On Monday June 19th, the jury of the German Spiel des Jahres (“Game of the Year”) prize announces its choice for Children’s Game of the Year 2017. A month before, they had published their list of nominations and recommendations, along with a readworthy commentary on their choices.
Waiting for the jury’s verdict (Update: the winner is Ice Cool), I had a closer look at the nominations and recommendations. All three nominations, Ice Cool (rules available here; GeekDad review here), Captain Silver (rules available here), and The Mysterious Forest (rules available here; GeekDad review here) look like fantastic family games that can be played with children of 6 years and above. I am especially happy about the fact that The Mysterious Forest, the board game adaptation of Daniel Lieske’s web comic The Wormworld Saga turns out to be a rather good game: too many board game adaptations of great comics, books, or movies have resulted in a mediocre or even downright bad game (anyone remember the gruesome E.T. boardgame?) So, I am looking forward to helping Jonas (the hero of The Wormworld Saga) along his way through the Mysterious Forest together with my kids in this collaborative game of chance and memory.
Two of the recommended games have been available in the English-speaking market already for several years: Chickyboom (recommended from 4 years and above) and Sleeping Queens (recommended from 7 years and above; rules available here), so you may know them already. What struck me when reading through the instructions of Sleeping Queens was how the game was invented. According to the instructions, “Sleeping Queens was invented by 6-year-old Miranda Evarts, who thought up the game one night when she couldn’t fall asleep. She awoke the next morning and created this wonderfully whimsical world of napping nobles, along with help from her older sister, Madeleine, and her parents, Denise and Max.”
I certainly will buy Sleeping Queens, play it with my children and tell them how it was invented: maybe they will try to make better use of the evenings when they cannot fall asleep in a better way than traipsing into the den every 15 minutes or so to let me know they are still awake …
The other game recommendations of the jury are Laggonies (recommended for 5 years and above; rules available here), Little Bird, Big Hunger (recommended for 3 years and above; rules available here), Outfoxed (recommended from 5 years and above; rules available here), Wizardry – The Power of Three (recommended from 6 years and above; rules available here), and The Rolling Witch (recommended from 6 years and above; rules available here.)
It lies in the nature of a “game of the year” award that only a single game can receive this particular honor. But do not forget about the other two nominations and the recommendations when looking for new games for you and your kids!