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Links: MicroMacro: Crime City Wins As d'Or, It's a Wonderful World Wins in Japan, and Elizabeth Hargrave Pins Wrestlers

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
• On February 25, 2021, at a time when the Festival International des Jeux would normally be taking place in Cannes, the jury of the As d'Or — France's game of the year award — announced the 2021 winners in a Facebook post instead of during the usual ceremony at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.

The winner of the main prize, the 2021 As d'Or, was MicroMacro: Crime City from Johannes Sich and Edition Spielwiese. The "Where's Waldo?" type of deduction in this design skirts the border of what I would consider a game, but if you're not familiar with it, you can check out my written and video overview here.)

Dragomino from Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort, Wilfried Fort, and Blue Orange Games won the 2021 As d'Or for children's games. (The Forts also won the children's award in 2019 for Where's Mr. Wolf?, another Blue Orange release, not to mention the 2019 Kinderspiel des Jahres for Valley of the Vikings from HABA. Cathala and Blue Orange Games won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres, along with many other awards, for Kingdomino.)

Thomas Sing's The Crew from KOSMOS (and IELLO in France) won the 2021 As d'Or Grand Prix for "expert" gamers, marking yet another award for a game that I've also praised repeatedly.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Board Game: It's a Wonderful World
From gallery of W Eric Martin
The Crew didn't fare quite as well in the 2020 Japan Boardgame Prize, placing "only" third in the rankings, with Frédéric Guérard's It's a Wonderful World from La Boîte de Jeu (and Engames in Japan) placing first ahead of Just One. Titles rounding out the top five were Rumble Nation and Gloomhaven.

Note that these winners were all in the "Voters' Selection" category in which the members of the public submitted their top five games, with these games receiving 5-1 points. The jury prize was not awarded for 2020 as the jury felt that it could not sample the field as much as it should.

• In a February 2021 issue of The New York Times Magazine, poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib wrote about playing spades with his friends. An excerpt:
Oh, friends — I most love who you become when there are cards in your hands. How limitless our love for one another can be with our guards down. When the first bit of trash talk rattles the chest and then gives permission for more, and more, and more until the talking of trash, too, is a type of romance. Anyone worthy of being taken down is worthy of hearing all the ways they are being taken down. I meet my enemies with silence and my friends with a symphony of insults, or jokes that cut just deep enough for people to see them momentarily but not so deep as to leave a scar. Dearest siblings, even in an ass-whupping, there's no place else I’d rather be.
• Designer Phil Walker-Harding hinted at new directions in an interview with Australian online retailer Board Game Supply: "In the last year or so I have been trying my hand at some new genres – party games and kids games. None of them are out yet, but hopefully they will be received ok!"

• On March 16, 2021, designer Elizabeth Hargrave appeared on YouTube channel UpUpDownDown to play Wingspan with host Austin Creed (a.k.a. WWE wrestler Xavier Woods) and three other WWE members. Apparently UUDD had streamed the game previously and Hargrave had jumped into their chat, so they invited her on to play against them.

Given that UUDD has 2.25 million subscribers, this is a great opportunity to introduce the game to many potential players. Here's the playthrough:

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