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. The nominations for the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres were announced back in May, and we made our predictions shortly beforehand. The winners will be announced on Monday, and you can usually watch the ceremony over on BGG or other places.
As has become our habit, we’ve done our predictions in two parts. This is the second of those parts, where once the lists are out, we do a second round of voting, limited only to the actual nominees. (In the first round, we tried to guess the nominees.)
This year, we used a similar system to what we’ve used the past four years. Each OG writer was invited to rank all three games in each category, with their top pick (what they see as most likely) getting 3 points, second pick getting 2, and final pick getting 1. Vote totals are shown below.
If you’d like to see the official information on and criteria for the award, please check out the Jury’s website.
Our Track Record
In making predictions of the nominees this year, we had a mixed bag. For SdJ, we had MicroMacro and Robin Hood on our lists, but not Zombie Teenz Evolution. For KedJ, we had Paleo and Arnak, but not Fantasy Realms.
Once the nominations were announced, we’ve correctly called five of the six past SdJ winners. Our only miss was Pictures, which won last year.
Once the nominations were announced, we’ve correctly called the winner of the KedJ in each of the past four years.
SPIEL DES JAHRES 2021 Predictions
Our choice for the Spiel des Jahres is MicroMacro: Crime City!
MicroMacro: Crime City – 19 Votes
The Adventures of Robin Hood – 16 Votes
Zombie Teenz Evolution – 10 Votes
The voting among our group was unusually close this year, so Monday morning should be anybody’s game (pun intended).
Our choice this year for the Kennerspiel (KedJ) is Paleo!
Paleo – 25 Votes
Lost Ruins of Arnak – 14 Votes
Fantasy Realms – 12 Votes
THOUGHTS FROM THE OPINIONATED GAMERS
Chris Wray: I’ve previously written about my annoyance with the jury veering ultra-light, and now that I’ve played more of the nominees, I’m still of that view.
I have not yet played The Adventures of Robin Hood. Based on everything I’ve seen, though, that strikes me as the most likely winner. I then went with Zombie Teenz Evolution, and finally MicroMacro.
For KdJ, I hope Paleo gets it, and that’s who I voted for. I enjoy it more than the other games (and reviewed it in Gamers Alliance this quarter). After that, I went for Arnak and then Fantasy Realms.
Larry: As usual, my picks aren’t based on my personal experience with the nominees (my only exposure to any of them is one partial, online game of Arnak), but other factors. This year, it’s primarily the ratings in the gaming magazine Spielbox (a number of the jury members write for it and rated the nominees there). The ratings for MicroMacro and Paleo were slightly better than for Robin Hood and Arnak, so that’s how I voted. I also think that Arnak is a bit involved for its weight, so that the teach might be a bit long for a Kennerspiel level game, pushing me a little further towards a Paleo win.
I have no idea what the betting odds are on these games, but I suspect it’s closer than our results would make it seem. We actually like MicroMacro more than the point count makes it appear–6 of us picked it to win, compared with only 2 for Robin Hood. Originally, I thought MM would win fairly easily, but now I feel that an upset win by Robin Hood isn’t out of the question. Similarly, our group really likes Paleo (7 first place picks, compared to only 1 apiece for Arnak and Fantasy Realms) and it wouldn’t shock me if Arnak was considered the slight favorite, but that most people have this as pretty much a toss-up. It’ll be interesting to see if the results vindicate the judgment of the OG electorate.
Mark Jackson: I haven’t played any of the SdJ nominees, so I avoided voicing an opinion on that award. I’d be happy if Lost Ruins of Arnak (my personal favorite) or Paleo won the KdJ… and I’m inclined to think Arnak might win due to the jury having to pick a cooperative game for Spiel des Jahres (since all of them are cooperative games).