I’m a little behind on this, but since I’ve finally played one of this year’s nominees for Germany’s game of the year award (better known as Spiel des Jahres), I thought I’d research the others a bit and get to know them. In no particular order, this year’s nominees are:
- Roll Through the Ages: a Yahtzee-ish strategic dice game by Pandemic designer Matt Leacock.
- Dixit: a popular party game that plays similarly to Apples to Apples.
- Portrayal: another party game known in Germany as Identik, wherein players draw an image based on a description before learning what criteria it will be judged by.
- A la Carte: a lighthearted game of food preparation, with spice “cubes” that are shaken out onto dishes, and too much spice can ruin the food.
- Fresco: a more strategic game where players manage a team of artisans as they work to restore a fresco in a renaissance church.
- The Kinderspiel des Jahres nominees were also announced – Diego Drachenzahn, Kraken-Alarm, Panic Tower!, Vampire der Nacht, and Turi-Tour.
There’s no clear winner in the listed nominees, but of the shortlisted group, I’ve just played Dixit over the weekend. It gets described as having “gorgeous” artwork, and having looked through the full color cards, I can see why – but I found the game’s style more quirky and weird than most… like Salvador Dali was running the art department. Not bad at all, just weird. Still, a neat variation on the peer-judged mechanic made famous by Apples to Apples, with a touch of storytelling thrown in for flavor.
[EDIT]: I’ve just interviewed Roll Through the Ages designer Matt Leacock in our Gaming News Update podcast feed, so be sure to have a listen. – A