OK, as you probably know, the Spiel des Jahres award will be given this coming Monday. As we have in previous years, the writers of this blog have tried to predict the winner… Each year, we come up with a different way of doing it. This time around, we first tried to predict the winner without even knowing who the finalists would be! (Details here). As you can see, the game that we all thought would win the prize did not even make the short list of finalists… Sigh.
Once given the list of three games, we then voted again on which game we thought would take home the prize on Monday. The methodology was simple – each participant could only vote for one game. The votes have been tallied and we think the winner will be…
In a fairly decisive win in our poll, Augustus garnered 15 votes. Hanabi was in second place with 8 votes and Qwixx brings up the read with only 2.
Some comments from the writers:
Dale – well, with my heart, I wanted to vote for Qwixx. Of the three games, this is the one I like the most, and the one I think can succeed with families the most. But, the small box size really makes me leery of choosing it for SdJ. It’s still a big box award in my eyes, and thus, I vote for Augustus. And that’s not to say that Augustus isn’t a good game… I’ve played it 5+ times and I’m enjoying it… I just don’t like it as much as Qwixx.
Liga: I think Augustus is the only game, between the candidates, that really could deserve the SDJ award because it greatly mix semplicity with a bit of stategy and a nice game flow
Mark Jackson: Qwixx is harmless… but not particularly inspiring. Hanabi is a game of near-silence. Augustus wins by being the last man standing. It’s not my favorite recent game – but it fits the SdJ mold.
Greg S: While I believe Augustus will win, I feel Hanabi is the better game and is more creative.
Nathan: [Qwixx is] Actually a fun game that I’m happy to play and own. Lighter than I’d like for something called “game of the year”, but that’s a soap box I’m not ready to climb down off of yet.
Tom R: My money is on Hanabi to win it all this year. It’s an interesting nominee and not one I expected, in part because it’s a 2010 game and also because it’s a small card game. But it’s very straightforward in terms of the rules and has a nice aesthetic, both of which should help tremendously. While it may not be readily expandable, I think spin-offs should definitely be feasible with a Hanabi: Dice Game and a Hanabi: Board Game surely coming if it wins the SdJ. Augustus seems to be the leading favorite, but I think Hurrican may still be too small to ramp up production fast enough, whereas Abacus could surely crank out 500,000 copies of Hanabi. It’s not a game I ever would have thought could win back in the Niagara and Zooloretto days, but since Dixit took the prize, I think it’s wide open and Hanabi has the best shot.
Dan: Qwixx is cute but ultimately forgettable. Augustus is just forgettable.
Larry L: Hanabi is easily the best *game* of the three. But Augustus seems to fit the usual definition of an SdJ winner best: few rules, ideal for families, high fun factor, big box, and easily expandable. Whereas Hanabi comes in a small box, can be a real brain-burner, and good luck coming up with an expansion. While a Hanabi win wouldn’t shock me, I think Augustus is the more likely pick. Qwixx is a nice little dice game, but I can’t see it beating out either of the other two titles.
Doug G: Augustus is the best of the three for wide appeal and an actually interesting game.
Jennifer Geske: Hanabi is one of my favorite games and I am really rooting for it, but Augustus has a much wider appeal – easy to learn, scales well for a 6-player game, little down time, etc. so I think it’s a safer choice. What Should Win: Hanabi; What Wil Win: Augustus.
Kennerspiel des Jahres
We also did a similar poll for the Kennerspiel, and I must say that our results are not as convincing… Having spoken with a number of gamers (both OG writers and not), there does not seem to be much consensus amongst gamers as to which game should win the award. This may be due, in part, to the fact that no one feels quite comfortable yet as to what sort of criteria the jury are looking for in this award. After a few more years, we might be able to look back at the results to see what a “Kennerspiel” ought to be…
In a very tight contest, we predict that the winner of the Kennerspiel will be:
LEGENDS OF ANDOR
But just barely. Andor received 9 votes while Carrara and Bruges each received 8. That’s right 9-8-8.
Comments from the writers:
Dale: Well, my vote here goes to Carrara. For reasons that seem oxymoronic. I am casting my vote for Carrara as it is the simplest of the three games nominated. That’s right, for the “complex game of the year” award, I’m choosing the least complex (imho). Until I know more, I still think that this award is meant for the German mass market gamer, so it still cannot be overly complex.
Ben McJunkin – I have only played one of the three Kennerspiel nominees, Kramer and Kiesling’s The Palaces of Carrara, so my guess (and, indeed, that’s all it is) as to the winner of this category should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Moreover, my reaction in that one play of Palaces was that the game was a below-average, dreadfully generic Eurogame. I passed on the opportunity to buy the game back in November and had scarecly looked back. However, the game’s nomination for this award moved me to reconsider whether the game had some hidden merit that I had missed. The more time I spent thinking about the game, the more I began to appreciate some of the subtleties in the otherwise simple design. It left me yearning to dig in and really master the game, so I have recently acquired it at long last. There is no telling whether the KdJ jury was able to see at first glance those elements that I had overlooked. But I am happy to predict The Palaces of Carrara to win, if only because I now consider it to be a deserving choice.
Mark Jackson: While I haven’t played Bruges, I like both of the other games. My nod goes to Andor, both for the beauty of the game & the great post-publication support from the designer. Carrara feels similar to Euros we’ve seen before… but it was still enjoyable to play.
Tom R: I’m picking Legends of Andor to take the Kennerspiel prize. There is one factor and one factor alone that is driving this pick – the artwork. The board of Andor just looks too nice not to pick it and the jury loves pretty games. Bruges is fine, Palaces is fine, but Andor is the game you want to look at (or even frame). Forget about the game play of the three nominees. Also it would be a nice story if Michael Menzel won for designing after all those years of illustrating. Lastly, Andor is easily the most expandable game of the nominees and that’s a big help of course.
Anonymous: I haven’t played any of these games, but I did like the movie “In Bruges”
Doug G: I see Palaces as the best for gradual building of depth (given the ‘beginner’ game mandated before playing the more advanced one) and less problematic due to luck of the card combinations that can arise in Bruges. That said, I still haven’t played Legends of Andor
Jennifer G: What Should Win: The Palaces of Carrara; What Will Win: Legends of Andor.
So, there you have it. We think it will be Augustus and Legends of Andor? What do you think?