It’s been another successful Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) awards for the board game giant, Asmodee UK this year, who has seen not one but two of the titles it distributes take home the accolade that is to board gaming what the Academy Award for Best Picture is to movies.
Just One, the cooperative word game that sees players secretly writing single-word clues to help on of their number guess a word, took home the big one this year, when it was named the winner of the Spiel des Jahres award.
The game has been met with critical acclaim, culminating in its triumph at the awards, which for more than 40 years have recognised games that combine fun, innovation and broad family appeal.
Previous Spiel des Jahres winners include Catan, Ticket to Ride, Codenames and Dixit, placing Just One in exalted company among market-defining titles.
“The genius of Just One lies in its simplicity,” said the awards’ organisers. “It stands out by creating an incredible magnetic attraction: playing it in public means that people will begin to stare, and then they’ll want to join in too. There’s no reason they can’t: the difficulty level is so low that anyone can begin playing straight away.
“It’s a flash of pure brilliance and enjoyment, where every round is a success and a lasting impression is left behind.”
The success of Just One, which is part of Asmodee UK’s new Party Games range, sees it currently sold out, though more stock is expected to arrive in early August. Its recommended retail price is £17.99.
But the evening didn’t end there for Asmodee UK, as the awards also recognised the exulted tabletop title Wingspan, which was named Kennerspiel des Jahres (Experts’ Game of the Year, recognising more complex games than the Spiel award).
The first such award-winner to be designed by a woman (update: Wingspan is the first award-winning title to be solo-designed by a woman), Elizabeth Hargrave’s game casts players as birdwatchers trying to discover a wide variety of birds and attract them to their network of wildlife preserves.
Wingspan’s unique theme, real-life ornithological detail and beautiful presentation have made it a sell-out hit, as well as drawing mainstream media coverage in outlets including the New York Times and the Guardian.
The game has sold out multiple print runs, though Asmodee UK expect a restock in mid-August.
Finally, Haba Games was also recognised when it took home the Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year) for its Valley of the Vikings (Tal der Wikinger), designed by Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort. It’s billed as a dexterity game that involves bowling over barrels with a giant wooden ball (and also trying to get your Vikings onto the best spaces on the dock).