Episode 32: Spiel des Schpiel

32: Spiel des Schpiel

Release Date: June 25, 2007

Running Time: 98 min.

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ep 32

And the winner is... We play all five games nominated for the Spiel des Jahres (German Game of the Year) and then we try to predict the winner!

News & Notes: Origins plans, Spiel T-Shirts, Contest news
The Nominees:
Arkadia, Zooloretto, Thief of Baghdad, Jenseits von Theben, Yspahan

Our Predictions: tune in to find out!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Game News & Notes

Special 2007 Spiel Des Jahres Episode

Regular segments will return soon!

Upcoming Episode Calendar

July 9 - Origins Episode, July 23 - no episode (Summer Break)

August 6 - regular episode, August 20 - GenCon Episode

Origins Plans

Friday - Stephen & Dave arrive, fun ensues!

Saturday - Discussion Panel - 10 AM - Meet the Boardgame Broadcasters Location: TBA

Want to have dinner with us? Meet at 6:30 PM in front of the Dealer's room entrance. Be hungry for some German food!

Sunday - Dave departs early. Stephen & Francie will be around at least part of the day.

Spiel T-Shirts

Three different designs: Meeple Stack, Cube Logo, and Spiel on! Check out the store.

BackShelf Spotlight Connection Contest

We'll let the guesses run for another two weeks. Login to the Forums and see if you can find the connection between Balderdash and Adel Verpflichtet

Want to be a Sponsor on The Spiel?

Talk to us! We'd love to hear from you. stephen@thespiel.net

2007 Spiel des Jahres Nominees

Arkadia BGG entry


Place buildings and builders, construct a castle and then decide when to score.

Zooloretto BGG entry


Collect animals and vending stalls for the enclosures in your zoo. Watch out, sometimes the animals get frisky and make babies!

Thief of Baghdad BGG entry

thief of baghdad

Manipulate guards and a legion of cutpurses to swipe more treasure chests than your opponents using a simple hand of colored cards.

Jenseits von Theben BGG entry

jenseits von theben

Early 20th century archaeologists compete to aquire artifacts, host exhibitions, and amass special knowledge in different areas of the world.

Yspahan BGG entry


Dice driven mechanic allows players to collect camels, place goods in shops and caravans, and construct buildings to gain victory points.

Time Well Spent Contest

This week, Time Well Spent is having a great sale in addition to their contest. From June 25 to July 2, here's the deal:

Spiel des Jahres recommended games are $1 off

Spiel des Jahres nominated games are $2 off.

The Spiel des Jahres winner is $3 off.

On to the contest! The prize this week is a copy of the Spiel des Jahres winning game!

You can start by visiting www.timewellspent.org

But you'll have to listen to the episode for all the details! (insert evil laugh here)

Next episode, we'll select a lucky winner from all the correct guesses.

PLEASE NOTE: International listeners are welcome to enter the contest, but you must be willing to pay the shipping costs should you win.



Thanks to Martin Krause for putting me in contact with Stefan Ducksch, the Spiel des Jahres jury member.

I'm sure there are some other goofs in there somewhere. Let us know if (when?) you find one!


Great show ! I don't normally pay much attention to the SdJ but it was interesting to have the games under the spotlight and to have an explanation of how the judges make their decision (It's always seemed so random).

Now I understand the criteria I can understand why some games I really like didn't make the grade.

Remind me never to take betting tips from either of you.

btw The dice mechanic in Yspahan sounds kinda similar to War of the Ring, so maybe not as new as some may think.

We don't stop playing games when we get old...... We get old when we stop playing games

Hmmm. No, I don't think Yspahan is really much like War Of The Ring, really.

In Yspahan, you are putting the dice on what amounts to ladder rungs. Lowest dice goes on the lowest rung, highest dice goes on the highest rung, and you fill in the middle from the bottom up. Unless you roll a 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 there will be an empty rung.

As an aside, though... War of the Ring.... man, is that a GREAT game, and the action dice are awesome.


My comparison of Yspahan with War of the Ring was only really when looking at new game mechanics.
To me the creativity is saying "let's not just use dice in the traditional old way but find some creative ideas for how they affect game play".

At its core, the mechanic is simply that the dice dictate what actions are going to be available this turn and how many of such actions there will be. I agree that the implementation is different in both games, however, I consider the underlying idea as the same.

Not sure about the effect on gameplay as I've never played Yspahan. But we are in violent agreement that War of the Ring ROCKS !
We don't stop playing games when we get old...... We get old when we stop playing games

Thanks for the kudos. If for no other reason than to bring some added attention to these very worthy five games, I think it was a successful experiment.

Dang it, now I want to break out War of the Ring. Curse you two!

We're going to try a six player game of Twilight Imperium over our Summer vacation, I think. I vowed never to play that game again after I had several really bad (and interminably long) experiences with the older edition and rules.

Dave promised some good Tequila to get me to the table, so that might do the trick. :)

A great episode as usual! Would love to see this become an annual event!

I think it's kinda funny how we somehow bounced from 5 SdJ nominees straight into War Of The Ring. As Dave would say, "ultra-ultra-cool!".

Seriously, WotR is such a good game. It's the best narrative wargame that I own. So much of the card play is driven by story elements, and there are so many paths to victory, all of which (re)tell a story of their own. I saw that they are doing a Collector's Edition with hard-bound rules, a bigger map(!) and pre-painted minis and I just about passed out. That might have been the $250 or whatever pricetag that made me pass out, though....

Steerpike - okay, based on your last post, I see what you are saying now about the dice. Good thinking!

TI3 is game that I have to say is not a favorite. I have tried it many times, and in theory it should be good, but somehow it just doesn't click. I've heard the expansion fixes a lot of the things I didn't like about it (like turtling) so hopefully that should make it a better game. Good luck!


Awesome show. Good job scrambling to put this one together, and it was great that Time Well Spent, Rio Grande, and Queen were so helpful on such short notice.

While your predictions were off, Jenseits von Theben certainly sounded like the most unique from your discussion, hence the reason it was your SdJ prediction. It is the one I am looking forward too.

I hope you do another SdJ show next year.

Why does the new show not have a comment section? I have some rubbin' in to do! :)

Mark "Not a Cheater!" Wilder (a.k.a. JoeyHemlock)
Chicago IL

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