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New Designer policy


We’ve had a few questions over the years about whether someone does (or does not) qualify for a New Designer status. So, here are the answers to your questions about the New Designer thing.

Designer Award Q&A

Why have a New Designer award?

The new designer award is intended to attract people to write for Pheno. We love bringing new talent in and keeping them coming back for more. It’s a win for everyone.

If someone has had prior experience running a game, are they a New Designer?

So long as they haven’t run at Pheno before, we’re happy to consider someone a New Designer for Pheno. If someone is an experienced game runner elsewhere, or this is their first time running, we’re equally happy.

If someone has had prior experience helping someone else run a game at Pheno, or are running with the support of an experienced designer, does that qualify?

We go with the honour system on this one. It really depends on whether the new writer is the lead in the current game (in which case, it does qualify), they were the support in the previous game (in which case their current game qualifies) or the other way around (in which case the current game doesn’t qualify).

What about if you are a team of New Designers?

They qualify for the New Designer award and will be judged as a team rather than as an individual.

What about if the New Designer has been asked to write a Triptych, Diptych or any other type of recognition?

So long as they meet the criteria above, they are considered a New Designer.

How about if the New Designer is running a game which has been run at another con?

Given the purpose of the award is to getting new designers to run games at Pheno, they are eligible.

How about if the person is on the organising committee, will they count?

Yep, organising a con is separate from running a game. Winning is up to the players, so there shouldn’t be a conflict of interest. To separate any perceived conflict of interest, the org person will not be asked to participant in the adding up of the scores.

How long does someone count as a New Designer?

This is the fine print on the questions about ‘prior experience’. We also count New Designers if they have run once previously at Pheno—provided they didn’t win the New Designer award that time. We want our designers to keep coming back, and think this helps.

What categories is the New Designer Award judged on?

Two writing categories, two running categories and an overall rating. Specifically, these are:

  • story and characterisation,
  • GM effectiveness and use of time, and
  • overall rating.

Consistency of factors means designers are rated fairly year on year, and the orgs are not hurriedly trying to put a form together on Saturday.

Do the orgs weight scores when adding up the scores?

Nope—the orgs don’t like making things difficult for themselves.