There were 20 entries in the second annual New Year, New Game challenge. That’s a big drop from the first year’s 57, but there were still some excellent ideas (that followed the rules!) in the mix.

Our two winners offered up wildly different ideas joined by a common thread: They sound like really cool games to play in. Without further ado, the winners are…

Second Prize

In second place is Gnome Stew reader Cloudyone, whose “Abandoned Heroes” pitch went like this:

冷落罗汉 (The Abandoned Heroes)

It’s been quiet for three days now, but your food is running out. From what you can see from your hiding place the streets are deserted—well, except for the occasional flicker of movement off in the distance. Plumes of smoke still rise from burning industrial facilities. Most of the tall buildings looming over the city are burned out shells, pockmarked from weapons fire and the claws of huge nightmare creatures. The last you heard before the communications went down was that everyone in your part of the city was to head to the main rail station for evacuation. The military had held off the cultist horde for a couple days but it wasn’t enough. Besides, all kinds of weirdness started breaking out in places all over the city even before the main force broke through. There’s not much chance of evacuation at the station now, but it’s the best place to link up with other survivors so you’ll have someone to watch your back.

For this game the players are those few survivors of the Rapine Storm cultist horde in Chongqing in China who cautiously emerged from their hiding places and met up at the ruined train station. The city will still have roaming bands of cultists, weird Cthulhoid zombies, and other horrors wandering the city. All communications are out and they have no idea where any “safe zones” might be.

Ever since I got CthulhuTech I’ve been mulling over what sort of game I want to run in the setting. I love the combination of Cthulhu mythos, mecha, sci-fi, multiple invasions of Earth, cultists, conspiracies, and dang! The setting has loads of cool stuff but it’s sort of several games rolled into one—and you can’t run all of them simultanously. The main challenge for me will be getting the horror tone right. I’ve never run an out-and-out horror game before and worry that it will end up more tactical than terrifying.

Cloudyone will be taking home a copy of all three of our books in digital format and a $30 DriveThruRPG gift certificate. Congrats, Cloudyone!

Grand Prize

The grand prize for the 2013 NYNG challenge goes to ldraconus, whose winning pitch starts off innocuously enough…

Imagine a SteamPunk/Fantasy game:

Magic is weak and being driven out by science and the power of steam! Most magical creatures have fled over the fabled sea to the mystic isles. Only Minotaurs (Taurin) and the Snakes (actually Utah Raptors with feathers) remain in large numbers. The Empire is still recovering from a War with the Snakes to the south, a war that was won by the invention if the airship.

Now cross it with Battlestar Galactica in mid-campaign as the Snakes create artificial warriors to fight the next war for them … and then lose control over them. The Empire, and some Snakes, are forced to follow the elves across the sea in giant airships or face annihilation.

This game begs to be run in a Universal System of some sort. I’m going to use the Hero System (6th edition) but GURPS, or d20 Modern, Savage Worlds, or Fate would work equally well. It has to be a universal system to handle all of the mixtures I want to throw in, weak magic, technology, and all of the trappings.

I’m excited about running this game as it combine all three of my favorite things (SteamPunk, Fantasy and Science Fiction) in one game is a great framework, and it is the first great story arc I’ve ever started a campaign with. I already know how this campaign should play out!

The challenges facing me are getting buy-in from the players, and making sure all of the events in the campaign follow logically from player actions in the campaign. I don’t want to spring the idea of automatons without giving clues, and it would be best if the players were somehow responsible for the Snakes losing control of them! Giant airships need to be introduced logically, and everything managed without railroading the players.

But what a glorious challenge and game this will be!

Congratulations on your win, ldraconus! You’ll be receiving a copy of each of our books in print and digital formats, as well as a $60 DriveThruRPG gift certificate.

Don’t forget to check out our NYNG 2013 blog carnival wrap-up, which features a host of excellent blog posts about new games. And with that, the second annual NYNG challenge comes to an end. My thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope both participants and onlookers enjoyed the challenge, the game ideas, and the blog posts.