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Spiel des Jahres Nominations for 2018: Azul, Luxor & The Mind; Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 Takes Special Prize

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
Drop your pencils! Speculation time is over as the jury for the Spiel des Jahres — Germany's game of the year award — has announced nominations for its main prize as well as two related prizes.

The three nominations for the main Spiel des Jahres award, are:

Azul, by Michael Kiesling from Next Move Games
Luxor, by Rüdiger Dorn from Queen Games
The Mind, by Wolfgang Warsch from NSV

Aside from these nominations, the SdJ jury recommended the following six titles: 5-Minute Dungeon, Facecards, Majesty: For the Realm, Memoarrr!, Santorini, and Woodlands.

Note that the Spiel des Jahres award is primarily aimed at family gamers, i.e., those who play games but aren't heavily into the gaming scene.

Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Luxor
Board Game: The Mind

Nominations for the Kennerspiel des Jahres — the connoisseur's game of the year award for those already comfortable with games — went to:

Ganz schön clever, by Wolfgang Warsch from Schmidt Spiele
Heaven & Ale, by Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt from eggertspiele
Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, by Wolfgang Warsch from Schmidt Spiele

Which means that Wolfgang Warsch picked up three nominations in one year while Michael Kiesling took two. Amazing to see that, especially from Warsch who had only two published games prior to 2018.

The SdJ jury recommended two other titles at the Kennerspiel level: Clank! and Pioneers. The winners of the Spiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres will be announced on July 23, 2018.

Board Game: That's Pretty Clever!
Board Game: Heaven & Ale
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg

The final batch of nominations are for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, the children's game of the year, with the winner of this award being announced on June 11, 2018. The nominated titles are:

Emojito!, by Urtis Šulinskas from HUCH!
Funkelschatz, a.k.a. Dragon's Breath, by Lena and Günter Burkhardt from HABA
Panic Mansion, a.k.a. Shaky Manor, by Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen from Blue Orange Games

Aside from these titles, the Kinderspiel des Jahres jury (which is not the same as the Spiel des Jahres jury) recommended these five games: Dino World, The Legend of the Wendigo, Rhino Hero Super Battle, SOS Dino, and Speed Colors.

Board Game: Emojito!
Board Game: Dragon's Breath
Board Game: Shaky Manor

Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Aside from these awards, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 from Matt Leacock, Rob Daviau, and Z-Man Games won a special award, the first such award since 2010.

SdJ jury member Tom Felber notes that the Pandemic gaming system has been nominated three times over the years — Pandemic in 2009, Forbidden Island in 2011, and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 in 2016 — and while "the already ingenious gameplay was developed at a top level", now the authors have paired this with an interesting background story. "All future legacy games will have to be measured" against this title, which is why the jury is awarding the authors this special prize.
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