Spiel des Jahres 2016 winners

And the winners are “Codenames” for the Spiel des Jahres and “Isle of Skye” for the Kinnerspiel des Jahres award for 2016. As usual there is a mix of excitement and disbelief. Some people are saying that “Codenames” is a departure from the usual style of winner and “Isle of Skye” is an unbelievable win considering the juggernauts it was pitted against. This sort of talk, debate, and controversy is what these awards are all about and will continue to be about for some time.

Game of the Year (nominations)

  • Codenames – Designer Vladimír Chvátil – Publisher CGE
  • Imhotep – Designer Phil Walker-Harding – Publisher Kosmos
  • Karuba – Designer Rüdiger Dorn- Publisher Haba

Codenames by Czech Games Edition - word game spy game fun game - Review by Gameapalooza AustraliaCodenames by Czech Games Edition – Loads of fun!

“Codenames” was a popular choice and even though it seems like a departure from the usual theme heavy winners of the past the game fits with all the other criteria. “Codenames” is very family friendly and easy to learn allowing young and old to compete. It has incredible replay value and appeals to a broad audience, not forgetting that it is amazingly fun.

Isle of Skye Spiel des Jahres winner 2016Isle of Skye, a lovely little game.

Connoisseur-gamer Game of the Year (nominations)

  • Isle of Skye – Designers Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister – Publisher Lookout Games
  • Pandemic Legacy: S1 – Designer Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau – Publisher Z-Man Games
  • T.I.M.E. Stories – Designer Manuel Rozoy – Publisher Space Cowboys

For many the truly controversial choice was “Isle of Skye”. However, the same considerations that made “Codenames” a perfect choice may have contributed to the Kinnerspiel winner. “T.I.M.E. Stories” and “Pandemic Legacy” are great games that have innovative storytelling. However, while Isle of Skye has innovative mechanics as well, its theme and game play are better reflective of a family orientated award, especially one often dominated by Eurostyle games.

Regardless of the final verdict there is little doubt that the games nominated were deserving of their place on the list. Every year we get caught up in the debate and anticipation and every year we walk away with a list of games that bring joy, fun, and adventure to us all.