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Just One Wins the 2019 Spiel des Jahres; Wingspan Takes the Kennerspiel

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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The 2019 Spiel des Jahres nominations were announced on May 20, and after two months of guesses and second-guesses the German jury that oversees the prize has awarded the 2019 SdJ to Just One from Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter from Repos Production.

Just One is a quick-playing co-operative party game in which all players but one see a word, then everyone writes down a one-word clue to show to the guesser — but if players write the same clue word, then that word isn't shown to the guesser, making it harder for them to guess. The game lasts thirteen rounds, and you need to guess correctly in all rounds for a perfect game.

Co-designer Bruno Sautter at the award ceremony with juror Bernhard Löhlein

I give an overview of Just One in this video from August 2018:

The winner of the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres — the game of the year for enthusiasts, that is, for those already comfortable with learning and playing new games — is Wingspan from Elizabeth Hargrave, Stonemaier Games, and (in Germany) Feuerland Spiele.

I've yet to play Wingspan, so I must crib a description from the BGG page for this space: In the card-driven, engine-building board game Wingspan, you are bird enthusiasts — researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors — seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: gaining food tokens via custom dice, laying eggs, and drawing from hundreds of unique bird cards.

Designer Elizabeth Hargrave with Feuerland's Frank Heeren

For those who want to know more about the game, Rodney Smith from Watch It Played has produced a detailed rules overview of Wingspan:

And you can watch an entire Wingspan game being played in this GameNight! video, with a rules explanation up front and a post-game discussion:

Congrats to the winners!

The consolation prize for "best-dressed attendee" goes to LAMA designer Reiner Knizia
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