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The Ten Greatest Spiel des Jahres Winners
Without much fanfare, 2018 marked the 40th edition of the Speil des Jahres. There are now forty games that have had the title of Game of the Year bestowed upon them by German-speaking board game critics, and the winner can expect to become one of the best-selling games in the world.
CranBerries wrote: I just purchased the combined Trains and Trains: Rising Sun, which I hope combines Dominion and Ticket to Ride in a Japan-themed package that may appeal to my daughter.
Great list, but I'd scratch Dominion altogether. It was a huge innovator but it's been hugely superseded by so many deck builders with extra wiggly bits, especially boards, such as Trains. Adding a board increases the depth and interest of a deckbuilder massively, yet hardly increases the complexity at all. In some respects, it makes things easier to learn because your goal becomes less abstract.
MattDP wrote: Great list, but I'd scratch Dominion altogether. It was a huge innovator but it's been hugely superseded by so many deck builders with extra wiggly bits, especially boards, such as Trains. Adding a board increases the depth and interest of a deckbuilder massively, yet hardly increases the complexity at all. In some respects, it makes things easier to learn because your goal becomes less abstract.
I think that's a good point (and have an article coming up soon that kind of harps on the failings of Dominion in contrast to similar games), but I think Nate's choice here is valid for precisely the reason he cites: Dominion virtually invented the concept. Others have improved on it, but there's something to be said for innovation.
Great article, Nate.
That being said, the game requires at least 2-3 expansions to shine which is a hefty investment for newcomers. Newer products are much cheaper out of the gate and hit depths core Dominion can’t.
If the wife wasn’t hooked on Dominion from day one, we would likely have gone the direction of one of these newer games. Mage Knight receives quite a bit of play, though it scratches a different itch.
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By that metric I can actually see Dominion being up one spot. Not only is it highly influential, it's still really popular. Like Catan, a lot of hobbyists have moved on, but it's still getting discovered and ensnaring new people. I don't even like the game that much, but I just didn't think I could ignore it.
I've never actually played Liar's Dice. It sounds like a game I would enjoy though. I still question where it would go though, assuming it made the cut. I can't see it higher than 9 for me. Another game that might have made the cut had I played it is Hare and Tortoise. I do question the long term impact of both games, but then I put Adel Verpflichtet way up at 5, so what do I know?
I almost included Rummikub, which was, without my knowledge, the first SdJ winner to which I was exposed. I passed on it in the end because it won after being out for several years. Sort of a 1970s Qwirkle.
I was actually really surprised how many strong games have won, especially since 2000 or so. I think Thurn & Taxis is the only one since then I haven't ever clicked with at least a little.
DarthJoJo wrote: Dominion may be my top Spiel winner of all time, but Hanabi isn’t far behind.
Hanabi is great. So simple, yet bypasses all the inherent problems with the genre at a stroke: the players actually have to co-operate to win, and no-one can play alpha dog. I know a lot of players don't like the meta aspect of the game where it's easy to inadvertently "cheat" with the tone of voice or the timing of what you say, but I actually like it. Most groups settle on a shared understanding that works for them which adds to the flexibility and charm of the game.
san il defanso wrote: I've never actually played Liar's Dice ... Another game that might have made the cut had I played it is Hare and Tortoise?
You should totally play Liar's Dice. It's great and all you need to play is some dice, which I'm sure you have laying around. Hare and Tortoise is fun but I'm not sure it's top 10 SdJ material. I guess the most interesting thing about it is that it still feels fairly novel despite its age.
engelstein wrote: Hare and Tortoise belongs on this list. A great, great game that is totally unexpected when you set it up.
That's the story book race game right? My friend has it and that game is a hit every time it hits the table. All ages, quick, lite. And very simply fun. A real gem.
The other games we have played in that series (3 little pigs, Baba yaga) were not...
//so I had to go google up Hare and Tortoise, to see that you are talking about something entirely different than The Hare and The Tortoise.
///rather than delete my post in shame I will let it linger in infamy, to remind myself what a filthy casual I am.