There are, over the gaming year, five different major awards. The first two are the German awards, the SdJ and the DSP. Then there’s the RPG industry award (the Origins) and finally the American mass-market award (the Games 100). It’s pretty easy to pigeon-hole each of these:
The SdJ is a German award for a casual or family game.
The DSP is likewise a German award for more serious games, though the results have been getting more casual as they’ve started to let the masses vote.
The Origins board & card game awards are, first of all, more beauty contests than anything else — where people vote on companies as much as products. In addition they tend to award American take-that style play. If you’re looking for a new Munchkin, look here. (Since splitting into the Origins award & Choice awards, Origins proper has gotten somewhat better, while the Choice awards continue to be about what you’d expect.)
The Games 100 are a very eclectic mix, centering on ultra-casual strategy-light games that’ll appeal to the (American) mass market, but extending somewhat to more gamist games, thanks primarily to the fact that they get to name 100 picks.
… and then there’s the IGA, the International Gamer Awards.
Last year I worked up a list of the top ten games to be released at Essen 2005. Now that several months have gone by, I’ve actually had the time to play through all of them (other than no-show Tempus). As a result, this week and next I’m going to offer up a summary of my opinions about the best (and worst) games from my list.
This week, the top five games, which I grade between an “A” and a “B+”, all well above average.
October is inevitably a good month for German games thanks to to the hundreds(?) of new releases at Essen. Word slowly trickles over to the States about the best, and in the weeks and months that follow the games trickle over as well.
What follows is my listing of what I think are the games coming out of Essen with the most potential. It inevitably ended up being a list of gamers’ games, not card games or fillers, no matter how deserving they might be. Some are actually reprints, or games otherwise being made widely available to America for the first time, but the main point is this: for most people they’ll be new.
I’ve offered up my best representation of each game, but I actually haven’t seen any of them yet (except Elasund), so I can’t guarantee accuracy, especially not for the “Like:” area. Feel free to add your own thoughts or comments below.