The mysterious judges in Germany have finished their deliberations and have decided on the winners of the Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres for 2022! We covered the nominations here if you want to remind yourself of the three nominated in each category. The Kinderspiel (or Children’s Game of the Year) was announced last month, and just this week we heard who won the Game of the Year and Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year. Let’s have a little look at the games who won!
Spiel Des Jahres Winner – Cascadia
I know I’m reporting the news here and I’m supposed to be impartial but YAY! I love Cascadia and I’m so glad it has gotten the recognition this year. Scout and Top Ten were also nominated, with six other games recommended. (Check out the earlier mentioned nomination post for more details!) Designed by Randy Flynn and published by Flatout Games, players draft a paired tile and animal token and then placing them into their play area. Ideally, the animals go into their preferred habitat in certain configurations depending on the cards chosen at set up.
You also will get bonus points for the size of each of your largest habitat types, making a very intricate duel layered puzzle but it is incredibly simple to play and teach. You can even mitigate the luck of the draw, either by dealing with over-population (3 or 4 of the same animal) or by using a Nature token to draft any combination of tile and critter.
This is exactly the right level of game for a family weight game in my opinion, with a whole bunch of options and combinations included in the game. I’m just hoping that an expansion is in the works with more combinations, just to add even more to that replayability. Well done Randy!
Kinderspiel Des Jahres Winner – Magic Mountain
Last month, Magic Mountain was announced as the winner of Children’s Game of the Year, winning out over Quacks and Co: Quedlinburg Dash and Auch Schon Clever. In Magic Mountain, by Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber and published by Amigo, all the players are attempting to get their sorcerers apprentices down the mountain before the witches catch them, all while trying to make use of the rolling marbles coming down towards them. The game combines spacial awareness, dexterity and quick thinking as you can trigger movement multiple times when a marble is rolling.
This game looks like a fantastic gateway into the world of gaming for younger minds, and gives a unique combination of mechanics that will be sure to give a whole bunch of laughs.
Kennerspiel Des Jahres Winner – Living Forest
Living Forest seemingly came out of nowhere at the end of last year, and has shot to popularity, beating out Dune: Imperium and Cryptid, as well as recommended Ark Nova, Witchstone and Khora: Rise of an Empire. We reviewed it back in March, and we loved the high quality production and the multiple paths to victory included in the game. In Living Forest, players are spirits who are trying to save the forest and sacred tree from fires conjured by the wicked Onibi. Of course, each player is wanting to be the first to achieve this, by either growing 12 protective trees, putting out 12 fires or collecting certain sacred flowers to appease the guardian, Sanki.
There is a lot of different layers built into Living Forest, published by Ludonaute and designed by Aske Christiansen. Three phases and up to two actions on a turn, combining push your luck, action selection, and pool building with the consequences of not putting out the fires. You must pay attention to everything that’s going on to make sure you don’t lose out though, which is probably why this game was victorious as the Kennerspiel Des Jahres this year!
Anyway, that’s it for this years winners! Congratulations to all the games nominated and to our winners!
Looking to know more? Did you know we have a four-part blog series on EVERYTHING Spiel Des Jahres?