W. Eric Martin
Here's the latest from around the web relating to these games we play:
• The Spiel des Jahres committee has announced that for the 2011 award ceremony, three games will be named "game of the year" instead of only two, which has been the case since 2001 when the Kinderspiel des Jahres award began. According to the committee (in my translation):
The third prize is meant for players who have a lot of experience playing board games and are searching for more of a challenge....
The committee is responding to changes in the board game market. Supply and demand have grown for rule-intensive games in the past few years. The critics want to reward originality and innovation, while giving authors and publishers an incentive to continue their creative work in this segment of the market.
As for the Spiel des Jahres itself, that award will still go to a game aimed at all players. The three game of the year awards will be announced June 27, 2011 in Berlin.
• To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Carcassonne and its utter domination of game shelves around the world, Dutch publisher 999 Games is sponsoring a contest in which you must guess the number of games sold worldwide in the entire Carcassonne family. The winner gets a weekend for two in Carcassonne (the city, not the game box), and those who sign up for the 999 Games newsletter have a chance to win a game package worth €250. Deadline for entry is May 1, 2011.
• In an excellent example of how to introduce a game to potential players, GMT Games will host a live online demonstration of Volko Ruhnke's forthcoming game Andean Abyss on February 10, 2011 at 7:30 EST (GMT -5). Head to the GMT website for details on how to access the GMT Ventrilo Voice Server.
• Issue #418 of WIN: The Games Journal is available for download in English from the publisher, the Austrian group Spielen in Österreich. The site notes that free downloadable English versions of WIN will cease in March 2011, at which time you'll need to pay up to see more.
• In their great blog "From Inspiration to Publication", designers Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim (Belfort, Train of Thought) have catalogued 24 steps to game publication – and the series isn't over yet! At least three episodes remain, and even that won't necessarily wrap up the series. Well worth a look for aspiring designers.
• After noting that Two By Two was played more than a thousand times in its first week on online gaming site Yucata, designer Rob Bartel discusses the "perils and possiblities of going digital" with analog board games.
• On The Opinionated Gamers, Joe Huber explains how to play games faster and Lucas Hedgren explores the long path from Lost Cities to Keltis: Das Orakel.
• Lookout Games is organizing a worldwide Agricola championship to conclude at the Austrian Games Festival in November 2011. Details of where and when preliminary events would take place are still in the works.
• Nightfall designer David Gregg has written three parts of a four-part designer diary that's running on the Alderac website.
• Need an electronic timer for up to six people? Check out this d6-timer from DGT. A pyramid-shaped model for up to four players is also available.