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Blade Runner RPG publisher Free League wins big at Gen Con’s Ennie Awards for 2023

Vaesen, Root, and Avatar Legends take Gold, while journalist Linda Codega is also recognized

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A blade runner holding a gun and a bag stares down a flying car in a rain-soaked, neon-lit scene from near-future LA. Image: Martin Grip/Free League Publishing
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Free League Publishing won big in this year’s Ennie Awards, Gen Con’s biggest awards program. The Swedish publisher pulled in Gold awards for three of its marquee tabletop role-playing game lines, including Vaesen, Blade Runner, and Ruins of Symbaroum. Meanwhile the Ennies also showered praise on journalist Linda Codega for their work in covering Dungeons & Dragons’s OGL fiasco in January. The Gold award for best game went to Fabula Ultima — Core Rulebook.

Both the coveted product of the year award and the best setting award were given to Vaesen RPG — Mythic Britain & Ireland, an expansion for Vaesen — Nordic Horror Roleplaying. The line was originally based on the work of Swedish illustrator and author Johan Egerkrans, but has expanded in recent years to include adventures based on the folklore and myths of other countries. It’s marked with lavish illustration and high production values, including luxurious paper stock and artfully designed cover treatments. It’s available both physically and digitally, online at retailers such as Amazon, and at friendly local game stores around the world.

Other standout wins for Free League include Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game Core Rules, which won Gold for its layout and design; Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game Starter Set, which won best cartography; and Ruins of Symbaroum — Bestiary, which took home Gold for best monster or adversary. Another notable inclusion is Blackbirds, whose over-the-top Servant of the Gods Edition won an Ennie for best production values. Best rules went to Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game.

The Ennies are unique among gaming awards, as its judges are volunteers who follow a strict set of ethical guidelines. Chief among them is the vow not to have a professional relationship with an RPG publisher in the leadup to the awards. These guidelines help ensure that the Ennies aren’t just a popularity contest, by winnowing down the dozens upon dozens of submissions to only the very best. Once the short list has been created, voting on the final winners is open to all. You can find the complete list of nominees and winners in every category at the Ennie Awards website.

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