After last year, it has been refreshing to return to a semblance of normality with the announcement of the Deutscher Spiele Preis at Essen. Unlike the Spiel des Jahres Award which is chosen by a committee with a list of strict criteria, the Deutscher Spiele Preis is the result of an open vote by games clubs, gamers and people in the industry. Typically, slightly heavier games are rewarded, but it is a top ten list, so it caters for a range of tastes and complexities and the organisers are always keen to remind people that everyone who features is a winner.
In Dodo, the feather-brained bird has laid its egg on the highest mountain peak and let it fall out of the nest, towards the cliff edge. Players work as a team to try to ensure the rolling egg safely reaches the foot of the mountain by collecting the building material they need, hammers and nails, and attaching bridges to the sides of the mountain. So far it has only had a German language release and very little has been written about the game online in English. Therefore it may be that the game owes its success to the fact that few people were playing games face-to-face when the voting was carried out. It sounds like it might be fun though and certainly deserves a look.
The nominations for the Spiel des Jahres have been announced. There are 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 awards have been announced as:
Kinderspiel des Jahres Dragomino by Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort Fabelwelten (aka Storytailors) by Wilfried Fort and Marie Fort Mia London by Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat
Last year, the winner of the Spiel des Jahres was Pictures, a game where players model the picture on their card using the available components, e.g. shoelaces, coloured cubes, etc.; players get points for correctly guessing other players images and for other players guessing their image. This is considerably lighter than some of the earlier winners, notably, Tikal and El Grande, or even some of the best known winners like The Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride. As the main award winners have become lighter over the years, we have found the Kennerpiel des Jahres better fits to our tastes. The Kennerspiel nominees are not especially complex games, but are typically a step up from the light, family-friendly games of the main prize, the Spiel des Jahres.