Opinionated Gamers: Early Prognostications for the Spiel des Jahres 2013

OK, it’s that time of year again… for Spiel des Jahres speculation!  The announcement of the nominated and recommended games is just around the corner.  Well, actually, it’s tomorrow, so that doesn’t give us a lot of time to get our act together.  In the two years that we’ve been around, the Opinionated Gamers have tried to predict which game will win the award.  We will again try to prognosticate, and in true OG fashion, we will use a different format than the year before!

This year, I simply asked the writers to give me their three choices for Spiel des Jahres (in rank order).  These votes were weighted: 5 points for first choice, 3 points for second choice and 1 point for third choice.  I figured that we could generate an early list of games we thought could win the award, and we could take the top 5 from this list as our group choice for the nominated games.

Of course, there are all sorts of pitfalls to this methodology. First, and foremost, we’re not SdJ jury members, and we have proven that we can be wide of the mark at times :).  Second, since only one of us actually lives in Germany, we’re generally not quite sure what is really available on the store shelves.  Third, while we’re going to compile a top 5 list for the nominated games – the question that I posed: “Which game(s) do you think will win the SdJ” most definitely has a different answer than: “Which game(s) do you think will be nominated for SdJ”.

Nevertheless, we’ve polled the writers, and 16 were brave enough to record their votes…  After much number crunching, the Opinionated Gamers predict that…

La Boca will win the SdJ in 2013.

Congratulations in advance to us if we’re right!

The full list (with total score, first place votes)

  • 1. La Boca (60, 9)
  • 2. Augustus (18, 1)
  • 3. Escape (17, 3)
  • 4. Little Prince (12, 2)
  • 5. Rondo (6, 0)
  • 6. Forbidden Desert (5, 1)
  • 7. Wunderland (4, 0)
  • 7. QIN (4, 0)
  • 9. Riff Raff (3, 0)
  • 9. Zug um Zug: Deutschland (3, 0)
  • 11. Gentlemen Thieves (1, 0)
  • 11. Guildhall (1,0)
  • 11. Hanabi (1, 0)
  • 11. Love Letter (1, 0)
  • 11. Tokaido (1, 0)

So, in our little poll, La Boca is the runaway winner here, with over half of the participants voting it as the winner (9 out of 16). Escape was the next most voted to win, but interestingly, it came in third overall because people that didn’t think it was going to win didn’t vote for it at all!  Augustus had a lot of second place votes – and this was enough to push it into second place.

The Little Prince got a number of votes; and while I personally think that it is better suited for Kinderspiel des Jahres, there were enough OG writers out there that voted for it to win the main prize.

The other big surprise (for me) was the lack of support behind Tokaido.  After Essen, many people were talking about it being a contender based on looks alone.  However, come late spring 2013, it barely gets a mention in the poll.  I know that I had it close to making my top 3, but I must admit that it fell short on my own list; partly because the question that I asked was what would win the award, not what should be nominated…

We’ll have to see what the actual list is Tuesday – and then we can judge how good we are at guessing the SdJ games.  And, then once the real list is announced, we’ll run the poll again and see if we can pick the right game from the real nominees!

We also tried to take a stab at the Kennerspiel award.  I posed the same question: What will win the Kennerspiel des Jahres –and I used the same scoring mechanism for the results.

The inital results also have a fairly wide gap between first and second place… though not as large as for the Spiel des Jahres.

Our initial pick for the Kennerspiel des Jahres is T’zolkin: The Mayan Calendar

  • 1. T’zolkin (38, 6)
  • 2. Legends of Andor (23, 3)
  • 3. Brugge (16, 1)
  • 4. Palaces of Carrara (14, 2)
  • 5. Rialto (12, 1)
  • 6. Terra Mystica (10, 1)
  • 7. Bora Bora (8, 0)
  • 7. Seasons (8, 0)
  • 9. Il Vecchio (5, 1)
  • 9. Suburbia (5, 1)
  • 11. Libertalia (3, 0)
  • 11. Keyflower (3,0)
  • 13. Agricola: All Creatures Great and Small (1, 0)

Unlike our poll for SdJ, there does not appear to be as much consensus for the picks here.  Only 5 games got first place votes for SdJ, as opposed to 8 for the Kennerspiel.  This award, in my opinion, was harder to predict the winner of because I’m honestly not sure that I have a good feel for the criteria used to select the winner.  The past 2 years (which were the first 2 years for the award) have not really shed any light on a consistent type of game that the jury is looking for here…

So, we’re putting our predictions out there prior the the actual lists being announced.  We’ll see how many of our top choices are on the SdJ and KedJ lists on Tuesday – and it wouldn’t surprise me if there is at least one nominated game that didn’t even get a mention from our little pool here…

What do the rest of you think?  Care to put your predictions in the comments?

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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7 Responses to Opinionated Gamers: Early Prognostications for the Spiel des Jahres 2013

  1. brianfrahm says:

    La Boca seems like a popular pick… I’ve only played Escape so far, and it seems deserving to be on the nominations list.

    I’ve played about 1/2 of the Kennerspiel list above… my vote would go to Keyflower, though TZolk’in would be a close second. Impressive that Legends of Andor has such good consideration – need to check it out!

  2. lambolt says:

    wow, I think I’ve heard of 2 of the top ten in the first list, I guess a lot of family games. Tzolkin is awful, actually I don’t really care for anything on the grown up list either. TM seems too solitaire. I don’t mind at all that I’m an outlier since I expect there’ll be a lot of gushing about both. I think Tzolkin is actually a poster game for whats gone very wrong with euro game design.

  3. Cayaurima says:

    I like several of the choices in both lists. However, tow of my favorite last year games are not included in the KdJ: Archipelago and CO2 (there has been some controversy around both of them)

    • peer says:

      Both are much to heavy for the KSDJ. Village was the upper end – there werent any nominations that wouldnt have had a chance before. They might end up in the recommendation list though (but I doubt it)

    • Ben (chally) says:

      I am a big fan of both Archipelago and CO2, as you likely know from my reviews. But peer is a correct that both games are too long and complicated even for the Kennerspiel award. Heck, even Tzolk’in is likely too long and complicated for the jury, but it is close enough to have an outside chance. The ideal profile for a Kennerspiel candidate would be a length of roughly 60 minutes, a BGG weight near 2.7, and an average BGG rating of at least 7.3.

  4. simonneale says:

    Keyflower is my top bet for the Kennerspiel with T’zolkin close behind. The outside contender which has missed your list is Myrmes, which could tunnel its way into the shortlist.

  5. Garry Lloyd says:

    Well, let’s see if I can do as badly as last year. This is what I’ve predicted this time:

    SdJ nominees – La Boca, Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Smash Up
    KedJ nominees – Rialto, Tzolkin: The Mayan Calendar, Libertalia
    Recommended list – Saint Malo, Rondo, Wurfel Bohnanza, Hanabi, Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger, Spectaculum, Tokaido, Legends of Andor, Farmerama, Palaces of Carrara.

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