The nominees for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres — Germany’s “game of the year” award – have been announced, and they are:
Kingdomino, by Bruno Cathala and Pegasus Spiele, with Blue Orange Games being the publisher of origin
We talked about Kingdomino on episode 84 of our podcast. This is an amazing board game that can be taught quickly to players of almost all ages and skill levels. It really leans on players past knowledge of dominoes (which almost everyone has) and layers on a few different mechanics. We could definitely see this one taking the crown!
Magic Maze, by Kasper Lapp and Pegasus Spiele (originally Sit Down!)
Magic Maze is a simultaneous play cooperative game where the players take control of a group of downtrodden would-be adventurers as they look a giant mall looking for arms, armor, and supplies. The real kicker is that players can’t communicate with each other outside of specific situations.
El Dorado, by Reiner Knizia and Ravensburger
This is a racing game where players control famous explorers as they venture through the wilderness of South America in search of treasure. Players assemble and equip their own team using mechanics lifted from the deck-building genre and race to see who can get the loot first!
The games nominated for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, Germany’s game of the year for children, are:
Captain Silver, by Wolfgang Dirscherl, Manfred Reindl, and Queen Games
Captain Silver is a children’s game where players reach into a bag and try to feel around for the shapes to help complete a path to shore and earn victory points. This is a pretty cute game with all of the crazy pirate tropes. We’re definitely looking to trying this one out.
Ice Cool, by Brian Gomez and AMIGO Spiele(originally Brain Games)
Ice Cool is a penguin themed dexterity flicking game that encourages whacky trick shots. The idea is to travel through doorways in a frozen high school collecting fish that are hanging there. Trick shots are encouraged because if you can pass through multiple doorways it can give you an edge over other players. We have the game and have played it a bunch. My only complaint is that I don’t know how hard im flicking and I keep hurting my finger on the solidly build penguins.
The Mysterious Forest, by Carlo A. Rossi and IELLO
This is a cooperative memory game set in the fantasy world of the Wormworld Saga. This is popular series of graphic novels by Daniel Lieske. In the game players help Jonas cross the Mysterious Forest and ultimately face the Queen of the Draconia. The game consists of three phases. First is the scouting phase where they look at the eight forest cards to determine what equipment they will need. The second phase involves rolling dice to determine what equipment they get. The third involved trying to remember where the equipment needed to go based on the players’ memories of the eight forest cards from phase one.
The games nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres — an award aimed at enthusiasts who already have some familiarity with modern games — are:
EXIT: Das Spiel, a series of three escape room games from Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and KOSMOS
This nomination is interesting because it is actually a series of three different “games.” In fact, I don’t even know if I can call them games. The Exit series is a series of self-contained “escape rooms” in a single box. They each contain all the clues and puzzles you would need for the escape room experience without any of the inconvenienced of driving to a location and being locked in a room.
Raiders of the North Sea, by Shem Phillips and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally Phillips’ own Garphill Games)
Viking games have become so common that they are almost cliché at this point, but Raiders of the North Sea elegantly combines enough different mechanics that it is easily one of the best in the genre. The goal of the game is to impress your war chief. In order to do so you have to select a good crew, have them supply a good boat, and pick the richest raiding target. There are lots of moving parts in this game, but they all fit nicely
Terraforming Mars, by Jacob Fryxelius and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally from FryxGames and Stronghold Games)
Terraforming Mars is a game where player race to control territory on Mars. They do this by terraforming hexes on the board and then taking the resources they gain by doing so to build further improvements. This is, essentially, an engine building game where the actions you take will build on each other round after round. It is definitely worth looking into.
Good luck to all the nominees! We’ll report back in late June when the winners are announced!