Welcome to 2012! Before we all get exploded by the Mayan apocalypse (save for those lucky few who get saved by John Cusack driving a succession of improbably durable vehicles), why not take part in a GMing challenge?

Or better yet, a challenge that’s also a contest where you can win cool things?

Or even better still, a challenge that’s also a contest and our first-ever blog carnival?

The first stop on that train to awesomesauce is our latest project, New Year, New Game (NYNG for short).

NYNG is a challenge to GMs all over the world: Run a new game this year. “New game” can mean a new-to-you (not necessarily newly published) RPG, a new campaign, or both.

And NYNG has a mission:

To inspire game masters to run at least one new game each year, because trying new games broadens your horizons, challenges your skills as a GM, and can deepen your enjoyment of gaming as a hobby.

The contest will open January 9, as will the blog carnival, and more details about both will be revealed at that time. What I can say now is that in addition to the Engine Publishing books we’re offering as prizes, we’ve already signed on two awesome sponsors: DriveThruRPG and Obsidian Portal. The grand prize is already worth over $160, and may go up from there.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll check out NYNG — and start thinking about your entry. The full scoop on NYNG is here, and the guidelines for the contest (the full version of which will be posted here on the Stew on January 9) are also available.