Spiel des Jahres & Kennerspiel 2014: Five Hundred Words About This Year’s Best Boardgames

Spiel des Jahres & Kennerspiel 2014: Five Hundred Words About This Year’s Best Boardgames

Globally, Spiel des Jahres (SdJ, the German game of the year) and Kennerspiel des Jahres (“connoisseurs’ game of the year”) are the most important awards in the boardgame industry. The rule of thumb is: You win the SdJ and your sales tenfold!

Naturally, I sat down and played all six nominated games and then wrote about this year’s SdJ and Kennerspiel winners and nominees.


What’s that?? Concept is the most innovative of the six nominees.

On the stern.de website I review the games in detail, and across several newspapers, I share my findings about Camel Up, Splendor, Concept, Istanbul, Rokoko and Concordia. The Schwäbische Zeitung built a particularly nice page around my text.

Camel Up, the Spiel des Jahres 2014: A very fast-paced betting game in which players wager on the outcome of a camel race. The five camels, however, move erratically and unpredictably. They are being advanced by die roll and can hitch a ride on each others backs. This adds an element of luck to the game and makes it perfect for families and groups of up to eight players. (Details) 

Splendor: Was my front-runner to win the SdJ. One of these rare “once again” games: the game ends so quickly that someone always wants to play once again. That’s always a good sign. Players first gather jewels and trade them for cards. A bit later those cards are being upgraded into even better ones that bring in the required victory points. Super fast, addictive. Excellent for everyone! (Details)

Concept: A “party game” that doesn’t really work for huge and rowdy groups. Players need to concentrate when they combine various icons (out of a pool of 120) to explain words and phrases. Great game for smaller groups of people willing to get their creative juices flowing. (Details)

Istanbul, the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2014: Players are running around the grand bazaar of Turkey’s capital biggest city trying to get their hands on five rubies. That’s all one needs to win this fun game. A posterboy of a Kennerspiel: some strategy is required, just not too much of it. Easy to learn. Worthy winner! (Details)

Rokoko: Out of those six, the game with the oddest theme: players are master tailors during the reign of Louis XV. and fight to become the most prestigious one of them all. A classic Euro-style game with a deck-building mechanism and interesting choices to make. This game won’t blow anyone off their feet, but will certainly make strategists happy. (Details)

Concordia: Somewhat of a peaceful civilization game in which players develop their Roman dynasty and try to settle in far flung provinces of the ever expanding empire. Driven by a neat deck-building and card-scoring mechanism, this is a game for true Kenners willing to play a few times before completely understanding the strategies required. (Details)

And if these award winning games aren’t for you, check out five “easy summer games” I recommend in Die Rheinpfalz newspaper.

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