The jury of the Game of the Year eV announced the name of the board game in Hamburg today that can now carry the award "Children's Game of the Year 2019". With a clever mix of tactics and skill, the children's game "Valley of the Vikings" from Haba convinced the experts.


The toy manufacturer Haba calls itself inventors for children. This suggests that the Upper Franconian company has good ideas – and after Funkelschatz last year, a children's game from Haba actually took the top spot in the jury prize "Child's Game of the Year" done. Instead of dragons, Vikings are the focus of the game this time. The concept mixes tactical approaches with skill and is aimed at children from the age of six. With an impressive XXL game plan, the current award winner captivates children from the start: "Kettle the barrel and don't get wet" is the motto of the now award-winning children's game "Valley of the Vikings" by Marie and Wilfried Fort.

Barrel bowling encourages children to play

Playing board games with children usually works excellently - if they can be excited about the gameplay. With smartphones, consoles and televisions, the "analogue game" faces tough competitors who know how to captivate younger people, especially visually. The current "Game of the Year 2019" from Haba, which was penned by the author duo Marie and Wilfried Fort, proves that children's games can also be visually impressive. In the "Valley of the Vikings", as the award winner is entitled, children have to bowl over barrels that are placed in the middle of the oversized game board. This is a kid-friendly challenge that anyone can do - even non-players. The challenge character of "Valley of the Vikings" is high, the set of rules is simple and understandable, the action starts almost immediately after unpacking and setting up. The children's game is "an exciting foray that you can use your skill to play with," writes Spiel des Jahres eV about its recently chosen winner.

According to the jury, “skill and tactical thinking” were required of the children. In the eyes of the expert, this is what makes “Valley of the Vikings” “unique”. A game of the Viking game lasts around 20 minutes, which is aimed at two to four children aged six and over, but should also be interesting for younger players due to the action-packed basic mechanics - at least if you deliberately ignore the rules. What children can learn - and should learn at the envisaged playing age - is to expand their frustration limits. In the "Valley of the Vikings" there are regularly those "failure experiences" that are sometimes difficult for children to digest, but are important.

"Outside the ships are ready to take booty, in the middle the barrels. They are bowled over with a huge ball, but please aim it. A footbridge runs above the village. The color of the barrels that are knocked over determines whose player chip is moved where. Ideally, there are rewards. However, those who are unlucky and fall into the water from the end of the jetty trigger the round rating for the others and get nothing themselves.”

Game of the Year eV

In the "Children's Game of the Year 2019" there is more to bowling than meets the eye. Wild rolling is possible, but not very effective - if you are satisfied as a child without a point, you can still try the haptically appealing board game with "childish exuberance" and ignoring the required accuracy. "Valley of the Vikings" is one of those children's games that should gain in entertainment value with increasing experience - the more tactical the actions of the young Norsemen, the greater the rewards that can be earned on a raid. “You learn the subtleties in no time at all,” summarized the jury experts of Spiel des Jahres eV

The fact that this board game was named "Children's Game of the Year" is hardly a coincidence given the author couple's previous experience: the two had already been awarded the French children's game prize "As d'Or: Jeu de l'Année Enfant" in Cannes - there, however, with the title “Mr. Wolf". From a total of 125 games, the game of the year jury first chose their favorites and then the winner. The other two places on the podium are “Fabulantica” by Marco Teubner, published by Pegasus Spiele, and “Go Gecko Go!” by Jürgen Adams from Zoch.

The “blue pawn” has been awarded by Spiel des Jahres eV since 2001 and is a clear purchase criterion for children's board games. Several thousand copies are sold after an award, so that the critics' prize is extremely attractive from an economic point of view for publishers. The "Children's Game of the Year 2019" is in Retail* available for around 20 euros.

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