Speedy Roll (“Hedgehog Roll”) by Urtis Šulinskas and published by Lifestyle Boardgames and Piatnik is the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2020. Mushrooms, apples and leaves are spread around the table just like on the forest floor. This is important, as that’s what the little hedgehog needs to get back home quickly before he is caught by the fox. Luckily the hedgehog has rolled up into a cute little fuzzy ball. The forest goodies will stick to the ball just like Velcro, as long as you roll it carefully enough. For each captured forest goodie you can move one step further on the game board, as long as you’ve collected the right piece. You can play co-operatively or competitively. And if you get really good at rolling you can try the variants for advanced and professional players: for instance rolling the ball with your eyes closed. This dexterity game with an element of tactics is all-round good fun.
In children’s games an awful lot of things have been rolled: marbles, ball bearings, sticks, but up until now no tennis balls. The idea of using one as a hedgehog using its felt spines to pick up apples, mushrooms and leaves is already something special. But to link all of this with a race, where the hedgehog really does roll across the table and where the items picked up on the spikes determine how far players can move is what makes “Speedy Roll” (“Hedgehog Roll”) so uniquely appealing. Whether co-operative or competitive: each game tells an exciting story.
Also on the nomination list: “Foto Fish” by Michael Kallauch (Logis) and “Wir sind die Roboter” (“Robots”) by Reinhard Staupe (Nürnberger Spielkarten-Verlag).