Additional games and novels based on his world of Tekumel followed, including the games Swords and Glory, Gardásiyal, and Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne. As with Tolkien, Barker was a linguist who used his knowledge of languages to sculpt a complex world.
Wizards of the Coast has announced that they will be reprinting the first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks by E. Gary Gygax to raise funds for the Gygax Memorial Fund, with the goal of erecting a statue to Gygax in Library Park in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The three books, The Monster Manual, The Player’s Handbook, and The Dungeon Master’s Guide will include the original content and artwork, with new cover art, and go on sale on April 17 for prices ranging from $34.95 to $44.95.
Fan artist Bill Kunkel (b.1950) died on September 4 following a fall. Bill’s artwork consisted of satirical cartoons and he also co-founded the first magazine devoted to video and computer games, Electronic Games. Kunkel worked as a game designer, a comic book writer, and professional cartoonist.
Artist Douglas S. Chaffee (b.1936) died on April 26. After doing artwork for NASA, the US Navy, and National Geographic, Chaffee began working in the gaming industry in the mid-1980s. He worked for TSR, FASA, and several gaming magazines. He was the Guest of Honor at the World Gaming Convention and the Artist Guest of Honor at Dragon*Con/Origins in 1990.
Game designer Charles S. Roberts (b. 1930) died on August 20. Roberts designed Tactics, widely considered to be the first modern board wargame. In 1958, he founded the Avalon Hill Game Company, which produces games including D-Day, Stalingrad, Battle of the Bulge, Gettysburg. His games inspired a generation of later designers, including Dungeons & Dragon’s co-creator Dave Arnason.
The ENnie Awards were presented at GenCon on August 6. Founded in 2001, the awards honor the best in Role-playing publishing.
- Special Award: DriveThruRPG, for their outstanding efforts fundraising for the Haiti Earthquake
- Fan’s Choice: Best Publisher: Paizo Publishing
- Best Adventure: Pathfinder AP #31: Stolen Land
- Best Aid or Accessory: Pathfinder GM Screen
- Best Art, Cover: Pathfinder Bestiary
- Best Art, Interior: Pathfinder Core Rulebook
- Best Blog: Kobold Quarterly
- Best Cartography: Pathfinder City Map Folio
- Best Electronic Book: The Great City Player’s Guide
- Best Free Product: Advanced Players Guide Playtest
- Best Game: Pathfinder
- Best Miniature Product: D&D Minis
- Best Monster/Adversary: Pathfinder Bestiary
- Best Podcast: Atomic Array
- Best Production Values: Pathfinder Core Rulebook
- Best Regalia: Cthulhu 101
- Best Rules: Diaspora
- Best Setting: Day After Ragnarok
- Best Supplement: Mysteries of the Hollow Earth
- Best Website: Obsidian Portal
- Best Writing: Eclipse Phase
- Product of the Year: Pathfinder
- Mark Green: Trailblazer
- Jay Peters: Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits
- Chris Richeson: Mindjammer
- Megan Robertson: Chronica Feudalis
- Jeramy Ware: Fiasco
Diamond Distributors has announced the winners of their Gem Awards for 2009.
- Comic Book Publisher Over 4% Market Share: DC Comics
- Comic Book Publisher Under 4% Market Share: BOOM! Studios
- Backlist Publisher: DC Comics
- Manga Publisher: VIZ Media
- Sports Card Manufacturer: The Upper Deck Company
- Non-Sports Card Manufacturer: Rittenhouse Archives
- Game Manufacturer: Wizards of the Coast (WotC)
- Toy Manufacturer: DC Direct
- Video Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
- Comic Book Under $3.00: Batman & Robin #1
- Comic Book Over $3.00: Blackest Night #1
- Licensed Comic Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22
- Licensed TP/HC: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 V4
- Original GN: Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter
- Reprint TP/HC: Watchmen
- Manga TP: Naruto Vol 45
- Indie GN: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century #1-1910
- Anthology TP: Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics
- Trade Book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
- Game Product: Magic the Gathering TCG 2010 Core Set
- Toy Product: Hot Toys’ The Dark Knight 1:6 Scale Joker
- Toy Line: Blackest Night
- Collectable Statue: Cover Girls of the DCU Statue: Wonder Woman
- Mini Bust: Heroes of the DCU Superman Bust
- Magazine: DC Super-Hero Figurine Collection
- Sports Card Product: Topps 2009 Series 1 Hobby MLB
- Non-Sports Card Product: X-Men Archives
- Audio/ Visual Media: Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog DVD
Baltimore fan Hal Haag (b.1946) died on August 12. Haag chaired Balticons 25 and 35 and was widely known as Balticon’s Gaming Czar. Haag sat on the Baltimore Science Fiction Society Board of Directors as well as an officer of the Maryland Games Club. Haag was quick to teach new board or card games anywhere he went and was the instigator of the 1998 Worldcon, Bucconeer.
Wizards of the Coast has announced a contest for kids between the ages of 8 and 14 to write lyrics set to the story of the Green Dragon as presented in the book A Practical Guide to Dragons. The contest runs until August 9, 2009. The winner and their associated library will receive a collection of books from Wizards of the Coast.
The winners of the 35th Annual Origins Awards were announced at Origins on Saturday, June 27.
- Board Games: Pandemic
- Children’s, Family, and Party Games: Say Anything
- Historical Board Games: Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear
- Card Games: Dominion
- Collectible Card Games: Magic the Gathering: Shards of Alara 1
- Fiction: Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons Volume 2, edited by James Lowder & Mike O’Sullivan
- Non-Fiction: Tour de Lovecraft: the Tale, by Ken Hite
- Miniature Figure Game Rules: Classic Battletech: Tactical Operations
- Miniature Figure or Line of Miniature Figures: Star Wars Miniatures: The Clone Wars
- Historical Miniature Figure Game Rules: tie Fields of Glory Miniature Rules and Song of Drums and Shakos
- Historical Miniature Figure Game Rules Supplements: Rise of Rome (Fields of Glory Supplement)
- Historical Miniature Figure or Line of Miniature Figures: SS-Panzerdivision ‘Das Reich’ Panzerkompanie
- Role-Playing Games: Mouseguard Role-Playing Game
- Role-Playing Game Supplements: Serenity Adventures
- Game Accessories: D-Total
- Play-by-Mail: Hyborian War