On July 23, 2018, the Spiel des Jahres e.V. club in Berlin announced the winners of this year’s competition for Germany’s best board game. The jury selected Azul by Michael Kiesling as Game of the Year 2018 and the prize for the best Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year went to Wolfgang Warsch’s Quacksalber von Quedlinburg. For the first time since 2010, the jury also awarded a special prize to Pandemic Legacy 2 by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau.

Board games are part of our cultural heritage. In order to spread these in family and society, the association Spiel des Jahres e.V. has been awarding prizes for extraordinary game ideas for adults and children since the 1970s. On 23 July, the jury of experts in Berlin announced the winners of this year’s competition: The prize for the best game of 2018 went to “Azul” by Michael Kiesling, published by Next Move/Plan B Games, Canada. Wolfgang Warsch’s “Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg”, published by Schmidt Spiele, was awarded as the best Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year.

“With “Azul” we have acknowledged a calm, abstract tile-based game with beautiful material”

The aim in the Azul game is to adorn the walls of the palace of the Portuguese king Manuel I. with m0saics – step by step with the right tactics. Depending on the position in the mosaic, players may need many tiles of one type, sometimes a few, to extend the pattern. Anyone who speculates and has to take too many tiles loses points. Rewards, on the other hand, are given to those who tile together and can show complete rows and columns in the mosaic in the end. The expert jury, consisting of ten independent specialist journalists, justifies its decision in favor of Azul as follows: “The abstract “Azul” unites alleged opposites: The almost sober functionality of the game board is a successful contrast to the wonderful aesthetics of the resulting mosaic. The haptics of the tiles reinforce the valuable impression. The material alone is a pleasure. In addition, author Michael Kiesling has succeeded in giving a simple selection mechanism so much depth that it triggers an almost endless appeal for replay”.

Besides Azul the running and collecting game Luxor by Rüdiger Dorn and the card game The Mind by Wolfgang Warsch were awarded as well.

“A tasty dish for game gourmets”

In the Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year “Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg”, the aim is to brew new potions from all kinds of unusual ingredients over and over again. Players receive their ingredients according to the random principle. With the proceeds from the brewed potions, new ingredients can be bought and better and better potions can be produced. “Cooked with randomly selected ingredients, the “Quacksalber von Quedlinburg” is an explosion of flavors and a firework of emotions. Schadenfreude, jubilation and lamentation alternate in rapid succession. A game of pure chance? No, because author Wolfgang Warsch gives players a lot of tactical freedom in refining owing to the exquisite basic recipe. This turns the packet, um bag soup into a tasty dish for game gourmets,” the jury of experts explained their decision.

Also nominated for the Connoisseurs’ Game of 2018 were Ganz schön Clever, also by Wolfgang Warsch, and Heaven & Ale by the author duo Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt.

Special prize for outstanding performance

For the first time since 2010, the jury has also awarded a special prize which went to “Pandemic Legacy 2” by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau. “The authors have not only attached importance to a functioning game system, but also to an interesting background story. The legacy principle constantly changes the game plan, the game components and the rules in an exciting and sometimes surprising way. All future legacy games will have to be measured against this game. The jury honors the outstanding performance of the author duo with a special prize,” said Tom Felber, Chairman of the Game of the Year Jury.

Criticism of the quality of published games

From hundreds of games, the expert jury ultimately chose a list of particularly interesting, fun and original game ideas. “Unfortunately, the impression is growing that more and more very good games have to be made hastily at the last moment for a release date without enough attention being paid to the comprehensibility and completeness of the rules of the game. We have probably never sorted out as many really good games as we did this year, because their rules simply did not meet our quality requirements,” says Felber.

Award for best game idea and design

All new publications in the area of family and adult games of the current and previous year were taken into account for the election procedure. The jury selected a total of three outstanding games from each of these new releases, which were nominated for the Game of the Year or Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year awards. In addition to the game idea, the rules, the design and the overall layout were also assessed. In addition, the jury publishes annual recommendation lists of other outstanding game ideas in the field of family and adult games.

License fees for the use of the logo

The publishers pay license fees to the club so that they can advertise with the logo for the Game of the Year or Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year. With these fees the association finances, among other things, a scholarship for game authors or playful projects within the framework of aid programs.


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Expert jury selects Game of the Year 2018


Link: www.spiel-des-jahres.com
Image: Spiel des Jahres e.V.