UK Games Expo gaming expo floor
Image: UK Games Expo

Board games enthusiasts have yet another reason to be hyped about – UK Games Expo (UKGE) has announced the Judges Choice Awards for 2023. As our readers may know, there were some amazing titles revealed in this year’s Awards Shortlist, and the winners’ names now add up to the hype of the enormous board game event in June. Here is the full list of all the Judges Choice Award winners, in order of appearance:

  • BEST ABSTRACT GAME: Tiwanaku by Sit Down!
  • BEST ACCESSORY: Dice Tomes by Artefact Games
  • BEST BOARD GAME AMERICAN STYLE: Oathsworn: Into The Deepwood by Shadowborne Games
  • BEST BOARD GAME EUROPEAN STYLE: Earth by Inside Up Games
  • BEST BOARD GAME STRATEGIC: New Eden by Schmidt Spiele
  • BEST CARD GAME GENERAL: Viking Raiders by Neowulf Games
  • BEST CARD GAME STRATEGIC: Vita Mors by Play With Us Design Co Ltd
  • BEST DICE GAME: Solar Sphere by Dranda Games
  • BEST EXPANSION: Roll Camera!: The B-movie Expansion by Keen Been Studios
  • BEST FAMILY GAME: Next Station London by Blue Orange Games
  • BEST GAMING NOVELTY: Exit: The Game – Advent Calendar: The Hunt for the Golden Book by KOSMOS
  • BEST MINIATURES RANGE: Moonstone’s The Arising Expansion by Goblin King Games
  • BEST MINIATURES RULE: Moonstone’s The Arising Expansion by Goblin King Games
  • BEST PARTY GAME: Ensemble by Ares Games
  • BEST ROLEPLAYING GAM: Critical Foundation – Gigamic
  • BEST ROLEPLAYING ADVENTURE: Blade Runner RPG Starter Set by Free League Publishing
  • BEST ROLEPLAYING EXPANSION: Star Trek Adventures – Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook by Modiphius Entertainment
  • BEST VARIANT: CATAN: Dawn of Humankind by CATAN Studio

Notable Winners and Trends

Apart from all the amazing titles on the Awards list, a few definitely stand out. For instance, after nearly 28 years, CATAN is once again on top of the board game world and still earning awards in 2023, taking the BEST VARIANT category. It is truly a timeless title that appears to get better and better with age. Who knows what the future holds for the franchise?

The board game studio KOSMOS is making an impact this year, racking up awards in the BEST CHILDREN’S GAME and BEST GAMING NOVELTY categories. The studio has made over 1000 board games in nearly every genre. Their wide range of game design is impressive and I’m sure we’re all curious what they choose to do with it in the future.

Goblin King Games have outdone themselves when developing their miniatures it seems, winning this year’s BEST MINIATURES RANGE and BEST MINIATURES RULE awards, obliterating the competition. And rightfully so, as their models are extremely detailed and immersive, making them absolutely shelf-worthy. If they keep this up, players might buy their games for the quality of their miniatures alone.

As predicted in our review of UKGE’s 2023 Awards Shortlist, I doubled down on the potential of movie-to-board game and TV-series-to-board game adaptations. And it just so happens that two such adaptations won the BEST ROLEPLAYING ADVENTURE (Blade Runner) and BEST ROLEPLAYING EXPANSION (Star Trek) categories. To double down, if done properly, a rich and immersive big-screen franchise can make for excellent tabletop adventures. If a studio is brave (and creative) enough, who knows what the future can hold for such transitions? The possibilities are infinite.

A self-proclaimed warrior-poet, Krasen is a man of many hobbies – ranging from combat sports training, LARPing, to writing poetry. One of those many hobbies happens to be board games. Be it with a fist, pen, sword or keyboard – he aims to be just, merciless and effective.