2022 has been a good one for board games and the community. With hundreds of new releases, amazing kickstarters and highly-anticipated launches the hobby is very much alive and… kicking!
That’s what made shortlisting the candidates and subsequent winners of this year’s edition “Spiel del Jahres” translated as “Game of the Year Award” so much harder. With the winners out, though, we take a look at what happened and who secured the highest distinction in the board gaming community this year.
Trio of Innovative Games Wins Spiel del Jahres Distinctions
“Cascadia” was naturally one of the nominees and the ultimate winner of the event. The game was designed by Randy Flynn and published by Flatout Games. Commenting on Cascadia’s gameplay and why they stuck with this game over the others, the jury had this to say:
Cascadia” is a real feel-good game. You can always achieve something on your turn, even if the choices on offer aren’t exactly what you wanted. The two-part puzzle is especially successful, requiring players to find a good balance between matching landscape tiles and playing the right animal symbols.Spiel del Jahres 2022 Jury
Another prominent winner this year was “Magic Mountain” designed by Jens-peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber and published by Amigo. The game won in the category ‘Kinderspiel des Jahres” translated as “Children’s Game of the Year.”
More board games nominees dotted the list as well, with “Living Forest” by Aske Christiansen and published by Pegasus Spiele winning the “Kennerspeil del Jahres” or “Connoisseur Gamer of the Year”. All three titles come with distinct gameplay, innovative features and captivating theme, which have brought them the award or got them very close.
The event format has been evolving as well, While in the past the jury focused on rating a single game out of numerous entrants, today the event is trying to introduce different categories and distinct games on their own merits in those categories.
Spiel del Jahres and Its Significance to Board Gaming
Critical acclaim has not always translated into big sales for the winning games, but it has been an important hallmark of said board games’ design and gameplay. Many popular titles have won the distinction, including “Carcassonne,” “Dominion,” “Dixit,” “Shadows over Camelot,” “L.L.A.M.A.,” “Hanabi” and others.
Spiel del Jahres is also attempting to continue adding to the diversity of the pool of available titles, although there is a heavy focus on Euro-style board games which is one of the most popular genres in the community. Originally, the event was targeting German games exclusively, but as the hobby grew internationally, Spiel del Jahres accepts its prominent position in it.
In a way, you can think of this event as the Oscars of the board gaming industry, albeit a version of it where only a few products are pronounced winners. Cascadia won against “Scout” by Kei Kajino and “Top Ten” by Aurélien Picolet. Spiel del Jahres similarly issued a list of recommendations for games you may be willing to play this year, including “7 Wonders: Architects,” “Echoes: Die Tänzerin,” “Magic Rabbit,” “My Gold Mine,” “So Kleever,” and “Trek 12: Himalaja.”