United Paizo Workers union and a fundraiser for trans rights are among the finalists for the 2024 Diana Jones Award

Though the original Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming trophy is thought to be gone — it got lost in the mail in 2019 — the show must go on: A winner must be selected from five nominees that have shown excellence in their field of gaming.

The award can go to anyone or anything, according to the organization’s FAQ — concepts, publishers, products, and people. The breadth of that scope is on display for this year’s nominee class: Adepticon, the Midwest miniatures games convention that hosts the North American Golden Demons; Ami Baio, game designer of Pink Tiger Games; Fastaval, an RPG and board game convention held in Denmark; TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida, an itch.io bundle that raised $283,977 for trans advocacy and support groups in Florida; and the United Paizo Workers, tabletop gaming’s first workers union.

“The United Paizo Workers are delighted and honored to be a finalist for the Diana Jones Award this year,” United Paizo Workers steward and Paizo organized play coordinator Alex Speidel told Polygon. “To be recognized among such industry luminaries is a testament to the power and importance of worker solidarity in this industry. We hope this nomination shows others in the industry that not only is advocating for yourself and collective action in the workplace possible, but that doing so is a mark of honor among your peers.”

Speidel also mentioned that United Paizo Workers member Rue Dickey is actually nominated twice; Dickey led the TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida charity bundle. “We also want to recognize the tremendous achievements of one of our members, Rue Dickey, who is nominated alongside us for their advocacy and charity work for the transgender community,” Speidel said.

A winner will be chosen at an awards ceremony held July 31 in Indianapolis, Indiana ahead of tabletop gaming convention GenCon. Who chooses? That’s actually a secret. The committee keeps it that way to make it “impossible for a manufacturer or publisher to stuff the ballot or interfere with the voting,” according to the award FAQs. The committee is “mostly anonymous,” though several folks have been public about their involvement, including game designer Matt Forbeck.

As for the trophy, a new one was debuted in 2022 — it’s pointy! The original trophy is the last copy of the unpopular and poorly-received The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game, published in 1984 by TSR. The game was set ablaze, then immortalized in acrylic.

Last year, roleplaying game Coyote & Crow took home the top prize; “Coyote & Crow is an RPG created by Cherokee designer Connor Alexander. In the game Alexander shrewdly imagines an alternate universe that exists outside of the horrors of colonialism,” the awards committee wrote on its website. The first Diana Jones Award went to Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly spell Alex Speidel’s name.

This post was originally published on Polygon

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