The ENnie Awards are an annual celebration of excellence in tabletop role-playing games. They are peoples’ choice awards, voted upon by YOU, our online gamers, and they give well-deserved recognition to designers, writers and artists.
Handiwork Games’ campaign setting BEOWULF: Age of Heroes has been nominated for BEST ELECTRONIC BOOK, and our a|state RPG primer, Nicely, Done, has been nominated for BEST FREE GAME/PRODUCT.
In 2020, Handiwork Games’ The Hermit’s Sanctuary, a free sample adventure for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes 5e campaign setting, was nominated for two ENnie Awards – Best Electronic Book and Best Free Game.
Based on the Blades in the Dark system, and with its second edition now funding on Kickstarter, cult hit a|state has also seen previous success – the first edition was nominated for Best Game and Best Graphic Design in 2004.
Handiwork owner and team leader Jon Hodgson says, “I’m bowled over that we’ve been nominated for more ENnies. It’s a real testament to the hard work and creative commitment that everyone working at Handiwork Games puts in, and we’re really delighted to be nominated. All our games are an absolute labour of love, and it’s wonderful to see that recognised. Congratulations to our fellow nominees, and thank you to the judges and ENnies organisers. We really appreciate it.”
Congratulations to all our fellow nominees, and a great big thank you to all of our GMs, players, followers and supporters – you’ve all helped make this happen. Voting open on the 18th!
a|state second edition is powered by a custom iteration of the Forged in the Dark rules. Developer Morgan Davie talks about factions within the game:
Let’s talk backing factions in a|state! (This is a juicy one because you’re about to get an exclusive look at something that isn’t included in the preview rules hat every backer gets access to…)
Every troublemaker has a special relationship with one faction, called their backing faction. This means the alliance of troublemakers brings together a whole set of different priorities and interests. They all want to save the corner, and they all want the alliance to succeed, but they want other things too. That can sometimes make things tricky! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
As a troublemaker, why do you want a backing faction anyway? What do you get from them? To start with, they keep you going. If you ever lose your backing faction you’ll need to start working hard just to get by. But you don’t need to worry about that, right? Why would you ever lose their support? It will never happen to you, and you might as well cross those rules right out of the book, right? 🙂
You can also tap the backing faction for favours. They can loan you equipment or cohorts, let you use their claims, help you gather information, even assist on your action rolls. Thanks, backing faction!
Of course, this relationship is a two-way street. The backing faction will sometimes tap you for favours. Often these will be small jobs you can fit in around your troublemaking life: check in on some friends of the faction, put up some posters around the corner, give a speech at an important wedding.
But sometimes the favours will be more substantial. We call those Hidden Agendas. When you get a hidden agenda, the backing faction is asking you to do something significant for them. Every agenda has a clock ticking down, so you can’t put it off too long. Maybe they want you to cause some trouble for a rival, or secure some new resource for their exclusive use. How will you get this done? That’s up to you. Just find a way. And sometimes those hidden agendas aren’t just quiet jobs to help your backing faction; sometimes they are actively aimed at the backing factions of other troublemakers. What are you going to do when your backing faction tells you to find blackmail material on one of your fellow troublemakers, “just in case”?
Trust between troublemakers is an important part of the game. The backing factions ensure that nothing is ever easy in the fight for your corner. The City is a complex place, and you will have some tricky decisions to make. Watch your back, and place your trust wisely.
Our £29k a|state stretch goal, THE THREE COINS, is a game within the game, an in-situ RPG played by the denizens of The City.
If you’ve ever been a concept gamer, or if you love old gaming ‘zines and their style, or if you really want to uncover how your characters think and feel and react, how they interact with the City, and what the setting reflects about the characters themselves – then this is your moment of insight. Fully existing within the a|state campaign setting, THE THREE COINS is our RPG Inception.
We asked Jon some questions about a|state, which is fully funded and blowing through stretch goals right now on Kickstarter.
Hi Jon, so you’re basically the person in charge of Handiwork Games – what brought you to a|state? Hello! Yes! It’s a roundabout story that goes back many years, which includes some amazing coincidences and crossings of paths! So way back in the early 2000s, hanging out at rpg.net, I became aware of this Scottish game developer called Contested Ground Studios. They had a very slick website, and presented a really interesting and weird game called “a|state”. I liked how gutsy they appeared, and how different what they were doing seemed to be – it seemed really high end, and I can recall wondering who these mysterious people were.
Fully funded in 78 minutes – so a HUGE thank you to all of our friends, gamers and backers who’ve jumped on the project and have already made it a reality.
Even better, we’ve unlocked all of our original stretch goals and are already adding more – the a|state book will have two lots of additional artwork, a full media appendix by the co-creator of the first edition, Malcolm Craig, plus two new locations, Fogwarren and The Grand Emporium, and Gone To The Dogs, a complete adventure.
Our next stretch goal is the spot UV design on the cover (like the one we have on BEOWULF) – and we’re very close!
And don’t forget: when you sign up, you’ll get the 132-page preview .pdf, plus downloads links for a character sheet, a corner sheet and a starting situation sheet. And access to our Discord server where you can find ideas, help, players and GMs. And a lot of talk about movies!
And do grab the primer, Nicely, Done from DriveThru!
In BEOWULF news! Our UK pre-orders are now all fulfilled; your books and other treasures are all in the post. In the EU, they’re going take just a little longer; if you’re in the US, then they’re currently travelling that great Whale Road known as the Atlantic, and should be landing soon.
If you’re new to us, or were not a BEOWULF backer, then you can order the book from our website. Or, if you’re at UK Games Expo this weekend, then grab your copy from our retailer backers, All Rolled Up, at stand 2-510.
And keep up with the adventures – our friends at Campaign Coins are doing another of their wonderful live-streamed games!
After their fantastic play-though of The Hermit’s Sanctuary, they’re taking on the Horror at Herrogate. Follow Alex, playing Blaedswith, the Karelian Amulet Witch as she faces the dreadful dréag… and the mysteries of the village. Stream starting Monday 2nd of August on the Campaign Coins Twitch channel!
And, of course, a sneak preview of next week’s HANDIMONSTER – the Plasma Phase Elemental!
A magical being, native to another plane of existence, it’s a creature of a superheated gas-like material that burns all that it touches. While intelligent, it can be confused, careless, or simply indifferent to the damage that it causes while on our plane.
Find out all about it, when you join our monster Patreon – with over thirty creatures detailed, it also brings you stats, lore, backgrounds and adventure hooks – and a new monster every Monday.
Plus – there’s still time (just about) to grab £2 OFF our Forest Dragon games (‘til the end of July). Enter the code ‘Summerdragon2’ to get £2 OFF The Forest Dragon and/or The Forest Dragon Bang and Twang – two award-winning creative/family games to keep the family entertained over the summer.
Step inside a world both beautiful and baroque, a sprawling urban nightmare – yes, the a|state Kickstarter launches on Tuesday 27th July.
Paul Cornell calls it, ‘An exciting, cutting edge RPG that takes on cyberpunk and noir shapes and moves them on enormously, in ways informed by the future shock we’ve all experienced in the last few years. Playable, prescient and wise.’
Based on the Forged in the Dark system, and fusing the wine-dark visuals of Dark City with the socially-aware dystopia of Metropolis, a|state is blades and backstreets, footpads and fatalities. It’s Dickensian, anti-Thatcher, sparks-and-knives SF.
Team up to defend your corner from selfish authorities, angry gangs and heartless industries. Fight off threats to your canalside home, and strive to make the grim and haunted City a safe and better place.
a|state is your story – it’s the story of how you fight back.
Our a|state sign-up page has passed 350, which is amazing. If you haven’t joined us, please do go and add your name – and tell your friends. That way, we can share everything as it happens.
And it’s a wonderful thing to see – our BEOWULF rulebook and other treasures all arriving on UK doorsteps! Fulfilment has been completed in the EU, and they’ll be with US customers soon (curse that damned Pond).
We look forward to the pictures, the insights, the comments… and (duh) the gaming. Now you’re getting your hands on the finished product, please do let us know how everything goes!
Winner of the Imagination Gaming Gold Young Einstein Award and the Family Game Silver Award, The Forest Dragon was designed by Rory, aged 9. Both games are great, family-friendly creative games, full of wonderful characters and things to discover and find. And there are lots of add-ons, too!
Plus: Jacob has given us a quick glimpse of next week’s HANDIMONSTER!
Meet the PENNY-SNATCHER, a greedy monster that likes to pick pockets. When found out, it hurls coins back at you with supernatural fury – and the more valuable the coin, the more it hurts. Join our Patreon for a new monster every Monday!
We’re sorry not to be making the Expo (though you’ll probably catch us at Albacon – more details abut this soon). To keep up, please do follow us on our Socials…