The Crew by Thomas Sing is Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020. The modern version of the trick-taking game literally outperformed the competition and was awarded the blue pawn by the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV. The card game from Kosmos prevailed against Der Kartograph from Pegasus Spiele and The King's Dilemma from HeidelBär Games.


It was the tenth award of the Kennerspiel des Jahres and in 2020 a very unusual idea was particularly convincing. The Thomas Sing Crew has thrilled the critics. With his modern interpretation of a trick-taking game, which also runs cooperatively, the author was able to inspire “some friends” in the first round of tests, and ultimately also many players and critics.

Expert game of the year 2020 with a space theme: The Crew 

The jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV already emphasized the combination of co-op play and the trick mechanism as “something special”. The Crew show the intricacies of the genre and challenge players in an original way. Author Thomas Sing had the courage to pursue a classic when he repackaged the basic idea. It was an idea that initially sparked off with his friends, says Sing. And then the enthusiasm for the space game, which was not one from the beginning, took hold.

The jury certifies that the cooperative trick-taking game has a pulling effect. Thomas Sing made “a lot out of very little”. The theme of The Crew is based on a “real space flight”, explains the author during the award ceremony. It was Alexander Gerst and his trip to the ISS that Thomas Sing used as the occasion for the space setting.

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Now it is board and card players who have to complete space missions: together, in an environment with limited means of communication. Information about your own cards may only be disclosed in fragments. In the end, what counts is teamwork, planning and creativity to land the stick.

The jury's decision to make The Crew the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020 is hardly surprising, understandable and consistent. The Crew was able to prevail against The Cartographer by Jordy Adan and The King's Dilemma by Lorenzo Silva, Hjalmar Hach and Carlo Burelli - and rightly so, as a closer look shows. The decision seems to lie dormant that it can be the timeless concepts in particular that - interpreted in a modern way - can breathe new life into an entire genre. The Crew does not exclude any type of player, proves to be interactive at the table not only due to the set of rules and relies on elements that could probably also be perceived as attractive in other space-time continuities.

The list of recommendations included:

  • Paladins of Western France by Shem Phillips and SJ Macdonald (Gravity)
  • Res Arcana by Tom Lehmann (Sand Castle Games)
  • Underwater Cities by Vladimír Suchý (Delicious Games)

Even more complex board games, such as the direct competitor The King's Dilemma, rely on a simple basic premise. Lorenzo Silva and Carlo Burelli reported, for example, that the starting point for their idea was the central question of a yes or no. Only then did the narrative elements emerge, in which hard decisions are essential. Burn witch: yes or no? Sending soldiers to war: yes or no? There is a lot to discuss in this board game, but it celebrates its climax when the group of players always comes together in the same constellation. In the end, The Crew won a concept with the blue pawn for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020, in which simplicity became innovation.

By the way: The award Game of the Year 2020 went to Pictures.


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