The jury of the Spiel des Jahres 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 the inventor for children. This suggests good ideas that have come from the Upper Franconian company - and, after Funkelschatz last year, Haba’s children's game once again took the top spot in the jury's selection Made “Children's Game of the Year”. 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 casts a spell over children from the start: “Bow 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 great - if they can get excited about what is happening in the game. With smartphones, consoles and televisions, the “analog game” faces tough competitors who know how to captivate younger people especially visually. The reigning “Game of the Year 2019” from Haba, which comes from the pen of the author duo Marie and Wilfried Fort, proves that even children's games can be visually impressive. In the “Valley of the Vikings”, the title of the award winner, children have to bowl over barrels that are set up in the middle of the oversized game board. This is a child-friendly task that anyone can manage - even previous non-players. “Valley of the Vikings” is very challenging, the rules are simple and understandable, and the action starts almost immediately after unpacking and setting up. The children's game is “an exciting foray that you can just play with skill,” writes the Spiel des Jahres eV about its recently chosen title.

According to the jury, “skill and tactical thinking” are required of the children. That makes “Valley of the Vikings” “unique” in the eyes of the experts. A game of the Viking game, which is aimed at two to four children from the age of six, but should also be of interest to younger players due to the action-packed basic mechanics, takes around 20 minutes - at least if you consciously ignore the rules. What children can learn - and should also at the intended playing age - is to expand their frustration limits. In the “Valley of the Vikings” there are regularly those “experiences of failure” that are sometimes difficult to digest for children, but are important.

“On the outside the ships are ready to pick up prey, in the middle the barrels. They are knocked over with a huge ball, but please aim them. Because there is a footbridge above the village. The color of the overturned barrels determines whose player chip is moved where. Ideally, there are rewards. However, if you are unlucky and fall into the water from the end of the jetty, the lap rating is triggered for the others and you get nothing yourself. "

Game of the Year eV

In the “Children's Game of the Year 2019” there is more to the barrel bowling than meets the eye. Wild rolling is possible, but not very productive - if you are satisfied as a child without any points, you can still try the haptically appealing board game with “childish arrogance” and ignoring the necessary accuracy. “Valley of the Vikings” is one of those children's games that should gain significantly in entertainment value with increasing experience - the more tactical the approach of the young Northmen, the greater the rewards that can be earned on a foray. “You learn the finesse in no time”, summed up the jury experts of the Spiel des Jahres eV

The fact that this board game was named “Children's Game of the Year” is hardly a coincidence, given the previous experience of the author couple: the two of them were awarded the French children's game award “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 selected their favorites and then the winner. The other two places on the podium include “Fabulantica” by Marco Teubner, published by Pegasus Spiele, and “Go Gecko Go!” by Jürgen Adams from Zoch.

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

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