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?
Larry, I am pleasantly surprised that Hanabi won.
I was definitely in the camp that believed that a big box “had” to win the game, and I’m glad to see that this isn’t the case!
If nothing else, it opens the award up to many more games in the future!
Congrats to both winners!
Two cooperative games. Interesting trend. Matt Leacock may be ruing his bad timing.
I was surprised, but not upset. One of these years I would like to be thrilled with the winner.
DLE – well, let’s think about this… is it bad timing on Matt’s part? Maybe not… I think that without his work, games like Hanabi and Andor don’t get considered. Someone has to be the groundbreaking one! Heck, as far as co-op’s go, I’d take Bauza’s Ghost Stories over Leacock’s Pandemic. That would be a case of bad timing IMHO. If Ghost Stories came out next year, maybe Antoine could do the double a la Donald X…
Another trend that is continuing is for non-German designers winning the main award. Qwirkle, Dominion, Kingdom Builder, Dixit and now Hanabi were all designed by French or Americans.
I see that as continued proof that the jury is really looking at the games, not the publishers or the designers, as so many have speculated.