Spiel des Jahres and Kenner predictions 2020
Rico Melchert
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Less then a week until the jury announces the nominations for 2020, and time to lock in my predictions.
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TL/DR: I'd like to belive it's an educated guess (Final thoughts in comments!)
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The process:
I’ve created a spread sheet where I collect SdJ opinions/predictions from a variety of sources. SdJ discussion forums here on the geek, Reddit threads about SdJ, SdJ tweets from jury members, but mostly YouTube lists (German) and comments on those videos.

Every time a game is mentioned it’s “hype-value” is increased (SdJ hotness?). I then remove all mentioned games that are not eligible. Mostly because they haven’t had a German release yet or eligibility was last year.

When the game are sorted I "kind of" follow the real world process that the jury follows. First I create a “recommended list”.
10 games with different styles, player counts and mechanics.

Weirdly enough, this means that it might not be the top10 games that are recommended. They need to be different.
From these 10 games I pick 3 as my prediction for the nominees.
I base it on hype, my own plays with different groups, how easy the rules are to read and teach.

And lastly. From the three I guess the winner.
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Kenner: Same hype-list. But then I just pick three likely nominees from the most hyped. (As the jury don’t provide a recommend list for the Kenner).

Enjoy the list!
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Lastly. This year more games then usual are mentioned as both SdJ AND Kenner nominees (I.e Will “The Crew” end up as SdJ or Kenner? I don’t know, but to make the lists more interesting I chose not to have games picked for SdJ be part of my guess for the Kenner).
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1. Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:71]
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
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SdJ 2020: Winner / Nominee / Recommend 1

Who knows if the game will end up as a SdJ or Kenner nominee but it will be nominated. By far the most predicted game and it ticks all the boxes.

Takes a mechanic every German family knows (trick taking) and stands it on its head by making it cooperative. Second print sold out immediately.
Rules are light and well written.

I’ve played 60 or so games of this with varied groups and ages and so far it’s been a hit with every, single, group. Something that’s highly unusual for my groups.

The problem is that there are so many other good card games this year, and putting Die Crew in Kenner would open up for one of them to be recommended. :/

Recommend list: Card game / Co-op (3-5 players)
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2. Board Game: Spicy [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:3031]
Board Game: Spicy
Rico Melchert
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Haven't played any of the next two games, but the SdJ hype is real.
But not enough for a recommendation with Die Crew in the card game house...

(Recommend: Card game, Bluffing, 2-6 players)
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3. Board Game: PUSH [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2749]
Board Game: PUSH
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Harald Schrapers review concludes that if that box said 2-4 players there would be few things to criticize.

(Recommend: Card game, Push your luck, 2-6 players)
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4. Board Game: Draftosaurus [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:799]
Board Game: Draftosaurus
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SdJ 2020: Nominee / Recommend 2

Haven't played this one but it's got a lot of hype.
Componets look amazing.

Recommend list: Drafting. (2-5 players)
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5. Board Game: My City [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:2477]
Board Game: My City
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SdJ 2020: Nominee / Recommend 3

This years Knizia. Feels like FITS 2.0 but with legacy elements.

Recommend list: Tile placing, Legacy, Knizia. (2-4 players)
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6. Board Game: Little Town [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:1270]
Board Game: Little Town
Rico Melchert
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 4

If My City doesnt nab the 3rd spot as a nominee, I think this one has a good chance.

Recommend list: Economic, Worker Placement. (2-4 players)
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7. Board Game: Tiny Towns [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:326]
Board Game: Tiny Towns
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Excellent components, great rules, maybe a bit heavy for a SdJ (nowadays).
I wouldn't be surprised if this shows up as a Kenner nominee.

Even if it's a totally different game from Little Town, I think they compete for the same spot.

(Recommend: Polymino, Pattern building. (1-6 players))
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8. Board Game: Trails of Tucana [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1528]
Board Game: Trails of Tucana
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 5

The sheer amount of RnW's released during 2019-20 should result in a couple of great games but there only seems to be two in contention for SdJ. This and Man Muss Auch Gönnen Können. Haven't played the later, but Tucana I can vouch for.

It can't imagine that C19 isn't part of the conversation and this game can easily be played over the web.

Recommend list: Roll/Flip n Write. Path creation. (1+ players)
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9. Board Game: Divvy Dice [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:3363]
Board Game: Man muss auch gönnen können
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Not as pretty as Trails, but this RnW solves the multiplayer solitaire and keeps everyone involved.

(Recommend: Roll/Flip n Write. (1-4 players))
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10. Board Game: Wavelength [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:635]
Board Game: Wavelength
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 6

The next three games compete for the spot of Party/Limited Communication game of the year, and I'm guessing Wavelength (Perfect Match in Germany) takes the top spot.
The components make for a wow-factor, rules are short and easy, but most importantly it feels like the most inovative of the bunch.

Recommend list: Party, Team, Communication. (2+ players)
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11. Board Game: Detective Club [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:1353]
Board Game: Detective Club
Rico Melchert
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Great game from original creator of Mysterium. Ukraine comany I<3Games have created another gem. Can't recommend this one enough and I hope the jury does as well.

(Recommend: Party, Deduction. (4-8 players)
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12. Board Game: Similo [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2239]
Board Game: Similo
Rico Melchert
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One deck version of Libelluds amazing One Key. Picture deduction in your pocket. This game doesnt have that my hype going for it tbo but it perfectly fits what the SdJ is all about.
Everyone can play it, learning takes 30 seconds, great artwork.
Dont miss this one!

(Recommend: Visual Deduction. (2+ players)
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13. Board Game: Kitchen Rush (Revised Edition) [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:3429]
Board Game: Kitchen Rush (Revised Edition)
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 7

Two games fight for real-time/team game. Hype speaks for Kitchen Rush but I wouldnt be surprised if the "under the radar" hit Team3 shows up on the recommend list this monday.

Even if the revised version of this game has lighter rules then the original it's still not SdJ-light. Both games have great components.
But Hype, and the fact that this is from Pegasus... well.

Recommend list: Real-Time, co-op, communication. (2-4 players)
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14. Board Game: TEAM3 PINK [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:3261] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Board Game: TEAM3 PINK
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When I think about it, this is strangely enough a covid-friendly game. Due to how it limits player communication it should work fine over video.

(Recommend: Real-time, co-op, limited communication, dexterity (3-6 players (12 with both versions of the game)
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15. Board Game: Minecraft: Builders & Biomes [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2581]
Board Game: Minecraft: Builders & Biomes
Rico Melchert
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 8

It's hard to overstate Minecrafts impact on the video game industry, and if the jury is serious about using SdJ to broaden the board game hobby, this might just be the perfect trojan horse. Great components. Easy rules.

It's designed in Germany, by a German designer and released by Ravensburger.

If the jury don't like the fact that it's a license game, maybe they'll go for another creative game... (see next)

Recommend list: Creative, Drafting, "Adventure". (2-4 players)
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16. Board Game: Pictures [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:2893]
Board Game: Pictures
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A game about creativity, and in some sense it shares the spot with Minecraft. That said. When you're not allowed to go out, playing with real sticks and stones might be the next best thing.

(Recommend: Creative, Deduction. (3-5 players))
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17. Board Game: Mandala [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:829]
Board Game: Mandala
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 9

The jury usually picks a two-player for the recommend list and 2020 Mandala should be it. Awesome card-driven abstract, with simple rules, deep gameplay and very good components.

Recommend list: Two-Player, Abstract. (2 players)
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18. Board Game: Palm Island [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:727]
Board Game: Palm Island
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SdJ 2020: Recommend 10

Right, time to get real. This is not a normal choice for the jury. They don't like multiplayer solitaire (NMBR9), part of the mission statement of the SdJ is to get people together.

But this is not a normal year, and Germany is one of the countries that have a quarantine lockdown in place, so... If there ever was a time to recommend a single player game, it's now.

Recommend list: Single player, Memory, Deckbuilding.
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19. Board Game: PARKS [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:227]
Board Game: PARKS
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Most Beautiful Game

1979-1997 the jury gave out a special award for most beautiful game.

If any game (great game) deserves this award to be reinstated. This is the game.
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20. Board Game: Cartographers [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:176] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Cartographers
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Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020: Winner / Nominee

Tbo, I haven't given Kenner as much thought as SdJ, and just putting Cartographers on top of this list instead of The Crew "feels" wrong in every way.

That not to say that Cartographers isn't a great game and deserving of a spot among the nominated games.
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21. Board Game: Res Arcana [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:143]
Board Game: Res Arcana
Rico Melchert
Sweden
Örebro
Sverige
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Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020: Nominee

Almost a micro game, unbelievable the gameplay that is in this box with just a few cards and tokens.
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22. Board Game: Rune Stones [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1861]
Board Game: Rune Stones
Rico Melchert
Sweden
Örebro
Sverige
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Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020: Nominee

SdJ/Kenner without Queen games? Not possible. Not the prettiest but this deckbuilder/deck deconstructer is very good. (And especially with the first expansion)
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23. Board Game: Ecos: First Continent [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1056]
Board Game: Ecos: First Continent
Rico Melchert
Sweden
Örebro
Sverige
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Proud member of EoN: Everything or Nothing a game group of friends.
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Right. This might be cheating, but I'm gonna end the list with one more good pick for Kenner.

Other possible games would be King’s Dilemma, Jaws, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, Azul Summer or perhaps the Adventure Game series.
Enjoy or Ignore.
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