2019 Diana Jones Award Shortlist

"The Diana Jones committee is proud to announce that the shortlist for its 2019 award for Excellence in Gaming is:

Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana, a book by Mike Witwer, Kyle Newman, JonPeterson, and Sam Witwer, published by Ten Speed Press
Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr, a board game by Michael Fox and Rory O’Connor, published by Hub Games
The Mind, a card game by Wolfgang Warsch, published by NSV GmbH and Pandasaurus Games
Star Crossed, a role-playing game by Alex Roberts, published by Bully Pulpit Games"

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I am out of my mind over Star-Crossed being nominated. That’s a game among games.

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I am out of my mind about The Mind, for an entirely other reason - there’s basically…no game there? If someone put two or three theater warmups in a box and called it a game that would basically feel the same to me.

It is really polarizing! I, on the other hand, think it is a work of understated but extremely precise genius.

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I wish I could get play of it, because it seems utterly fascinating to me in its minimalist design. Unspoken human interaction distilled.

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I haven’t heard of any of these except Star Crossed. Still, fascinating how many sub cultures communication wise the scene seems to have.

I have played Holding On (I was a play tester, in fact) and it is emotionally very fascinating. It has been controversial for its not-happy subject matter among some board gamers - you play a group of nurses and doctors trying to find out the backstory of a dying old man who is not very coherent most of the time.

What has rubbed some people the wrong way, but is also one of the most important part to me is that there’s the constant dilemma of whether to focus on physical care and pain and learning more information (which will help you contact any next of kin and bring the patient some peace of mind).

As a board game, it is not exceedingly innovative for its mechanics, though it has something like a light legacy-style campaign mode with more stuff and goals being revealed over time.

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That sounds interesting. Is it possible to roleplay the board game, i.e. playing a role even if it means board game mechanics inefficiencies?

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Hm, not really, unfortunately. You are a very generic character; it’s not like Pandemic, where you have individual strengths, roles, and a little portrait. You’re just a meeple and no more. Sometimes you “get” to be shift manager, which is extra stressful, because you have the last word on which task other people place their meeple and also take all the blame (“stress” tokens) if you fail that round. Otherwise everybody is the same.

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