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Spiel des Jahres '00

RANDOM MUSINGS on the fin-de-millénaire games scene . . .

15 May 2000 . . . This year's Spiel des Jahres nominees have been announced. First it might be interesting to note the absences of several fine games might have received nominations:

Anyway, no sense in crying over spilt milk. On to the nominees! In the invisible category of card games we find Then in the abstracts category Well, Metro isn't really an abstract, but it has that kind of feel in the same way that last year's nominee Ta Yü did, and both are the same kind of "pipe connection" game.

This leaves six games, three to advance to the next round and three to fall by the wayside.

This rather surprising list has at least two games that one really wouldn't expect to see here. Perhaps this reflects the recent departure of a longtime jury member or maybe the jury is really trying to turn over a new leaf. In any case, neither La Città nor Vinci, being much longer games and the latter being a game which includes combat can really be expected to win. Not at all surprising, but just as unlikely to win would be Torres whose team after all won with quite a similar game, Tikal, just last year. Well, it could happen, but it would be surprising as it has only happened twice before. In addition when it has happened, Kramer in 1986-7 for Heimlich & Co. and Auf Achse and Teuber in 1990-1 for Die Siedler von Catan and Drunter & Drüber, it was for two quite different games. This phenomenon won't prevent Torres from reaching the final round however.

Now we are left with Carolus Magnus, Kardinal & König and Tadsch Mahal. Carolus seems unlikely as it doesn't even play with five and not all that well with four. This means we are down to, dare we breathe it, a Knizia game and one which people are already saying plays like a Knizia game. Tadsch Mahal is definitely an interesting game, but probably not Knizia's best and if he would win for this one, it would be ironic. In all likelihood however, the jury will see this game as too long and complicated and go for the simpler Kardinal & Koenig (Web of Power in Rio Grande's version), which as Knizia-lite will be an even greater irony.

If Kardinal & König does happen to win, it would be a nice feather in the cap for Michael Schacht whose Kontor was nominated last year and for Goldsieber whose only previous win was 1997's Mississippi Queen. . . .


Please forward any comments and corrections to Rick Heli