As is well known, board games are sorted into different genres, which fans can use to orientate themselves quickly and easily. But also with regard to the degree of difficulty there are various names and titles that are intended to show a potential buyer whether the selected board game title suits him. We are talking about so-called expert board games. But what exactly qualifies a board game title to be an expert game? What can you do as a board gamer with such names: Do you help with the selection or is ex just a clever marketing move? I will try to get to the bottom of these and a few more questions in the following article.


Kennerspiel des Jahres vs. Deutscher Spielepreis

The price for that Expert game of the year has only existed since 2011. The assessment criteria are based on the game price game of the year. The game idea, the rules, the game material and the graphic design are essential. In addition, the Kennerspiel des Jahres is aimed at board players who have a certain amount of experience in dealing with board game systems and rules. In order to categorize expert games, gaming experience seems to play a major role. But what happened in 2011 that a new critics award had to be awarded?

Before it that Expert game of the year gave, the award of the association was directed Game of the Year eV family games rather than niche games, some of which are thematically differentiated from the mainstream. In addition, the German game award in 2011 a refresher course and started with a new logo and maybe also a changed evaluation idea. If you look at the first places in the German Games Award from the middle of the millennium and compare the winning titles with previous years, it is noticeable that significantly more board games with strategic aspirations were honored. Including, for example Agricola by Lookout Games, dated Game of the Year eV even won a special award due to its complexity. So there had to be something to the separation between “normal board game” and expert game. With the introduction of the award Expert game of the year So even veterans have officially received a possible orientation point for complex board games. The jury of the German Games Prize jumped on this train, because since 2011 board games that rely on considerably more complex game mechanisms have also dominated there.

From now on, board games were no longer just entertaining, but wanted to motivate players from all over the world in a more sporty and ambitious way - also in the context of tactically demanding competitive settings. Board games were finally competing with digital entertainment products again. 

Comprehensive set of rules

The beginnings of board games go back a few thousand years in contemporary history. At the beginning, parlor games were based on simple sets of rules based on dice systems or comparatively simple pulling mechanisms. With the invention of the military simulation games in the 19th century, almost the predecessor of today's Table top games, board players were given more and more tactical actions. Rulebooks became more extensive, moves more complex and games longer. The processes in an expert game are also explained in a suitably thick rulebook. However, it is not only the experience in dealing with board games that is essential, but also the degree of patience that has to be expended to familiarize yourself with new games. Board game veterans find it visibly easier to find their way into new game systems, because very few game authors reinvent the wheel. Often times, tried and tested rules come back in a different form: What is good is what was successful.

Experienced board players fall back on the well-founded knowledge of the rules and have developed their own techniques to familiarize themselves with unknown board game concepts as effectively as possible. Family or children's games, on the other hand, work with generally understandable rules, as do board games that are aimed at purely casual gamers.

Fortunately, publishers nowadays can do without a set of rules comprising countless pages. Internet videos and Let's Plays bring even beginners closer to complex rules in an entertaining and easy-to-understand way. The boundary between the expert board game and the normal board game is becoming increasingly blurred. 

Nevertheless, expert games remain small challenges. Anyone who has ever familiarized themselves with games from the Ctulhu series or a TabletTop hybrid without directly accessing videos knows what complexity can mean. 

Despite all the distinction, expert games must also be entertaining. The development of expert board games is currently based more on the principle "Easy to learn, hard to master". Complex games first teach newbies the basic rules in an easily comprehensible way, and then gradually expand them to include further game actions. The experience of board players comes into play when it comes to discovering efficient game strategies and applying them to the different game situations. This development is definitely to be welcomed, because board players are by nature sociable and professionals also love to play with beginners. So it's lucky that cooperative board games are pretty trendy - so newcomers don't just get pissed off.

Author