Every year at Gen Con, fans choose the best tabletop RPGs and other merchandise from the show. There are several categories, with Ennie Award winners being selected based on excellence in art direction, design mechanics, writing, and more.
If you want to see what it’s all about with these new titles, you might like to know that some of the best games shown at Gen Con 2023 are available to buy today.
Below, we’ve rounded up all of the gold and silver medalists you can currently grab. We’ve also included links to the winners in all categories.
Product of the year
This category represents the overall fan favorite presented at Gen Con 2023. This distinction belongs to the Mythical Britain and Ireland expansion for Vaesen. You can grab the PDF from DriveThruRPG for $21.99 or a hardcover copy from Amazon for $36.86.
Second place goes to the inspired JRPG Fabula Ultima, which is available in PDF format from DriveThruRPG for $11.99. A paperback version is available on Amazon for around $26.91.
Rewarding the best seeds, one-shots and campaign ideas, the gold medal for best adventure this year went to The Seasons of Mystery expansion for Vaesenwhich is available from DriveThruRPG for $19.99, or bound from Amazon for around $34.
Second place went to the D&D campaign Journeys through the Radiant Citadelwhich you can find on Amazon in hardcover format for around $27.49.
Best Aid/Accessory – Non-Digital
Additional elements can make a campaign or setting more real. This category belongs to the best physical accessories to add a little extra flavor to your next game. First place goes to Decumaa tarot-inspired world-building aid that provides players and GMs with relationships, locations, and other prompts to flesh out their campaign. Decuma is currently available from Woodburn Games for $34.99.
Second place in this category goes to a beautifully designed dice game inspired by The Witcher. The heavy black and gold Golem’s Heart set is currently available from Q Workshop for $99.
Best Art, Cover
You can’t always judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can. Serpentine Swords won the gold medal for best cover at Gen Con 2023. Currently, you can pick up a PDF for $30 from DriveThruRPG. The hardcover copy is available from Pelgrane Press or Amazon for around $60.
The finalist, Historica Arcanum: The City of Crescent, is available as a hardcover with a PDF from Metis Creative for $49.99.
Best Art, Interior
The gold medal for excellent illustrations this year goes to Mythical Britain and Ireland expansion for Vaesenavailable on DriveThruRPG in PDF format for $22, or in hardback format on Amazon for $37. seven sinners won second place, and you can pick up a hardcover copy from Modiphius for around $23.
As warrior poet Karen O once said, “Maps, they don’t love you like I love you. Each year, Gen Con awards the best mapping to games that offer exceptional art and technique in fleshing out the topography of a given setting. This year, the gold medalist is the Blade Runner RPG Starter Setwith its brooding depiction of near-future Los Angeles available from Amazon for around $38.71, or from Modiphius for around $52.
Claw Atlas: New Maps for Beak, Feather and Bone took second place in this category. You can find the pocket-sized Chicken Stripes-inspired wilderness guide from Possible Worlds Games for $13, or a $5 PDF version from Itch.io.
This category is reserved for print-and-play games. This year’s gold medalist is one of our favorite RPGs of the past year, Brindlewood Bay, which can be purchased through DriveThruRPG for $14.99. The silver medal goes to Host and Hostility: Three Call of Cthulhu Regency Scenariosavailable from DriveThruRPG for $7.99.
Best family game
Gen Con 2023 Best Family Game Gold Award goes to Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game Starter Kit, which is available at Target for $25. The second in this category goes to goblinswhich is available in its digital format for $10 from DriveThruRPG.
Ready to play out of the box, the Best Game category is for RPGs that bring together the best of art, writing, and rules under one roof. This year, that accolade belongs to the JRPG-inspired core rulebook for Fabula Ultima, which has PDFs available on DriveThruRPG for $12, and a paperback print version on Amazon for around $27. You can also find PDFs for the finalist RPG Trophy at DriveThruRPG for $14.99.
Better layout and design
The basic rulebook for the RPG Blade Runner won gold for layout and design at Gen Con 2023, and is available in hardback format on Amazon for $59.99. The silver belongs to the acid western RPG Frontier Scumwhich is available as a PDF on DriveThruRPG for $9.99.
The Best Monster/Opponent category is awarded exclusively to books filled with critters, baddies, and other XP-generating nightmares. The 2023 gold medal in this category goes to Ruins of Symbaroum – Bestiary, which is available in PDF format from DriveThruRPG for $24.99. Second place goes to Creatures 2 manual for Forgedestinavailable in hardcover from Studio 2 Publishing for $50.
Best RPG Related Product
Look into poor Owlbear’s eyes and tell him he didn’t win the best RPG-related merchandise category. You can’t, because they won. To adopt your very own $35 Owlbear plush, you can head over to Metal Weave Games.
Second place in this category went to the Dragons of the Red Moon figurines for dragonlink by Draco Studios – a Kickstarter-funded project for its incredibly detailed 200-millimeter mini dragons, which are currently in production.
Sometimes referred to as the “cristiest game,” like perfectly interlocking gears that spin with each other with Swiss precision, the best rules are awarded to games with excellent mechanical design. This year, the gold medal went to Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game Starter Kit, which you can find at Target for $25. The second in this category was Rivers of London: the role play, which is available in PDF format from DriveThruRPG for $30, or in hardcover directly from publisher Chaosium for $60.
A pair of clear favorites from Gen Con 2023 took home awards for best setting, fleshing out their respective worlds with a potent combination of rich text and artwork. The gold medal in this category belongs to the Mythical Britain and Ireland expansion for Vaesen, while the silver medal belongs to Serpentine Swords.
Bartender on the Borderlands took first place for best supplement at Gen Con 2023, providing a detailed compilation of taverns, bars, pubs and dives with customers to add some extra sauce to your next campaign. You can retrieve a PDF from Bartender on the Borderlands from DriveThruRPG or Itch.io for $10.
The second place winner, In the Cess and the Citadel, contains a large amount of system-agnostic flavors for characters, factions, and monsters to populate the sprawling cities and sub-cities of urban fantasy. PDFs are currently available on Itch.io for $19.95.
This category is awarded to games with the best prose and other descriptive text. The gold medalist, Serpentine Swords, is available in PDF format for $30 from DriveThruRPG, or in hardcover for around $60 from Pelgrane Press or Amazon. Finalist the wild sea is currently available in PDF format for $25 via itch.io.
Best Free Game/Product
The open source nature of tabletop games is one of its greatest strengths, as evidenced by the wealth of free tools, systems, and campaigns available online. This prize rewards the best elements that you can use to boost your next campaign, for free. While this all deserves a gold medal in my book, first place went to the Quick Start Manual for Root: The RPG by Talon Hill, while second place went to the 54-page module for the dark shadow RPG system, Princess Jaguar Sanctuary.