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Thoughts on Vuoden peli (Finnish game of the year) 2016

Max Lampinen
Finland
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after some busy years...
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Belated thoughts on last years awards, I've been way too busy lately!

Vuoden peli 2016
Short overview of the award.. Past winners include games like Manhattan in 1994, which as a result, was one of the first eurogames I played. They can be abstract too, games like Blokus (family game 2003) and Pentago (strategy game 2006) have won. Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride were translated soon after they came out, both won, and started the publishing journey of Lautapelit.fi, which some of you abroad might recognize from heavy games like Eclipse and Nations. Recent winners have mostly been eurogames like that too, Splendor, Dominion.. I'm fairly certain my own boardgaming career wouldn't have started without this award. People who don't play that much boardgames tend to respect the award winners, and are somewhat aware of them, as they're advertised in magazines. Bit like SdJ, but in smaller scale, indeed.

Children's game of the year: Muumipeikon kalaretki
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/206850/muumipeikon-kalar...
Children's game award was won by Moomin game where your goal is to find fish from hidden tiles. If you pick a right tile with magnet, you catch it and get points. Moomin is sure way to win Finnish game of the year awards. I've been playing a 2010 winner Muumien purnukkajahti a lot with my son, but these Moomin games aren't exactly high art. Another year where children game winner is pretty low quality compared to Kinderspiel des Jahres. This game beat other nominees like My First Stone Age and Spinderella. Sigh.

Family game of the year: Otrio
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/188465/otrio
Abstract games tend to do really well in the family game market. Finland, land of engineers, loves these. I don't have much to say about this game. It's like a bit more interesting tictactoe where there are multiple ways to complete the line.. Animals on Board and Race to the North Pole were other notable nominees. Nothing spectacular.

Party game of the year: Kivi
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/206851/kivi
This category was added last year with ridiculously good nominees (Telestrations, Spyfall, Concept). Now it was time to come back to earth. Good games like Terra (ok, bit boring "party" game and my old parents found it too difficult) and Codenames were nominated, but the winner was extremely middling dice-based abstract game. Why? I think they should merge this category back together with family games if this is considered a party game.

Strategy game of the year: Castles of mad King Ludwig

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/155426/castles-mad-king-...
This winner was clear highlight. While I personally prefer Suburbia with gamers or Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King with non-gamers, it's a high quality strategy game. I was surprised that it was even translated. Other nominees were all ok to good aswell: Dokmus, Flamme Rouge, Skyliners, Blueprints, Allies: Realm of Wonder and Karuba

So, quite average year with some nice surprises and some letdowns. Hopefully 2017 will be a nice boardgaming year too. I'm eagerly waiting for Spiel des Jahres nominees in couple of months as I've fallen bit out of loop about good new games.
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