Paizo’s workers union, two tabletop games conventions and a TTRPG charity bundle for trans rights are all finalists for this year’s Diana Jones Award

Tabletop gaming’s most eclectic prize, The Diana Jones Award, has revealed the five finalists for its annual prize, which it believes best exemplifies excellence in the field of gaming.

Two tabletop gaming conventions, Fastaval and Adepticon, are among the finalists this year, alongside board game designer Ami Baio, a workers union at roleplaying game maker Paizo, and a TTRPG charity bundle focused on trans rights in Florida.

Board game designer Ami Baio

Baio, the owner of Pink Tiger Games, designs games which exude positivity, are quick to learn and aim to foster empathy and compassion while focusing on players’ stories.

The Diana Jones Award committee said, “Players, even when they are strangers, are often brought to tears of joy or nostalgia through her carefully crafted card games. In our current world, Ami’s games are more important and necessary than ever.”

The committee also named Danish board game and RPG convention Fastaval among the finalists, praising its “delightfully eccentric culture and a pervasively joyful culture of play”.

It added that Fastaval had birthed a distinctive genre of one-shot-scenario roleplaying games – Danish Freeform – which have had a growing influence on European and North American design and play.

Fellow convention Adepticon is also a finalist, hot on the heels of its decision to move out of its long-time home of Illinois after its attendance jumped 20% this year to about 8,000.

Diana Jones called Adepticon “the largest and most energized wargaming convention in the world”. It said the miniatures-focused con, which has been running since 2003, concentrates on attendee interaction, from basic painting lessons to full sculpting classes and everything in between, as well as supporting multiple charitable causes – some created in honour of past attendees.

Joining those nominess as a Diana Jones Award finalist this year is TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida, a charity bundle of more than 500 items organised by Rue Dickey, which raised over $280,000 for trans rights causes.

The Diana Jones committee said, “This was another monumental show of force from our industry spaces — following on from 2022’s TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas — directed by strong leadership and displaying passion and love for the trans community.”

The fifth finalist for 2024 is United Paizo Workers, a first-of-its-kind workers union in tabletop RPGs. Since being voluntarily recognised by management the union has achieved raises, expanded benefits and enhanced protections for workers at Paizo, providing a voice for them to communicate their needs to upper management and speak out about issues that matter to union members.

The 2024 Diana Jones Award ceremony will be held in Indianapolis on July 31 at its annual gathering of tabletop games industry professionals, marking the unofficial kick-off of Gen Con.

Previous winners across the award’s 22-year run have included Blood Rage designer Eric Lang, Nigerian games industry publisher and evangelist NIBCARD, and the entire ‘actual play’ movement of people livestreaming and podcasting roleplaying games.

Lang is now a member of the more than 50-strong Diana Jones Award committee of hobby games professionals, which also includes former GAMA director Jeff Tidball and the award’s founder, British game designer James Wallis.

The Diana Jones award itself, a clear lucite pyramid containing the burned remains of an Indiana Jones roleplaying game from the 1980s, was lost in the post four years ago during the traditional handover from one winner to another.

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