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The Second Annual Mad Jay Awards🏆
The 2022 Mad Jay Picks!
ALOTTA games were played in 2022. These are my standout picks - your mileage WILL vary. What we know, but I actively experienced, is the game, the people, and the schedule that makes the gaming experience POP! My picks are heavily biased toward the table experiences I had. These picks say something about the games —but also the folks you play with.
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Most Loved Game of 2022: Apocalypse World: Burned Over - Low Earth Orbit on twitch.tv/actualplay. I’ve been playing the Operator playbook in a sci-fi setting where Earth has been abandoned for Low Earth Orbit. Two players, one MC. Friday afternoons. It’s been such a great treat to play this game with these folks.
Wish I Got More Play Time: - Freebooters in Arden Vul. A West Marches game run, managed and designed by Jason Lutes mostly via Discord. He posts his availability for the month, and we scramble to fill those slots with adventurers hungry to explore the setting.
Clutch!: Atma RPG Card Game. Perfect one-shot, 2-hour game for two to five players. Easily extended to 3+ hours. It’s got sci-fi anime vibes and Powered-by-the-Apocalypse. I picked it up to run at PAX Unplugged’s two-hour game slots, and it was a hit! I ran three full tables of it. It has earned a place in my box of Con games.
Workhorse Game: - Into the Odd. I’ve played in three different games, and I’m hacking a debtpunk/sci-fi version for my #dungeon23 project. Strong OSR vibes, easy to add DIY procedures.
MVP: Champions Now. Never gonna give it up! Just finished the first session of a new series! There is something about a DIY unbranded Superhero game that resonates with me. Every campaign of Champions Now games is like a brand new limited comic-book run.
Game I love to hate: Elden Ring. I’m not a fan of most first-person action RPGs. But have you seen this game? It sucks you into the lore, and you want to explore the world… that means you MUST learn to fight, which means a lot of time getting your ass beat!
Most Challenging game: - Legacy Life Among the Ruins. This is on my all-time favorites list. But running it for 8+ sessions is a commitment. Add in the holidays, then my birthday month-long celebration… I failed. SO I’ll take another swing at it this year.
Most Surprised Experience: Under Hollow Hills, and CY_BORG. I’m not even gonna lie; I didn’t want to play Under Hollow Hills. If you watched us on twitch.tv/actualplay, you might not ever guess that. This game feels good. It amused me, made me happy - cute, but not cutesy. I’m glad I got to experience it. CY_BORG isn’t something I would have picked up. I’m not being negative, saying the presentation is LOUD. My kid picked it up, and he’s “indifferent” about soo much shit; to see him excited means I was going to run it for him. It’s been another source of good times —and coming to the Diceology podcast soon!
The Old Man Logan Award: Twilight: 2000 - Straight Outta Kalisz. 30+ Sessions in 2022. This is probably the foundation of my gaming sessions these days. Four committed players (we’re adding a fifth!) nice scheduling groove. I love the emergent play, the conversations the players have about direction, and the rules crunch. Saturday mornings are magical for me. This crew of people is amazing. I rolled a nat 20 on this game!
The Lethal Sessions Award: Into the Odd: DragonSlayers. TPK by Dragon fire. Judd does not fuck around.
Most Evocative Setting: A|State. I remember A|State, first edition. I never got it to the table. I was initially skeptical that this new, Forged in the Dark version had anything to offer that wasn’t already in Blades in the Dark. I was wrong! We’re also playing this on twitch.tv/actualplay. The setting is BIG but not overwhelming. It’s punk for sure, and then something else with its computing devices called dingins, the shifted and wingships, and the clockworks.
Honorable Mentions: The Old, The Cold, and the Bold coming soon from Little Wish Productions and Rebels of the Outlaw Wastes. I got to be part of the playtests for both games. I totally enjoyed myself and the sessions —look for them out there in the world.
The Games Played in 2022
Twilight: 2000 Saturday, A|State, Champions Now,
Freebooters in Arden Vul (PBTA), Into the Odd,
Apocalypse World: Burned Over, Atma RPG Card game
The Old, the Cold and the Bold ()
CY_BORG, PRIMAL, Masks RPG, Trophy Gold, Wrath & Glory
Hutt Cartel (a Cartel Hack), Legacy 2e, Life Among the Ruins.
Bounty of the Week, Mothership, Barbarians of Lemuria, Mythras
Hearts of Wulin, Underhollow Hills, Rebels of the Outlaw Wastes,
Fading Suns, OSE.