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Spiel des Jahres 2015 – The Nominees Are In!

It only seems like yesterday that we found out which games had won last year’s Spiel des Jahres.

Camel Up took home the Spiel des Jahres and Istanbul claimed Kennerspiel des Jahres!

Today, Nige sent me a mail to let me know that this year’s nominees had been announced! I took a look and have to admit I was a little surprised.

Spiel des Jahres 2015 Nominees

Colt Express Box Card Game

Here’s the nominees for Spiel des Jahres… If I’m honest these weren’t what I was expecting so see and I’m not sure I agree with the selection. But… Hey! Who am I to question the list?

Colt Express – designed by Christophe Raimbault and published by Ludonaute.

Now I like Colt Express, it’s quite good. However, I don’t think it deserves an award… Paul reviewed the game earlier in the year and seems to be a fan, but to my mind it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. There’s an element of beauty, due to the nature of its 3D board, but if it didn’t have that train and scenery, would we even notice it amongst the other fantastic games that came out at the same time? Colt Express, in my opinion, should be entered into a gaming beauty pageant rather than receive a nomination for the Spiel des Jahres.

Machi Koro – designed by Masao Suganuma and published by Kosmos.

I know plenty of people who don’t like Machi Koro, but I know plenty more who do. Machi Koro has some flaws, it’s definitely not perfect, but it does a great job at introducing people to the world of gaming.

With a unique beauty, Machi Koro uses extremely simple art work to draw you in and then treats you to some equally simple gameplay. I’m sure there are better games out there but this easy to learn city-building title has made a big impact whether you like it or not.

The Game – designed by Steffen Benndorf and published by Nürnberger Spielkarten Verlag.

I have to admit I know nothing about The Game. For that reason I can’t really judge whether I think it belongs on the list or not. The games description doesn’t leave me with much hope for it, but I’m intrigued to see how its BoardGameGeek ranking will change now that it’s been nominated. It’s currently rank 3348 vs Colt Express’s rank 400 and Machi Koro’s rank 393. Let’s see what happens there.

As my final thoughts on the Spiel des Jahres award – of the three games nominated for the title of Spiel des Jahres, I’m going to put my money on Machi Koro for the win! It’s easy to learn, has great family appeal and, from what I’ve seen, is liked by many more gamers than its competitors.

Kennerspiel des Jahres 2015 Nominees

Orleans Board Game

Now this is where my heart is! Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice light game as much as the next guy… However, I LOVE a deeper game with a bit more strategy.

Last year Istanbul won the Kennerspiel des Jahres award and I really enjoy playing that one, so I can’t wait to see who gets it this year. Before I take a look at the nominees though, I want to make it clear, I’ve not played any of these games so I can’t actually judge whether I agree with the nominations.

Broom Service – designed by Andreas Pelikan und Alexander Pfister and published by alea/Ravensburger.

Broom Service is a surprising nomination. Not because it’s a bad game, I have no idea what it’s like. But rather because it’s a revised version of an older game called Witch’s Brew. When I first got into gaming in 2010 I heard good things about Witches Brew but couldn’t get hold of it because it was out of print. Over the past five years I’ve looked for a copy, but never found one that I could afford. Now, in 2015, a revised and expanded version of the game is nominated for an award. You might think that surely I’d be happy about that? Well, if I’m completely honest I’m not sure I agree with the nomination of a revised game. Perhaps, once I play it, I’ll be won over and change my mind, but for now I just can’t get behind it!

Elysium – designed by Brett J. Gilbert und Matthew Dunstan and published by Space Cowboys.

Orléans – designed by Reiner Stockhausen and published by dlp games.

Both Elysium and Orléans are titles that I’ve heard great things about. I’ve come very close to ordering a copy of both on numerous occasions and now with their nominations I’m more tempted than ever!

Of the three titles nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres, my money’s on Orléans and I can’t wait to find out if I’m right because I want to see a proper release of it over here in the UK!

The Kinderspiel des Jahres

Push a Monster

This isn’t a category I have much interest in, but for completions sake here’s the three nominees:

Push a Monster designed by Wolfgang Dirscherl + Manfred Reindl and Published by Queen Games.

Schatz-Rabatz designed by Karin Hetling and Published by Noris.

Spinderella designed by Roberto Fraga and Published by Zoch.

What Are We Missing???

Sheriff Board Game Cover

As a finishing point for this post, I wanted to take a look at a handful of games that I think deserved a nomination for some of these awards. Take a look and see what you think!

Mysterium – I have a copy of this and it’s fantastic, with the exception of a couple of people, everyone I’ve played this with has really liked it. Since November 2014 I’ve played Mysterium more than any other game in my collection and often by request rather than suggestion. It’s simple to learn and a lot of fun can be had by kids and adults alike. I wonder why this one didn’t even make it onto the recommended list, all I can think is that it was released before the start point for nomination eligibility.

Abyss – If we’re going for beautiful games, you won’t get prettier than Abyss. It’s often over-looked by gamers who think that its beauty means it’ll lack substance. In reality though, Abyss is actually a fun title with great gameplay that just happens to have great art and components too!

Sheriff of Nottingham – If we’re going to have revised/reprinted titles on the list then let’s not forget Sherriff of Nottingham. Luke reviewed this earlier this year and I agree with him, it’s a fantastic game and it very rarely fails to entertain, so where’s the recommendations?

5 (100%) 2 votes
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Tom Randell

Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.