The nominations for the Spiel des Jahres and other categories have been announced for 2018. I wrote a previous post about the Spiel des Jahres and what it is but I’ll include a brief rundown for each award here. The main thing to take into account is that these awards feature games that have been made available in Germany recently.
Kinderspiel des Jahres (children’s game of the year)
Dragon’s Breath (otherwise known as Funkelschatz)
Shaky Manor (otherwise known as Panic Mansion)
Thoughts: I’m unfamiliar with any of these games but I’m a little saddened that two Dinosaur themed games did not make the cut. In my brief reading of the nominees, I think Shaky Manor is the game to beat but would not be surprised to see Dragon’s Breath win the award. Both games offer some varying mechanics on traditional games that look to be appealing for childrenI’m hitching my trailer to Shaky Manor so you all can lambaste me when it doesn’t win.
Kennerspiel des Jahres (for the more experienced gamer)
Thoughts: Very interesting that Wolfgang Warsch (Die Quacksalber von Quendlinburg and Ganz schön clever) has two of the three nominations for this category, especially since he only has two games developed prior to 2018, according to BGG. I think Die Quacksalber von Quendlinburg will win and that’s who I would bet on but I wouldn’t be shocked if i won.
Spiel des Jahres (Family game orientated)
Thoughts: Wolfgang Warsch makes his third appearance on the award list with The Mind while Michael Kiesling makes his second appearance (Azul and Heaven & Ale). I think Azul is the best game on the list but I think The Mind will win the Spiels des Jahres as it’s just unique enough to stand out. As an aside, Luxor just released a second campaign on Kickstarter.
Sonderpreis (Special Award)
Thoughts: Basically it’s being awarded due to the creativeness of tying an overarching story-line through multiple games while keeping true with the innovative mechanics and gameplay that made the original Pandemic’s such a success.
Looking over these lists, this is one of the first years where I’m not familiar with many of the nominees. If we go off just official nominees, I’ve played one (Azul) and know of one more (Heaven & Ale). If we open it up to honorable mentions, I become familiar with four more. I’m pretty excited to start seeing the discussion about the games that I don’t know about, especially those created by Warsch as I’m not familiar with his work at all.
With the previous statement that I am unaware of most of the nominees, I thought it would be fun to create my own nominees for the awards and since this is my blog and I can basically do what I want within reason, I’m going to do just that. I don’t know what games are or are not available in Germany but if I had to craft my own nominees from releases in the last several months, it would look something like this:
Kinderspiel des Jahres
I don’t get to play many kids games so I’m abstaining from this category
Kennerspiel des Jahres
Heaven & Ale
Reasoning: I think there’s a slight shift in this category coming with the inclusion of games like Terraforming Mars a few years ago and Heaven & Ale this year. That shift could see games such as Clans of Caledonia and Spirit Island meriting inclusion.
Spiel des Jahres
Reasoning: I think these three games speak to players that either play board games casually or are looking to get involved. Codenames is a proven commodity and now that a version is available that is compatible at two-players, it would have to be a front runner in this grouping. Azul is a new classic and Sagrada has the visual appeal and gameplay to be worth inclusion. I feel like Sagrada would be the weakest of these nominees for family players since there are variable objectives and rule-breaking actions that players would need to get familiar with and there is the slight issue of accessibility due to the colors but it’s so pretty and simple and short that it has to be included.
Reasoning: I haven’t found many games that have such a deep following as Twilight Imperium. As I gear up for my first game ever this weekend, the depth of knowledge available in the form of podcasts, YouTube videos, and communities. There is so much strategy and lore to dig into and while this game would be heavier than anything else ever mentioned, I believe Christian T. Petersen and those involved deserve their day in the sun.
I also have a slight bias towards this game as I just played it for the first time ever and it’s literally all I can think about.