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A History of the Hobby Awards

by Fred Davis

from Diplomacy World #66


This article relates a brief history of the Hobby Awards program, which began with a single award back in 1983. The Awards program was chaired by Larry Peery from 1983 through 1989, and by Ron Cameron since then. I have served as Treasurer for this entire time and have retained some, but not alI, records of the nominations and winners over the years. I also have some photocopies of the Perpetual and Individual plaques that have been awarded.


The Don Miller Award differs from the others in that no one may be nominated who has won the award in the previous two years. Thus, no one can win this award more than once every three years. There are no limits on nominations for the other awards, except that the Chairman cannot be nominated for or win any category, and committee members cannot nominate other members of the committee. The Miller Award was the first one established, and is considered the highest award which can be granted by the North American Postal Hobby.


Each year, a representative committee has been formed to review the nominations for the various awards. Wherever more than five people have been nominated for an award, the committee does a preliminary screening to narrow the list to just five names. An attempt is made to have committee members from all parts of North America. The membership is usually between seven and nine hobbyists every year.


In the listing below, quotations taken directly from the ballots have been used in some instances to identify the winners. Where used, they are enclosed in quotation marks. In some cases, copies of the ballots are no longer available, and in some cases there was no need for such elaboration. In such case, I have used a simple expository statement


Don Miller Memorial Award


Established by Larry Peery in 1983 as a tribute to the memory of the late Don Miller. As it states on the Perpetual Plaque, "Presented annually for Meritorious Service to the Postal Diplomacy Hobby, in memory of Don Miller (1933-1982), preeminent hobby pioneer."


1983 - Rod Walker For multiple services as MNC. BNC, the IDA, and various aspects of editing and publishing over the period 1968-1982. (For this first year, a person's entire contribution to the Postal Hobby was considered. Thereafter, consideration was limited to what a nominee had done in the preceeding year.)


1984 - Lee Kendter, Sr. "For taking over the Miller No. Custodianship in late 1982, at a time when there had been no official publication of the MNC journal for nearly a year. He published the first issue of the new MNC journal, Alpha and Omega, in May 1983. By the time the next issue came out, he had caught up on the backlog of games to report, and all known games in North America had been issued Miller Numbers."


1985 - Bob Olsen, For his services as Boardman No. Custodian in 1983 and 1984.


1986 - Bill Quinn For his services as Boardman No Custodian in 1985.


1987 - Bruce Linsey For services in running the Runestone Poll, and for publication of the report of the same in the book, The Cream Shall Rise.


1988 - Simon Billenness  and  John Caruso - Awarded jointly for their services in running the Peoples Diplomacy Organization Relief Auction (POORA), which raises funds for the support of several hobby services.


1989 - Doug Acheson For his work in running the Canadian Diplomacy Organization.


1990 - Fred Davis For his work as North American Variant Bank custodian, heading up the Mensa Diplomacy SIG, and for eighteen years of publishing the leading variant zine Bushwacker.


1991 - David Hood For editing and publishing Di­plomacy World since 1990, and for hosting the 1990 DipCon and World DipCon II in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Rod Walker Literary Award


Established by the Avalon Hill Game Company in 1983 in Rod's name, to mark the 25th anniversary of the commercial sale of the game Diplomacy. Inspired by the success of the Miller Award, Avalon Hill purchased a large Perpetual Plaque, and presented it to Larry Peery for coordination of the voting along with the Miller Award each year. This was done in Rod's name since he was one of the leading lights in the Diplomacy literary field at that time. He authored a book, A Gamer's Guide to Diplomacy, which Avalon Hill publishes and sells. At the bottom of the plaque, it states: "Celebrating Diplomacy's 25th Anniversary, 1958-1983." This award was set up some time after the results of the 1983 Miller Award had been announced, so the first year there could be any voting for the Walker Award was 1984.


1984 - Mark Berch For the fictional piece "The Slea­ziest Player of all Time: Shep Rose", in Diplomacy World, Spring 1983.


1985 - Bruce Linsey "For five years of publication of Voice of Doom, including the most active letter column in the hobby's history," and producing and distributing the "novice publication, Supernova. "


1986 – Daf Langley This was for a factual piece she wrote for Diplomacy World #39, "The Making of a Major Con."


1987 - J.R. Baker For the various cartoons he drew for Diplomacy World over the years.


1988 - Mark Berch    For an article in Diplomacy World and Fred Davis For production of The North American Variant Bank Catalog, 1987-88.


1989 - Rex Martin et. al. For producing a Diplomacy-fea­tured special issue of The General, (Vol 24 No.3) in 1988.


1990 - Larry Botimer for "Playing Italy" in Kathy's Korner #155 and Francois Cuerrier for "Lowballing" in Passchendaele #97


1991 - Mark Berch for "The Power & the Glory", in The General, Vol 25 No.4.


John Koning Best Player Award


Following the success of the Miller and Walker Awards in gaining the acceptance of the hobby, Larry Peery felt that it was time to include an award for the best player of the year. It was left open whether this was to be for postal, electronic mail, or tournament play. A person could be nominated for play in a single game, or a series of games, or for winning a tournament Peery announced the establishment of this cate­gory in the fall of 1985, with the first nominations and voting taking place in 1986. John Koning was one of the outstanding Diplomacy players of the 1960's and early 1970's, and was also the founder of DipCon, hosting the first two such Cons at his home in Youngstown, Ohio. He also published sTab, one of the best of the pioneer dipzines. He passed away at a young age in 1974, so this is also a memorial award.


1986 - Dan Stafford For leading the Dragonstooth Rating System throughout 1985. (This was a rating system for all Postal Diplomacy players, last seen in Diplomacy World #60.)


1987 - Randolph Smyth For a career of excellent postal play. (I believe Randolph is one of the few people to have won a postal game with every country.)


1988 - David McCrumb Won the 1987 DixieCon, and was top-ranked in the Dragonsrooth Rating System.


1989 - Marc Peters   For winning the 1988 CanCon and a third place finish at the 1988 DipCon.


1990 - Gary Behnen For his overall postal play in the previous year.


1991 - Gary Behnen For his overall postal play during the year 1990. (This was awarded before he won the 1991 DipCon!)



Melinda Holley Award


Ron Cameron presented this idea at the 1989 DipCon, held in San Diego, California. It was originally to be presented to the lady member of the hobby who had done the most for Diplomacy in the preceeding year. However, before the first voting was held in 1990, the standards were revised to make it an award for "Quantity Participation" in the hobby. It was named for Melinda Ann Holley, who was the leading lady publisher and player in the hobby at that time. Cameron originally received a very large trophy donated by Jack Jewart of Spokane, Washington, which was to be presented to each year's winner. However, this trophy was too large to ship by mail, and had no room on it upon which to engrave the winner's names. Accordingly, in 1991 a Perpetual Plaque, similar in design to the Walker and Koning Award Perpetual Plaques, was bought for presentation to the winners.


1990 - Melinda Holley For the publication of the zine Rebel, which carried more games than any other current North American zine; and for he personal participation in so many Diplomacy games.


1991 - Melinda Holley Same as cited above for 1990.