Spiel des Jahres

“The world is your game board. Get ready for CATAN – World Explorers, an upcoming massively multiplayer augmented reality game that transforms the entire Earth into one giant game of CATAN.”

Settlers of Catan (1995) by Klaus Teuber is one of the classic European board games that shepherded in the modern age of board games. Winner of Spiel des Jahres in 1995, and still beloved today, Catan introduced the world to resource collection, trading, and city building.

The world of Catan had already expanded onto digital devices, but now will take over the entire world. Catan World Explorers, announced at Essen Spiel 2019,  is a new digital game in which players explore the real world, a la Pokemon Go, searching for classic Catan resources. Players collect wheat, sheep, wood, etc. on their device, trying to then construct roads and cities. However it won’t be all that easy… your neighborhood may have an abundance of one type of resource, but you will likely have to trade for something else.  Team up with friends for victory points, and compete locally or globally to become seasonal champions.

For more information, check out the Catan World Explorers website here.

Winners of the 2019 Spiel des Jahres Awards were announced today.

The Winners, along with the runner-up nominees are:

Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year):

Just One (Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter)

Also Nominated were Werewords and LAMA.

Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year):

Valley of the Vikings (Marie and Wilfried Fort)

Also nominated were Go Gecko Go! and Fabulantica.

Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur – Enthusiast Game of the Year):

Wingspan (Elizabeth Hargrave)

Also nominated were Carpe Diem and Detective: A Modern Board Game.

Congratulations to all the winners! You can find the original announcement here.

Fun fact: the literal translation of the German name for ‘Wingspan’ is ‘flap’ (at least, according to Google).

The Nominees for the 2019 Spiel des Jahres Awards were announced on May 20th, 2019. The ultimate winners of this year’s awards will be announced on July 22nd, 2019 in Berlin.

The nominees for each respective category (along with their designer(s)) are:

Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year):

Just One (Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter)

LAMA (Reiner Knizia)
Werewords (Ted Alspach)

Kinderspiel des Jahres
(Children’s Game of the Year):

Fabulantica (Marco Teubner)
Go Gecko Go! (Jurgen Adams)
Valley of the Vikings (Marie and Wilfried Fort)

Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur – Enthusiast Game of the Year):

Carpe Diem (Stefan Feld)
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game (Ignacy Trzewiczek, Przemysław Rymer, Jakub Łapot)
Wingspan (Elizabeth Hargrave)

In addition to the nominees, the selection jury also published a list of recommended games/honorable mentions for each award category.

The official announcement regarding the 2019 nominees can be viewed here.

If I told you there was another social/party game on Kickstarter, you might not be too excited.  But, what if I told you the game was co-designed by award-winning designer, Wolfgang Warsch?  Designers Wolfgang Warsch (The Mind, Illusion and The Quacks of Quedlinburg), Alex Hague and Justin Vickers have teamed up on a new game called, Wavelength.

Wavelength is a team based guessing game, whereby, a hidden target is established between two points.  One member of the team is trying to get the other players to guess where the target, or bullseye, is located.  They do this by drawing a card which presents opposites end of a spectrum, for instance, hot and cold or rough and smooth.  A clue is given in attempt to relate the location of the bullseye within that spectrum.  Players then discuss how they think that clue relates to the position of the target between those extremes, while the opposing team can “suggest” how they think the clue relates in an effort to make them second guess themselves.  The active team then turns a dial (7.5″ rotating wheel) to select a spot on the spectrum.  Varying points are awarded based on how close they are to the target.

“One of the really unique things about Wavelength is that it’s played entirely IN THE BOX. The cards, dial, and score tracker all slot into the box’s tray, and you just…pass it around.”

The Kickstarter campaign for Wavelength has a single pledge level of $29 for a copy of the game.  The campaign is being run by Alex Hague, who has completed several successful campaigns for the game, Monikers.

Schmidt Spiele has announced the first expansion for their Kennerspiel Award winning board game, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, called Die Kräuterhexen (The Herb Witches). Quacks blew up the board game world when it hit in 2018, not only for being a simple yet engaging push your luck bag builder, but because it was super-designer Wolfgang Warsch‘s THIRD nomination for Spiel that year, joining The Mind and Ganz Schön Clever. In Quacks, players pull ingredient tokens from a bag and add them to their cauldron, knowing that too many cherry bombs will make the cauldron explode. When a player stops, they earn points and money to buy new ingredients. Kräuterhexen adds a much requested fifth player to the game, as well as higher value pumpkins, new ingredients such as the variable value “fool’s herb”, and the ability to request help from the witches. Players are given 3 Witch’s Pennies, which are worth points at the end of the game, but can be spent to get special powers, such as the ability to drink a potion after blowing up the cauldron, or reducing the drop advance price to a single ruby. Look for Die Kräuterhexen later this year, and for more information and images check out Schmidt Spiele’s webpage here. No information is currently available for the English version, expected to come at a later date from North Star Games.

Also from Schmidt Spiele and the ludological deity Wolfgang Warsch is the just announced title Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal (The Taverns in Deep Valley). This dice game takes place in the deep valley, where players need to attract new wealthy patrons, hopefully gaining enough money to expand, and go for the big fish – the nobles. Is it better to focus on a nice tavern, or to keep the beer flowing to keep the regulars happy? And which expansions are the best to build first? Players need to choose the correct dice, and develop their personal deck of cards. Five included modules allow each player to set their own difficulty. Given Mr. Warsch’s track record, Tavern should be an interesting game.

In 2018, Luxor, designed by Rüdiger Dorn, received a Spiel des Jahres nomination.  Considering that a Spiel des Jahres nomination generally leads to good sales, it only makes sense that Queen Games would release more content to support the game.  Luxor: The Mummy’s Curse expansion is now on Kickstarter.

Luxor: The Mummy’s Curse includes components for a fifth player, as well as, four different content modules.  Two of the modules are comprised of new equipment cards and treasure tiles.  The “mummy module,” which includes a mummy standee, 20 talisman tokens and 18 mummy tiles, introduces a mummy that players may move around the board to curse other players in order to collect talisman tokens, which can be spent on reward tiles.  The “special adventurers” module brings variable player powers.

The Kickstarter campaign for The Mummy’s Curse includes pledge levels for the expansion, as well as, a bundle with the base game.  Price tiers and full content details can be found on the Kickstarter campaign page.

The winner of the 2018 Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, has an English edition coming to retail soon from North Star Games. Quacks is a combination push your luck and bag builder  board game from master designer Wolfgang Warsch (Ganz schön clever, The Mind), in which 2-4 alchemists draw strange ingredients from a bag to add to their cauldrons. Using the correct good ingredients can earn you money and fame, allowing you to buy better ingredients, however one ingredient too many can blow up your entire potion. Players need to know when to cut and run with the potion they have, and when one more draw from the bag can outweigh the risk of losing it all.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg should hit retail stores any day now, and you can learn more about this award winner on North Star Games web page here.

Blue Moon City, the Spiel des Jahres nominee for 2006, designed by Reiner Knitzia and Spaghetti Western Games, is getting a reprint from Cool Mini or Not. In Blue Moon City, 2-4 players take over after the events of the 2 player hit Blue Moon, with the titular city, created from building plan tiles, ready for reconstruction. The players use cards with the races of Blue Moon to construct buildings on their plans, then eventually reconstruct the large crystal Obelisk in the center of the city. Players who help complete buildings earn crystals and Dragon Favors, with the majority contributor getting a bonus. Dragon Favors earn the player crystals, and the crystals are used to gain Markers at the Obelisk. The first player to earn a specified number of Markers wins the game. Blue Moon City comes with 4 player and 3 dragon miniatures, 40 player markers, 80 cards, 54 tokens, 21 tiles and a rulebook. For more information and pictures, check out the CMoN web page here. Look for the second edition of Blue Moon City in late October 2018.

CMoN has also announced Sugar Blast, a board game take on the casual video game “candy crush” genre. In Sugar Rush, a plastic frame holds round candy tokens in a 6 by 6 grid, each space holding one of 6 candy types. 2-4 players take turns swapping two adjacent tokens, trying to make a string of 3 or more identical candies vertically or horizontally. Matching tokens are removed, and the unique tilted frame will allow pieces to slide down and fill the empty space. New pieces are drawn from a bag to fill in the top. Players race to complete objective cards for the victory. Sugar Blast comes with the plastic frame, 32 tokens, 72 colored chips, 24 cards, cloth bag, and the rulebook. Look for Sugar Blast in late October 2018.

Finally, CMoN also announced 4 new boxes of Lannister Armies coming for the Song Of Ice And Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Knights of Casterly Rock have spared no expense on equipment and training, and are fast and hard-hitting units on the field. The Lannister Guardsmen make up in defense what they lack in strength and speed, and can effectively wear down advancing opponents. The Lannister Crossbowmen provide deadly ranged attacks, and may be expensive to maintain, but Lannisters certainly can afford to keep armies strong. The Lannister Heroes Box I contains such famous commanders as the Hound, Tyrion and Lord Tywin Lannister, causing devastation on the field. Maester Pycelle and the High Sparrow work their influence politically, well away from the main battle. Look for all 4 new Lannister boxes in stores at the end of September 2018.

oSuper Meeple has announced on Twitter that they will be republishing Mississippi Queen, the Spiel des Jahres winner from 2017 from designer Werner Hodel and art from Christophe SwalFranz Vohwinkel, and Fabrice Weiss. A light family racing game, Mississippi Queen has 3-5 players race paddleboats down the mighty Mississippi River, picking up passengers and exploring the bends of the river. Players have to be efficient, as they have a limited amount of coal on board, necessitating careful acceleration and navigation. Mississippi Queen has shown up in several favorites lists from the Dice Tower, including Best from 1997, and Top 10 One Hit Wonder Games.

Long out of print Speil des Jahres winner Camel Up (2014) is coming out with a new edition from Eggertspiele, due out at Essen Spiel 2018 (October 25-28). Camel Up (and there is no controversy around the name of the new edition, it is decidedly Camel UP) is the light betting game by Steffen Bogen centering around racing camels. The colored camels move haphazardly with the roll of their corresponding dice, carrying competitors in the same space along for a ride. The new edition adds Rogue Camels to the mix, strange racers who run the wrong direction around the track, and can also carry your favorites backwards. Look for completely new art and a beautiful new resigned Pyramid Dice Roller in version 2.0 of Camel Up. For more information, check out the Eggertspiele page here.