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Nominees for the 2012 Spiel, Kennerspiel & Kinderspiel des Jahres

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
The nominees for the most influential award in boardgaming – the Spiel des Jahres, Germany's "game of the year" award – were announced today by the jury of eleven German journalists who have sifted through hundreds of games released since the early part of 2011 to settle on the three that they think best "promote games as a cultural asset to encourage gaming amongst family and friends", as described on the SdJ website. Those nominees are:

-----Eselsbrücke, by Stefan Dorra and Ralf zur Linde (Schmidt Spiele)
-----Kingdom Builder, by Donald X. Vaccarino (Queen Games)
-----Vegas, by Rüdiger Dorn (alea)

Board Game: Eselsbrücke
Board Game: Kingdom Builder
Board Game: Las Vegas

That same jury also announced its nominees for the Kennerspiel des Jahres, an award that debuted in 2011 to honor games intended for connoisseurs and gaming experts. The introduction of that award, along with the winners of the Sdj and KedJ in 2011 – Qwirkle and 7 Wonders, respectively – signaled a shift in direction for the SdJ jury for many gamers, with the SdJ supposedly meant to highlight easy games (based on what I would say is a misjudgement of Qwirkle) and the KedJ intended for more complex games. The jury does judge Vegas a 1 on its four-level complexity scale, but the other titles are rated at 2 – and many had even suspected that Kingdom Builder would fall into the KedJ category due to it being too complicated for the "new" SdJ.

The nominees for the 2012 Kennerspiel des Jahres, by the way, all merit a 3 rating for complexity by the SdJ jury, and those titles are:

-----K2, by Adam Kałuża (Heidelberger Spieleverlag)
-----Targi, by Andreas Steiger (Kosmos)
-----Village, by Inka and Markus Brand (eggertspiele)

Board Game: K2
Board Game: Targi
Board Game: Village

This same jury also released a list of recommended games from the titles released during this time period – roughly April 2011 to March 2012 – and unlike in 2011, when the recommended list included titles ranging in complexity from super easy to ultra-double tough, for 2012 the jury presented separate recommendation lists for the SdJ and the KedJ, and those recommendations are grouped in that order below:

From gallery of W Eric Martin
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recommended games
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-----Drecksau, by Frank Bebenroth (Kosmos)
-----Indigo, by Reiner Knizia (Ravensburger)
-----Kalimambo, by Antonio Scrittore (Zoch Verlag)
-----Kulami, by Andreas Kuhnekath (Steffen-Spiele)
-----Miss Lupun...und das Geheimnis der Zahlen, by Ralf-Peter Gebhardt and Thomas Sing (Winning Moves)
-----Pictomania, by Vlaada Chvátil (Pegasus Spiele)
-----Rapa Nui, by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, (Kosmos)
-----Santa Cruz, by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle (Hans im Glück)

-----Friday, by Friedemann Friese (2F-Spiele)
-----Hawaii, by Greg Daigle (Hans im Glück)
-----Ora et Labora, by Uwe Rosenberg (Lookout Games)

At the same time, the jury for the Kinderspiel des Jahres – the children's game of the year – announced the nominees for this award:

-----Die kleinen Drachenritter, by Marco Teubner (HUCH! & friends)
-----Schnappt Hubi!, by Steffen Bogen (Ravensburger)
-----Spinnengift und Krötenschleim, by Klaus Teuber (Kosmos)

Board Game: Die kleinen Drachenritter
Board Game: Schnappt Hubi!
Board Game: Spinnengift und Krötenschleim

The winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced Monday, June 11, while the Spiel and Kennerspiel winners will be revealed on Monday, July 9. Congrats to all the nominees!
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