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The Spiel des Jahres, the biggest award in board games, has revealed its shortlist for 2018’s ‘Game of the Year’

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It’s awards season! Hot on the heels of the announcement of this year’s Origins Awards hopefuls are the nominations for Germany’s Spiel des Jahres – the ‘Game of the Year’ prize that’s often considered the most prestigious award on the tabletop.

2018’s Spiel des Jahres shortlist is made up of acclaimed tile-layer Azul (which also got a nod in the Origins list), Rüdiger Dorn’s Luxor and The Mind, the tricksy number-counting card game that’s recently had the internet in a spin.

The jury also named its ‘Recommended’ titles: those games that it deems worthy of a nod, if not the main trophy. This year’s six Spiel des Jahres Recommended games are 5-Minute Dungeon, Facecards, Majesty: For the Realm, Memoarrr!, Santorini and Woodlands.

While the Spiel des Jahres focuses on the more accessible, family-friendly end of the board gaming scale, its sibling prize, the Kennerspiel des Jahres looks to name the ‘Expert Game of the Year’.

This year’s Kennerspiel nominees are Ganz Schön Clever (‘Pretty Clever’), Heaven & Ale and Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg (‘The Quackers of Quedlinburg’), giving Wolfgang Warsch – the designer of both Ganz Schön Clever and Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, as well as The Mind – a total of three nominations out of the six across the two categories.

Meanwhile, Michael Kiesling – who has already won the Spiel des Jahres twice alongside Wolfgang Kramer for Tikal and Torres – has two nods: one alone for Azul, and one alongside co-designer Andreas Schmidt for Heaven & Ale.

Dungeon-robbing deckbuilder Clank! and coach-riding route-building game Pioneers were the two games Recommended for the Kennerspiel des Jahres.

Finally comes the Kinderspiel des Jahres, the game of the year for children determined by a separate panel of judges, which will go to Emojito,  Funkelschatz (‘Dragon's Breath’) or Panic Mansion, which nudged ahead of Recommended games Dino World, The Legend of the Wendigo, Rhino Hero: Super Battle, SOS Dino and Speed Colors.

Unexpectedly, the Spiel des Jahres jury has also announced it will hand out a special prize for the first time since 2010.

This award will go to Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau’s Pandemic Legacy: Season Two, although jury chairman Tom Felber indicates that the trophy is primarily meant as a way of recognising the Pandemic Legacy series’ pioneering of the legacy genre, with Felber writing: “The legacy principle changes the game plan, game components and rules in an exciting and sometimes surprising way. In this game, all future legacy games will have to be measured.”

The overall winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced first on June 11th, followed by the joint reveal of both the Kennerspiel and Spiel des Jahres on July 23rd.

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