– Image used with permission of BGG contributor punkin312
In Terraforming Mars, players take the role of giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, to initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment on Mars is habitable. Players then buy project cards into their hand and later, when they have the resources needed, they can play the cards and ultimately place tiles on Mars itself. There are three different types of cards: Red cards provide actions that have an instant effect and are then discarded until the end of the game; Green cards have a one-off effect but their “tags” are retained, and Blue cards have an ongoing effect and/or an action that can be activated once per round. It is building these card combinations that is at the core of what we have found to be an interesting game.
The 2017 winner of the coveted German Game of the Year or Spiel des Jahres award is Kingdomino. Kingdomino is a simple little tile laying game with elements borrowed from other games, in particular, Carcassonne and Dominoes. These are combined to make a well presented family game where players taking it in turns to add to their kingdom by placing dominoes that depict different terrains types. We have played Kingdomino several times on a Tuesday evening and everyone who has played it has enjoyed it. Discussing it among the group, everyone has felt that it is a fun, light filler that is very accessible and is a worthy winner. The Kennerspiel des Jahres was awarded at the same time. This honours more challenging games and was first introduced in 2011 to make up for the fact that the main, Spiel des Jahres award had moved away from the slightly more involved fare (like El Grande and TIkal) towards lighter, more family friendly games (like Dixit and Qwirkle).
– Image by boardGOATS
Unusually, this year the Kennerspiel des Jahres award went to a series of games: EXIT: Das Spiel. These are cooperative games that reproduce the experience of an escape room by providing a series of puzzles inside a game box. There are currently five of these games, though the award is for the first three, The Abandoned Cabin, The Pharaoh’s Tomb, and The Secret Lab. Unfortunately, as a group we rarely play cooperative games and are not huge fans of the modern trend for social deduction type games, which means we are unlikely to play this soon on a Tuesday evening. The Kinderspiel des Jahres award was announced last month and went to Ice Cool which is a beautiful dexterity race game with cool little “weeble” penguins and wooden fish pegs.
Today, the Spiel des Jahres Award nominations were announced. There are three awards, a children’s game award (Kinderspiel des Jahres) and the two that interest us more, the “Advanced” or “Expert” Kennerspiel des Jahres and the main award, the Spiel des Jahres (which is often interpreted as the “Family Game” award). This year there are three nominees in each category:
We’ve discussed the possible nominations a couple of times within the group, but nobody really had much idea this year. Part of this is because we’ve not really engaged with many of these, though Kingdomino did come up and we are planning to play Terraforming Mars on 30th May, so we will be able to make our minds up about that one then. Fabled Fruit, Captain Sonar, Great Western Trail and The Grizzled also came up in our discussions and these were recommended by the Jury. The winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced in Hamburg on 19th June, with the Spiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres a month later in Berlin on 17th July.