Here are the results of the final round of voting for the 2011 Meeples Choice Awards. The three winners are:
The Castles of Burgundy
Ora et Labora
A Few Acres of Snow
There were some surprises as always. Eclipse, which seemed to have taken the gaming world by storm, was never a factor, finishing out of the top 10. Another very popular game, Mage Knight, came on very strong at the end, but finished just one vote out of the running. And Few Acres, which some have declared a “broken” game, garnered enough support to take one of the top three spots. I guess not everyone is willing to put in enough effort to master the “Halifax Hammer”.
Congratulations to the three designers – Stefan Feld, Uwe Rosenberg, and Martin Wallace – and the three publishers – Alea, Lookout, and Treefrog. The games are listed below in the order of their final round finish. The first number listed is the number of votes they got in the second round, and the value in parentheses is the votes they got in the nominations round.
1. The Castles of Burgundy – 19 (30)
2. Ora et Labora – 18 (22)
3. A Few Acres of Snow – 15 (19)
4. Mage Knight – 14 (13)
5. King of Tokyo – 9 (15)
5. Kingdom Builder – 9 (20)
5. Lancaster – 9 (10)
5. Trajan – 9 (17)
9. Eminent Domain – 7 (12)
9. Last Will – 7 (14)
11. Airlines Europe – 6 (11)
11. Eclipse – 6 (9)
11. Hawaii – 6 (17)
11. Power Grid: The First Sparks – 6 (13)
11. Risk Legacy – 6 (8)
11. Vanuatu – 6 (7)
17. Quarriors! – 5 (10)
18. Belfort – 4 (7)
18. Discworld: Ankh-Morpork – 4 (8)
18. Friday – 4 (8)
18. Helvetia – 4 (7)
22. Summoner Wars: Master Set – 3 (6)
22. Uluru – 3 (6)
22. Village – 3 (8)
25. Core Worlds – 2 (6)
25. Dungeon Petz – 2 (6)
25. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – 2 (10)
25. Ticket to Ride: Team Asia & Legendary Asia – 2 (6)
29. Pantheon – 1 (6)
So few votes. Is this award even relevant any longer?
I hope so, Dave, but I’m going to try to take steps to increase participation. Wish me luck.
I expect there are many readers, like me, who don’t feel qualified to vote, having played only a handful of nominated games (4 in my case, with Hawaii the big winner and Castles second). Nevertheless, we find the results generally track with our opinions once we do get to another handful or so, thus putting the MCAs on the map.
I played 20 of the 29, and intend to play one more on the list. (Trajan). Not bad!
Am I the only one who is perplexed by seeing A Few Acres of Snow as one of the winners?
For me, the best from this group are Mage Knight BG, Ora et Labora, and Summoner Wars Master Set. I also tried to get Dungeon Fighter and Champions 2020 onto the final list, with predictably poor results.
Looks like I’ve personally played 18 of the 29 finalists. Of the rest:
Definitely plan to play: Village
Might play: Eclipse, Last Will
Probably won’t play: Lancaster, Power Grid First Sparks, Belfort, Discworld, Helvetia, Core Worlds, LotR Card Game, Pantheon
I was pleasantly surprised by Pantheon, a game I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like.
I’m sure you’re not the only person who has an issue with Few Acres winning, Josh. I expect to hear from quite a few folks about it, both personal friends and online acquaintances. But all I can conclude is that the other voters picked it for the same reason I did: To discover and perfect the Halifax Hammer would have required a great deal of effort, more than the usual amount of research I devote to an individual game (I prefer to play games, not study them). Since mastering this strategy would have only spoiled a game that I and my opponents enjoy playing a great deal, why would I want to bother pursuing what to me is an artificial strategy? It’s not like it’s the only game that I don’t devote dozens of hours trying to master–that would be true of almost all of them.
Spielfrieks (at least the active members) is a relatively small group, with specific tastes. Their selection of Few Acres is not a blanket endorsement, nor does it make the HH issue go away. But it does show (to me, at least) that there is a sizeable portion of the hobby that feels this game is still worth playing, despite the fact that most of the game’s experts have given up on it.
As for your personal preferences, as I noted, Mage Knight just missed. There were four dominant games according to the voters; unfortunately, only three of them could be formally recognized. And, sadly, you were the only person to pick Champions 2020 and Dungeon Fighter during the nominations round. Guess you just have eclectic tastes, Josh!
I’ve played 20 of the 29 games, and I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of A Few Acres of Snow than any other games on the list except King of Tokyo and Ticket to Ride Asia. I didn’t actually vote for it as one of my three because of the Halifax Hammer issue, but I got 8 good games of A Few Acres of Snow in. (In comparison, I’ve played Castles of Burgundy and Ora & Labora once each and was desperately trying to figure out how to escape before each was halfway finished. Obviously YMMV, but there’s no question that A Few Acres of Snow is the best winner from my viewpoint.)
While I appreciate the award, it almost never reflects my personal choices. Yet, I keep voting year after year.
Me too! I never expected my choices of King of Tokyo, Friday or Pantheon to win but voted for those games that most struck a chord with me when I tried them.
I voted for Summoner Wars, Risk Legacy, and Uluru alas…
I’m surprised to see Eclipse so far down the list, I would have expected that along with Hawaii and Kingdom Builder to do better… even though I was hoping for the three I voted for to do well, I never held out much hope.
Lost of interesting comments here – more so than the results themselves. I too wonder if this award is relevant anymore. It seems that’s a pretty small number of voters to represent the people’s choice. I didn’t vote this year though I have in years past even though it often didn’t really reflect my personal tastes. Oddly enough this year it does (I’ve played 19 of the 29).
With respect to A Few Acres of Snow finishing in the top three, I was actually glad to see it did really push the concept of deck building foward beyond that of just a mechanic. I don’t think the game is ruined by the dominant strategy for everyone. Clearly those who have studied it have a legitimate beef. This being said, I think that to call that strategy “artificial” Larry seems to be a bit derisive and diminishes the thoughts of those who have studied the game. It seems to be as valid as any other potential strategy.
Thanks for doing this Larry.
As I mentioned, Craig, the HH strategy is artificial *to me*. I have no doubt that for a deckbuilding maven, it’s completely natural and obvious. But it’s not something I’d ever think of pursuing, so that’s why I put it like that. I absolutely respect those that have analyzed the game, particularly since most of them have genuinely tried (and, in some cases, continue to try) to “fix” the design. Our views of the game differ, but that’s only because we approach the game in such a different fashion.
The lack of participation is a problem (move it to BGG?), but I continue to be really pleased by this results of this system for picking games. Although Larry shares the final voting tallies (and I like that, too), the real key is that there are a TRIO of top games from each year. Without even trying some meta system or voting categories, it ends up awarding this small range of top games every year.
Count me among those happy to see A Few Acres of Snow in the top. I’ve played it more than any other game on the list, even had the Halifax Hammer executed against me by a master (newsflash: it worked), and I still think it’s my top game of the year, both for its euro/wargame blending (that praises both the new deckbuilding innovations and the historic simulation/theming) and its wonderful production.
Also glad to see how close King of Tokyo made it. Pergamon was nowhere near the top, but I can’t have everything. :-)
I voted for Ora et Labora and Risk Legacy as well. Haven’t played the two non-Ora winners, but they are the kinds of games I suspect I’d really like. (Still waiting for someone around here to buy a copy…;) I’ve played about 8 or 9 of the games listed. I enjoyed Vanuatu but wouldn’t vote it as a top game. I may have voted for Belfort however, I really enjoy that game and would encourage you to at least try it. A very pleasant worker-placement cube-churner with nice eye candy and just a bit of player interaction. (Some may prefer to play without the worst of the interaction cards…) Think I also voted for Friday due to its uniqueness as a solo game.