The Opinionated Gamers (Try To) Predict the Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres – 2022 Edition Final Guesses

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 Saturday night (at 6:00 their time), 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 five 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 the SdJ nominations, we predicted Cascadia (#1 on our prediction list) and Scout (#6) but did not guess Top 10, probably because it does not yet have an English edition.  For the KedJ, we predicted Dune Imperium (#2) and Living Forest (#3), but did not predict Cryptid, likely because its English edition came out a few years ago

But we have a solid history of predicting the actual winner once the nominees are released. We’ve correctly called six of the seven past SdJ winners (we missed Pictures in 2020). We’ve correctly called the winner of the KedJ in each of the past five years.

SPIEL DES JAHRES 2022 Predictions

Our choice for the Spiel des Jahres is Cascadia!

Cascadia – 46 Votes

Top 10 – 33 Votes

Scout – 29 Votes

The voting among our group was moderately close this year; some years there was a blowout leader in our guess, but that wasn’t the case for the SdJ.

Our choice this year for the Kennerspiel (KedJ) is Living Forest!

Living Forest – 34 Votes

Dune Imperium – 25 Votes

Cryptid – 25 Votes

I think this might be the first time in voting where we’ve ever had a tie.  As you can see, we see the KedJ as a bit of a tossup.

THOUGHTS FROM THE OPINIONATED GAMERS

Chris Wray:  My voting matched the rest of the OG in both categories.

I think Cascadia is heading for a SdJ win: the jury seems to love it, and so do gamers.  It has been on the BGG hot list for much of the past year. But I must admit that I still don’t get why it has such strong appeal. It is charming enough, and I’d happily play it, but Cascadia is kind of forgettable. I’ve played it several times now, and it seems like the most basic tile placement game except maybe Carcassonne, which has a bit more appeal. Some people I’ve played with have even called Cascadia boring. I’d prefer to play Scout.  I have not yet had the chance to play Top 10, but it looks fun.  

Turning to the KdJ, I voted for Living Forest, which is one of my most played games of the past year.  It has a lot to love: everything from the production value to the multiple victory conditions to the clever use of deck-building is exceptional.  I like Dune Imperium even more (my goodness that is a great game!) but it is a bit complicated and weighty for the KedJ.  I like Cryptid well enough, but I’ve seen games of it go poorly because of bad play by new players, and my group tired of it after a dozen or so plays, so I don’t see it as having as great a chance as the other two.

Mark Jackson: I don’t disagree with Chris on pretty much any point he makes… except that I haven’t got to play Living Forest yet. 

My preferred picks would be Scout for SdJ and Dune: Imperium for KdJ. In the words of the Man in Black/Dread Pirate Roberts, I need to “get used to disappointment.”  

Larry:  I’ve only played Cascadia once, but it immediately struck me as a perfect SdJ candidate.  It might be a touch heavier than recent winners, but my goodness, this really is a very straightforward game–I could teach it to someone in 10 minutes, tops.  I’m betting the smooth gameplay, the appealing theme, and the gorgeous graphics will put it over the top.

When the German gaming magazine Spielbox reviewed it, they said it was a much anticipated title and most reviewers felt it lived up to the hype.  That probably doesn’t match how most Americans were introduced to it, so I thought that was telling.  By all accounts, it is the leading contender to win and I’ve seen nothing to make me change my mind.

I definitely think Scout is the better game, but trick-taking games are still only familiar to a subset of families, so I think that works against it.  I’ll be delighted if it manages to win, but I’m putting my money on Cascadia, which is a harmless enough title.

On the Kennerspiel side, Dune: Imperium is the only one of the three nominees I’ve played.  I like it, but I’ve also had games of it where the outcome was decided by swings of luck, which makes it less appealing to me.  Regardless of that, I feel it’s too heavy to win the award.  Living Forest has gotten very good reviews in Germany, so that’s my choice.  Unusually, I actually care more about the SdJ games this year than the KdJ ones!

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