This year it saw a lot of neat stuff, especially with the abolition of the Fan Products award. Unfortunately there were also several things that come right to mind as having been missed because of the lack of space and different nature of the award.
First, the actual nominees:
Devil's Due Publishing - Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons, volume 2
This is an excellent compilation of several Dungeons and Dragon comics that adds a face to some of the worlds and characters we've come to know from the system. The art is excellent, the writing is good, and it provides a nice contrast between worlds.
White Wolf - The Art of Exalted
There's no question the Exalted's art has a lot to do with its success. It illustrates exactly what to expect from the book, is often dynamic, and always well done. This book features some of the best works the system has showcased over the years.
Catalyst Game Labs - Battletech: The Corps
An absolutely fantastic primer into the world and intrigue behind the Battletech world. I know a lot of people think of the minis game when you first hear Battletech, not helped by the Mechwarrior game being co-opted for use in the video games, but these stories give a little insight into what can be done in this evocative setting.
White Wolf - Hunter: Deadly Play
One of my personal regrets about the ENnies is that they don't specifically cover board games. This is done on purpose, as it's important to the management that we keep our rpg focus, and probably for the best, but it would sure be fun :) We do however cover games with a roleplay focus in Regalia however, and that's where this one fits in. It's a quick, fun look at the world of hunter, that actually feels a bit like playing the game. It plays fast, and I think it might make a good 'mood-setter' while waiting for stragglers and last minute eaters before a game session.
Paizo Publishing - Planet Stories: Infernal Sorceress
This is an excellent piece of light fantasy, and classic Gygax in every way. The characters are fun, the writing is enjoyable, ad all in all in makes for a nice farewell to one of the forefathers of roleplaying.
Beyond just the nominees however there are several products that really deserve a special mention.
Innsmouth House - Lovecraftian Tales from the Table
This is a fantastic compilation of Call of Cthulhu files distributed on DVD that centers around audio recordings of two of the most famous scenarios in Call of Cthulhu's (and perhaps the hobby in general's) history. Listening to the Bradford Players as they make their way through these adventures bring you a little piece of the excitement, mystery, and fun. Beyond that however is a fantastic assortment of interviews, discussions, and even handouts from the games. This product is absolutely amazing, and it's a shame it didn't find a place on the final list.
Open Game Table - Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs
This books collects some of the best articles that RPG bloggers have to offer, and that's really saying something. It's a bit of an odd-duck, leading me to include it here, and maybe why it didn't get all the attention it deserved. It contains everything from system-specific game information to an absolutely amazing article about the formative history of modern roleplaying. This book is fantastic, and has a bit of something for everyone. Even if you don't check it out I can't encourage you to go read the excellent blogs it was based on enough.
Gold, the Series
If there was ever a series by gamers, for gamers, and about gamers, it is Gold. Clearly a labor of love, well designed, excellently produced, and fantastically written. The only look at gamer culture I've ever seen that doesn't just hit you over the head with the comedy. It's funny, but it's also touching and endearing. If you haven't seen it yet, I reccomend that you check it out, either online, or at the special screenings that are being held at GenCon on the 14th and 15th, and maybe meet some of the cast.
Exalted: Legacy of the Unconquered Sun
Like I said above, we don't get a lot of board games, but this one was definitely my favorite. Moreover, it actually makes for an excellent primer for the Exalted world. Like a lot of my favorite board games it doesn't just pit you against other players. It gives you a mission, and tells a bit of a story. The components are absolutely fantastic, and the board itself is a sturdy an beautiful copy of the map of the world of Exalted. I'm very impressed by this game, and what I hope it represents for the future of White Wolf's board game production.