Way back in 2001, well known gamer (and now successful designer) Stephen Glenn got an inspired idea: why not let the members of the Spielfrieks user group vote on their game of the year? (Okay, it was a lot more inspired 10 years ago, before the current proliferation of GotY awards.) Then he came up with something truly original: how about honoring the top three games from the previous calendar year? That way, a variety of good games could be recognized. The notion caught on immediately and was soon labeled the Meeples Choice Awards (I think Mark Johnson was responsible for the name). It proved to be so popular that a series of retroactive votes was held to extend the award back to 1995 and it was decided to repeat the process every year. I’ve been administering the voting process since 2004.
The voting for the 2010 gaming year began last Friday. Any kind of non-electronic game is eligible, be it board games, card games, wargames, cooperatives, CCGs, or dexterity games. Pure expansions are off limits, but a standalone game that builds on an earlier title is fine. You can check out the previous winners at the MCA website (http://www.meepleschoice.org) to see the wide variety of games that have been selected in the past. If you’d rather not bother with the link (which isn’t completely up to date anyway), here are the winners for the last few years, just to give you an idea of the kinds of games the group has favored.
2009: Small World; Hansa Teutonica; Endeavor
2008: Dominion; Pandemic; Le Havre
2007: Race for the Galaxy; Agricola; Brass
2006: Blue Moon City; Thurn and Taxis; Yspahan
2005: Caylus; Louis XIV; Shadows over Camelot
The voting takes place in a two-step process. First, the group chooses 25 games as its nominees for the final voting. That’s what’s happening this week. There is a list of 200 notable games from 2010 and everyone picks at most 10 of them from the various polls set up for this purpose on Spielfrieks. Next Friday, after a week’s worth of voting, the picks will be tallied and the 25 games receiving the most votes will survive for the second stage. In the final election, everyone will be able to choose three of the 25 nominated games. The three games with the most votes in the final election will be the Meeples Choice Award winners for 2010.
If you are a member of Spielfrieks and you want to help with the selection of the games, just head over to the Yahoo user group and use the polls to make your first-stage votes. There is a spreadsheet in the Files area called 2010 Designs that lists all the 200 games under consideration to make it easier to narrow your list down to 10 games. If you’re not a member, no worries: just send a request to email@example.com and an invite will be sent to you as quickly as possible. It usually only take a couple of hours and you’ll then be eligible to vote this year and all the succeeding years as well.
I’ll be reporting here on the results of the nominations process and on the final results once the selections have been made. So keep checking with the Opinionated Gamers website for all your Game of the Year news!