When the first tips on the nominated board games for the game of the year 2016 and the 2016 game of the year were given, some favorites quickly emerged that were mentioned particularly often by game connoisseurs. The time of prognoses is now over. A few minutes ago, the Game of the Year jury announced this year's winners of the prestigious award. You can find out whether the favorites were able to win in the end or whether one of the underdogs prevailed in the following article on the selection of the game of the year 2016.


About the game of the year eV

Once a year the Spiel des Jahres eV awards prizes to particularly outstanding game titles in the following three categories: Game of the Year, Kennspiel of the Year and Children's Game of the Year 2016. For authors, winning this award is like an accolade that will take them to Olympus Game writers catapulted. The jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV currently consists of ten members who have made a name for themselves as game critics.

Awarding the Game of the Year has become a tradition. The award ceremony was held for the first time in 1979 - in the “board game capital” of Essen an der Ruhr, in the middle of the beautiful Ruhr area. A cultural event was born between coal and steel that is still expected 37 years later by board game fans from all over the world. The immense influence the awarding of the critics' awards actually has can only be seen when looking at the sales figures for the award-winning titles. Statisticians assume that the initial circulation has increased tenfold. Today's decision is therefore of commercial relevance, especially for publishers.   

Game of the year 2016: Codesnames

Long before the announcement of the nominations for Game of the Year 2016 was valid codenames from Heidelberger Spieleverlage as a hot favorite. The deduction game by the game designer Vlaada Chvátil is ideal for large game groups and, with a playing time of around a quarter of an hour, is ideal to motivate communicative thinkers to evening-length game events. Over 200 term cards ensure long-term motivation and a high replay value. Behind codenames There is a sophisticated logic system: As part of an agent team, you have to contact your agents, whose identities are, however, encrypted using code names.

Vote for the game of the year 2016: the decisions
Vote for the game of the year 2016: the decisions

One of the heads of the secret service brings the solution closer, who gives clues to the true identities by disclosing individual words - always in the form of individual words that are related to the code names on display. The principle of the game is quickly understood and is based solely on the conclusions of deductive logic: that is, the players conclude from the general to the particular. The respective intelligence chiefs try to name pairs of terms behind which the uncovering of their own agents lies. This is sometimes not that easy, because one quickly overlooks a logical conclusion that leads to the revelation of an enemy agent. The Game of the Year 2016 from Heidelberger Spieleverlag is an excellent family and party game that provides lots of puzzling fun. 

Expert Game of the Year 2016: Isle of Skye

The jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV has decided: Kennerspiel des Jahres 2016 is Isle of Skye from lookout games. With Isle of Skye, the authors Alexander Pfister and Andreas Pelikan have created a strategic trading game, the core of which is to accurately assess the actions of the opponent. Only those who carefully plan the purchase prices for their own island areas that others buy them can seize control of the legendary island. Incorrect assessments mean that the priced island areas have to be bought yourself, which leaves deep holes in the Scottish wallet. Playfully remembered Isle of Skye removed from the classic board game Carcassonne, with the difference that Lookout Spiele's 2016 Expert Game of the Year is many times faster and more tactical.

Vote for the game of the year 2016: the decisions

The psychological component consists in assessing the usefulness of the terrain tiles on display for the opponent and at the same time for yourself. So that this is not too easy, one works in Isle of Skye with a screen behind which there are three game tiles. A game lasts around 40 to 60 exciting minutes. The awarding of points is based on the rules that the players have defined beforehand: For example, points are awarded for the longest built path, the largest lake in terms of area or the largest number of towers. In five game rounds with different victory conditions, the ruler of the legendary island is played out. With every game, the demands to improve your own game result increase. And with every game you assume that you can assess your opponent better - just stupid that the opponent sees it the same way.

Game of the year 2016: Commentary on the award ceremony

This year's award ceremonies for the Game of the Year 2016 and the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2016 were particularly exciting. Not because the award itself was so incredibly exciting, but because even the “underdogs” had a real chance of winning this year.

codenames is undoubtedly a great title that appeals to many types of players and, with short game rounds, also inspires casual gamers. The cultural asset of board games is brought to people who otherwise tend to close themselves off from complex board games. With simple rules and always comprehensible conclusions codenames a game for everyone and therefore also a worthy title holder of the 2016 Game of the Year award. With an acquisition cost of around 17 euros, the logic game from Heidelberger Spieleverlag is also inexpensive and therefore ideally suited as a beginner's title.

It is fascinating how much fun playing and guessing 5 x 5 concept tiles can be. Even without winning the title it would be codenames by legendary author Vlaada Chvátil was one of the highlights of the 2016 game year. The Spiel des Jahres jury recognized the successful symbiosis of simplicity on the one hand and complexity on the other. codenames will become a long-runner on the international gaming tables and thus be a timeless flagship for the quality of modern board game concepts. With all the praise, one shouldn't forget the other nominees: Karuba from Haba as well Imhotep of cosmos.

Fans of psychologically challenging board games will be happy too Isle of Skye as the game of the year 2016 about a title that is also challenging at second glance. The basic rules of the game are quite simple for a connoisseur game, but the quality is more than worthy of that of a prize winner. The accessible board game Isle of Skye works skillfully with the expectations of fellow players. What is exciting is what you don't see: namely, thinking up the perfect price strategies and being surprised when these tactics don't work because the opponent has completely different ideas. In the field of the expert games, the competition was first class this year. With TIME Stories a narrative part of the board game was represented, which would also have deserved the award. And the new edition of Pandemic with a great legacy mechanism would have rightly been the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2016. What remains for passionate board players is the realization that all three nominated titles will probably end up on the game shelf, provided that they have not already been purchased due to their great qualities.        

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