Spiel des Jahres 2016 – Nominations and Thoughts.

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Game of the Year in English. Its aimed at families and people who like the lighter games, with some nice strategies that don’t melt the brain. Previous winners are games such as Ticket to Ride, Camel Up, Hanabi and Colt Express last year. The Kennerspiel des Jahre is for the meatier games and we’ll talk about them in a later post.

Codenames

codenames

The blurb: “In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.”

Most predict this is a sure fire, slam dunk, bet your house on it winner. Its hard to disagree, I love the game, everyone I play it with loves it. It plays well with all ages from young to old. Its a fantastic twist on the traditional word games with totally different experiences depending on whether you are the spymaster or team member. The downside is that you really need at least 4 to play it and ideally 6 or more. Vlaada Chvatil is my fave designer ever, so I hope he gets it if only to see people butchering his name.

Karuba

karuba

The blurb: “This is a tile-laying race game with players starting with boards that are identical, and one player drawing tiles that they all will use. They race to get their explorers to temples first and earn points. Along the way they can collect additional points by collecting items off the paths they create.”

This is a very strong year in my opinion and in any other year this would be a sure winner, in fact I have a sneaky suspicion this one may juuuust nick it out from under Codenames feet. Its a really addictive, super puzzley little game that is very simple to learn. Its HABA’s (traditionally a kids game company) first entry into the family market and by Rudiger Dorn a designer that has been around for years and been nominated numerous times, but never won before. Will this be his Revenant!

Imhotep

imhotep

The blurb: “In Imhotep, the players become builders in Egypt who want to emulate the first and best-known architect there, namely Imhotep. Over six rounds, they move wooden stones by boat to create five seminal monuments, and on a turn, a player chooses one of four actions: Procure new stones, load stones on a boat, bring a boat to a monument, or play an action card. While this sounds easy, naturally the other players constantly thwart your building plans by carrying out plans of their own. Only those with the best timing — and the stones to back up their plans — will prove to be Egypt’s best builder.”

Phil Walker-Harding is becoming the light family game king. He also did Sushi Go! and recent cafe hit Cacao. Its not been released in English yet, but they have rushed it to North America after getting the nomination, so very soon. Reviews have been very positive, with people likening it to Splendor with its ‘one action from 4’ choices, but with a lot more going on. It may be a little bit too much for the SDJ, but for the people who like their light games a little heavy, a solid choice.

Recommended:

These games didn’t make the final 3, but were in strong consideration for the award

Spyfall – awesome party game with thinking and lots of laughs

Animals on Board – great family game for 7-12 year old range, plays best with 4 players, nice price as well.

Die Fiesen 7 – No idea, awaiting Englishification. Its by the Cockroach Poker guy though.

Krazy Wordz – Make weird words about planets or something, again no idea.

Qwinto – We made our own version of this to try it. Really good little dice game. Looking forward to Englishification.

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IBGC predited Winner: Karuba, I said it earlier in the year and I’m not going to change my mind now…

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