The Diana Jones Award is an annual award for "excellence in gaming" that was made from a burned book encased in plastic. The award is unusual in two ways: first, it is not an award for a specific class of thing, but can be awarded to a person, product, publication, company, organization, event or trend – anything related to gaming; second, it does not count popularity or commercial success as a sign of "excellence". The award was first presented in 2001.
Nominees are circulated during the year to the committee, which is mostly anonymous but which is known to include Peter Adkison, Matt Forbeck, John Kovalic and James Wallis. The committee is anonymous to protect the voting process from interference, but individual judges are free to reveal themselves. The committee releases a shortlist of three to seven nominees in spring, and the award is presented to the winner at Gen Con in Indianapolis in August.
The Diana Jones trophy was created in the UK offices of TSR in the mid-1980s to commemorate the ending of their license to publish The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game. The trophy itself is a perspex pyramid containing the burnt remains of the last unsold copy of the game; all that is legible of the title is "diana Jones". (There is no relation of the award with fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones.) The trophy was "liberated" and eventually ended up with the Diana Jones committee. The destruction of "one of the least-loved and critically savaged games of all time" was seen an appropriate symbol for an award for excellence in gaming. The trophy also contains a counter that reads "Nazi™" from the game. While the trademark claim was present at Lucasfilm's insistence, it led to rumors that TSR had tried to trademark the term.
- 2001: Peter Adkison, founder of Wizards of the Coast.
- 2002: awarded jointly to Ron Edwards and his game Sorcerer.
- 2003: awarded jointly to Jordan Weisman, a founder of FASA Corporation and WizKids, and to Nobilis second edition.
- 2004: My Life with Master by Paul Czege.
- 2005: Ticket to Ride, the board game by Alan Moon, published by Days of Wonder.
- 2006: Irish Game Convention Charity Auctions, at Gaelcon and Warpcon, for their generosity.
- 2007: The Great Pendragon Campaign by Greg Stafford, a supplement for Pendragon (published by White Wolf, Inc.).
- 2008: awarded jointly to Grey Ranks by Jason Morningstar, and to Wolfgang Baur and his Open Design business model.
- 2009: Dominion, a card game by Donald X. Vaccarino (published by Rio Grande Games)
- 2010: Boardgamegeek.com, a website edited by Scott Alden and Derk Solko.
- 2011: Fiasco, a roleplaying game by Jason Morningstar.
- 2012: Nordic Larp, a book about the LARP scene in the Nordic countries, edited by Jaakko Stenroos and Markus Montola.
- 2013: Tabletop, a web series where various celebrities join Wil Wheaton in playing board games.
- 2014: Hillfolk an RPG by Robin Laws.
- 2015: The Guide to Glorantha by Greg Stafford, Sandy Petersen and Jeff Richard, published by Moon Design Publications. A large two volume sourcebook for Stafford's fantasy world of Glorantha.
- 2016: Eric Lang, game designer
- 2017: Gen Con, the game convention where the Diana Jones Award is presented
- 2018: Actual Play, the "movement within hobby games in which people record and broadcast their game sessions — particularly campaigns of tabletop roleplaying games — over the internet"
- 2019: Star Crossed, a role-playing game by Alex Roberts, published by Bully Pulpit Games
- "Tabletop gaming's most coveted trophy is a burned book". Polygon.
- "About the Diana Jones Award". The Diana Jones Award committee. Archived from the original on 2008-08-24. Retrieved on 2008-08-24
- "The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming". The Diana Jones Award committee. Archived from the original on 2008-08-24. Retrieved on 2008-08-24
- "Gaming’s Nobel Prize, the Diana Jones Award, selects Gen Con, Gloomhaven and Terraforming Mars among 2017 nominees". Tabletop Gaming.
- "JAMES WALLIS: ...Eventually the Lucasfilm license expires and is not renewed. The word comes down from TSR head office to TSR UK that all unsold copies are to be destroyed, as per the terms of the license. They guys at TSR UK...got the final unsold copy and they destroyed it.... this did this it in strategic ways, by singeing bits of it. They took the singed remains, which included the logo, from which they'd burned the first two letters, to turn it from 'Indiana Jones' to 'Diana Jones,' and they encased these remains in a Perspex pyramid." (Laws 2007, p 139)
- "JAMES WALLIS: ... let's just say it was liberated from TSR UK by persons unnamed, and made its ways into the hands of the committee...." (Laws 2007, p 137)
- "JAMES WALLIS: ... a trophy that symbolizes the destruction of one of the least-loved and critically savaged games of all time would make suitable symbol for an award that celebrated excellence in gaming." (Laws 2007, p 137)
- "MATT FORBECK:...the last copy of the Indiana Jones roleplaying games.... It actually has one of the legendary counters in it that reads 'Nazi™.' Which apparently was not TSR's idea, but Lucasfilm insisted that everything that appeared in the game have a "TM" next to it." (Laws 2007, p 139)
- "Diana Jones Award 2010". Retrieved on 6 May 2011
- "Diana Jones Award 2011". Retrieved on 5 November 2011
- "Nordic Larp Won the Diana Jones Award!". Retrieved on 16 August 2012
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- Robin D. Laws (August 2007). "40 Years of Gen Con": 139. Atlas Games