The official Harry Potter edition of Vlaada Chvátil‘s wildly popular and award winning game Codenames is now available in your friendly local game store. Codenames: Harry Potter is actually more a variation on Codenames Duet, being a cooperative puzzle game for 2 wizards. Players take turns trying to locate 15 hidden members of the Order of the Phoenix among a 5×5 grid of both picture and word cards, using their side of the key card. Players give single word clues, along with a number referencing how many cards relate to the clue. The clue receiver can pick multiple cards, but must stop after an incorrect pick. But beware, because the game is instantly lost if the Black Card is picked, leading the players down Knockturn Alley to the waiting Death Eaters. Players win if they find all 15 members before 10 incorrect guesses.
Codenames: Harry Potter is available now, and more information is available on the USAopoly webpage here.
HABA Games continues to move further into the family game market, this time with an expansion to the 2015 game Adventure Land. The expansion has players returning to the land of King Agamis with Adventure Land: King and Princess:
King Agamis and the inhabitants of the land are in an uproar as the fog creatures have kidnapped the princess! She is being held somewhere in Adventure Land and is being closely guarded by the powerful giant. Who will be the first to collect all the keys, find out where the princess is being held, and then have enough combat strength to defeat the terrifying giant?
Three new challenges will await adventurers, adding to the original three included in the base game. Players will now be able to tackle the following adventures:
- “Kidnap of the princess”
- “Uprising of the Fog Creatures”
- “Rescuing the King.”
In the original Adventure Land game players moved their adventurers tactically to collect resources, gather treasure and bravely fight fog creatures to win the favor of the king. Now characters will use those same mechanics to kelp King Agamis rescue his daughter.
The expansion has been created by award winning game designers Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Riesling who were the designers of the original Adventure Land game.
Traditionally known for wooden baby and children’s toys as well as children’s games, in 2015 Haba Games released a trio of family weight games; Spookies, Karuba and Adventure Land. Karuba was subsequently nominated for a 2016 Spiel des Jahres award.
The winners of the prestigious Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres have been announced.
Codenames by designer Vlaada Chvatil published by Czech Games Editions won the Spiel Des Jahres (German for Game of the Year). This team party game has seen great success thus far having one a number of Dice Tower Awards as well. Having already picked up placement in Target stores this award can only aid in its uptake with the non-hobby gaming public. This win was not overly surprising as a result of the overwhelming popularity seen by the aforementioned items.
Isle of Skye: From Chieftan to King by designers Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister Published by Mayfair Games/Lookout Games won the Kennerspiel Des Jahres (German for Connoisseur Game of the Year). This game has received critical acclaim from many within the gaming community. This win was more surprising as a result of the competition it received from both Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and T.I.M.E. Stories.
For more information you can visit the Spiel Des Jahres awards pages for Codenames here and Isle of Skye here.
The committee for the Spiel Des Jahres or “game of the year” has announced this years nominations for the three awards they issue each year.
Spiel Des Jahres
The nominees for the main award are fairly diverse. Codenames the hit of Gen Con 2015 is a surprise to almost no one who has been paying attention. Having already infiltrated the mass market stores it is hard to deny that this clever little deserves to be on this list. Imhotep just came out in Germany in March of this year and has not had an English release yet. Looking to provide a family weight game involving strategy and a little bit of take that has it fitting in nicely. Karuba the final nominees is game maker HABA’s first foray into games intended for older audiences.
They have additionally give five honorable mentions
Kennerspiel Des Jahres
Nominations for the Kennerspiel or connoisseurs category is filled three massive hits from this year. With Both Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and T.I.M.E Stories being in the top 30 games of all time on Board Game Geek it is not surprising that either of those was nominated. The first nominee Isle of Skye is only ranked 250 on BGG but has a solid pedigree behind it. Having been released by Lookout/Mayfair Games this highly strategic tile laying game provides a lot of opportunity for very intricate strategies to come into play. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 shot up to the number one spot on BGG within 2 months of its release. Widely regarded as one of the best implementations of the legacy concept by designers Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock and being widely regarded as one of the best selling games within the last year this was an obvious nomination. Finally we have another legacy style game with T.I.M.E Stories which has already had three expansions released and more announced this promises to be a great cooperative legacy game which can be played in decent sized chunks.
The three honorable mentions were quite well regarded as well
Kinderspiel Des Jahres
The Kinderspiel which often is the category that surprises the most has fewer surprises than normal this year. With at least one title that is a reimplementation of a well known game for the older crowd in this group. Leo Muss zum Friseur which as already won the Austrian children’s game of the year for 2015 is a great little press your luck game. Stone Age Junior is a clever reimplementation of the older game Stone Age designed by Marco Teubner. Finally is Mmm! which is a great little cooperative game well suited for introducing a child to the cooperative genre.