spieldesjahres.jpgThe nominees for this year’s Spiel des Jahres (the annual German game of the year award that can really make a board game in terms of sales) have been announced and we’ve got the full list for you. This year’s titles are pretty easy to get in the US and most are definitely worth your hard-earned dollar (or euro as the case may be…):


  • Dominion is a great card game where players are attempting to buy victory points (cards) through the use of special cards (which must also be bought) which are added to their deck – essentially, its a deck construction game; it sounds simple and not that flavorful, but its really quite good (I’m at 72 plays so far this year…) and its one of two SdJ nominees from an American designer (a rarity)
  • Fauna is a Friedemann Friese game where various animals appear (one per round) and players lodge guesses on the animal’s weight, height, tail length and origin (environment) in order to gain board position – wrong guesses result in fewer guessing opportunities in future rounds (this one isn’t in the US yet)
  • Finca is a game where players are charged with managing and collecting various fruits from trees across a small island – the trick is to arrange your groves in such a way to allow the most efficient delivery of product to market (in order to score victory points); this one is brand new to the US market and is the type of game that the judges really like as a SdJ winner
  • fits.jpgFITS (Fill In The Space) is a cute little game from the good doctor (Reiner Knizia) that essentially simulates Tetris in a board game – the twist being that scoring is determined by having pieces aligned with markings on the board rather than having perfect geometric structures – fast and fun, this one has become impossible to find in the US market (and believe me, I’ve tried…)
  • Pandemic is the second game from a US designer and probably the best co-op game I’ve played next to Arkham Horror (caveat: I really don’t like cooperative games); in Pandemic, players attempt to cure four diseases while they continue to spread across the globe, occasionally having outbreaks that result in chain reactions across the board

All in all, this is one of the best batches of SdJ nominees I’ve seen in years – out of the five, there’s only one that leaves me scratching my head (Fauna just doesn’t seem to fit the mold, but I’ve not managed to play this one yet either…). We’ll let you know which title wins the prize when they’re announced on June 29th.