Well, the award season is coming up on us – the official calendar is:
Monday 5/19/14 – the nominees are announced
Monday 6/23/14 – announcement of the Kinderspiel des Jahres (in Hamburg)
Monday 7/14/14 – announcement of the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres (in Berlin)
So, before the nominees are even announced, I’ll take my first stab at predicting the award winners (and other nominees)… In recent years, this first attempt has been pretty far off-base of what the actual lists have been – but I still enjoy the attempt to read the minds of the jury members.
Last year, the jury named three games to the short list for each award and then a longer list of “recommended” games. Following their lead, I will limit my list here to 3 games for each award – emulating the short list that the jury named in 2013.
(Disclaimer – I have worked on a number of games in this cycle – both as a designer and a developer – and I have not considered nor mentioned those games for these predictions)
Here are my current thoughts for the awards!
Kinderspiel des Jahres… admittedly, I don’t play many kids games, so I really don’t have a great feel for this. I can’t even start to reliably predict who would win here. That being said, there are a few titles that caught my eye at Essen/Nuremburg…
- Winner: Oink! (Abacus)
- Short List: Der Millionen Coup (Ravensburger), Zicke Zacke Ei Ei Ei (Zoch)
Spiel des Jahres – OK – this one was hard for me. I think that I still might be overestimating the complexity that the jury is looking for… I am still hoping that they move towards slightly more complex games, and my list reflects that hope. If they stay with super simple, then I’d throw my hat in with Abluxxen or Gardens.
- Winner: Sanssouci (Ravensburger)
- Short List: Splendor (Space Cowboys), Coal Baron (Pegasus)
- Just off the Short list: Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister (Mattel), Abluxxen (Ravensburger), Gardens (Kosmos)
Kennerspiel des Jahres – I also wish that these games would be more complex. Coal Baron, which I picked above for SdJ, would possibly be a better fit here given the lists of the past year or two…
- Winner: Rococo (Pegasus)
- Short List: Russian Railroads (Hans im Gluck), Amerigo (Queen)
- Just off the Short List: Bruxelles 1893 (Pearl Games), Kashgar (Kosmos), Caverna (Lookout)
I have invited the other OG writers to also post their lists in the days to come between now and the 19th… Once the lists have been revealed, I’m sure that we will organize some sort of straw poll for us to voice our opinions!
I would be very happy to see Sanssouci win, as it is an excellent game that appeals to both families and gamers. It made my list of Top 5 games from 2013 and I feel is the type of game the SdJ jury tends to recognize. I also would add Cuatro to the list of contenders, as it is a clever, fun and easily-accessible game.
Cuatro looks like something the family would enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
SdJ Nominee Predictions: Gardens, Abluxxen and/or Karten Kniffel, Splendor
KdJ Nominee Predictions: Lewis & Clark, Russian Railroads, Caverna, Istanbul
I’m hoping for Spyrium for the KDJ. I’m on the fence for whether Russian Railroads and Concordia will be considered too heavy for the KDJ. If not, I think both have a great chance.
For the SDJ, I’d love to see either Gravwell or Karensansui nominated but I don’t think either have a wide enough distribution to make it happen. I wonder if Clubs has a chance. Has a trick taking/climbing game ever been nominated?
Quite a few trick takers have been nominated for the SdJ, Jimmy: Mu, Was Sticht, Canyon, David & Goliath, Port Royal; there may be others. I can also think of two rolling trick games (which are very similar to climbing games) which got nominations: Frank’s Zoo and The Bucket King. It’s been over a decade since one got mentioned, though.
I’d be surprised if Clubs had enough of a presence in Germany to get nominated.