Tag Archives: Tigris & Euphrates

Deutscher Spiele Preis – 2022

The Deutscher Spiele Preis awards recognise the “Best Children’s Game” and a top ten list of the “Best Family and Adult Games”, the results of an open vote by games clubs, gamers and people in the industry.  They are awarded annually at the Internationale Spieltage in Essen and the winners are announced in advance.  As annual awards, the games named in the Deutscher Spiele Pris lists often intersect with the winners and nominees of Spiel des Jahres Award, but in many other ways, the awards differ.

Deutscher Spiele Pries 2022
– Image from
spiel-messe.com

The Spiel des Jahres winners are chosen by a committee with a list of strict criteria whereas the Deutscher Spiele Preis is more a list of the most popular games of the preceding year.  As such, games that are not eligible for the any of the Spiel des Jahres Awards often feature in the top ten list of “Best Family and Adult Games”.  For example, games that were considered at the time to be too complex or aggressive for the Spiel des Jahres awards have ranked number one in the Deutscher Spiele Preis list.  These include Tigris & Euphrates (1998), Puerto Rico (2002), Louis XIV (2005), Caylus (2006), The Pillars of the Earth (2007), Agricola (2008), Terra Mystica (2013), Russian Railroads (2014), Voyages of Marco Polo (2015), Mombasa (2016) and Terraforming Mars (2017).

Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium
– Image by boardGOATS

Of all these great games, only Terraforming Mars even received a nomination for the Kennerpiel des Jahres award (though Agricola did receive a special “Complex Game Award”).  In contrast, over the last few years, there has been much more overlap with games like Azul (2018), Wingspan (2019) and The Crew (2020) all ranking highest in the Deutscher Spiele Preis list and winning either the Spiel or Kennerspiel des Jahres award.  Further, all the other winners of both awards including MicroMacro, Cartographers, Paleo, Lost Ruins of Arnak have featured high on the Deutscher Spiele Preis list and/or received Spiel/Kennerspiel des Jahres nominations.

Ark Nova
– Image by boardGOATS

This year, while there is still a lot of overlap between the lists, the top ranked game on the Deutscher Spiele Preis list is a bit of a throwback, being too complex even for the Connoisseur or Kennerspiel des Jahres award.  The Deutscher Spiele Preis winner, Ark Nova has been extremely popular amongst gamers creating a lot of “buzz”, so it is no surprise that it did well.  The strategy revolves round building card combinations and the theme, zoo building is very appealing—everyone loves animals.

The full Deutscher Spiele Preis list is:

  1. Ark Nova
  2. Cascadia (Spiel des Jahres Award Winner)
  3. Dune: Imperium (Kennerspiel des Jahres Award Nomination)
  4. Living Forest (Kennerspiel des Jahres Award Winner)
  5. The Red Cathedral
  6. Witchstone
  7. Beyond the Sun
  8. SCOUT (Spiel des Jahres Award Nomination)
  9. Golem
  10. Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition
Ark Nova
– Image by boardGOATS

Boardgames in the News: The Best Games Featuring Maps

The “Brilliant Maps” Blog recently listed what it considered “The 28 Best Map Based Strategy Board Games You’ve Probably Never Played“.  Leaving aside the fact that most dedicated gamers will have played many of them, how valid is this list?  On closer inspection it turns out that the list is really just the top twenty-eight games listed on BoardGameGeek.com (BGG) that happen to have a map for the board.  As such, it makes no subjective judgement on the quality of the map and is simply a list of the best games according to BoardGameGeek that feature a map.

Twilight Struggle
– Image used with permission of BGG contributor killy9999

For example, the game with the highest rating on BoardGameGeek.com is Twilight Struggle which is a Euro/war game hybrid and is therefore played on a map.  The map is not particularly picturesque, however, though for those old enough to remember, its spartan nature is strongly evocative of the Cold War setting.  Is it a great map though?  It certainly captures the theme of the game and perhaps, as such, it is indeed a great map.

Terra Mystica
– Image by BGG contributor Verkisto

Unsurprisingly, many of the games mentioned are war games.  There are a fair number of Euro games too though:  high on the list are Terra Mystica at number two, Brass at four and Power Grid at six.  Number ten on the list is Concordia and eleven is El Grande – a game that is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.  Further down are Tigris and Euphrates, Steam, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride: Europe, Carcassonne and finally, just sneaking onto the list, The Settlers of Catan (or Catan as we are now supposed to call it).  All these games indeed include maps of some description, but overwhelmingly, they are also all well-established “classic” games.  Are they the best maps though?

Amerigo
– Image used with permission of BGG contributor Oceluna

There are some stunningly beautiful games that haven’t made the list, for example, Amerigo is played on a beautiful seascape and Lancaster includes a lovely map of the England.  How do we define “map-based game” however?  Clearly, a map is is a two-dimensional play space so that excludes games where the play-area is predominantly linear i.e. “a track”.  But what about games where the map is produced as the game is played?  If Carcassonne is considered a map game, other games where the board is built during the play should also be included, like Saboteur and Takenoko.  What about one of our favourite games at boardGOATS, Keyflower?  In this game, players buy tiles and then use them to build their own personal little village map.  Should this be included too?

Keyflower
– Image by boardGOATS

Ultimately, none of this really matters of course:  a game is a game and it all comes down to how much people enjoy playing it.  One thing is clear though, while a game can be good in spite of the rendering, playing with beautiful components can only enhance the boardgame experience.

Carcassonne
– Image used with permission of BGG contributor Topdecker