Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013 Spiels de Jahres Nominees Announced!

This past week the nominees for the 2013 Spiels des Jahres Awards were announced.  What are the Spiel des Jahres you ask?  Well, this is a German award that is given out each year which recognizes some of the best games that were released during the previous year.  First awarded in  1978, the award aims to recognize excellence in game design and to promote gaming as a hobby, particularly within the German market.  Although German in origin and having been created to grow the hobby in Germany specifically, the Spiels des Jahres has evolved into an award recognized by the global gaming community as one of most prestigious accolades any game can receive.  Almost invariably, games that win this award go on to become huge commercial successes.  Past winners include: Settlers of Catan, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, El Grande, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Dixit, Dominion and Kingdom Builder.  Like I said, commercial successes!

The Spiels is awarded in three categories.  In the first place, there is the Spiels des Jahre (or game of the year) which is awarded to what might be called the best "gateway" game.  Then, there is the Kennerspiels des Jahres, which is awarded to what might be called a "gamer's" game.  Finally, there is an award for the best family game of the year.  For each of these categories, three game get nominations and, in addition, the jury provides a recommended list in each category as well.  While often controversial in the jury's selections have never failed to provide excitement and an economic boost for these games.

So which games got nominated this year?  Well here you go:

Spiels des Jahres Nominees:
Augustus (by Paolo Mori designer of Libertalia)
Hanabi (by Antoine Bauza designer of 7 Wonders)
Quixx by Stephen Benndorf

Spiels des Jahres Recommended:
Divinare; Escape: The Curse of the Temple; Hand auf Herz; La Boca; Libertalia; Mixtour; Riff Raff; Rondo; Yay!.

Kennerspiels des Jahres Nominees:
Brugges (by Stefan Feld designer of Castles of Burgundy, Rialto, Notre Dame and many more)
Legends of Andor (by Michael Menzel artist extraordinaire)
Palaces of Carrara (by Wolfgan Kramer and Michael Kiesling)

Kennerspiels des Jahres Recommended:
Terra Mystica
T'zolkin The Mayan Calendar

I won't list the family games because they are all German titles that would be pretty tough to get outside of Europe.

I have played most of these games and over the next little while I will make several posts commenting on those titles as a means of providing you more information on these great games.  For now, I will just say that there are two titles worthy of particular note: Augustus and Terra Mystica.  Both of these games are outstanding titles and two of the best games I have played in the past year.  Incidentally, when I last checked, the store had two copies of Augustus in stock -- so if you want one you had better move fast!

Have a great day and game on!

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