The 2019 winner of the coveted German Game of the Year or Spiel des Jahres award is Just One. This is a cooperative party game where one player guesses a word based on clues given by the rest of the group. The really clever part is that the clues can’t be too obvious in a way faintly reminiscent of Dixit, the 2010 winner. However, in Just One, this effect is achieved by the removal of any clues that are given more than once. Just One was designed by the same people as The 7th Continent, though the two games couldn’t be much more different.
– Adapted from image by BGG contributor kalchio
The Kennerspiel des Jahres was awarded at the same time. This honours more challenging games and this year was awarded to Wingspan (known as Flügelschlag in Germany). This is a very pretty engine-builder card game where players are bird enthusiasts trying to attract the best birds to their network of wildlife preserves. The Kinderspiel des Jahres award was announced last month and went to Tal der Wikinger (aka Valley of the Vikings) which is dexterity game where players are rolling balls to knock down barrels.
Every year, in May, the nominees are announced for the most prestigious award in board gaming, the Spiel des Jahres. There are typically three categories, the Kinderspiel (children’s game) , the Kennerspiel (“expert’s” game) and the most desirable of all, the family award, the Spiel des Jahres. The nominees for this year’s award have been announced as:
Last year the group picked out the eventual winner, Azul, after playing it at Essen, but this year nobody really had much idea of what would be nominated. While we enjoyed the sequel to Azul, Stained Glass of Sintra, we felt it was not in the same league as its predecessor. This year the games generally seem to be light, almost party games. Our personal favourite for the “Red Poppel” was probably Echidna Shuffle, but we knew that was unlikely to make the cut for other reasons. Those who had played it felt that Teotihuacan: City of Gods was in with a shout for the Kennerspiel award, but in truth, that it was probably a little too complex. Wingspan was the only game from this year’s nominees that the group had really picked up on, and is planned as a “Feature Game” for later in the year.
Usually the Kennerspiel Prize winners are a good fit to our group, but this year they are also largely unknown to us, so there is clearly a lot to discover before the winners are announced in Berlin on 22nd July (Kinderspiel des Jahres winners will be announced a month earlier in Hamburg on 24th June).