Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 Hide
43 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Ranking the Past Spiel Des Jahres Winners rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Wray
United States
Harrisonville
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I set a goal several months ago to purchase (and play) all of the Spiel Des Jahres winners for the past 20 years. I'm not quite done, but I have wrapped up the past 16 years. I'd like to share my thoughts on all of the games and provide my ranking; I'll update this when I get through all 20. I'd also love to hear everybody else's rankings.

1. Ticket to Ride
This game most closely adheres to the Spiel criteria of easy-to-learn, family-style games. I feel like Ticket to Ride is surpassing Catan as the "gateway" game into the hobby. Whenever I'm around new gamers, this is the first game I pull out.

2. Thurn & Taxis
I have to admit: I wasn't even looking forward to playing Thurn & Taxis. The theme seemed boring, the game wasn't attractive, and the map was in German. Nonetheless, it has become one of my all time favorite games, and I highly recommend it. Everybody I have introduced to this game has loved it.

3. Dominion
This game changed the hobby for the better. I was suspicious of deck building games, but this game brought me in. The expansions really help, but Dominion on its own stands tall above the competition.

4. Kingdom Builder
A lot of people describe Kingdom Builder as overrated, but I love the game. It is highly replayable, has a high strategy-to-complexity ratio (which I consider good), and can be fun even for people who aren't avid gamers.

5. Zooloretto
It is too bad Zooloretto is out of print. The mechanics are fun, the rules are simple, and the game is beautiful. Player interaction is present but not overly adversarial. I haven't tried the expansions or offshoots of the game, but the original is excellent.

6. Keltis (or Lost Cities: The Board Game)
This game doesn't have much to it, but it is easy-to-learn and can be enjoyed by both gamers and non-gamers alike. I'm a little surprised it hasn't been more successful than it is.

7. Alhambra
Alhambra has excellent game mechanics. It is a bit more complex than the typical Spiel game, but it is worth it, and it has a high strategy-to-complexity ratio. I find the placement criteria to be less-than-intuitive due to the rules about placing walls, but other than that, this game is very enjoyable.

8. Elfenland
If I could pick a game to bring back in print, it would be Elfenland. There are few copies out there, and it was hard for me to get my hands on a copy at a reasonable price. That is unfortunate, as I think a lot of people would enjoy this game if it were available. This game is easy to learn but has a large amount of strategy. You can see elements of Ticket to Ride in the game, although in many ways, it requires more strategy than Ticket to Ride.

9. Carcassone
I like Carcassone, but like most people that play it, I found it tiresome after a while. The "farmers" element is not that great and can be challenging to explain to newcomers.

10. Niagara
Niagara is clever. I can't think of a game that even compares to it. While it isn't at the top of my list, I recommend everybody give it a try. The rules are simple, but there is true depth to the game. And the design and feel of the game is something that simply hasn't, to my knowledge, been replicated.

11. Torres
Torres is another game that can be hard to get your hands on. It is fun, and it isn't too complex, but the rules are poorly written.

12. Hanabi
Hanabi is a fun game, but frankly, it can be frustrating to play. The idea was clever, and it was well executed for what it is. But gameplay can be irritating, and once you've beaten the game (read: if you ever beat the game) you'll never want to play it again.

13. Dixit
Dixit is a fun party game, but its replay value is low, and the people around me do not seem to enjoy it. Everybody said it would replace Apples to Apples, but it didn't do so for my family. I'm sure the game is better with the expansions, but on its own, it isn't that great.

14. Tikal
Tikal is surprisingly complex for a Spiel winner, and the game doesn't have enough strategy or fun to make it worth learning the rules. The theme was promising but just didn't deliver.

15. Qwirkle
I know a lot of people that love Qwirkle, but I hate the game. I'm sure it has depth, but I can't figure out what it is. Qwirkle is supposedly the most award winning board game of all time. I can't help but suspect that its manufacturer has been paying off gaming juries.

16. Villa Paletti
Villa Paletti is basically a more sophisticated form of Jenga. I'm sure it would have been great if I were 8 years old, but I do not consider it enjoyable as an adult. The design is not particularly clever. Manufacturing defects have made ever-so-slight variations in the height of the pieces, which leads to gameplay issues. This is the strangest Spiel selection in recent years.

This list is a combination of my family and I's thoughts. For example, I personally would put Thurn and Taxis over Ticket to Ride, and Niagara over Carcassonne. All of the games up through 13 are excellent. Tikal is on the bubble; it just didn't do it for me. My family and I actively dislike Qwirkle and Villa Paletti.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't agree with everything you wrote, but I agree 100% with this:
chriswray84 wrote:
15. Qwirkle
I know a lot of people that love Qwirkle, but I hate the game. ... Qwirkle is supposedly the most award winning board game of all time. I can't help but suspect that its manufacturer has been paying off gaming juries.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Wray
United States
Harrisonville
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
curtc wrote:
I don't agree with everything you wrote, but I agree 100% with this:
chriswray84 wrote:
15. Qwirkle
I know a lot of people that love Qwirkle, but I hate the game. ... Qwirkle is supposedly the most award winning board game of all time. I can't help but suspect that its manufacturer has been paying off gaming juries.


At first I chalked it up to poor competition. But the other nominees were Asara and Forbidden Island, both of which are excellent.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:
But the other nominees were Asara and Forbidden Island, both of which are excellent.

There were way better games.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I ignore the SdJ since years.

They once made El Grande Spiel des Jahres. A fantastic game, really great. We still play it! But it was way too complicated for "non-gamers" or "family gamers" and the consequence was, that the jury lowered the bar from year to year. I'm no longer interested in SdJ games as I'm not the target audience for that award.

That post may sound a little snobbish, but I think I have outgrown the SdJ ... meeple
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas
Germany
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:

14. Tikal
Tikal is surprisingly complex for a Spiel winner, and the game doesn't have enough strategy or fun to make it worth learning the rules. The theme was promising but just didn't deliver.



Im a bit confused about that one. You find it complex but lacking strategy? Mh. Sounds a bit like contradicting yourself. Also, the rules can be explained in under 5min, with nothing but the little sheets, so not quite clear where the big effort to learn the rules is.
But of course I can accept that it did not do the trick for you.

I completly agree with your Kingdom Builder rating.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Miller
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nicholas M wrote:
chriswray84 wrote:

14. Tikal
Tikal is surprisingly complex for a Spiel winner, and the game doesn't have enough strategy or fun to make it worth learning the rules. The theme was promising but just didn't deliver.



Im a bit confused about that one. You find it complex but lacking strategy? Mh. Sounds a bit like contradicting yourself. Also, the rules can be explained in under 5min, with nothing but the little sheets, so not quite clear where the big effort to learn the rules is.
But of course I can accept that it did not do the trick for you.

I completely agree with your Kingdom Builder rating.


I believe the OP is making a differentiation between strategy and complexity of a game. A game can have a thousand intricate mechanisms that add complexity to the game yet still have only 3 or less viable strategies. Not sure I agree with the OP either, but I understand where he is coming from. Tikal provides a wealth of options to players which lends itself to being seen as complex.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
England
York
North Yorkshire
flag msg tools
admin
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:

13. Dixit
Dixit is a fun party game, but its replay value is low, and the people around me do not seem to enjoy it. Everybody said it would replace Apples to Apples, but it didn't do so for my family. I'm sure the game is better with the expansions, but on its own, it isn't that great.


Dixit has the wonderful benefit of being a word game with no spelling or writing or needing a good vocabulary. There are plenty of non-gamers who stay non-gamers because they fear being embarrassed or made to look a fool by not understanding the game. Add in the fear of being shown up as ignorant or a rubbish speller and there's more reason not to play.

I once played Apples To Apples in a group with a father and son. When it came to the boy's turn to read out the green card, he looked at it and burst into tears. He couldn't read. I've learnt not to assume why people pass up the option to join in our games. (Yes, why his father sat him in a game he couldn't play, I don't know either).
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I disagree with a lot of what you wrote, but nothing more than Hanabi. That is an awesome game.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Helmut Hohberger
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
flag msg tools
badge
Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PzVIE wrote:

That post may sound a little snobbish, but I think I have outgrown the SdJ ... meeple

Outgrown shmoutgrown. You're only bitter that they never even considered ASL!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ratatoskr72 wrote:
PzVIE wrote:

That post may sound a little snobbish, but I think I have outgrown the SdJ ... meeple

Outgrown shmoutgrown. You're only bitter that they never even considered ASL!

You're so damn right ... them clueless bastards ... I'm sure the whole jury is bought!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Kotarski
United States
Flint
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I made this goal for myself a couple years back but kinda gave up on it. Several titles I got my hands on got traded away since I knew they wouldn't get much play.

That being said, I'd encourage you to keep going back. Only 15 more years past the last 20 and there are some gems in there! Some feel a bit dated but made significant contributions to the hobby!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Wray
United States
Harrisonville
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I replayed Torres at lunch today. While I think its spot on the list holds, when you add in the "Master" cards, I think it has more value. Some of the elements of Torres have been done better in recent years (like stealing other people's towers), but the game does have a unique feel.

To be clear, I did like Hanabi. We played it a lot until we beat it. I just think once you've won, it has a "been there, done that" feel. (A lot of cooperative games have that IMHO.)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Wray
United States
Harrisonville
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nicholas M wrote:
chriswray84 wrote:

14. Tikal
Tikal is surprisingly complex for a Spiel winner, and the game doesn't have enough strategy or fun to make it worth learning the rules. The theme was promising but just didn't deliver.



Im a bit confused about that one. You find it complex but lacking strategy? Mh. Sounds a bit like contradicting yourself. Also, the rules can be explained in under 5min, with nothing but the little sheets, so not quite clear where the big effort to learn the rules is.
But of course I can accept that it did not do the trick for you.

I completly agree with your Kingdom Builder rating.


Complexity means how many rules they are and how quickly they're grasped. Strategy means the different paths to victory, how much thought goes into gameplay, etc. More complex games do have more strategy on average, but some games have endless rules and little strategy. I love strategy games, and I use what I call the "strategy-to-complexity" ratio for evaluating games. It is admittedly an imperfect metric, but it helps!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:
To be clear, I did like Hanabi. We played it a lot until we beat it. I just think once you've won, it has a "been there, done that" feel.
Unless you think you could beat it easily now, I don't understand that. The fun of the game is that it is challenging to do. So if it is still challenging, I don't understand why you'd feel it wasn't as fun.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Lingwall
United States
Kirksville
MO
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good ranking. I would put Carcassonne and Dixit higher-- but understand where you placed them. I think you have to play with mean people for Carcassonne to really shine-- the spite in the game mechanics take it up to a higher level, but you have to play with players who are comfortable trying to steal features from one another. Dixit depends on the group, and you do need the expansion cards to keep it fresh.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Lingwall
United States
Kirksville
MO
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And Elfenland does deserve a reprint. It's quite fun, and a different experience than one I'd had before.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve W
United Kingdom
Willenhall
West Midlands
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I only own 11 of the SdJ winners, but my ranking for those:

1. Carcassonne. For me the ultimate gateway game. Everyone I've ever introduced to it loves it and its simplicity belies real strategic depth. A bit of tile placement, a bit of resource management, a bit of area control, a bit of worker placement - the game has it all.

2. The Settlers of Catan. Not quite as simple as Carcassonne, but with the right group of people this shines. The "Monopoly" of its generation.

3. Dixit. A game for people who don't like board games. Like #1, I've never met anyone who didn't love playing this, right down to four year olds.

4. Kingdom Builder. This unfairly takes a lot of heat even though it has a respectable ranking here.

5. Ticket to Ride. Enjoyable enough but there's too much of a luck element involved. Skillful players have a bit of an advantage, but sometimes it feels like the game is playing you.

6. Scotland Yard. This is a great game considering its age, but it can be frustrating if you happen to be a detective who ends up being on the opposite end of the city to Mister X - it can borderline be classed as player elimination. It also has a high AP factor which can be incredibly boring if you're Mister X.

7. Alhambra. This is a solid enough game, but so many titles have done the same thing better than this.

8. Hanabi. This would be higher if you didn't have to have the right group of people to play it with. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and boy do you see who the weak link is in this.

9. Rummikub. An OK game, with minimal replay value.

10. Qwirkle. This is a textbook definition of a game that plays you. every go you decide whether to score maximum points or hinder the next player(s). Almost mindless.

11. Dominion. Really this should be higher, but I just don't like it. This whole genre of game just isn't my cup of tea (I have no desire to play A:NR or MtG either). It doesn't help that it beat Pandemic, which is one of my top ten games of all time.

#1-4 I would rate as very good.
#5-8 I would rate as good.
#9-10 I would rate as OK.
#11 I would rate as poor.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Wetzel
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I want to throw in my support for El Grande, but agree that it doesn't really fit most of the sdj criteria. –I tried to play it with one gaming group (that is more into Carcassonne and Catan) and it went over horribly.
I also want to agree with you on Thurn and Taxis -it just doesn't get enough love.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Wray
United States
Harrisonville
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lammyrock wrote:
I want to throw in my support for El Grande, but agree that it doesn't really fit most of the sdj criteria. –I tried to play it with one gaming group (that is more into Carcassonne and Catan) and it went over horribly.
I also want to agree with you on Thurn and Taxis -it just doesn't get enough love.


El Grande is my next purchase. It is one of the highest rated games of all time on this website, and I'm eager to play it. But I can't find a copy at a reasonable price anywhere!

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:
El Grande is my next purchase. It is one of the highest rated games of all time on this website, and I'm eager to play it. But I can't find a copy at a reasonable price anywhere!

So it probably won't be your next purchase!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Fish
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:
lammyrock wrote:
I want to throw in my support for El Grande, but agree that it doesn't really fit most of the sdj criteria. –I tried to play it with one gaming group (that is more into Carcassonne and Catan) and it went over horribly.
I also want to agree with you on Thurn and Taxis -it just doesn't get enough love.


El Grande is my next purchase. It is one of the highest rated games of all time on this website, and I'm eager to play it. But I can't find a copy at a reasonable price anywhere!



Supposedly there may be 20th anniversary edition in the works... see El Grande forums. There is a kickstarter to print it in Brazil now or coming soon (in Portuguese, of course)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Fish
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:


7. Alhambra
Alhambra has excellent game mechanics. It is a bit more complex than the typical Spiel game, but it is worth it, and it has a high strategy-to-complexity ratio. I find the placement criteria to be less-than-intuitive due to the rules about placing walls, but other than that, this game is very enjoyable.

14. Tikal
Tikal is surprisingly complex for a Spiel winner, and the game doesn't have enough strategy or fun to make it worth learning the rules. The theme was promising but just didn't deliver.


This pairing I don't understand. The rules of Tikal are perhaps only slightly more complex than Alhambra, but I find Tikal to be a tight, tense, super-competitive, strategically rich experience, while I find Alhambra to be monotonous, too slow, insufficiently interactive, and lacking in long-term strategy.

I will play Tikal above almost any other game given the opportunity, while I personally own at least 20 games I'd rather play than Alhambra. To be fair, I've only played Alhambra with 2 or 3... maybe shines with 4-5?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Fish
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
chriswray84 wrote:


15. Qwirkle
I know a lot of people that love Qwirkle, but I hate the game. I'm sure it has depth, but I can't figure out what it is. Qwirkle is supposedly the most award winning board game of all time. I can't help but suspect that its manufacturer has been paying off gaming juries.


Qwirkle.

It is very far from the best game of all time. But I think you give it a poor shake.

First, it has gorgeous components and is very appealing to those looking for minimalist design and those looking for kids games. The design appeal and accessibility no doubt influence gaming juries, and I think most of its awards are children focused.

Moreover, I would argue that it has a very high strategy-to-complexity ratio:

- it definitely has more strategy than you are giving it credit for; mostly centering around the fact that the higher scoring plays you make, the better you set up your opponents for high scoring plays. So there is a constant tension weighing the scoring possibilities of your pieces against the opportunities they create. This tension is FAR more evident when playing with experienced adults than when playing with children or non-gamers.

- it is one of the least complex games out there. What else is this simple? Uno? Rummicube? Mexican train? Connect 4?

In short, it is one of the best games for it's simplicity level. Should a game this simple be up for Spiel des Jahres? That is a different question.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Fish
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
It is quite surprising that multiple games that were "Game of the Year" are out of print 5-15 years later. Why do you think this is? Poor advertising? Poor license management? Rapid evolution of the hobby? Over-inundation of the market with titles?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.