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Joe guesses at the 2008 Spiel des Jahres...
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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2008 looks like another interesting year for the SdJ - there are a lot of interesting candidates, and no clear frontrunner. I can easily find 20 games that aren't readily eliminated, and I'm sure I missed some.

Comments most welcome...
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1. Board Game: Caylus Magna Carta [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:433]
 
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: a chance at being recommended; no nomination.

Lighter than Caylus, but it doesn't stand out as the gamer's game of the period, so no real chance.
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2. Board Game: Château Roquefort [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:721]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: I _think_ it will be considered for the children's award, rather than the SdJ proper.

If it isn't considered for the children's award, it's a contender. But after misguessing with Nacht der Magier before, I'm not going to risk it.
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3. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:86]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take - popular in Spielbox, but not well enough distributed to garner more than a nomination.

My second favorite game of the period, but no SdJ contender.
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4. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:6]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: even in the family version, just too heavy. I'm sure it will be recommended (or, less likely, get a special award), and it's popular enough to have a _chance_ at a nomination.

Has faded for me, but still a fine game.
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5. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:137]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: too negative, and too gamer-focused.

Another game I like, but I don't think there's any chance of more than a recommendation here.
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6. Board Game: Anno 1701: Das Brettspiel [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2466]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: not different enough from its predecessors to get much attention.

One of only three games on this list I haven't played.
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7. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:197]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: some nice mechanisms, but I don't think it will be perceived as the _best_ dice game for the SdJ, so just a recommendation here.

I found the game long for what it was, but very playable.
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8. Board Game: Brass [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:15]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: well, OK, calling this a contender is pushing things a bit, but it was well received in Spielbox.

From a SdJ perspective, pales in comparison to Agricola, and doesn't have the production needed to really be considered. Fine game, though...
 
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9. Board Game: Witch's Brew [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:453]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: I'm not convinced this will be well enough received to have a chance, though it _fits_ as a SdJ game reasonably well. Could be a nominee, if fortunate, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Joe's take - not my kind of game, but it does what it tries quite well.
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10. Board Game: Amyitis [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:525]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: not special, and not particularly well SdJ-focused. I think it also will suffer from not being the best-aimed Ystari game of the year.

Another game I could play again, but don't need to.
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11. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:23]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: while this would be _my_ pick, I don't get a vote, and it's too much of a gamer's game to be likely SdJ material. Would be a big surprise to even get a nomination.

This ends the set of games I think are outside of the serious running for a nomination. Now on to what I see as more serious contenders...
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12. Board Game: Before the Wind [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1072]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: I wouldn't think so much of the chances save for a very positive review in Spielbox. I don't think it will make it, but I'll give it a 10% chance of a nomination.
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13. Board Game: Cuba [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:264]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: another game with a tie to Pillar's, I'm not convinced Cuba's innovations will be enough to get it across the line, but I would give it a 10% chance of a nomination.
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14. Board Game: Tribune: Primus Inter Pares [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:298]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: Pillars of the Earth not receiving a nomination makes this less compelling than it would otherwise be as a nominee, but I do think it has a ~20% chance of nabbing a nomination.
 
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15. Board Game: Liebe & Intrige [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4328]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: some novel mechanisms, a theme that's fresh, and it's the first contender from Goldsieber in ages. I think it has a reasonable - say, 25% - shot at a nomination, but no chance of a win.
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16. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:445]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: while it's my least favorite Ystari game, it's also perhaps the easiest and most accessible; I'd give it a ~30% chance of a nomination.
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17. Board Game: Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:899]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: once upon a time, the SdJ jury would regularly nominate a two player game, but such games would never win. Could this year see a return of this practice? I think so; I'll pick Perry Rhodan as receiving a SdJ Nomination
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18. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:48]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: Saint Petersburg was well received, and I think _this_ is the Pillars/Caylus influenced game most likely to get tabbed. Pick #2 for a SdJ Nomination
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19. Board Game: The Hanging Gardens [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:834]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: feels a _lot_ like a SdJ game, but Hans im Glueck isn't due for a bit longer. Still, an easy pick for a third SdJ Nomination
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20. Board Game: Big Points [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1768]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: a very clever, simple, and accessible game; in much the same tradition as Just4Fun, I think it will be the 4th SdJ Nomination
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21. Board Game: Keltis [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1014]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Joe's take: this definitely looks like a SdJ-type of game. Lost Cities received attention back in the day, and Kosmos doesn't have a recent win. I'll take this as my early pick for the SdJ Winner
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22. Board Game: Drachen Wurf [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:5362]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
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I throw this one in for a nomination.
I didn't like it at all but I am not the target group for SdJ recommended games.
It reminded me strongly of the well received Pickomino.
Its easy accessability makes it a contender for a nomination.
 
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23. Board Game: Wicked Witches Way [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1434]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
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The German edition of this game was available by Essen 2007, so it could be also considered for SdJ 2008.
For me this is a typical family game in a nice package which could be well received by the Jury as well. Easy rules to grasp. Funny for children.
Would I like to play it myself: no.

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24. Board Game: Jamaica [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:363]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
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Since Pirate's Cove there wasn't a light Pirate themed game that could be considered by the SdJ Jury (except Buccaneer). But Jamaica may be choosen.
Again: Easy rules, family friendly and a good production value.
Another recommendation by the Jury as well?
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25. Board Game: Airships [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1197]
Huzonfirst
United States
Manassas
Virginia
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Curry, Iguodala, and Co. are just too much for the valiant Cavs (and the amazing LeBron) and give Golden State their first NBA title in 40 years!
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I'm going to stick with my original prediction, made soon after Essen, that this would be a leading contender for the award. The weight is perfect, it's got the size, it's short, the Jury likes its publisher (Queen), and its designer has won an award with practically every game he's ever created. Against that we have the almost total lack of buzz since it appeared. However, this was getting a lot of play at the Gathering last week, thanks to the appearance (finally!) of the RGG English language version. Will it win? I don't know. But I'm betting it gets at least a nomination.
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