The second of the major Game of the Year awards has been announced. The winner of Germany’s Deutscher Spiele Preis (DSP) is Lost Ruins of Arnak. Arnak, which lost out to Paleo for the Kennerspiel award, this time bested both it and SdJ winner MicroMacro to take the DSP. Arnak was designed by the husband and wife team of Min and Elwen (aka Michaela Stachova and Michal Stach). It was published by Czech Games Edition and, remarkably, is the first DSP winner for that acclaimed publisher.
The DSP has been trending toward lighter titles lately. Once, it was considered the heavier of Germany’s two major gaming awards (with winners like Terra Mystica, Russian Railroads, and Voyages of Marco Polo). But these days, it’s been going to games comparable in weight to the Kennerspiel (the three previous winners were Azul, Wingspan, and The Crew), so Arnak fits in very nicely with those other middleweights.
The award for Best Children’s Game went to Dodo, by Marco Teubner and Frank Bebenroth and published by Kosmos.
Here are the top ten vote getters for the DSP, together with their designers. Congratulations to the creative team behind Arnak, along with all the other nominated games!
Lost Ruins of Arnak (Michaela Stachova, Michal Stach)
Time: 90 minutes on the box, about 2-3 hours in real life
Played with review copy from Stronghold Games
From the publisher: Stronghold: Undead is a re-balancing of the original Stronghold: Undead expansion for the second edition of Stronghold that is now a standalone game. It includes a new board with new paths to siege the castle, undead mechanisms, and more ways for both sides to secure their victory!
The Necromancer leads an undead army toward the stronghold walls. A powerful artifact lies within the stronghold. A magical item imbued with immense energy. The Necromancer’s powers are weakening, and his magical essence is fading with each passing moment. He will regain his powers if he manages to take the castle by storm and claim the artifact. Thus, if the undead army succeeds in breaching the stronghold within eight turns, it will capture the artifact and attain victory. If not…well, if not, the Necromancer’s powers will fade completely and the undead army will turn to dust.
Played with game provided by Asmodee NA (distributing here in US)
Hero Hockey is the newest iteration of Klask, a game I first discovered in 2016. Since that time, there have been a couple of different forms of the game, but the click-clack of the Klask booth has been a mainstay of my SPIEL trips (well, when I used to go to SPIEL).
Cascadia is an unofficial designation for the coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest – including parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia and the Yukon territory… Roughly the land between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. This beautifully produced game is set in this region. The elevator pitch for the game is: a puzzly tile-laying and token-drafting game featuring the habitats & wildlife of the Pacific Northwest.
In this game, players have their own area on the table in front of them where they will build their own piece of the Cascadia landscape. At the start of the game, they only have a single starting piece which is a triangular affair of three hexes stuck together. As the game progresses, more hexes will be added onto this structure, and wooden animal discs will be placed on top of the tiles.Continue reading →
Played with review copy provided by Pandasaurus Games
From the introductory text: “Time is broken and shattered. The seasons all exist at once, and day and night have no real cycle — they rotate at the whim of the forest. This enchanted land has been driven into chaos and it’s up to you, the cunning mystics of the forest, to tame extraordinary woodland creatures and use your magic to bring back balance.
In Brew, players must choose how to use element dice, either to take back control of as many seasons as possible in an area-control game or to procure goods at the local village in a worker-placement game. Recruiting woodland creatures and brewing potions can help offset chance die-rolls or create an engine to help you tame the lands.”Continue reading →
A bit of history, a confession of sorts. I buy, or rather, I used to buy a lot of games that ended up never being played. For one reason or another, I would buy a game and be excited to play it, only to find out, no one else shared the excitement, or that we could never schedule time to play it for one reason or another. Be it a giant box Euro, a big dungeon crawl or even family style games. Sometimes they just never got to the table. One of those games was Descent Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition, and sad to say, a lot of extra expansions that went with it. My youngest daughter and I played with the miniatures and created our own stories and adventures, but I never did play the actual game, not even when the app came out that would be the Overlord for you. So I sold it. Never regretted selling it, but always wanted to play it. I know part of the issue with it was the all versus one aspect of the game. A lot of game groups have that gamer who wants to be that one, we didn’t. Up steps a new Descent, one that we really shouldn’t call 3rd edition and one that Fantasy Flight Games has made sure to try to differentiate it through art, through playstyle and through packaging. All of that change was met with a lot of trepidation and baseless dismissal prior to release from a couple of “big name” reviewers here in the states. That led me to this, becoming the owner of another system, Descent Legends of the Dark.