Zauberberg by Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber is the children's game of the year 2022. That was decided and announced by the jury of the "Spiel des Jahres" association. The title published by Verlag Amigo Siele is about sorcerers' apprentices and will-o'-the-wisps - but above all about the long-running marble run.

For the first time after a two-year break due to the corona virus, the association again organized the award ceremony for the children's game of the year as a public event. As before in 2019, we were invited to the former main customs office in Hamburg. The pandemic has not left the work of the children's game jury and the industry untouched: ""The pandemic has made the work of children's game authors much more demanding, because with kindergartens and primary schools constantly closed, it is almost impossible to play games with the broad Testing the masses necessary to bring out a well-rounded, well-functioning and exciting product.” There were only around 70 games in the current year, which according to Schlewinski was “insanely small”.

Evergreen ball track

In the end, Spiel des Jahres eV was able to make its decision and broadcast the award ceremony on the Internet. Suddenly the live broadcast started, surprising the Kinderspiel jury coordinator Christoph Schlewsinski when it started. The beginning: emotional. Schlewinski remembered Wieland Herold, who died in April of this year. The veteran of the board game industry initiated the "Children's Game of the Year" award more than 20 years ago. Herold was also a jury coordinator for many years. "Thank you, Wieland," says Schlewinski.

Then it was about the children's games themselves and their authors. A "very demanding task" is to develop children's games. Perhaps even more challenging than authoring "brain-twisting three-hour games," Schlewinski says. One reason: The feedback from the complex players is much more detailed due to the target groups. One can only hope to a limited extent for an analysis by the children playing - that applies to the development, but also to the testing of children's games. "That's why you have to read between the lines," explains Christoph Schlewinski.

Observing the children plays an important role: how do the youngest players behave? How often do they wobble around the table? Are the children maybe even happy when it's over? Adults are faced with the challenge of deriving the extent of the fun in the game because they can only experience it to a limited extent or passively. External factors also play a role: children's games could also be popular because they are currently being "promoted in a children's program".

"Authors of children's games have to be very empathetic," says Schlewinski, "and have a good antenna for the target group". This obviously applies to the authors Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber, but also to Wolfgang Warsch, who entered the race with two titles. With Quacks & Co. to Quedlinburg, Auch schon clever and Zauberberg made up the trio of nominees – but in the end only one board game was able to win the “Children’s Game of the Year 2022” award.

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The jury chose Zauberberg by Amigo Spiele. The reasons given by the experts mainly revolve around the ball track mechanism. “It [the ball track] becomes the setting for a magical race – cooperatively, in teams or even alone”. The game structure attracts children to the gaming table. The "innovative marble mechanism" won't let go so quickly. The result is a "complete package that enchants all children again and again".

The focus is on shared moments as a counterpoint to hostilities, as jury coordinator Schlewinski points out. Thank you to the authors, editors and publishers. “Your work is immensely important”. This is not only the case for the industry, says the expert, but also for the children. Of course, this also applies, but not only to the children's game of the year 2022.

The competition was strong: Zauberberg by Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber prevailed over “Auchschoen clever” and Quacks and Co. to Quedlinburg, two child-friendly versions of popular family games. The marble run cooperation game was published by Amigo Spiele and is aimed at up to four children aged five and over. It also has a solo mode, so it can be played alone.

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Last updated on 4.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API