“Pictures” by Daniela and Christian Stöhr at PD-Verlag is the Spiel des Jahres 2020. Building blocks, shoe laces, symbol cards and more. At first glance, the five sets of materials included in “Pictures” couldn’t be more different. Nevertheless they will all be used for the same purpose: players must recreate a photograph so that their opponents are able to identify it amongst all the other photos displayed. This might not be so simple, depending on the task and the material you’re using, so you’ll need to use some creativity and abstract thinking. You’ll also need to keep an overview of the rest of the photos in the grid so that your creation doesn’t accidentally resemble a different picture. Once all players are happy with their efforts, everyone has to guess each others’ and points are awarded accordingly. Afterwards everyone swaps their building tools, so that every player gets a chance to try out every set of materials once.
The materials in “Pictures” at first seem to have been randomly thrown together, in reality however they have been chosen cleverly. Each set provides the player with a different challenge and so there is a huge incentive for experimentation. The results are often astounding, so the guessing rounds often seem like a visit to an art gallery: featuring great ‘Aha’ moments and amusing attempts to justify your misunderstood creative genius. Super creativity with the simplest of tools.
Kennerspiel des Jahres: “Die Crew”
The Kennerspiel des Jahres award goes to “Die Crew” by Thomas Sing at Kosmos.
As part of a spaceship crew the players are travelling to the ninth planet at the edge of the solar system. On the way they will encounter all sorts of problems typical for a long journey in space: malfunctioning engines and lack of oxygen serve as thematic hooks for a co-operative trick-taking game, which challenges players in a series of 50 increasingly difficult missions. At the beginning of each mission, tasks are distributed amongst the crew members: who has to win which card in a trick? And do they need to happen in a certain order? Once the mission has started, only very limited communication is allowed between players: they can only share limited information about the cards in their hand. The crew will need teamwork, vision and imagination to reach their distant destination.
“Die Crew” is a co-operative trick-taking game and that alone makes it something a bit special. But the appeal doesn’t stop with this unique selling point. Hardly any other game before it has encapsulated the special charm of trick-taking games so well. Players gradually come to appreciate the subtleties of the genre and are challenged in an original way. “Die Crew” is simultaneously missionary and mentor. A truly incredible journey!
Hosts of the event were jury chairman Harald Schrapers and jury member Manuel Fritsch.