Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Origins Awards and Spiel des Jahres

One post, two sets of awards.

I'm ... not completely dissatisfied with the Origins Awards Winners. In fact, several categories turned out much better than I had expected.

This post is mostly just a list of winners, with a bit of commentary from me.

Best RPG: The Dresden Files. Good. I agree that it was the best on the list - Fiasco is really good, and I wouldn't have minded seeing it win, either.

Best Supplement: The Dresden Files RPG: Our World. The second half of the Dresden Files RPG. Once one of them won, it was almost guaranteed that the other would.

Best Board Game: Castle Ravenloft. I was right previously, even though I much prefer Fresco.

Best Traditional Card Game:  Back to the Future: The Card Game. I predicted Ascension. I'm dissatisfied with this category's outcome, as I wasn't a fan of the winner.

Best Family, Children's, or Party Game: Zombie Dice - the game on the list that ... um ... most appealed to non-children and family gamers won this category. Not surprising, considering who the voters were.

Best Accessory: I called it. The Cthulhu Dice Bag won.  But this is unsurprising. It's a weird category, as it's open to nearly everything. This is the "I can't figure out where to fit this item," category. This was the most universal of the items on the list.

Best Miniatures Rules: The winner was the new edition of Heroclix. Or, more accurately, the latest re-release of the Heroclix rules set with minor mechanical tweaks. I'm not a fan of the game.

Best Historical Board Game: I was right previously.  Catan Histories - Settlers of America won.

Best Game-Related Publication: Shadowrun: Spells and Chrome. Previously, I'd suggested that this was e-book only. I was apparently wrong - the title is slightly different on Amazon's site - Shadowrun Anthology Volume 1 - Spells & Chrome. I'm still disappointed at its win. I find myself wondering if the paperback was in the Origins swag bag this year.

As to the Spiel des Jahres - for me, this is the more important awards set. It's more relevant to me than most of the Origins Awards. And there isn't a deep list of categories - there are only three of them (one of them is new).

Their website has an interesting question in the FAQ:
Is „Spiel des Jahres" meant to provide an award for the „best" game of the year?

No - for two reasons: For one, apart from external features the quality of games is not subject to objectivity; the same applies for other cultural products like books or films. Judging a game to be "the best" remains subjective. The jury has to look at the quality with regard to the target group - which means we are talking about a very heterogeneous group where hobby gamers and games specialists form only a very small part. So what the latter might deem to be an excellent game could easily overstrain the average consumer, keep him from playing and thus do damage to the idea of playing games.
In other words, the Spiel des Jahres is for the average consumer, not for the hardcore gamers. Several games over the last few years have caused a furor over their nomination and/or victory. Dixit, for example, took a lot of flak for being too simple.

Spiel des Jahres: And the winner is ... Qwirkle. Not many people saw this coming - especially since the game has been out in the US for several years. What most people continue to forget is that SdJ isn't about the hobby market - the Jury thought that Qwirkle was a good game that deserved recognition. Was it the best game of the three nominated? I don't know - I haven't played Asara. I wasn't a fan of Forbidden Island. I did like Qwirkle.

Kennerspiel des Jahres: And the first-ever Kennerspiel award winner is ... 7 Wonders. Not surprising. It's been winning nearly everything it was nominated for. And it is as good as you hear it is - I can't wait to take Leaders for a spin ...

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