Carnegie, Ark Nova, and Cascadia Win 2022 IGA Awards

The winners of the 2022 International Gamers Awards (IGAs) have just been announced.  Here are the results, together with the designers and publishers of the winning games:

Best Multiplayer Experience:  Carnegie (Xavier Georges), Quined Games
Best 2-Player Experience:  Ark Nova (Mathias Wigge), Feuerland Spiele
Best Solo Experience:  Cascadia (Randy Flynn), Flatout Games

To give you a better idea of the process involved in selecting these games, here is the way the voting went in all three categories.

The IGA uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) method to determine the winning games.  This is a method that has been in the news a bit lately, as a number of states in the U.S. are utilizing it to conduct its elections.  The STV is simple enough:  each voter lists their preferences for the nominated games in each category.  Their vote initially goes to their top rated game.  The game with the least support is then eliminated and the people who voted for that game have their votes switched to their second rated game.  This continues until one game has the majority of the votes cast.

So let’s look at the breakdown for each category.

Best Multiplayer Experience

17 people participated in the Multiplayer category this year, so 9 votes were needed in order to win.  The initial votes were distributed as follows:

Carnegie – 7
Ark Nova – 4
Golem – 3
Dice Realms – 2
Boonlake – 1

Boonlake was the first game to be eliminated and its vote was transferred to Carnegie, bringing it one vote short of winning.  Dice Realms went next, and both of its votes went to Ark Nova.  So at that point, the standings were:

Carnegie – 8
Ark Nova – 6
Golem – 3

If all three of Golems votes go to Ark Nova, it would have scored a come from behind victory.  Instead, when Golem was eliminated, all three of its votes went to Carnegie.  So the final tally was

Carnegie – 11
Ark Nova – 6

resulting in an impressive victory for the Xavier Georges game.

Best 2-Player Experience

15 people participated in the 2-player category this year, so 8 votes were needed in order to win.  The initial votes were distributed as follows:

Ark Nova – 6
It’s a Wonderful Kingdom – 3
MicroMacro: Crime City – Full House – 3
Golem – 2
Boonlake – 1

Once again, Boonlake was the first game to be eliminated.  It’s vote went to It’s a Wonderful Kingdom.  That meant that Golem now had the smallest number of votes, and both of its votes transferred to Ark Nova.  As a result, the standings were:

Ark Nova – 8
It’s a Wonderful Kingdom – 4
MicroMacro: Crime City – Full House – 3

Since Ark Nova had the majority of the votes at this stage, it wins the award.  Just for informational purposes, in a head-to-head battle between the top two games, Ark Nova would have beaten Wonderful Kingdom by a 9 vote to 6 vote margin.  So again, a fairly strong result for the winning game.

Best Solo Experience

14 people participated in the solo category this year, so 8 votes were needed in order to win.  The initial votes were distributed as follows:

Cascadia – 4
Final Girl – 3
Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms – 2
Eila & Something Shiny – 2
MicroMacro: Crime City – Full House – 1
Ark Nova – 1
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – 1

With three of the games having the least first-place votes, a tiebreaker was needed to determine which would be the first to leave.  In this case, the game with the fewest second-place votes is eliminated (and if that is still tied, the tied game with the fewest third-place votes goes, and so on).  Batman lost this tiebreaker and its vote went to Cascadia.  MicroMacro then lost the tiebreaker to Ark Nova, so it went next and its vote also transferred to Cascadia.  That meant the standings at this stage were as follows:

Cascadia – 6
Final Girl – 3
Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms – 2
Eila & Something Shiny – 2
Ark Nova – 1

Ark Nova got chopped and its vote went to Final Girl, tightening the race up.  Eila lost the tiebreaker to Soldiers, so it went next.  One of its votes went to Final Girl.  The other voter didn’t have the chance to play any of the three remaining games, so their vote was eliminated from the election.  This meant there were now 13 votes in the election and 7 were required in order to win.  The standings at this point were as follows:

Cascadia – 6
Final Girl – 5
Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms – 2

Soldiers finally gave up the ghost and its votes were split between the two other games.  That meant the final result was:

Cascadia – 7
Final Girl – 6

It was a very tight race, but Cascadia prevailed by the slimmest of margins.

Discussion

It’s certainly easy to understand someone looking at these results and wondering, “Why did Ark Nova, which is clearly the hottest game of the year, win the 2-player game award, but miss out on the multiplayer award?  I thought it was so great!”  Indeed, there was probably some concern from people who follow gaming awards that Ark Nova might sweep all three awards (since it was nominated in all three categories), which is the kind of thing that the Golden Geeks have been criticized for in recent years.

I can only speak for myself.  (I’m a member of the IGA jury, as are many other OG regulars, including Dale, Lorna, Steph, Liga, Simmy, Alan How, Simon Weinberg, Mark Jackson, and Simon Neale.)  I voted for Carnegie over Ark Nova for the multiplayer award because a) It’s a good game; and b) because multiplayer Ark Nova takes quite a long time to play.  (I know there are many who can rip off a 3-player game in 1.5 hours or so, but I’m not one of them, nor have I ever come close.)  I like Ark Nova with 3 or 4, but I don’t see where the extra players add much to the game other than a longer duration.  So I much prefer it with 2 players, rather than with 3 or 4, and my voting supported that feeling.  It’s quite possible that many of the other voters felt the same way, which might be why Ark Nova won the best 2-player award fairly handily, but Carnegie pretty well stomped it when it came to the multiplayer award.  (By the way, this is by no means a radical view.  If you look at the player preference poll for Ark Nova on the Geek, you’ll see that the voters strongly prefer the game with 2 than for any other number of players.)

At any rate, congratulations to the designers and publishers of all three winning games!

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3 Responses to Carnegie, Ark Nova, and Cascadia Win 2022 IGA Awards

  1. Daniel Brown says:

    I like how you do your awards and the transparency on how it is calculated is a bonus.

  2. Just a quick link to the IGA page for those interested in the history of the award and previous winners..

    https://www.internationalgamersawards.net/

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