Congratulations to Antoine Bauza and Michael Menzel for winning the two awards announced today by the SdJ jury. Hanabi was a bit of a surprise, but not a huge shock. It was clearly the best of the three nominated games and I guess that won out over perceived issues with its difficulty, box size, and expansion ability.
I think we need to step back and give the jury some credit for its picks over the past two years. Obviously, individual tastes will vary, but you could easily say that Hanabi and Kingdom Builder were the best *games* of the three respective nominees and each won despite doubts about their perceived difficulty. You could probably make a similar statement about Village’s selection as last year’s Kennerspiel. I applaud the jury for their faith in the willingness of the gaming public to support more involved games. While I continue to be suspicious at any attempt to find patterns in the jury’s selections over the years (more and more, I think it just comes down to the games this small group of individuals happens to like), there are some indications that slightly more complex games are becoming acceptable. Of course, this comes after successive wins by Dixit and Qwirkle convinced SdJ watchers that the trend was hurtling towards uber-light games, so there’s still a big danger in trying to read the tea leaves. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see that a game can have more than half a dozen rules, or require a modicum of thought, and still take gaming’s biggest prize.
What did everyone else think? Surprised/happy/infuriated by today’s announcements?