It goes without saying that trying to pick one or two miniatures or products out of all of the amazing releases from 2009 is difficult. The process by which we picked the winners of the 2009 Tabletop Gaming News Editor’s Choice Awards started with the jury members submitting nominations for products, in six categories, released from December 1st 2008 to December 1st 2009. This initial list contained 200 products.
Once we had the nominations each member of the award jury was asked to pick their top ten products, in each category, to create a list of the top five products. Then there was a final round of voting to pick the winner, and runner-up, in each category. I’d like to thank all of the members of the TGN Awards jury who took the time to review and nominate the products released this year and place their votes.
This process has been a lot of fun but the best part of it for me was the ability to look back at the year and see the breadth of amazing releases that the hobby has had. We really are lucky that there are so many talented individuals producing so many great figures and games.
So without any further ado, here are the results of the 2009 TGN Editor’s Choice Awards.
This year’s sci-fi results are something of a repeat of the 2008 awards. In that year Corvus Belli won the vote with one of their incredible Infinity miniatures and Mercs Miniatures came in second with one of their wonderful sculpts. This year the same holds true. Both the Yellow Jacket Assault Leader and the Tsyklon Sputniks are great sci-fi models (although the Mercs Miniatures could also work in a near-future setting as well) with crisp sculpting and great details that stand out from the competition.
What also makes these figures exceptional is the respective manufacturer’s strict attention to maintaining a consistent look throughout their figures that matches their background. Both Corvus Belli and Mercs Miniatures put in the additional work to make sure that they are not only putting out great miniatures but also figures that live in a detailed universe. This additional attention to detail is what puts these figures at the top of their class.
Asmodee set a very high standard for fantasy miniature releases in 2008 and, to a lesser extent due to their abbreviated release schedule, in 2009. Their sculpts are always true to the dark and disturbing background of their game but Eurynome sets a standard for unsettling and “wrong” sculpting that is hard to match. Eurynome looks more like a concept sketch for a monster from a Clive Barker novel than the traditional Ork and Dwarf fare that we often expect from fantasy miniatures. It forces you to stop and examine it to determine the source of the various torsos and appendages that have been coalesced into the miniature.
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw from Privateer Press share very little in common with Eurynome but are at the same time a refreshing change from the usual releases for Hordes. The crocodilian HooDoo Warlock and his reptilian Warbeast are at once menacing but also wonderfully organic and rich with details that will reward a detailed paintjob.
Alternative Adventure Miniature
Darkson Designs produce some very well conceived and executed miniatures, but their German Krieghund Squad for AE-WWII is not only an exceptional sculpt but also a wonderful realization of the horror of the background from the game personified by these perverted and warped dogs. Even their handler is stripped of his humanity behind a gas mask, hiding his face and giving the entire squad a grim and horrific air.
Grindhouse Games created a series of miniatures for their Incursion Weird War board game and the Grunt Ape is an example of the heavily armoured American troops that exist in their alternative WWII universe. Consummately executed by Seth Nash the APE suits are an almost believable 40’s era technology and also work as sci-fi figures as well.
Perry Miniatures continues to push the envelope for the production of 28mm plastic historical figures and their Napoleonic French Heavy Cavalry are the result of not only their sculpting talent but also their experience in creating miniatures and sets of figures for plastic production. Not only does this set provide great miniatures but great value for gamers with multiple head and arm sets as well as the option to create line troops or command figures from the box.
Warlord Games recently purchased the BoltAction range of WWII figures and they have continued to produce impressive, historically accurate WWII miniatures and vehicles. The US Airborne M1 57mm anti-tank gun is a perfect example of their attention to detail and great sculpting.
Terrain or Accessory
One of the common complaints people have about the ancillary market for terrain and products that has sprung up around Warhammer 40K is that the products are too derivative. The Rocket Launcher terrain piece from Quantum Gothic is an example of how to create a memorable and detailed product that works well with 40K but is still unique without borrowing heavily from GW’s own design aesthetics. The Quantum Gothic piece is truly gothic without resorting to the overly baroque skull laden design style that even GW has a propensity to overuse. The Rocket Launcher also fits in well with the rest of the Quantum Gothic range of products meaning that you can get a consistent and cohesive looking set of terrain that works well with your sci-fi games as well as any 40K gaming you might want to do.
Tabletop World’s Ruined Coaching Inn is less a terrain piece than it is an architectural model. The level of detail in the Ruined Coaching Inn is staggering and, despite this, it looks as if it would be quite easy to paint to a great standard and make an exceptional centre-piece for a gaming table. And not only does it look great but you’re even able to get into the structure and have your figures fight over and through it.
Rules or Expansion
Malifaux is a great example of a unique setting and a unique game system. Wyrd Miniatures have been producing impressive “Steamvictoriohorrorwestpunk” miniatures and spent several years creating a game system and universe to use those miniatures. The background is in itself impressive but the diceless game system that Malifaux uses is one of the best tabletop innovations in some time. It’s not your dice letting you down, it’s how you play your cards.
Firestorm: Armada is an extension of the Spartan games Uncharted Seas fantasy naval game to space combat. The game is easy to pick up, quick to play, fun and still provides gamers with strategic decisions and rewards tactical finesse. It also comes with four fleets (soon to be six) of great looking sci-fi spacecraft and unlike many simulation-like space combat games is aimed at the more casual sci-fi gamer.