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Children's Games of the Year 2009: Closing the books
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As Yule-times are getting closer I'd thought I'd put together a list of the children's games (meaning games that are designed for children, not adult games that can be played by children) that received some accolades and awards in 2009.

The list contains games directed at children under 10.
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1. Board Game: 6 nimmt! Junior [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:7185]
Nico Solitander
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Helsinki
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Designer: Wolfgang Kramer
# of Players: 2 − 5
Mfg Suggested Ages: 5 and up
Price: approx. EUR 6; USD.8


2009 Accolades

*** Spiele des Jahres, Recommendation, Children's Game of the Year

Kids' version of 6 nimmt!(6 nimmt!)The players move animals into four stables. Play proceeds clockwise round the table as players turn up a card from the stack depicting one (or sometimes 2-3) out of 6 different animals. The player adds the animal to a stable where the animal doesn't already appear (if possible). When the card is the 6th different animal for the stable, he collects all these animal cards as points. The player who collects the most cards wins.

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2. Board Game: Beppo der Bock [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:6177]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer(s): Klaus Zoch, Peter Schackert
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Ages: 5 and up
Price: Approx.€15.00

2009 Accolades
** As d'Or 2009, Nominee

Each player controls a wooden figure and tries to reach the last space of the track. However, the buck Beppo, represented by a wooden piece as well, is resting in the fields and should not be disturbed... On his turn, a player places Beppo on a powerful magnet, then sends a small metallic ball in its direction. If he meets them, Beppo will kick the players' figures away (sending them back to the start of the track), and the place where he arrives on the board determines how far the active player moves his pawn.

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3. Board Game: Bla Bla Bla [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: (Uncredited)
Mfg Suggested age: 7 and up
# of Players: 3 − 5
Price: Approx.$30.00

Associative cardgame. The goal is to win the most cards. A rotating starting player is the "judge" of the round. Each player has 5 handcards. The judge rolls a special dice with 3 characters. Depending on which character is rolled, the other players have to
- The judge draws a card from the stack, the others play a card from their hand and tell their association between the drawn card and their card. The judge decides who has the best association, that players gets the drawn card and puts it aside (= 1 point)
- The judge draws a card from the stack, the others play 2 cards from their hand and make up a story that connects these 2 cards with the card drawn by the judge. Again the judge decides who has the best story. That player gets the drawn card and puts it aside.
- The others play a card which they feel resembles themselves the most. The judge collects and shuffles them. Then the judge tries to connect each card to the player and keeps every card which is connected to the right player.

2009 Accolades
* Les Trois Lys, Le Lys Enfant, Nominee

 
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4. Board Game: Bobby Sitter [Average Rating:5.74 Overall Rank:7414]
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Designer: Jean-Marc Courtil
Mfg Suggested age: 5 and up
# players: 2 − 6

A sheepdog's life is never easy... Especially when the shepherd is half asleep...The first player to bring 5 sheep in his sheepfold win the game.
At his turn, each player flip one card and depending on the picture on the card, every players must act and grab a counter or not. The quickest player can obtain a sheep while those who make mistakes can lose one...


2009 Accolades
* Les Trois Lys, Le Lys Enfant, Nominee

 
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5. Board Game: Burg der 1000 Spiegel [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:5018]
Nico Solitander
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Designer(s): Inka Brand, Markus Brand
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Ages: 8 and up
Price (examples): Amazon.de: EUR 16,95; otherwise around EUR 25; not available in US.

The small, friendly vampire Victor is in his big castle, having misplaced many of his favorite items. Fortunately, there are many mirrors that can be used to find these things without him having to move in all the rooms. Players in turn roll a die, and move Victor along a track at the top of the box. The space he's landing on show what item he now has to find. He may move up to 3 mirrors, then peek through the open window. If the wrong item shows up, it's the next players turn. But when the correct item is seen, the player gains one blood token; then that item and the open window switch places. The other players may gain a blood token, too. After the active player has set up the mirrors, but before he looks to the window, they may predict whether the correct item shows up. If the guess right, the gain a drop. The player that first gets a predefined number of blood tokens (depending on number of players) wins the game.


2009 Accolades

* Deutscher Spiele Preis, Children's Game of the Year, Winner
* Spiel der Spiele, Spiele Hit für Kinder ("Game Hits for Children") , Recommendation
* Deutscher Lernspielpreis 2009, Game of the Year (6 years and up), Nominee
* Das goldene Schaukelpferd, Für die ganze Familie, Nominee

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6. Board Game: Château Roquefort [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:730]
Nico Solitander
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Designer(s): Bernhard Weber, Jens-Peter Schliemann
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Ages: 6 and up
Price: Approx. €35.00/$35.00

Each player controls colored mice and tries to collect pieces of cheese in Castle Appenzell. On their turn, players spend action points to put new mice into play, reveal corridors in the castle, move their mice around the castle, or push a tile into play, which changes the maze of cheese pieces underneath. If two of a single player's mice reach a place with the same kind of cheese showing, the player obtains a piece of this cheese. The first player with 4 different pieces of cheese wins the game.

2009 accolades
* As d'Or 2009; Children's Game of the Year, Winner
* Guldbrikken, Children's Game of the Year, Nominee

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7. Board Game: Chickyboom [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:7296]
Nico Solitander
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Designer: Thierry Denoual
Mfg suggested age: 4 and up
# players: 2-4

The chickens are hanging out on their colorful wooden perch. But if one of them decides to leave, the whole perch will teeter. Collect as many chickens, hay bales and wagon wheels before the rocking perch topples. How many pieces can you save? The chickens, hay bales and wagon wheels have different weights meaning different point values. The player with the highest score wins the game. Selecting a heavier piece receives more points but entails more risk of making the perch topple.
If you cause the perch to topple, 5 points will be deducted from your total. An irresistible game of balance, laughs and fun where the roost goes CHICKYBOOM!

2009 Accolades
* Les Trois Lys, Le Lys Enfant, Nominee

 
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8. Board Game: The Color Dwarfs [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer(s): Dr. habil, Gerhard Friedrich, Viola de Galgóczy
# of Players: 1 − 4
Mfg Suggested Ages: 2.5 to 4

An educational game from Haba about recognizing and classifying colors. The players travel with the color dwarfs to the Color Land to visit the red dwarf, green dwarf. When visiting the correct colored houses gifts are given to the players. The player who first receives five gifts is the winner.

2009 Accolades

* 2009 Middle East Toy Fair, Winner, Best Board Game

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9. Board Game: Curious George: Discovery Beach Game [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: uncredited
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Ages: 3 and up
Price: Approx. $15

A fun memory game with a bit of a twist. The players hunt for treasures hidden in the beach sand (game box). The players flip a card to reveal items they must find buried in the sand. The players dig for the items by opening five different "windows" in the game box, trying to memorize matching items. Sometimes a a big "wave" will hit the beach and move the treasures around - this means that a player takes the game box and shakes it fervently, which will move the pieces around.

2009 Accolades
* Parents'Choice Awards, Toy of the Year, Gold award

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10. Board Game: Curli Kuller [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:5916]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Marco Teubner
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg suggested ages: 4.5 and up
Price: Approx. €30 (not available in the US)

A fun (and rather silly) dexterity game where the players are snails that roll themselves down a ramp that aim to knock over seed plants in a garden guarded by a scarecrow. Each player tries to hit as many plants
of their colour with the rolling snail. If you tip over plants of your own
colour, you may take them and place them in front of you. You must give tipped-over plants in another player’s colour to that player. If your snail knocks over the scarecrow, you may not take any plants.The first player to get eight plants wins the game.

2009 Accolades
* Spiele des Jahres, Nominee, Children's Game of the Year
* Kinderspielexperten 2009, (5-9 years) 3rd place



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11. Board Game: Double Shutter Junior [Average Rating:5.58 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Thierry Denoual
# of Players: 1 − 6
Mfg suggested age: 8-10 years
Price: Approx. $15.00

Roll the dice and add up the dots to shut the tiles of your choice. The tile total must match the dot total in any combination you want. The game helps children develop math skills while being easy to learn and easy to play.

2009 accolades
* Boardgames Australia, Best Children's Game 2009, Nominee
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12. Board Game: Finde die Tiere! [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Anja Wrede
# of Players: 3 − 6
Mfg Suggested Ages: 5 and up
Price: approx. €15

There are two types of cards, each with three animals on them. The larger type of cards is placed openly on the table, the other type is a draw pile. One player draws a card and looks at it. The other players take turns guessing what animals are on it by doing the respective sounds the animals make.

2009 accolades
* Spiele des Jahres, Recommendation, Children's Game of the Year
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13. Board Game: Finders keepers! [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:7789]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: uncredited
# of Players: 2 − 6
Mfg Suggested Ages: 4 and up
Price: $30

There is a large board with hundreds of different images shown. This board can be assembled in a variety of ways. Players pull tokens that have a single picture on them from a bag and attempt to find the picture on the board. Players can choose two version of play. Either pull one token out and all players attempt to find it at the same time, or each player can draw a few tokens out of the bag and the first to find all of their pictures on the board wins.

2009 accolades
* 2009 Årets brætspil (Denmark), Children's Game of the Year, Winner



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14. Board Game: Getta Letter [Average Rating:5.29 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: (Uncredited)
# of Players: 2 − 2
Mfg Suggested Age: 10 and up
Price: approx €15.00 / $20.00

The players test their skills in categories of food, destinations, pop culture and much more. Getta Letter is a fast-thinking, letter-flipping category game where players race to determine the most words from A to Z in a particular category.

2009 accolades
* 2009 Kinderspielexperten, (8-13 years), 2nd place

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15. Board Game: Giro Galoppo [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1774]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Jurgen Grunau
# of Players: 2 − 5
Mfg Suggested Age: 6 and up
Price: approx €30.00 / $35.00

Giro Galoppo is a horse racing game driven by cards for players 6 years and up. Its mechanic is similar to "Ave Caesar". First, players take turns placing obstacles (jumps). All players receive an identical set of card with values 1-6. Each turn the players simultaneously select one of their cards and show it. The player with the lowest value (and for ties, farther back), moves first. If your horse and rider land on another player's figure, you displace them backward. If your figure's movement would land you on an obstacle, you lose your turn. First & farthest across the finish line wins.

2009 accolades
* Boardgames Australia, Best Children's Game 2009, Nominee

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16. Board Game: Go Nuts! [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4348]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Brian S. Spence, Garrett J. Donner, Michael S. Steer
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Age: 8 and up
Price: approx $8.00

Take your cheeky chances on this quick playing dice game of nut gathering nuttiness. Pile up points by rolling the dice and adding up acorns, while avoiding any cars along the way. If you roll all squirrels, scurry to score as many nuts as you can before your opponents’ dogs chase you away! The player with the most points wins.

2009 accolades

** Golden Geek Awards 2009, Children's Game, Nominee

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17. Board Game: Grimassimix [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer(s): Elisabeth Draxler, Katharina Poteranski, Herta Strehl, Sonja Trausmuth
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Age: 4 and up
Price: approx €20.00 (not available in US)

Grimassimix is a unique board game to tackle the topic of speech therapy. The game focuses on the training of facial motor skills and has been developed by a team of four speech therapists with years of professional experience. Players attend the Clown School “Grimassimix”, where making faces is subject matter instead of maths and languages – to the student’s delight. Sticking out their tongues and wrinkling their noses; everything’s allowed when players try to imitate the faces on the cards. After all, they are trying to trains their facial muscles, aren’t they? The game comes with a little mirror to control your funny faces. The player, who recognizes most of the faces, wins the game.

2009 accolades
* Spiel der Spiele, Spiele Hit für Kinder ("Game Hits for Children") , Recommendation

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18. Board Game: Hang in There! [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6190]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Uncredited
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Age: 7 and up
Price: approx $20.00

The board consists of motorized trees with rotating tops. By using your levers, you can raise and lower the treetops, catching your animals and moving them across the jungle and onto the beach. However, you and your opponents can also use the treetops to knock animals off, sending them back to the start. The first player to get five animals to the beach wins.


2009 accolades

* Spiele des Jahres 2009, Recommendation, Children's Game of the Year

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19. Board Game: Happy Farm [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: John Ede
# of Players: 2-4
Mfg Suggested Age: 4 and up
Price: approx €35

In Happy Farm players are to collect wooden pieces of pigs, chickens, cows into families of two. The players throw a dice to move across the board and collect animals, when they reach one of the two farm houses, they may exchange the animals with each other. The first player to get two cows gets the tractor and is the winner of the game.

2009 accolades
* 2009 Deutscher Lernspielpreis, Game of the Year (3 yrs and up), Winner



Comment: Another game that is constrcuted as the first 'real' game for the smallest tots (just around the 4 year mark). Very good production value and quite widely available.

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20. Board Game: Herkules Ameise [Average Rating:6.59 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designers: Hermann Huber, Michael Huber
# of Players: 1-4
Mfg Suggested Ages: 6 and up

2009 accolades
* Joker Awards 2009 (Belgium), Children's Game, Nominee

The players are ants building an anthill. They have to finish the anthill before Anthony the anteater reaches them because only then the ants are safe from Anthonys long trunk. To build the anthill, the players have to find twigs on the back of the path cards. These twigs have to be collected and brought to the anthill. But this only works if a continuous line of ants leads up to them. It's a cooperative game but the rulebook contains a competition variation as well.




 
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21. Board Game: Hide the Kids! [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:3663]
Nico Solitander
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Helsinki
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Designer: Frederic Moyersoen
# of Players: 2 − 6
Mfg Suggested Age: 4 and up
Price: approx €25.00 / not available in the US

A "Hide-and-Seek" game for 2 to 6 players. One player acts as wolf, and gives the other players 5 seconds time to hide their goat in one of seven furniture pieces. The Wolf then can look at 2 pieces and capture all the goats that are present there. The undiscovered goats get points.


2009 Accolades

* Spiele des Jahres 2009, Nominee, Children's Game of the Year
*Spiel der Spiele 2009, Spiele Hit für Kinder ("Game Hits for Children") , Recommendation
* Joker Awards 2009 (Belgium), Children's Game, Winner



Comment: Great production value. Based on a well-known fairy-tale. Fun (but light) game for the youngest kids in the family.
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22. Board Game: Hula Hippos [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2951]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Heinz Meister
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Age: 5 and up
Price: approx. $10

A "mighty-hippo" flicking game: Who can bring his four hiipos home first? The players need a steady hand, since the mouse hole is a wooden ring that spins around in a circle!

2009 accolades
** Boardgames Australia, Best Children's Game 2009, Nominee

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23. Board Game: Hungry Wolves [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Würfelwolfe
Designer: Marco Teubner
# of Players: 2 − 4
Mfg Suggested Age: 5 and up
Price: approx.$15

Hungry Wolves (Würfelwölfe) is a hectic action game with dice. The players circle a flock of sheep with their herding dogs. All players throw their dice simultaneously and have to perform an action as fast as possible depending on the dice throw, e.g. saying "Woof!" or running around the table. Also, the movement of the dog depends on the dice throw. As soon as the action is performed, the dice throwing continues. When one dog reaches or overtakes another, the round ends and the faster dog gets a sheep from the flock as a reward.

2009 accolades
* Spiele des Jahres 2009, Recommendation, Children's Game of the Year
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24. Board Game: Kangaroo [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:8663]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer: Reiner Knizia
# of Players: 3 − 6
Mfg Suggested Ages: 5 and up
Price: Approx. €10

In Catch A Roo the players collect kangaroos by playing cards from their hand. Once collected, the kangaroos can also be defended by playing the right card. When all the cards have been played, the player with the most kangaroos wins!

2009 Accolades

** Årets Spill (Norway), Children's Game of the Year, Nominee

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25. Board Game: King Toad [Average Rating:5.00 Overall Rank:9677]
Nico Solitander
Finland
Helsinki
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Designer(s): Brian Spence, Garrett Donner, Michael Steer
# of Players: 2 − 6
Mfg suggested age: 5 and up
Price: approx $10.00

Old King Toad is a hungry old soul! In this tongue-twisting card game, add bugs to the king's feast by playing cards in numerical order. If you don't have the next card in sequence, catch one just like King Toad! Say "Ribbit" and then stick out your tongue from one to four times to signal the card you want played. The first player out of cards gets to be King Toad for a day!

2009 accolades
** Boardgames Australia, Best Children's Game 2009, Nominee

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