The Children's game of the year 2020 is certain. Speedy Roll from Urtis Šulinskas has won the coveted award, which this year was given in a solemn manner due to the applicable corona restrictions, but not in a festive setting. The child-friendly race from the Lifestyle Boardgames and Piatnik publishers was able to prevail against the competitors in the end

For the Lithuanian author Urtis Šulinskas, playing with children is a passion. It can be innovative and fun, the best thing is for the children to be active themselves and design their own board games: that is exactly what Šulinskas offers as part of holiday camps. The Lithuanian apparently has child-friendly game ideas. Back in 2018, his game was Emojito! Nominated for Children's Game of the Year, it wasn't enough back then. This year it's different. Speedy Roll convinced the jury and got hold of the coveted blue pawn for the children's game of 2020.

Speedy Roll: Excellent racing in the forest

Because everything is different than usual in Corona times, the award for the children's game of the year 2020 also took place in an adapted - but above all in a rather colorful - setting. Jury coordinator Christoph Schlewinski led through the virtual award ceremony. "Let's get down to the table and play with the kids," calls out the critic. You can remember what it must have been like to experience something for the first time.

This is exactly what board games for children are all about: They should not only be instructive and entertain at short notice, but also create a broad-based interest in games beyond consoles, PCs and smartphones. Every children's game is valuable, in the end only one could win.

The felt ball rolls and collects, provided that children use their skills well. Image rights: Piatnik

The felt ball rolls and collects, provided that children use their skills well. Image rights: Piatnik

Hedgehog roles in the forest are hot in 2020, the jury of critics of the Spiel des Jahres eV saw it that way and chose the game of skill with a tactical approach for one to four children from four years of age to the top position. Everything else is one-dimensional, the author presents a simple basic idea - in several ways. Game variants with different objectives, the possibility of solo play and an optional cooperative or competitive process testify to the flexibility of the hedgehog race. Thanks to Klett, everything sticks to the felty contemporary that the forest floor has to offer: from mushrooms to leaves to apples. It gets particularly exciting when the fox - optionally in a brisk variant - intervenes in the game.

The critics loved the idea. And that's not all: the entire year of children's games was "unusual in more ways than one", commented jury coordinator Christoph Schlewinski on the hodgepodge of child-friendly game ideas. Just how outstanding the “blue pawn” is for an author is shown by the sheer numbers. The jury chose the winning title from a total of 110 titles played - and Speedy Roll hits that core area in children between the ages of four and five, which has been covered in a particularly varied way in the current year.

Seldom have we had such a large and exciting selection for this age group as this year.
Christoph Schlewinski, Game of the Year eV

The fact that children just play games because they happen to be on the table is a widespread myth that the head of the jury dispels: “Children are demanding players. They want to be challenged, they want excitement, they want to fidget in their chairs with excitement.” Statements like this make it clear why board games are so much fun for adults too – because the feelings are still the same 30 years later.

In the end, Speedy Roll was able to score points with the jury members with the right mix of interaction, tension and a back and forth slide feeling. A varied game concept meets a comprehensible set of rules in the title by Urtis Šulinskas.

The two others Board games nominated for Children's Game of the Year goods: Photo Fish by Michael Kallauch and We are the robots by Reinhard Staupe. The list of recommendations also includes a further seven titles.