Finalists for 2011 International Gamers Awards

By:  Greg J. Schloesser

The International Gamers Awards committee has announced the finalists for the 2011 awards.  I am privileged to serve on the committee, and can attest that it was tough narrowing my multi-player list down to ten finalists.  I would have been much happier had we been allowed to submit a list of fifteen games, but the rules limit us to ten in this category.  Eleven actually made the finalist list due to ties in the balloting.

There were several games on my personal list that did not make it onto the ultimate list of finalists.  Every committee member suffered the same fate.  Still, I am very happy with the list of finalists, and feel it does give a good representation of the best games released in the eligibility period, which runs from July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011.

Regarding the 2-Player category, I have my work cut-out for me.  I have only played one game on the list of finalists, but should be able to play the other games before our final votes are due.

I would be interested to hear comments from other folks about the games on these lists, as well as their predictions as to which games will capture the award.

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – Multi Player category




7 Wonders
Designer:  Antoine Bauza
Publishers:  Repos Productions / Asmodee





Airlines Europe
Designer:  Alan Moon
Publishers: Abacusspiele / Rio Grande Games





Designers:  Michael Kiesling & Wolfgang Kramer
Publisher:  Ravensburger





Die Burgen von Burgund
Designer:  Stefan Feld
Publisher:  Alea





Dominant Species
Designer:  Chad Jensen
Publisher:  GMT Games





Inca Empire
Designer:  Alan Ernstein
Publisher:  White Goblin Games / Z-Man Games




Designer:  Adam Kaluza
Publishers: / Heidelberger Spieleverlag






Designer:  Martin Wallace
Publisher:  Treefrog Games






Designer:  Mac Gerdts
Publishers:  PD Verlag / Rio Grande Games






Designers:  Sebastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges & Alan Orban
Publishers:  Pearl Games / Z-Man Games





Designer:  Vital Lacerda
Publishers:  What’s Your Game? / Z-Man Games


GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – 2 Player category





A Few Acres of Snow
Designer:  Martin Wallace
Publisher:  Treefrog Games






Battles of Westeros
Designer:  Robert A. Kouba
Publisher:  Fantasy Flight Games




Earth Reborn
Designer:  Christophe Boelinger
Publishers:  Ludically / Z-Man Games






Designer:  Friedemann Friese
Publishers:  2F Spiele / Rio Grande Games





What’s My Word?
Designer:  Joli Quenten Kansil
Publisher:  Gryphon Games

For a detailed look at the nominated games, as well as the committee members and their qualifications, please visit the International Gamers Awards website at:

Note about the International Gamers Awards:  The International Gamers Awards were created to recognize outstanding games and designers, as well as the companies that publish them. The awards are truly international in scope, with committee members representing countries throughout the world. The goal is to give greater exposure for these wonderful games to more and more people and help spread the word of the “wonderful world of gaming” on a global scale.


Matt Carlson: Despite my tendency towards “the cult of the new”, I find I’m much more often in the “cult of the somewhat recent”.  In other words, I love trying out new games but do not generally have access to them until they’re published in the US and even then my gaming circle only acquires a small percentage of imported games.  That is just another way to say, I’ve only played a couple of the games listed above:  Navegador and 7 Wonders.  I’d be torn to decide which of the two are “better”.  While I think 7 Wonders is an excellent game due to its versatility (number of players, easy explanation, quick playing time), Navegador hits just the right combination of strategy, thinking, and play time for me.  I’ve enjoyed nearly every game of Navegador that I’ve played, and while I don’t think it is revolutionary, I do find it a very well balanced, polished, and enjoyable game.  Given the right circumstances (a more thinking gamer group, rather than a less experienced group) I’d prefer to play Navegador once rather than two or three games of 7 Wonders.  Other games I’m heavily eying on the list but have not played include Troyes (as I love most dice games with special abilities), A Few Acres of Snow (I like the theme and what I’ve heard of the mechanics).  Battles of Westeros looks good, as I own most of the games in the Command and Colors line (BattleLore, Memoir ‘44, etc…) and enjoy them, but I’m not interested in buying into yet another costly line of similar games.  From my reading and investigations, I think Vinhos may be too detailed/minutia oriented for my taste, Dominant Species too long for me to bring to the table, and Earth Reborn a bit too much of a wargame to join my somewhat crowded wargame shelves (I have far too many and still need my sons to get older before we can play them together.)  While I will play “route” games like Airlines, they’re rarely my favorites – as I like a bit of economic engine in my games.  As for the others, I either don’t know anything or don’t know enough about them to make a judgement call.  Die Burgen von Burgund is of interest, but I still need to research it more before I can decide if it is a game I really need to seek out.

Dale Yu – well, this year I’ve done a pretty good job of playing the games on the two lists above.  I probably would have opted for a few different games to be on the nominations list — but I can’t really complain with the 16 games above.   

I’ve had the chance to play every game on the multi-player list except Dominant Species, and all but Earth Reborn on the 2 player list.  My choice for 2 player is pretty easy: What’s My Word?  I have enjoyed it both face-to-face as well as on the iPad, and I look forward to every chance I get to play it.  Famiglia has also been a lot of fun to play, but in this list, it comes in second place to Kansil’s word game.  As far as the multi-player category goes, there are a lot of good games, and many that I enjoy playing.  Troyes, Burgund, Airlines: Europe and 7 Wonders are the four that I have played the most out of the list, and if I had to choose just one, I think I’d give the nod to Burgund this year.  I think that it is a well crafted game, and most of the games that I have played have been competitive and tense.  However, given my current mood, I could easily give my vote to Troyes, Airlines: Europe or 7 Wonders.

But… if I were to predict what the IGA jury will select – I’d go with a Wallace sweep.  London for the multiplayer and A Few Acres of Snow for the 2 player category.  We’ll see if this happens or not!

About gschloesser

Greg Schloesser is the founder of the Westbank Gamers and co-founder of the East Tennessee Gamers. He is also a prolific reviewer of games and a regular contributor to numerous gaming publications and websites, including Counter, Knucklebones, Boardgame News, Boardgame Geek, Gamers Alliance and many others. Greg has been a gaming enthusiast his entire life, growing up in our hobby mainly on the war game side. His foray onto the internet exposed him to the wonderful world of German and European games and now nearly all of his gaming time is devoted to this area of our hobby. He travels to several gaming conventions each year and is the co-founder of Gulf Games, a regional gaming get-together held in the Southern USA. Greg was born in 1961 and lived his entire life in New Orleans before moving to East Tennessee in 2005. He is married and has one daughter (now married.)
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6 Responses to Finalists for 2011 International Gamers Awards

  1. I enjoy playing 7 Wonders not only for the game itself, but also because it makes an excellent gateway game.

    7 Wonders plays equally well with 3 as with 7, which helps keep gamers from inadvertently pressuring or excluding a newcomer just to keep an ideal number of players. The theme and art are cool without being too “geek” (I’m not suggesting that being geek is a bad thing, but it can scare away potential converts).

    The playing time is long enough to enjoy if you like the game, but short enough to endure if you don’t. If a player drops out, the others can continue without him pretty easily. And with the short playing time (about 30 minutes in my experience, once the players know the rules well), it’s easy for newcomers to say “yes” to another game … and another … and another.

    In all fairness, I must admit that I haven’t played any of the other finalists.

  2. On my bucket list of gaming is to play Vinhos with Rick Thornquist and Greg Schloesser!

  3. If Dominant Species isn’t best Multi-player, I’ll never read Opinionated Gamers again!!* The fact that the two on site commenters haven’t played it makes me even more nervous about Dominant Species’ chances in this. The game is such an awesome, well balanced experience. And even if the game somehow doesn’t win, there should be special mention for the rules. They are excellent. A distant second for me is Navegador. I’ve only played A Few Acres of Snow in the two player unfortunately, but I will be very interested in the winner in this category.

    *joking; I wouldn’t miss Opinionated Gamers for the world! :)

  4. Not a big fan of 7 WONDERS here. Too much of a “heads down” game. There’s such limited interaction with anyone but neighbors and the only things said tend to be terse little two-word grunts about coins and “You done?” Left me cold.

    When playing it, I was thinking it would be much better if it was /more/ like a MAGIC: THE GATHERING draft–in that the “pack” would go around twice (15 cards across 8 players). This gives you more chances to “signal” and cut off and so forth. It’s probably better with 3 or 4 for this reason (I have only ever played the full 7). This has Cult of the New written all over it.

    Also, the phrase “gateway game” needs to go away.

    DOMINANT SPECIES is a _solid_ game. I wish it didn’t look like a decent PnP production, but what can ya do? It’s got staying power–I see this one becoming a CHAOS IN THE OLD WORLD style mainstay for some groups. Honestly, if my friends and I got together and played just DOMINANT SPECIES every week for a few months, I would be OK with that. There’s a lot of game to explore here.

    Good luck to all the nominees!

  5. I’m going to agree with the last two posters. 7 Wonders was an OK game, but it was done so much better with REAL interaction with Olympos, which hopefully will grace the list next year. 7 Wonders for being a supposed family game, plays more like a puzzle with that just happens to have other people joining you while you do it. It’s a GOOD puzzle, but hey, this is about the people around you.

    For this year however, Dominant Species is so much more game for you bang. Interaction, thought, strategy, with a touch of evil. What all games thrive to be.

  6. Doug says:

    A shame to see no Yomi there in the two player award – major oversight. The main list… Navegador or Vinhos for me. I thought Dominant Species was 3.5 hours of trying not to lead, then 30 minutes of trying to sneak in the win. We crafted, but overdone. 7 Wonders will probably do a Sankt Petersburg and sneak through as everyone’s pet favorite.

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