The Opinionated Gamers (Try To) Predict the Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres

The Opinionated Gamers (Try To) Predict the Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres

For the past few years, our group of gamers has taken their best guess at trying to read the minds of the Spiel des Jahres jury members.  We’ve had varying levels of success… last year, we correctly predicted that Codenames as the winner of the SdJ, but missed the boat on Isle of Skye (we voted for Pandemic Legacy instead).

The format for our voting hasn’t changed this year…  Once the short lists were announced, all of the writers were allowed to vote, assigning 3 points to the game the felt would win the prize, and then 2 points and 1 point for the next most likely.  The votes were tabulated, and our pick for the Spiel des Jahres is…


Our review for the game can be read here:

The tabulated votes:

  • 41 Kingdomino
  • 32 Wettlauf nach El Dorado
  • 23 Magic Maze

The other reviews

As far as the Kennerspiel des Jahres goes, our nod goes to the Exit game series.

Our review for those:

The voting for this award was much closer:

  • 28 EXIT series
  • 22 Rauber der Nordsee
  • 21 Terraforming Mars

(we haven’t yet reviewed Rauber der Nordsee)

Comments from the Opinionated Gamers

Dale Y:  Overall, I feel pretty confident in the two picks that we have here.  Of course, as usually is the case, there is one game in each group which I haven’t played, so that does somewhat limit just how confident I can be.   My vote for SdJ was for Kingdomino, in part because I really really like the game, and I haven’t grown tired of it after 20+ plays.  For me, this continued enjoyment of the game is a big plus (and something that I think the jury looks for), and the fact that I can teach the game to someone in about 3 minutes is another big plus.   As far as the Kennerspiel goes, I voted for the EXIT series as I feel that it is one of the best entries in a new genre, one that has exploded on the scene in the past year and a half… and I think this game gets rewarded in part as a way to bring widespread attention to this new class of games.  Also… I haven’t played Rauber der Nordsee and I really didn’t like TM, so I didn’t have a better option.


And, while we’re talking about it, if I were King, I’d still want the Colonists to win the Kennerspiel. For me, this was the next great epic game – and one that caught my eye even more so than Arles and Odin from the past few years.  Lucky for me, I’m a jury member for a different gaming award… I’m pretty happy with the Spiel des Jahres choices, and honestly would feel good with any of them winning the award.


Brian L: I didn’t get a chance to play Kingdomino until after the nominees were announced. As soon as the rules were explained I suspected it’d be my pick to win, and the game play reinforced that. I think it’s a perfect weight and duration for the big award. It is also enjoyable with many types of gamers. I think we have a solid pick here.


I’m less confident about the Kennerspiel. I think the Exit games got nomination because they deserve recognition, but are too limited (replay) to win. I’d have said Terraforming Mars was too complex and long; although I like it alot and have played in 90 minutes, so maybe? I know next to nothing about Rauber der Nordsee. Maybe it will be the one to win. I think this is a toss up and the award will do more to tell us what qualities the jury thinks is a good Kennerspiel game than anything.


Chris Wray:  I went with Kingdomino for the SdJ.  I really enjoyed both El Dorado and Magic Maze, but El Dorado is a bit more complex than recent SdJ winners, and in my experience Magic Maze stresses out a large portion of non-gamers that try the game.  


For the KdJ, I have no idea, not only this year, but every year.  To be blunt, I still don’t fully understand the point of the award.  I went with Terraforming Mars — unlike others, I don’t think it is all that complex of a game — but I could see Raiders of the North Sea winning.  The Exit Games to me aren’t really games — they’re more of a puzzle — and I don’t know that the jury (which has in past statements said they put a high premium on replayability) is going to go for games that genuinely are one-time-use.  I don’t see how Pandemic Legacy or T.I.M.E Stories didn’t win but the EXIT series somehow can.  


Joe Huber: I see the two awards as related, which leads to my picks.  For Kennerspiel, EXIT stands out to me as the likely choice.  Terraforming Mars, the only one of the three I’ve played, would be an unusual KedJ choice.  And while Rauber der Nordsee certainly has a much better chance that I’ve given it credit for – I just don’t see it.


But having chosen EXIT, would the jury also select another cooperative game in Magic Maze?  I don’t see it – though it’s certainly good enough to win the award.  And while Wettlauf nach El Dorado is proving to be my favorite of the group, I just don’t see it winning – it’s a little involved as compared to other recent winners.  And so, I come back to Kingdomino as the winner.  It’s a fine fit for the award, and thus my best guess.


Matt C.: I’m typically far behind the curve in playing new games and this year is no exception.  I favor the KdJ going with the EXIT series due to what I consider its popularity and its likelihood to represent a wider type of game.  I also don’t really care for Terraforming Mars.   As for SdJ, I don’t know enough about all three to make a much informed vote.  I voted Magic Maze as it was the one of which I knew the most (and I like co-ops.)


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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2 Responses to The Opinionated Gamers (Try To) Predict the Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres

  1. Dale Yu says:

    What do you think?

  2. Pingback: Congratulations to the 2017 Spiel des Jahres Winner (Kingdomino) and Kennerspiel des Jahres winner (EXIT) | The Opinionated Gamers

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