I don’t say that as a bad thing: I think it’s good that a large team of experienced gamers have been putting the nominees through their paces for months – it certainly adds some weight to their attempt to become a rival to the revered German Spiel De Jahres awards – which, funnily enough, were also announced this month.
While I love playing new games, the main group I play in is quite small and I’m the only one who buys a lot of games – which means I don’t get to play nearly as many new games as I’d like. I’ll comment on a few of these, but in most cases I can only comment on the overall vibe I’ve had from reading about these games, rather than playing them.
The Spiel des Jahres Awards go to the best family, advanced and children’s game that have been released in Germany in the last year. This year’s winners were Kingdom Builder, Village and Schnappt Hubi! respectively.
I’d say that both Kingdom Builder and Village have generally been well received by the gaming community, without either one setting it on fire. Other notable nominees and recommended titles worth checking out were climbing themed board game K2, two-player worker placement game Targi and the fantastic solo deck building game Friday.
The Dice Tower Awards have a much more Oscars or Grammys feel to them, in that they hand out gongs in all kinds of categories. I also like the fast they are deliberately a year behind, so these celebrate the best games of 2011 – again, giving as much chance as possible for those taking part in the judging process to play as many titles as they can, so nominees don’t slip through the net.
It’s interesting to note that of the three games I listed in my previous post on the Dice Tower Awards that I suggested should’ve been nominated, two of them (Friday and Ora et Labora) were ‘Recommended’ in the Spiel des Jahres lists. Why they weren’t included here still baffles me.
That said, overall winner Eclipse was a solid choice. A sprawling space exploration game, it combines the best elements of conquering and economic/technological engine building into a game that doesn’t last five hours.
Other notable winners were fun, light manga monsters dice game King of Tokyo in the Family Game category; co-operative fire fighting game Flashpoint: Fire Rescue taking a bow in multiple categories; fantastic two-player card combat game Summoner Wars: Master Set taking best expansion, and Risk: Legacy winning Most Innovative Game for its board altering and card ripping antics. Head over to the Dice Tower site to see all the winners (linked in the first paragraph).
Of the massive list of nominees for the main award I said it would be one of three (Eclipse, Mage Knight and Die Burgen von Burgund), and it was. I would probably have gone with Die Burgen von Burgund, but there you go. I thought the new maps for Ticket to Ride should’ve won Best Expansion, but having seen the value packed into the Summoner Wars box it’s hard to argue with that choice either. I also called Risk: Legacy for most innovative, but that was a shoe-in.
Overall I think this is a good list of games but at the same time, beyond Eclipse, Friday, Die Burgen von Burgund and Mage Knight, I don’t think there are too many that will stand the test of time and become counted as ‘classics’. what do you think?