We are very excited to discuss what has been nominated and recommended. For those who haven’t heard of the Spiel des Jahres awards, they are Germany’s “Game of the Year,” a title which holds a huge amount of weight and is often used to promote games to the German market. You can check out more about Spiel des Jahres from its origin to previous nominees here.
Generally, these focus on the family-style Euro games (more on the differences between a Euro and an Amerithrash game here!) There are two other awards given out – the Kinderspiel des Jahres and the Kennerspiel des Jahres. Running since 1978, dozens of games have been awarded this prestigious title and we eagerly await the actual awards in June this year. For now though, let’s see who’s been nominated and recommended for the various categories and see who might join the ranks of Wingspan and Carcassonne! To see who has been previously nominated you can have a look here on our Spiel Des Jahres series.
Kennerspiel Des Jahres
The Kennerspeil is the Connoisseurs’ award, specifically aiming at slightly heavier games which are still accessible but well-loved by those deeper in the hobby. Three recommendations came from the committee for the Kennerspiel this year and they were:
Ark Nova – a zoo building game where you are trying to use your cards to gain specialists, animals, enclosures and conservations projects to make your zoo the best it can be. Each card has a special ability so combining these is key to making your zoo world renowned.
Khora: Rise of an Empire – In the Ancient Greek world, players are attempting to build their city-state, using dice and two of seven actions to boost the various tracks on your player board.
Witchstone – In a game of many options and strategies, players will be looking to gather tiles and symbols together in their cauldron to make their actions more powerful. Build your combos to unleash incredible turns!
The nominees for the award were:
Cryptid – published by Osprey Games and designed by Hal Duncan and Ruth Veevers, 3-5 players attempt to deduct information about their opponents clues and solve the mystery of where the mystery monster is hiding.
Dune: Imperium – this deck builder with worker placement and combat was published by Dire Wolf and designed by Paul Dennen. Players start with a unique card and identical decks to try and gain victory points in several ways, such as political alignment to the factions, battling opponents or handy use of your cards.
Living Forest – Nature spirits try to save the forest and a sacred tree from flames. Luckily, animal guardians have come to your aid and will provide you with elements to help combat the encroaching fires. Living Forest was published by Ludonaute and designed by Aske Christiansen.
Kinderspiel Des Jahres
The Kinderspiel awards is the Children’s Game of the Year and holds games like Ice Cool among the winners. The jury recommended the games in their German names but I’ll put the English alongside in brackets if they have one.
Fröschis (Froggies) – a card game where players are trying to make rows of 1-8 in numerical order. The game gets harder as you complete full rows, causing the higher value cards to be considered trash and getting in the way. The winner is the first to get a row of only a single card.
Golden Ei – a co-operative game in which three bunnies are trying to make their way to safety whilst a fox pursues them. Randomly dealt cards can either help or hinder the bunnies as they try to escape the fox.
Honey – a memory game in which players are attempting to collect nectar to make into honey. Playing as bees, players have to remember which flowers have nectar stored within in order to collect the most in a turn.
Die Villa der Vampire (The Villa of Vampires) – taking place during the big vampire festival, the child vampires manoeuvre garlic into graves around the vampire villa in order to wake up the elder vampires who are still sleeping.
The nominees for the award were:
Auch Schon Clever - the next in the “So Clever” series by Wolfgang Warsch and published by Schmidt Spiel, Auch Schon Clever has players wanting everything they need for a party. Players will roll the five dice on their turn, choosing all dice of one background colour and jokers to mark off on their sheet. Any unused dice are then available for their opponents to pick from.
Quacks & Co: Quedlinburg Dash – In a return to the Quacks of Quedlinberg world, also by Wolfgang Warsh and Schmidt Spiel, this racing bag builder has players running their animals through the town as part of the celebrations, pushing their luck to get as far as they can.
Zauberberg (Magic Mountain) – Players are trying to move their sorcerers’ apprentices down the mountain ahead of the witches in this co-operative team game by Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber and published by Amigo. As marbles representing Will-o-the-wisps roll down the board, they move pieces around, so players have to be careful of what may come their way.
Spiel Des Jahres
There were six games which were recommended by the committee, as well as the three nominees. The recommendations were:
7 Wonders: Architects – the latest in the 7 Wonders series in which players build a unique unconstructed wonder and must navigate the different decks of cards to find the resources needed, deal with incoming attacks and develop improvements in science to leave their mark on history.
Echoes: The Dancer – The next in the popular series of the echoes series, players are working together to solve audio clues to find the secrets of the story. Progress through the chapters by finding the three items which belong in the chapter and solve the mystery.
Magic Rabbit – In a real-time, cooperative memory game, players are trying to return rabbits to the corresponding magicians hat and in the right order. Mix it up with some hidden envelopes to make things more difficult and find those bunnies!
My Gold Mine – Taking on the role of mining dwarves, players are attempting to find gold nuggets in the cards whilst not getting caught by the dragon. Press your luck to find the gold and escape from the dragon in this small box game, and try to trap your opponents in the mine!
So Clover! – a cooperative word association party game in which players secretly write words to connect pairs of words chosen at random on their clovers. However, the other players have to decide which card goes where with an extra red herring thrown in to make it a little trickier!
Trek 12: Himalaya – In this roll and write game of alpinism, players have to create chains of consecutive numbers from 0 to 12. Manipulate the dice rolls in five different ways over the 19 rolls to avoid scoring negative points.
Finally, the nominees were:
Cascadia – a beautiful tile drafting and placement game from Flatout Games, designed by Randy Flynn. Players draft an animal tile and a habitat tile, hoping to be able to place them in such a way to satisfy the five different score cards.
Scout – by Kei Kajino and Oink Games, Scout is a ladder-climbing game in which players hold duel numbered cards in their hand and cannot change the order at any point. Players attempt to empty their hands first to score the most points.
Top Ten – from Cocktail Games and designed by Aurélien Picolet, Top Ten is a party game in which players are attempting to survive five rounds. In order to do so, you are dealt a number and must give an answer to a scenario card that relates to that number, with 1 being the worst and 10 the best possible answer.
Those are your nominees for 2022! Keep an eye out for the winners in June and whilst you’re waiting, why don’t you check out what all the hype is about? Consider this a shortlist of the greatest games of the last 12 months! And if you want to see even more, click here!