The Opinionated Gamers 2011 SdJ Predictions: The Results

When last we left our intrepid heroes, 20 of the Opinionated Gamers had foolishly…uh, courageously predicted the results of the SdJ awards.  We’ll have to wait for the decisions of the jury to see which of us earns bragging rights for the year.  But in the meantime, we can look at the overall predictions to see which games we feel are the frontrunners for the two adult gaming awards (the Spiel des Jahres—the SdJ—and the more complex Kennerspiel des Jahres—the KdJ) that will be awarded this year.

Here’s a quick summary of the OG crystal ball gazing:

  • 7 Wonders is going to win something, we’re just not sure what;
  • If 7 Wonders doesn’t take the SdJ, then Asara is a good bet;
  • We feel Die Burgen von Burgund should certainly get nominated for the KdJ, but are less confident that it will actually win anything;
  • Airlines Europe should also do well, although again, we’re not sure where.

The Leading Contenders

Now that we’ve captured the low-hanging fruit, let’s look at the data behind it.  Recall from yesterday that each OGer submitted 5 games in each category and distributed 3 stars among the games in each of the two lists.  More stars means greater confidence that the game will win the award in its category.

First, some basic facts.  A total of 51 games got at least one mention from our prognosticators.  That seems like an awful lot and is an indicator of just how many games were released last year, as well as the uncertainty about how the two awards will be positioned.  In addition, 27 of those games got at least one star assigned to it.

Next, let’s list the games that got on the most ballots, together with how many stars they each were assigned, and in which list they primarily appeared.  In the last column of the following table, a “Split” entry means that the predictions were close to being evenly split between the two awards. 

Game

Total Picks

Total Stars

List

7 Wonders

22

40

Split

Die Burgen von Burgund

16

8

KdJ

Asara

14

13

SdJ

Airlines Europe

12

7

Split

Mondo

8

5

SdJ

Pantheon

8

5

KdJ

Merkator

8

2

KdJ

Mord im Arosa

7

2

SdJ

Navegador

6

3

KdJ

Tikal II

6

3

KdJ

Forbidden Island

6

1

SdJ

Pergamon

6

1

SdJ

Uluru

6

1

SdJ

You may have noticed that 7 Wonders was chosen 22 times, despite the fact that only 20 of us submitted predictions.  That’s because two of us hedged our bet by placing last year’s hit game on both lists.  The only other game that got that kind of treatment was Tikal II (one person put it on both of their lists).

7 Wonders truly did dominate the voting.  Its 40 total stars, far and away the largest total of all the games, is more than one third of all the stars assigned by our voters.  Asara is the only other game to get double digits in stars and Burgund and Airlines Europe are the only other games to manage more than 5 total stars.

Most of those games are probably familiar to you from the recently released Gathering reports.  Mord im Arosa is the Zoch game where the players try to discern how many levels dropped cubes fall down a tower of blocks.  Forbidden Island, Matt Leacock’s simplified version of his own Pandemic, debuted early last year, but this represents the version that was released in Germany, Die Verbotene Insel.

We Are Fami-lee

Okay, let’s look at the games our predictors favor for the family-friendly SdJ.  The following titles got the most mentions for that award.  The table also shows how many people assigned the game 1 star, 2 stars, and 3 stars on their lists.

Game

SdJ Picks

1 Star

2 Stars

3 Stars

7 Wonders

12

5

4

2

Asara

12

4

2

1

Mondo

8

5

0

0

Mord im Arosa

7

2

0

0

Airlines Europe

6

3

0

1

Forbidden Island

6

1

0

0

Uluru

6

1

0

0

Cargo Noir

5

1

0

0

Secret of Monte Cristo

4

3

0

0

Pergamon

4

1

0

0

BITS

4

0

0

0

Loch Ness

3

1

0

0

7 Wonders and Asara are co-favorites, although the former has a little more Star power (only one person who selected it didn’t give it any stars).  Note, however, the lack of commitment from our participants:  only three games (7W, Asara, and Airlines Europe) got picks of 2 or more stars and those were the only instances for the entire list.  Clearly, there is sufficient doubt about the SdJ that many of our predictors cautiously assigned 1 star to three games.  Other than those three games, only Mondo and Monte Cristo have stars assigned to a reasonably high percentage of their picks.  So make of that what you will.

In all, 32 different games got at least one mention and 17 of them got at least 1 star assigned to them.  Again, those seem like pretty large numbers, indicative of either considerable differences of opinion or widespread guessing.

Okay, time to cut to the chase.  Based on the data, the Opinionated Gamers predict that the five nominees for the SdJ will be:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Asara
  • Mondo
  • Mord im Arosa
  • Airlines Europe

with 7 Wonders winning the award (although I’ll give us at least partial credit if Asara takes it instead).

The Neu Kid on the Blöck

Here’s a similar table summarizing the OG’s predictions for the new Kennerspiel des Jahres, which will be given to a more complex game than the SdJ (but no one is certain just how complex):

Game

KdJ Picks

1 Star

2 Stars

3 Stars

Die Burgen von Burgund

16

5

0

1

7 Wonders

10

1

1

6

Merkator

8

2

0

0

Pantheon

6

1

0

1

Navegador

6

1

1

0

Airlines Europe

6

1

0

0

Tikal II

5

1

1

0

Vinhos

5

0

1

0

Grand Cru

4

1

0

0

Firenze

4

0

0

0

Troyes

3

2

0

0

Luna

3

0

0

0

20th Century

3

0

0

0

Unlike the SdJ results, the top vote-getter is not the game with the most stars.  80% of the voters thought that Burgund would get nominated, but only 6 out of 16 thought it was worth a star (and only one of those assigned more than one star).  In contrast, 7 Wonders got more selections for the SdJ, but actually got more star power on the KdJ side, with six 3-star picks.  Thanks to 7W’s showing, the KdJ games had more high star games than the SdJ ones:  ten 3-star games, and fifteen games with 2 or more stars.  (In addition to the games shown, Hansa Teutonica and Norenberc got a 3-star pick and Asara got a 2-star pick.)  It’s not completely clear why that’s the case, unless it’s voters having more confidence with games that they are more accustomed to playing.

Outside of the top two games, there wasn’t much assurance in the selections, as no other game got more than two star picks.  Merkator and Pantheon did have pretty good showings, with the latter also getting two picks (and a 1-star selection) from the SdJ side as well.

So on the complex side, there were 29 different games that got at least one mention, with 15 of them getting at least 1 star.  Not as many as on the SdJ side, but still a lot of individual selections.

If we assume that 7 Wonders and Airlines Europe wind up on the SdJ side (far from a given, but work with me here), the Opinionated Gamers predict that the following games will get nominated for the KdJ:

  • Die Burgen von Burgund
  • Merkator
  • Pantheon
  • Navegador
  • Tikal II

and we hesitantly project that Burgund will go home with the award.  (And formal recognition of Alea by the SdJ jury would certainly be celebrated in many corners of the gaming world.)

The Fine Print

It should be pretty obvious by now that these predictions should be taken with a sizeable grain of salt.  As the large number of selected games indicates, our picks are all over the map, particularly with respect to the SdJ/KdJ split.  Some voters evidently feel that the jury will only go slightly more complex with the KdJ award, and so they went with middleweight games in their KdJ picks.  Others figure that this will allow the jury to finally recognize some gamer’s games, so they went with fairly heavy titles.  There are even some reasonably complex games listed on the SdJ side.  The truth is, it’s anybody’s guess at this point what the jury will do, but at least you now have a bit of a glimpse of what 20 marginally qualified folks think.

As we all know, you can stick a couple dozen tone-deaf people in a choir and the result can be surprisingly pleasing.  So the hope is that these aggregated results might have some merit.  Whether or not they do, it’s all in fun.  When the jury posts the nominations (this coming Monday), I’ll let you know who the leading contenders for our little contest are and I’ll give you the final results when the winners are announced in June.

[Editor’s Note – If you can’t wait for Larry to give you the results in a few weeks, you can try to calculate them on your own! Click the link to see the full list of the OG’s SdJ Picks – DY]

By the way, this would be a great time for any of our loyal readers to make their own SdJ/KdJ predictions.  Waddya think?  Can you do better than our assembled collection of “experts”?

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36 Responses to The Opinionated Gamers 2011 SdJ Predictions: The Results

  1. Paul Lister says:

    My predictions have always been wrong – but it’s human nature to speculate. I think the main barrier to making an accurate prediction is that i’m an English speaking gamer trying to second guess a German judging panel, I suspect that might also throw off a lot of the OP gamer predictions. Maybe some clues can be garnered from whats been getting good reviews in Germany, Spielbox being a good source. If so Asara could be a good bet for the main prize, with Pantheon an outsider (i think it will fall in the SDJ side) – it seems to have arrived just at the right time. For the complex game it your pick of Die Burgen looks good – i’d pick Navegador but I am not sure its as critically acclaimed in Germany as it is elsewhere. I would be amazed if Merkator won the prize (now getting discounted by German game distributors).

  2. Randy Cox says:

    I don’t really have an opinion, though I’d like to see Mord im Arosa win simply to justify my having purchased it (and nothing else, thus applying all the shipping cost to a single game).

    However, I’m not happy with this Kenner thingie (didn’t Kenner make games long ago?). It messes up tags and abbreviations all over BGG mightily. KdJ is and always will be the abbreviation for Kid Game of the Year in Germany (however they spell it). So y’all need to come up with a better abbreviation for this newfangled Kenner Game thing.

  3. Thygra says:

    I think that most people are guessing wrong about the jury’s classification for SdJ/KdJ. What I have heard about KdJ, this price is not for complex games like Vinhos. Personally I’m sure that 7 Wonders is rated as KdJ. Even Asara is a split for me, my prediction for Asara is a KdJ nomination, but I might be wrong.

    André

    • Larry Levy says:

      André: Your thoughts are very similar to mine when I made my selections about a month ago. I originally chose 7 Wonders for the KdJ and Mondo for the SdJ, but then found that 7W was a lot lighter than any of my other KdJ nominations. So I switched 7W to the SdJ (and gave it 3 stars) and made Asara my 2-star KdJ pick (although I hedged my bet by also including 7W in my KdJ nominations and even giving it a star!). I subsequently got to play Asara at the Gathering and felt it was indeed more involved than 7W (and interesting enough to please gamers as well as families), so I was feeling I had made a reasonable choice.

      However, since then, the SdJ jury has spoken about their intent for the new award and indications are that they might well be open to recognizing more “gamerly” titles. We’ll be running an interview tomorrow with one of the members of the jury that outlines these thoughts, so you can see for yourself. The upshot is that my early predictions might well be wrong. I will say, though, that based on the interview, there’s still a lot of wiggle room in how they’ll rule. Last year’s Special Award (given to World Without End) is cited regularly and while that’s nowhere near the complexity of Vinhos, it’s still reasonably involved. However, the interview also mentions games as varied as Puerto Rico and Galaxy Trucker as the kinds of things that figure to be nominated. Obviously there’s a great deal of difference in the complexity of those games, so something like Asara still could be a winner. We still really won’t know how the jury will position this award until we see the results over the next few years.

      One game I’m now wondering about is Navegador. In the past, Spielbox reviews have correlated well with the SdJs. One of the reasons I’ve been so high on 7 Wonders (other than it’s massive popularity) is that it got such glowing ratings from Spielbox. I just got the latest issue of the magazine and Navegador’s ratings are sky-high. It’s clearly a gamer’s game, but the rules are very clean and the game plays extremely smoothly. I don’t know if a distributor is on board that could handle the ramp up of new orders that a KdJ award would generate, but if that detail is handled, I can see Gerdts’ latest as a major contender. By that measure, it has an edge over Burgen (which got mixed ratings from Spielbox), but Pantheon hasn’t been reviewed yet, so that just adds to the uncertainty for that title. Just a little bit more to think about as the date for the nominations nears…

      • Thygra says:

        Larry, I spoke with two members of the jury in Nuremberg, that’s what my opinion is based on. It seems that games like Thurn & Taxis, El Grande, or Tikal will no longer be selected for the SdJ in the future.

        But an actual interview may give more insights. We all will be more wise in 4 days …

  4. Larry Levy says:

    Randy, I was actually kind of frustrated with the Jury that the name they came up with for the new award started with the same letter as the Kinderspiel des Jahres. Didn’t they realize that we acronym-mad Americans would want to shorten the name of the Kennerspiel? After trying to figure out what to call the new award in the article, I finally gave up and went with KdJ, since the Kinderspiel wasn’t referenced in it anywhere. But I agree, it’s not an ideal solution. I’ve seen the children’s award referred to more often as the “Kinderspiel” than as the KdJ (your experiences may differ), so maybe the best thing is to call the new award the Kennerspiel. As always, the Court of Public Opinion will decide on this, but I don’t have any real problem using the longer name and once people get used to the term, it should help avoid confusion.

    • Jake Di Toro says:

      I was thinking about this as I read the article.

      How about KedJ and KidJ. The abbreviation for Kenner sounds a bit weird, but in my head for Kinder it sounds like “Kiddy J”, which seems appropriate.

  5. Jonathan Franklin says:

    One X-factor to remember is that more US games are being licensed in Germany well after their US release date. I have not confirmed it, but someone mentioned that Qwirkle might be eligible for the SdJ this year.

    • Yes, Jeff Allers mentioned to me earlier that Qwirkle would be eligible this year. I had not considered the game previously as in the U.S. the game is four years old, but Qwirkle would be an easy choice for the Just 4 Fun nomination spot – the choice the seems out of left field, yet makes perfect sense on second thought.

      I still think 7 Wonders is the go-to choice for SdJ – but Kennerspiel might be the more appropriate option, with Qwirkle as SdJ. Just a few days…

      • Matthias Wagner says:

        Blockers! has also just been released in Germany and might be in the same category. Personally I think it might have better chances, although this is already the second release (Uptown).

  6. jeffinberlin says:

    I still think that one of the surprises on my list–which did not make the combined lists above, will make the nominations list and may even win the prize.

      • jeffinberlin says:

        Hehe–I missed this when I scrolled through too fast. Yes, my pick is exactly what Eric said: Qwirkle for SdJ with 7 Wonders for KdJ. The latter is for ages 10 and up–not broad enough for the current SdJ, IMO.

    • Matthias Wagner says:

      The Jury moves in mysterious ways ;-). There is also a word/party game that hasn’t been mentioned yet and gets pretty good feedback: Eselsbrücke. As the jury might want to have games of different categories this could also be a SdJ nominee.

      • Larry Levy says:

        I’m assuming that Eselsbrücke is the game Jeff is referring to, Matthais. Although he also chose Qwirkle and a Queen game called Mammut that I know nothing about. We really should handicap him, with he being in Germany and all. :-)

        Two of us picked Blockers, so that got a little love from the OGers.

  7. Dale Yu says:

    Yes, I agree that there will be at least one “out of left field” game this year similar to Just4Fun. It could well be Qwirkle or Eselsbrücke. There’s just no way of really knowing what’s out there from this side of the pond.

    Dale

  8. Mike Logan says:

    Isn’t it very likely that 7 Wonders wins both awards? Or is that impossible?

    • Larry Levy says:

      I’m just about certain that it will be impossible, Mike. I have no idea if the possibility of having the same game in both categories is even spelled out in the SdJ rules, but it would be completely contrary to the jury’s intent with the award (which is to bring as many games as possible to the attention of the German public).

  9. jeffinberlin says:

    Yep, I picked both Eselsbruecke and Qwirkle (both from Schmidt Spiele, which has not won the award–at least in quite a while, although they focus mainly on that market).

    My “Geheimtip” for the win is Qwirkle, as Eselsbruecke might be a bit too similar to Dixit as a creative party game–and Qwirkle seems to be one of the most accessible games to the mass market in recent memory (though it possesses less potential for expansions).

    Of course, if I want to win at this little prediction contest, I need to pick at least a few games that I know no one else will, so that also influences my lists:-) Hey–it worked several years back in in my office pool, when I was able to pick the NCAA Final Four exactly, although there was at least one cinderella team in the mix! No risk, no fun.

    • Thygra says:

      Jeff,
      two games by Schmidt Spiele on your list, it seems you are playing with Torsten too much. ;-) Oh, wait … … … on my own prediction list I see Qwirkle and Eselsbruecke too! :D

      However, I don’t see Qwirkle as a winner. I see it as the easy filler like Fits. I would bet on Mondo as the winner, but I’m personally involved in Mondo, so I’m biased.

      I have another “Geheimtip” for a SdJ nomination: “Das große Kullern” by Ravensburger!

      • jeffinberlin says:

        FYI, Andre, Mondo received my third star as a prediction to win SdJ, so perhaps I’ve been playing too many games with you and Pegasus, too:-). I like to see the award spread out, so it would be nice for either Schmidt or Pegasus to come up big this time around.

        Although I have not played Mondo yet, I have not seen a puzzle game win SdJ for some time, and I could see the Jury attracted to this type of game as something different, just as with my other two picks.

  10. Garry says:

    A bit late responding to this. My guesses for the SdJ nominees are Mord im Arosa, Mondo, Qwirkle, Forbidden Island and Asara and for the KdJ 7 Wonders, Strasbourg, Airlines Europe, Navegador and Black Friday (as otherwise Kosmos don’t appear on either list). And the winners will be Forbidden Island and 7 Wonders.

  11. Dale Yu says:

    Well, the nominations have been announced…

    Spiel des Jahres: Asara, Forbidden Island, Qwirkle

    Kennerspiel des Jahres: 7 Wonders, Lancaster, Strasbourg

    Recommended games (mix between SdJ and KdJ): Blockers!; Die Burgen von Burgund (The Castles of Burgundy); Freeze; Geistesblitz; Luna; Mondo; Sanfranito; Skull & Roses; Sun, Sea & Sand; and Uluru.

    It’s interesting to see how they have split up the games. Asara may be closer in complexity to the Kennerspiel games, but I can see how it can also make the non-complex list.

    I’ve played 5 of the 6 nominees (and have watched a game of Lancaster – which is the only one I haven’t played). Of the Recommended games, I’ve played all but Freeze and Geistesblitz. That may be a new alltime high for me prior to the announcement of the games.

  12. Garry says:

    Good to see five out of the six were on my list. Lancaster threw me as it’s only been out in Germany for a couple of weeks so I didn’t even consider it. Oh and I still stick by my predictions for the eventual winners, Forbidden Island and 7 Wonders.

    The recommended list is a bit more curious to me. There seem some glaring omissions (Airlines Europe) and unlike you, Dale, I’ve only played three of them (Blockers, Castles of Burgundy and Mondo). Luna is the only one I’m really tempted by and I’m waiting for one of the others in my game group to get hold of a copy so I can try it.

  13. Larry Levy says:

    I’m not all that surprised that 7 Wonders was on the Kennerspiel list, but I am a bit taken aback that Asara was deemed less complex than 7W. I felt it would go the other way. Both are very worthy nominees and have to be considered the front runners in their respective categories. 7W would seem to be the overwhelming favorite for the Kennerspiel, while both Forbidden Island and Qwirkle should give Asara a run for its money in the SdJ.

    One aspect that I’ve yet to see mentioned is that Asara is a Wolfgang Kramer game. If it wins, it will be Kramer’s sixth SdJ, two more than anyone else, and would be awarded a few days before his 69th birthday! What a great story that would be! It would also be co-designer Michael Kiesling’s third award, making him only the third person to accomplish that.

    The big news is that the jury only went with 3 nominees per category. Was this a total surprise to everybody? Why would they keep this a secret? Anyway, that’s made our SdJ contest seem a bit overblown. Nevertheless, we will continue as planned!

    This is our first data point for the Kennerspiel and based on these nominations, I’d say it looks like it will be reserved for middleweight games and lighter gamer’s games. Pretty much what I suspected before the announcement, but the interview the SdJ member gave last month made me think they might go a bit heavier than this. If that is indeed the case, then both Die Burgen von Burgund and Luna never had the chance to do better than Recommended status–they’re just too meaty. When you look at it that way, these games deserve congratulations and missing out on the nominations shouldn’t be viewed as disappointments.

    The only game I’ll really be rooting against is Strasbourg. I’ve only played it once, but I really disliked it. Ironic, as I like almost everything else Stefan Feld puts out.

    I’m very happy for my US buddies Matt Leacock and Kory Heath for getting mentioned (for Forbidden Island and Blockers), as well as for fellow Yank Susan Ross for Qwirkle. I was also excited to see Freeze and Sun, Sea & Sand mentioned; Andrea Meyer’s game seems very innovative, and the van Moorsel design is quite worthy and deserves more attention.

    I’m also surprised by a few omissions on the Recommended list. I would have thought Airlines Europe would have gotten mentioned somewhere–it being shut out is a bit of an upset. I also thought both Navegador and Mord im Arosa might have been recommended. Obviously, it’s a numbers game, but those two seemed worthy of mention, for different reasons.

    Well, that was interesting. Now we wait five weeks to see which games walk home with the prizes!

  14. Garry says:

    Larry, I have been really surprised at the negative reaction Strasbourg has receievd from those that played it at The Gathering. Our group really enjoyed it and others in the Uk that I’ve spoken to have, likewise, thought it to be very good. Makes me wonder if we were playing from different rule-sets, although I can’t see how as Pegasus published official English rules. Maybe it’s a transatlantic divide :-)

  15. Larry Levy says:

    Garry, to me Strasbourg suffers from many of the problems standard blind-bidding games have and I have a strong prejudice against blind bidding. So this is more of a personal dislike than a feeling that this is a bad game. It did get pretty mixed reviews at the Gathering, but I don’t think I encountered anyone who hated it as much as I did.

    • Thygra says:

      Larry, IIRC Tom hated it very similar. ;-)

      But why do you see Strasbourg as a blind bidding game? Did you check the rules after your play to see if you played it correctly? It really is not blind bidding from my point of view. The players do not have to reveal their bids at the same time! And they may choose which stack to reveal, it is not random.

      Strasbourg does not forgive any bad play, because mostly you will not get a second for anything. But games not forgiving bad plays usually are strategic games! Strasbourg is a strategic game. I’m biased, because I’m the product manager, but that means I did play it very often, and usually the player with the best strategy does win. However, you have to react on other players actions, and you always need a “plan B” for the case your strategy fails. But this “plan B” ist part of the strategy too!

      Players need one learning game, so in the first game of Strasbourg usually all players will do a lot of bad plays. That could be a little bit frustrating, but Strasbourg becomes better and better with each other play, so it’s worth to try it out!

      • Thygra says:

        No edit function!? I wanted to say: “Strasbourg does not forgive any bad play, because mostly you will not get a second _chance_ for anything.”

      • Larry Levy says:

        I should give Strasbourg a second chance, because every game deserves that and first impressions are sometimes wrong ones. But while the game doesn’t feature true blind bidding, it seems to have many of its problems. So I lay out my stacks, assuming that a bid of 6 will be enough to win this key auction. And one of my opponents trumps my 6 bid with a 7 bid. Then, an almost equally important auction gets won by a bid of 4. Things like that happened too frequently in my game and it became very frustrating. Given how limited you are with the cards you draw, it felt like giving yourself a Plan B was usually not possible.

        I had some other issues, which I frankly don’t remember anymore. But, as I said, I should give this a second try. The only trouble will be finding someone who owns it (as my play was at the Gathering)!

      • Garry says:

        Andre, you said it much better than I could. It definitely is unforgiving and, after our first game, we all thought we could approach it better second time around. You definitely need to look ahead to the way the auctions are ordered in future rounds and you definitely need a plan B as the other players are liable to try and mess with you if they can.

      • Thygra says:

        Larry, you wrote “Given how limited you are with the cards you draw …” Usually you are not limited, because you decide by yourself how many cards you draw for one round. So if there is a key auction for you, you should draw a few cards more and build a stack with 10 or 12, not only 6.
        If you drew some cards you did not want for this round, mostly you can use them for low bids gaining nothing, so you can place them back under your deck for a later round, which is an underrated part of the strategy in this game.

  16. jeffinberlin says:

    I’ll stand by my predictions: Qwirkle and 7 Wonders.

    I was surprised to see the nomination list at only 3 games per category, but it’ s probably a good decision after deciding on doing two categories.

    I thought Mondo would get nominated, and did not expect Forbidden Island, as it’s “parent” game was a nominated game for SdJ two years ago.

    Glad to hear of Freeze’s recommendation, one of my favorite games of last year! It’s also nice to see a small independent game receive this attention. Congrats, Andrea!

  17. Dale Yu says:

    FWIW, I was between I like it and Neutral on Strasbourg in my first play. I think that I didn’t grasp the flow of bidding, nor did I realize that you would only go to each guild a maximum of 4 or 5 times each game! Having played once, I would definitely approach the game differently. I’m hoping that my copy arrives soon, as I’d like to try it again!

    D

  18. Larry Levy says:

    Another couple of notes about the nominees:

    Two of the three SdJ finalists are from Schmidt Spiele. That’s pretty impressive for any publisher and particularly so for Schmidt, which only has one SdJ win way back in 1984 (for Dampfross) and which has never been an SdJ finalist since the jury instituted the concept back in 1999. Jeff Allers even predicted that would be the case, but he got the wrong two games (he went with Eselsbrueck to go along with Qwirkle, instead of Forbidden Island).

    The other one is that if Susan Ross wins for Qwirkle, she will become the first woman to win an adult SdJ award for a solo design. Three women have shared an award (most recently Karen Seyfarth, who co-designed Thurn and Taxis with her husband Andreas), but none have ever been alone in the spotlight. I think there have actually been very few nominated or recommended games that were one woman designs. So no matter who wins the SdJ, it figures to be a great story.

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