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Nominations for the 2014 Spiel, Kennerspiel and Kinderspiel des Jahres

W. Eric Martin
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North Carolina
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The nominees for the 2014 Spiel des Jahres — Germany's game of the year award and the most influential award in boardgaming — have been announced, along with nominees for the 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres — an award introduced in 2011 to honor games intended for connoisseurs and gaming experts — and nominees for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, or children's game of the year. The nominees for the SdJ are:

-----Camel Up, by Steffen Bogen (eggertspiele/Pegasus Spiele)
-----Concept, by Gaëtan Beaujannot and Alain Rivollet (Repos Production)
-----Splendor, by Marc André (Space Cowboys)

Board Game: Camel Up
Board Game: Concept
Board Game: Splendor

Concept was named 2014 As d'Or, or France's game of the year, in February 2014, so perhaps it will follow on the heels of another Repos title — Antoine Bauza's 7 Wonders — to take home both an As d'Or and Spiel des Jahres. (Yes, 7 Wonders won the Kennerspiel, not the SdJ, and the As d'Or jury prize, but still.)

Another interesting tidbit to contemplate is that only one of the SdJ nominees — Camel Up — originates from Germany, while Concept comes from Repos in Belgium and Splendor from Space Cowboys in France. SdJ Chairman Tom Felber notes this internationalization in his remarks on the nominee lists: "In the search for fresh experiences, the jury will more often look outside the traditional German publishing industry to find it. At the same time, with an eye toward possible internationalization German publishers more and more frequently choose game titles that can be understood not only in German-speaking countries." In the end, though, country of origin doesn't matter so much as availability in Germany, as can be seen from Hanabi's SdJ win in 2013 following its debut in France in 2010, or even Qwirkle's 2011 SdJ win after first appearing in the U.S. in 2006.

The nine members of the SdJ jury also released a list of recommended titles for 2014, and they are:

-----Love Letter, by Seiji Kanai (Pegasus Spiele)
-----Potato Man, by Günter Burkhardt and Wolfgang Lehmann (Zoch)
-----Sanssouci, by Michael Kiesling (Ravensburger)
-----SOS Titanic, by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc (Ludonaute)
-----Voll Schaf, by Francesco Rotta (HUCH! & friends)

This same jury also announced its nominees for the Kennerspiel des Jahres, and those titles are:

-----Concordia, by Mac Gerdts (PD Verlag)
-----Istanbul, by Rüdiger Dorn (Pegasus Spiele)
-----Rococo, by Matthias Cramer, Louis Malz and Stefan Malz (eggertspiele/Pegasus Spiele)

Board Game: Concordia
Board Game: Istanbul
Board Game: Rococo

Man, the big winners in these nominee lists seems to be eggertspiele and Pegasus Spiele, with Peter Eggert and crew landing one title on each list and Pegasus — which is a publishing partner with eggertspiele — landing an additional nomination for Istanbul as well as one title on the recommendation list for each award. Speaking of which, the recommended titles for Kennerspiel des Jahres interesting bunch:

-----Amerigo, by Stefan Feld (Queen Games)
-----Blood Bound, by Kalle Krenzer (Heidelberger Spieleverlag)
-----Guildhall, by Hope S. Hwang (Pegasus Spiele)
-----Russian Railroads, by Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler (Hans im Glück)

Many considered Love Letter a lock for an SdJ nomination and Russian Railroads a lock for Kennerspiel, but twas not to be. (And my beloved AbluXXen received nothing more than excited noises by me each time that I played it. Ah, well — clearly I lack a finger on the pulse of the German family gaming scene, which is good because then I'd cut off the flow of oxygen to its brain.)

For Kinderspiel des Jahres, which has a separate jury along with an advisory panel, the nominees are:

-----Flizz & Miez, by Klemens Franz, Hanno Girke and Dale Yu (Carrera)
-----Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister!, by Brian Yu (Mattel)
-----Richard Ritterschlag, by Johannes Zirm (HABA)

Board Game: Flizz & Miez
Board Game: Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters
Board Game: Brandon the Brave

The Yu brothers are competing for Kinderspiel kudos?! Hoo boy, maybe they'll get lucky(?) and HABA will win for Richard Ritterschlag in order to avoid adding fire to brotherly competition.

The Kinderspiel winner will be announced on Monday, June 23, while the Spiel and Kennerspiel winners will be revealed on Monday, July 14. Congrats to all the nominees!
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