Keltis is the Spiel des Jahres

The winner of this year’s Spiel des Jahres has just been announced. Congratulations to Reiner Knizia for winning this award for the first time. Keltis is published by Kosmos and  is the boardgame multiplayer version of Lost Cities.

Reiner also took the Children’s Game award for Wer War’s published by Ravensburger. There was also a special award for Agricola (Uwe Rosenberg, Lookout Games) as the best Complex Game of the year.

SR: 20 June 2008 – Container

This week, Nige brought along Container, a game he’d just picked up that was designed by Thomas Ewert and Franz-Benno Delonge and published by Valley Games. This is a game that simulates a simple supply and demand system, based around production, warehousing and shipping of some unnamed merchandise.

As we decided not to play with the beginner’s variant, we knew money was going to be very tight and that drawing loans was a bad idea. Nevertheless, all of us were forced to take at least one loan eventually. Initially, I chose to build a second and then third warehouse to try and attract people to more efficient loading of ships. However, the group-think reaction of refusing to use my dock lead me to having a number of turns with little to do due to lack of cash, until I broke down and took a loan – at which stage people decided that was enough screw tightening and the containers started to flow.

Our caution over cash lead to no profit being made on production and warehousing as people refused to pay more than the minimum price for stuff. Mark K tried to use his monopoly on one type of machine to set a medium price but, once things became critical, I broke his monopoly by building the same machine and bringing the price down. So, the only real money to made was in the island bidding. Seeing which shipments players really wanted for themselves was an interesting challenge but I managed to force John and Nige to pay more than they expected to by setting a relatively high bid myself. Eventually, Nige forced the end of the game by exhausting the supply of two container types as he judged he was far enough in the lead. He was just right because my next turn would probably have netted me enough cash from an island shipment to just go past him.

Container was a good game that suffered a little from the profit being made from just one aspect of the production chain. If the same group could be persuaded to take a different collective view, it will be interesting to see how the game plays differently but whether such a change is likely, I don’t know. However, a nice game that I really enjoyed playing.

2007 Meeples Choice Awards – The Winners

For those that haven’t yet heard, the Spielfrieks user group has chosen the following three games for this year’s awards:

Race for the Galaxy (Tom Lehmann, Rio Grande)
Agricola (Uwe Rosenberg, Lookout Games)
(Martin Wallace, Warfrog)

Congratulations to the designers Tom Lehmann, Uwe Rosenberg, and Martin Wallace, as well as publishers Rio Grande, Lookout Games, and Warfrog.

I voted for none of these, having not played either Agricola or Brass yet, and although Race was in my top ten, it didn’t make the final three. My three votes went to Kingsburg (which finished 10th in the overall voting), Notre Dame (5th) and Caylus Magna Carta (18th).

Spielbox 3/2008

Got home tonight to find the latest issue of Spielbox waiting for me. The most interesting inclusion is the farmer sheet, an accessory for Agricola. It contains 70 stickers to put on the round person pieces. 35 stickers show an adult for the front side of the pieces, the other 35 the corresponding juniors for the rear side (and one or two of the comparisons between junior and adult characters are a little curious). I just need the game itself to turn up now – hopefully, sometime this month.

The issue also celebrates the 60th anniversary of Scrabble, with what looks like an ultra-modern version set to be released. Spiel-des-Jahres contender, Wie Verhext! also gets reviewed with several high ratings from the reviewing panel. The other game that seems to get good ratings is Hanging Gardens, published by Hans im Gluck, which I’ve passed on so far as it looked like a very dry pattern recognition type game – maybe I need to look at this a bit more.

2007 Meeples Choice Awards

We’re currently in the middle of voting on the Spielfrieks discussion group for the best games of 2007. From a long list of about 150, the final 25 have emerged for a second round of voting. The 25 finalists, from which 3 will be chosen as the award winners, are as follows:

1960: The Making of the President
Age of Empires III
Caylus Magna Carta
Felix: The Cat in the Sack
Galaxy Trucker
In the Year of the Dragon
King of Siam
Notre Dame
Race for the Galaxy
Ticket to Ride: Switzerland
Wabash Cannonball

So, I have to vote for three of these and I’m struggling a bit: One game is a definite pick but there are four others from which I need to choose two and it’s not easy because they are all great.

I’ll let you know which ones I went for when the winners are announced at the weekend.