Even if, as the chairman of the Spiel des Jahres association, Harald Schrapers, emphasised in his speech, everything will be different in 2020: “We have decided not to skip this award ceremony. Because we owe it to the cultural asset of the game. Nevertheless, this year’s award ceremony took place on a smaller scale than usual. Instead, numerous authors of the nominated games from Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany participated via video conference. “Once again, the wide range of games was impressive,” said Schrapers. A special tribute was paid to the game author Klaus Teuber, whose classic game “The Settlers of Catan” celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, with a very emotional video clip by jury member Julia Zerlik.
Grown up with the red pawn
In 2020, the Kennerspiel des Jahres was awarded for the 10th time, and the Spiel des Jahres for the 42nd time. Jury member Manuel Fritsch, who represented the speaker Bernhard Löhlein, led through the event. He said that the Spiel des Jahres critics’ award is just as old as he is: “I grew up with the red pawn”, he said.
Communicative trick-tacking game in space: „Die Crew“
At the event, which took place in the nhow Conference Center beside the Spree in Berlin, “Die Crew” (“The Crew”, published by Kosmos) by game designer Thomas Sing was awarded the title of Kennerspiel des Jahres 2020. The central game mechanism is that of a trick-tacking game – but it is intended as a cooperative game in which communication is restricted. “For me, communication is the heart of the game,” says Sing. The space theme of “Die Crew” has a real inspiration: “The game was created when everyone was talking about ISS Commander Alexander Gerst,” says the author. In the jury’s statement, it says: “Hardly any other game before was able to capture the special charm of trick games so well.“
Creative with unusual materials: “Pictures”
The Spiel des Jahres 2020 won “Pictures” (published by PD-Verlag) by the author couple Daniela and Christian Stöhr. The creative party game is about reconstructing photos from unusual materials such as shoelaces, building blocks, sticks and stones. “It was clear to us,” says Daniela Stöhr, “that the five materials would fit together perfectly.” In the jury’s statement, it says: “Each set challenges the players in a different way, and so the incentive to experiment is enormous.“
Die ausgezeichneten und nominierten Spiele hat die Jury aus gut 330 Spielen ausgewählt und diese zum Teil auch virtuell gespielt. Dennoch betont Harald Schrapers: „Die physische Anwesenheit eines Spiels, eines analogen Spiels, lässt sich nicht virtuell eins zu eins ersetzen. Die Menschen wollen wirkliche Brettspiele mit wirklichen Menschen spielen. Zirka 25 Prozent Umsatzplus während des Shutdowns waren die logische Folge.“