Asmodee Games of the Year
A Look at the Previous Winners of the Spiel des Jahres Award
One of the most anticipated board game distinctions in the industry, the Spiel des Jahres is a German award granted every year at the largest board game convention in the world, Spiel, in Essen, Germany. Spiel des Jahres is also one of the most venerable industry awards, having started in 1978 and now well into its fourth decade. Over those years, several games in the Asmodee family have been granted the honor of winning or being nominated for a Spiel des Jahres, even as far back as 1985! Let’s take a closer look at these fantastically fun games in our catalog.
From Ludonaute, this fast and fun game of high-stakes train robbery took the 2015 award. Colt Express puts players in the roles of individual bandits competing with each other to grab as much loot as they can before the train pulls into the station! What’s truly unique about this game is the three-dimensional cardboard train upon which the bandits run, firing at rival robbers and scrounging for loot among the cars. When Colt Express won the award, the judges said, “The mixture of planning and chaos has charm and a lot of humor.”
The massively popular game of interpreting dreamscapes won the Spiel des Jahres back in 2010. Now, with six expansions or companion games featuring the wondrous work of globally-recognized artists, Dixit is richer and more engaging than ever. Incorporating a vibrant emphasis on imagination and experimentation, a game with such a mixture of bluffing, deduction, and creative interpretation had never before seen among tabletop games. It’s no wonder Dixit was awarded such a distinction and continues to be a benchmark in board game design to this day.
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Recently reprinted by Ystari games, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a classic cooperative sleuthing game that has enjoyed a recent resurgence. Players are cast as part of a team of detectives traversing the dangerous streets of 19th century London as members of the Baker Street Irregulars. Following leads across fog-laden London, your team will have to deduce their way through informational dead ends and period-style newspapers in search of that one subtle clue that unlocks the whole case. There’s little wonder these mechanics weren’t changed for a modern age; they have worked exceptionally well for decades.
Asmodee’s catalog also includes a number of nominees in close contention for the award:
A clever take on card drafting and set collection, Elysium earned its nomination this past year for “…its continuous dilemma: you can only make progress through limiting your options.” As a demigod, you compete against your rivals for the favor of the gods, carefully choosing when to spend your remaining resources throughout the game. As the judges note, “On the difficult quest for perfect timing, who wouldn't wish for a little divine inspiration?”
A deduction game that tasks players with giving clues without speaking and only using a limited number of icons, Concept will hilariously challenge perspectives and perceptions. Of the nomination, the judges said, “Concept’s truly innovative concept [has] the guessers directly [involved] in the mental leaps of the other players. Conventional patterns of thought are soon left behind as players descend into a fascinating world of symbols and icons.”
A quick and competitive puzzle game, Splendor casts players in the roles of precious gem merchants, competing with each other in the vivid markets of the Renaissance. Compelling, addictive, and with a wealth of deeply tactical options available to players, Splendor is a truly unique game. From the judges: “The objective of collecting precious stones keeps players captivated, concentrating from the very first minute on trying to achieve their goal.”
Other winners of the prestigious Spiel des Jahres include the industrious Ticket to Ride in 2004 and the world-famous Settlers of Catan in 1995. Additionally, there are a number of other awards handed out each year at the event, and plenty of Asmodee titles have collected these awards as well. 7 Wonders from Repos took the Connoisseur’s Game of the Year in 2011 for its unique cardplay and empire building mechanics, and Shadows Over Camelot from Days of Wonder was awarded Fantasy Game of the Year in 2006.
We don’t have too long to wait for the 2016 Spiel des Jahres; which games are you hoping make the cut? Will Mysterium follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, Dixit? Will T.I.M.E. Stories secure its place in history? Will Barony ascend to the throne? Or maybe 7 Wonders Duel will amaze us all.
We’ll find out at Spiel this June!