It is award season once again for us board gamers. The nominees for Spiel des Jahres 2021 have been announced; games that will follow the footsteps of legendary past winners like Just One, Azul, Kingdomino, Carcassonne, The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and so many more. Cooperative games lead the roster for game of the year.
Spiel des Jahres, which translates to “Game of the Year”, is an award for board games. This award started more than 40 years ago with the purpose of promoting excellence in games in the German market, but now it is considered by many as the highest accolade in the board gaming industry. Spiel des Jahres award is primarily aimed at family games. There is a separate category for connoisseur/expert games: Kennerspiel, and kid-friendly games: Kinderspiel.
Spiel des Jahres 2021 nominees are:
The Adventures of Robin Hood
"Take on the role of Robin Hood in a game that changes while you play."
In this game, players take on the role of Robin Hood and his companions to work together and explore an ever evolving board: a board that changes over the course of each outing.
Designer: Michael Menzel
Playing Time: 60 Min
MicroMacro: Crime City
"Find the small traces to solve the big cases."
This game combines murder/mystery and Where’s Waldo. You will have some cards that ask you to find something on the map to reveal information relevant to a case. This game also won the 2020 Golden Geek Most Innovative Board Game.
Designer: Johannes Sich
Playing Time: 15–45 Min
Zombie Teenz Evolution
"Cooperate to protect your town from Zombie Hordes. A game that evolves as you play!"
This game is the sequel to Zombie Kidz Evolution where zombies are attacking the town! You have to cooperate with your friends to launch an expedition, drive off the overwhelming hordes and collect the 4 ingredients for the antidote.
Designer: Annick Lobet
Playing Time: 15–25 Min
Kennerspiel des Jahres 2021:
The nominations for the Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur/Expert Game of the Year) were selected by the same jury focusing on ‘heavier’ or more complex games.
"Build the greatest fantasy kingdom by constructing the best hand."
This game is probably the fastest to learn and play: it takes seconds to learn: draw a card, discard a card, then make the best hand you can by making the best combos.
Designer: Bruce Glassco
Playing Time: 20 Min
Lost Ruins of Arnak
"Explore an island to find resources and discover the lost ruins of Arnak."
This game combines 2 popular game mechanics: deck-building and worker placement, in a game of exploration, resource management, and discovery. This game also won the 2020 Golden Geek Medium Game of the Year.
Designers: Elwen, Mín
Playing Time: 30–120 Min
"Your Stone Age tribe must work together to eat, survive, and develop new tech."
Paleo is a co-operative adventure game set in the stone age, a game in which players try to keep the human beings in their care alive while completing missions.
Designer: Peter Rustemeyer
Playing Time: 45–60 Min
Kinderspiel des Jahres 2021:
The games below are nominated for Kinderspiel des Jahres (judged by a separate jury from Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel)
"Seek baby dragons by finding eggs while exploring the mysterious island."
Dragomino is the kid-friendly version of previous Spiel des Jahres winner Kingdomino, a version for children who are going to go in search of dragon eggs.
Designers: Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort, Wilfried Fort
Playing Time: 15 Min
Mia London and the Case of the 625 Scoundrels
"Whodunnit x memory game"
In this game, you must help detective Mia London unmask which one of the 625 notorious scoundrels has committed a mischievous crime.
Designers: Antoine Bauza, Corentin Lebrat
Playing Time: 10–15 Min
"A colourful storytelling game that plays out in an actual book"
Use your wit and imagination to tailor the stories to your taste and fit them out with the most suitable characters! This game feels like a cross between Dixit and a nursery rhyme.
Designer: Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort
Playing Time: 20–30 Min
Here are our fearless forecast for the winners:
Spiel des Jahres - Adventures Of Robin Hood (Willo) / Micro Macro (Duane)
Kinderspiel des Jahres - Dragomino
Kennerspiel des Jahres - Lost Ruins of Arnak
The winners for this year’s Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres will both be announced on July 19th. Kinderspiel des Jahres will be awarded around a month earlier on June 14th. Who do you think will win Game of the Year?