Evil Hat Productions


Evil Hat Productions is a company that produces role-playing games and other tabletop games. Chief among them is the free indie RPG, Fate, which has won numerous awards.

Evil Hat Productions
TypePrivately held company
Key people
Rob Donoghue and Fred Hicks
ProductsFate, Spirit of the Century, Don't Rest Your Head, The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game, Elizabethulhu, Pace, Texorami!, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Blades in the Dark


Fred Hicks had been working with Lydia Leong, Rob Donoghue, and others to run LARPs at AmberCon NorthWest starting in 1999, and came up with the name Evil Hat for themselves.[1]: 421  While on a trip to Lake Tahoe, friends Hicks and Donoghue developed a new game based on a conversation about running another Amber game and fixing some problems with FUDGE; the result was Fate which Hicks and Donoghue would publish under the name Evil Hat.[1]: 421  Donoghue and Hicks released a complete first-edition of Fate through Yahoo! Groups (January 2003) then cleaned up the technical writing and slightly polished the system for a second edition (August 2003).[1]: 421  Hicks and Donoghue began work on the licensed Dresden Files Roleplaying Game in 2004, but publication was held up because they decided to use Spirit of the Century (2006) to introduce the Fate 3.0 system instead.[1]: 423  While working on these other games, as a side-project Hicks worked on Don't Rest Your Head (2006), which would be Evil Hat's first published game.[1]: 423  Don't Rest Your Head was critically acclaimed and quickly sold through Evil Hat's short print-on-demand print run.[1]: 424 

In 2005, the company began producing a series of commercial role-playing games using an updated version of the Fate system, each focusing on a different genre. These include the 1920s pulp adventure Spirit of the Century and the hard sci-fi Diaspora. In 2010, they released Dresden Files Roleplaying Game, based on the Dresden Files series of novels by author Jim Butcher.[2] The FATE system had also been licensed to Cubicle 7 Entertainment who used it for Starblazer Adventures, based on the British Starblazer comic.[3]

Evil Hat Productions is a part of the Bits and Mortar initiative and was one of the original founding companies in August 2010.[4]

In January 2016, Evil Hat Productions announced print-runs for some of its Fate Core System games such as[5] Venture City (2014)[6] and Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (2011).[7] The company then announced in September 2016 that they would be bringing both Blades in the Dark (2017) and Karthun: Lands of Conflict (2017) to trade in 2017; both games were funded via successful Kickstarter campaigns in 2015 and 2014, respectively.[8]

In October 2018, ICv2 reported that Evil Hat was scaling back with "a total of a dozen projects [...] postponed or cut in the immediate future" along with staff reductions such as the Head of Marketing Carrie Harris and the Head of Business Development Chris Hanrahan leaving that month and Senior Art Director Brian Patterson being laid off "at the end of 2018".[9]

In 2019, Hicks revealed that the role-playing game Monster of the Week (2015) had a surge in sales after being featured on The Adventure Zone podcast in 2018. Hicks informed ICv2 that "interest in that same month surged to a level similar to our initial product release spike; in practically every month since, sustained interest in the game has vastly outstripped what we were able to achieve ourselves. Only one month, October 2018, dipped below the highest interest level we saw immediately following release in 2015, and was promptly followed by November 2018 where we saw our strongest sales-month ever for the product (possibly due to retailers stocking up for the holiday gifting season)".[10] Hicks highlighted that while Fate Core System "achieved a big sales surge" after being featured in May 2017 on Geek & Sundry’s TableTop "the impact was shorter than it was for The Adventure Zone" impact on Monster of the Week.[10]


Don't Rest Your Head was a runner-up for Indie Game of the Year at the 2006 Indie RPG Awards, losing to Evil Hat's Spirit of the Century.[1]: 424  In 2007, Evil Hat won a silver ENnie Award for Best Rules and an Honorable Mention for Best Game, both for Spirit of the Century.[11] In 2008, the game supplement Don't Lose Your Mind won the Indie RPG Awards for Indie Supplement of the Year.[12] In 2009, Don't Lose Your Mind won the Silver ENnie for Best Writing and Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies won the Silver ENnie for Best Setting; both games were also nominated for Product of the Year.[13]

The company won two Origins Awards in 2010 for The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game: Best Role-playing Game and Best Supplement for two books in the line. In 2011, the same game won gold ENnie for Best Game, Best New Game and Best Writing, and silver ENnies for Best Production Values and Product of the Year.[14] The company also won the silver ENnie for Fan Favorite Publisher in 2012.[15]

The company was nominated for the 2014 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming; the committee wrote that:

Ever since the release of Fate as a free RPG in 2003, Evil Hat Productions has aimed at two usually difficult goals: skill and elegance in game design, and professionalism and transparency in publishing. Honesty and openness about business realities, and excitement and perfectionism about game possibilities, built the Evil Hat audience from a corner of the Internet to a loyal horde numbering in the tens of thousands. [...] By co-creating Bits and Mortar, Evil Hat pioneered PDF-retailer cooperation; using the Open Game License and Creative Commons, Evil Hat built on a tradition of trusting players and designers to build better games. In 2013, Evil Hat hit both its design goals and its deadlines with Fate Core: five books Kickstarted, printed, and delivered, and over 60,000 copies sold. And Fate Core is still a free RPG.[16]

Also in 2014, Evil Hat's Fate Core System nearly swept the ENnies, with Gold awards for Best Game and Best Rules and Silver for Product of the Year, while the related Fate Accelerated Edition won Gold for Best Family Game and the supplements and accessories Strange Tales of the Century, the Fate System Toolkit, the Fate SRD and Eldrich Fate Dice, won silver ENnies for Best RPG Related Product, Best Supplement, Best Website and Best Aid/Accessory, respectively.[17]

In the Best Family Game category, the company won the silver ENnie in 2015 for the Atomic Robo RPG[18] and the gold ENnie in 2017 for Bubblegumshoe. Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry won the gold ENnie for Best RPG Related Product in 2015, and the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game received the silver ENnie in the same category in 2018.

In 2022, the team of six writers for the role-playing game Thirsty Sword Lesbians won the Nebula Award in the "Best Game Writing" category; it was the first tabletop game to win a Nebula Award.[19][20] The game also won the 2022 ENNIE Awards[a] for "Best Game"[21] and for "Product of the Year".[22]


Role-playing gamesEdit



  • Beyond Dinocalypse ISBN 978-1-61317-016-8
  • Dinocalypse Now ISBN 978-1-61317-003-8
  • Don't Read this Book ISBN 978-1-61317-012-0
  • Khan of Mars ISBN 978-1-61317-018-2
  • King Khan ISBN 978-1-61317-019-9
  • Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate ISBN 978-1-61317-063-2


  • Designers and Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry Volumes I-IV (2015, 2nd Edition)[b] by Shannon Appelcline[34]

Board and card gamesEdit

  • Race to Adventure[citation needed]
  • Zeppelin Attack! (2014)[35]
  • Don’t Turn Your Back (2015)[36]
  • The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game (2017)[37][38]
  • Kaiju Incorporated Card Game (2017)[25]
  • Greedy Dragons (2018)[39]


  1. ^ Previously stylized as the ENnie Awards.
  2. ^ First edition was produced by Mongoose Publishing.[33]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  2. ^ "Evil Hat Productions - Home". Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  3. ^ "Starblazer from Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd". Archived from the original on 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  4. ^ "Bits and Mortar". Publisher Coalition Forms Pro-Retailer Pro-PDF Initiative Bits and Mortar
  5. ^ "Evil Hat Expands 'Fate Core' Offerings". icv2.com. January 14, 2016. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  6. ^ Tremaine, Kate (2022-05-25). "10 Best Quick-Start Fate Adventures, According To DriveThruRPG.com". CBR. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  7. ^ Harnish, M. J. "An In-Depth Review of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  8. ^ a b "Evil Hat Brings Successful Kickstarter RPGs to Trade". icv2.com. September 13, 2016. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  9. ^ Bunge, Nicole (October 3, 2018). "Evil Hat Dials Back New Publishing for 2019". ICv2. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  10. ^ a b c "'The Adventure Zone' Bump -- Sales of Little-Known RPG Surge". icv2.com. February 3, 2019. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  11. ^ "2007 Noms and Winners". ENnie Awards. 2015-08-01. Archived from the original on 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  12. ^ "Indie RPG Awards".
  13. ^ "2009 Noms and Winners | ENnie Awards". www.ennie-awards.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-27.
  14. ^ "2011 Noms and Winners". ENnie Awards. 2011-02-26. Archived from the original on 2019-03-12. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". www.ennie-awards.com. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "The 2014 Award". The Diana Jones Award. 2015-05-23. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  17. ^ "Announcing the 2014 ENnie Award winners". ENnie Awards. 2014-08-16. Archived from the original on 2019-04-09. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  18. ^ "Congratulations to all the 2015 ENnie Award Winners!". ENnie Awards. 2015-08-01. Archived from the original on 2015-12-12. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  19. ^ "Thirsty Sword Lesbians Wins Nebula Award for Best Game Writing". ComicBook.com. May 23, 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  20. ^ "Sapphic and sharp tabletop RPG Thirsty Sword Lesbians wins Nebula Award for best game writing". Dicebreaker. 2022-05-23. Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  21. ^ ENNIE Awards [@ENnies] (August 5, 2022). "Best Game Silver goes to: Root: The RPG Gold goes to: Thirsty Sword Lesbians" (Tweet). Retrieved August 6, 2022 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ ENNIE Awards [@ENnies] (August 5, 2022). "Product of the Year Silver goes to: Call of Cthulhu Classic Prop Set Gold goes to: Thirsty Sword Lesbians" (Tweet). Retrieved August 6, 2022 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "'Dresden Files RPG: The Paranet Papers'". icv2.com. March 10, 2015. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  24. ^ "'Dresden Files Accelerated' Printing Errors". icv2.com. July 3, 2017. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  25. ^ a b "Evil Hat Takes on Giant Monsters in 'Kaiju Incorporated'". icv2.com. September 16, 2016. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  26. ^ Wieland, Rob (November 26, 2018). "Roleplay as Scoundrels In Space In SCUM AND VILLAINY". Nerdist. Geek & Sundry. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  27. ^ "Indie Boards & Cards Dystopian Universe is Now an RPG". icv2.com. March 30, 2018. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  28. ^ "Origins Award Nominees". icv2.com. May 1, 2019. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  29. ^ "Evil Hat Presents 'Band of Blades'". icv2.com. January 31, 2019. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  30. ^ Rochlin, Jason (2020-01-22). "Fate of Cthulhu Tabletop Game Sparks Controversy". Game Rant. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  31. ^ "The 'Fate of Cthulhu' Looms". icv2.com. April 24, 2019. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  32. ^ a b Israel, Cecily (May 18, 2009). "Sequential Tart: Spirit of the Game (Volume 12 Issue 5, May 2009)". Sequential Tart (Interview). Archived from the original on August 2, 2021. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  33. ^ "Expanded 'Designers & Dragons'". icv2.com. September 17, 2012. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  34. ^ "Expanded 'Designers & Dragons' Four-Volume Set". icv2.com. August 6, 2014. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  35. ^ "'Zeppelin Attack!'". icv2.com. July 7, 2014. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  36. ^ "New Dark and Gritty Deck-Building Game from Evil Hat". icv2.com. May 6, 2015. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  37. ^ "Preview: 'The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game'". icv2.com. January 13, 2016. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  38. ^ "Review: 'The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game' (Card Game)". icv2.com. May 19, 2017. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  39. ^ "Split the Hoard in Evil Hat's 'Greedy Dragons'". icv2.com. January 19, 2018. Retrieved 2022-08-07.

External linksEdit

  • Evil Hat Productions