Time to dust off your best t-shirt and smart jeans because the 2021 Spiel des Jahres nominees have just been announced.
Unarguably THE award to strive for in the board gaming industry since its inception in Germany back in 1979. Gaining a coveted laurel adorned meeple trophy is the last word in innovation, accessibility and quality. Previous winners are a testament to the gold standard; Azul, Kingdomino, Dixit, 7 Wonders, Wingspan, Exit Series…..the list goes on.
And 2021 has some strong contenders, with a focus on narrative building and co-operative game play.
Spiel Des Jahres
In the core Game of the Year category (to be announced on 19 July 2021), there are:
- The Adventures of Robin Hood, Legend of Andor (a co-operative game played out on an evolving game board and featuring a hardcover book - designed by Michael Menzel and published by Kosmos Games)
- MicroMacro: Crime City (a Where’s Wally style co-operative/solo art puzzle full of spotting and searching for clues needed to crack criminal cases - designed by Johannes Sich and published by Pegasus Spiele); and
- Zombie Teenz Evolution (a sequel to Zombie Kids Evolution where players come together again to defend their town from a wave of zombie invaders - designed by Annick Lobet and published by Scorpion Masqué)
Special recommendations have also gone to: Biss 20, Chakra, Point Salad, Switch & Signal, and The Key; Sabotage in Lucky Lama Land
In the “Kinderspiel” Children’s Game of the Year category (to be announced on 14 June 2021), we have:
- Dragomino (a dragon themed child orientated version of Kingdomino - designed by Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort, and Wilfred Fort and published by Pegasus Spiele/Coiledpring Games)
- Mia London and the case of the 625 Scoundrels (a game where players help detective Mia London solve the mystery of whodunnit - designed by Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat and published by Scorpion Masqué); and
- Fabelwelten (Storytailors) (a narrative based game where the characters and stories are always changing - designed by Marie Fort, and Wilfred Fort and published by Lifestyle Boardgames
Special recommendations have also gone to: Dream Catcher, Hipp Hopp Hippo, Inspector Nose, Kӓpt’n Kuller, Memo Friends, Swip Sheep, Traumfӓnger, and Tapikékoi?
Finally, in the “Kennerspiel” Connoisseur Game of the Year category the nominees are:
- Fantasy Realms (a fantasy based set collection card game where players are vying to build the best realm in the world - designed by Bruce Glassco and published by Wizkidz)
- Lost Ruins of Arnak (an adventure strategy game where players are exploring an uninhabited island to discover its secrets- designed by Elwen, Min and published by Czech Games Edition); and
- Paleo (a co-operative adventure set in the stone age where players are working together to complete missions and ensure the survival of the human race against the elements - designed by Peter Rustemeyer and published by Hans Im Gluck)
Special recommendations have also gone to: Aeon’s End, Riftforce, Gloomhaven; Jaws of the Lion, and Hydropower
So there we have it – a mixed bag of themes but a definite slant towards co-operative game play. Plus there appears to be a few repeat nominations as well as a strong French presence within the contenders.
Who will win? Who knows! Well, the judges know…..but they aren’t letting on just yet. So good luck to all the nominees, and congratulations to all the Spiel Recommended titles!