The Ten Greatest Spiel des Jahres Winners

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02 Dec 2018 23:29 #287294 by san il defanso

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.

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03 Dec 2018 01:29 - 03 Dec 2018 07:17 #287295 by CranBerries
I just purchased the combined Trains and Trains: Rising Sun, which I hope merges Dominion and Ticket to Ride in a Japan-themed package that may appeal to my daughters. So it's like two prize winners for the price of one!
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03 Dec 2018 05:06 #287299 by Matt Thrower

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 It was a huge innovator but it's been hugely superseded by so many deck builders with extra wiggly bits, especially boards, such as Trains.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.
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03 Dec 2018 08:16 #287304 by Jackwraith

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 It was a huge innovator but it's been hugely superseded by so many deck builders with extra wiggly bits, especially boards, such as Trains.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.
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03 Dec 2018 08:30 #287306 by Black Barney
Great article! Certainly agree with Settlers
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03 Dec 2018 09:57 #287318 by SaMoKo
I still come back to Dominion as a deck builder. The pure execution of the concept can be refreshing, and the many expansions bring the complexity of the game past many others that have come and gone.

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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03 Dec 2018 11:23 #287325 by DarthJoJo
Dominion may be my top Spiel winner of all time, but Hanabi isn’t far behind. I know it’s controversial within the more dedicated gamer community, some even arguing that it isn’t really a game but weird performance art, but it does so much right. It can fit in a purse no problem, not being able to see your own hand is immediately intriguing, there’s just that right amount of tension in every play or discard, and it’s quick enough that there’s always time for one more try at a better score. If I could convince someone to play a round, it was the easiest sell when I worked at a toy store.
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03 Dec 2018 12:12 #287328 by quozl
While I disagree with some of your choices, I really can't believe you don't have Liar's Dice in your list.
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03 Dec 2018 17:29 #287362 by ubarose
It's been a long time since I saw a list of games where I have played all of them. Not only that, but if any of these came out, I could more or less remember how to play them. Yeah, these really are great games, even if they aren't my personal favorites.
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03 Dec 2018 18:24 - 03 Dec 2018 18:25 #287366 by san il defanso
This is definitely not based altogether on personal preference. A list of my favorite games would likely have El Grande at the top. These are ranked by impact as much as anything else.

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.
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03 Dec 2018 23:43 #287388 by Jexik
Great list!

Here's another vote for "Dominion deserves its spot."

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04 Dec 2018 04:10 #287397 by Matt Thrower

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.
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04 Dec 2018 09:05 #287406 by charlest
Great article Nate.
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06 Dec 2018 16:35 #287632 by engelstein
Hare and Tortoise belongs on this list. A great, great game that is totally unexpected when you set it up.

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06 Dec 2018 17:44 - 06 Dec 2018 18:11 #287635 by boothwah

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...

/EDIT SLASHIES
//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.
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