Episode 104: Spiel des Schpiel 2010

104: Spiel des Schpiel 2010

Release Date: June 7, 2010

Running Time: 135 min.

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The Prize.  Movies have the Oscars. Games have the Spiel des Jahres (German Game of the Year). We play and review Dixit, Identik, and Roll Through the Ages - three of five nominees - in an effort to predict the winner later this month.

News & Notes: Spiel des Jahres & Kinderspiel des Jahres recommendation lists
Nominee #1: Dixit
Nominee #2:

Nominee #3:  Roll Through the Ages
Mail Bag: Irondie, Spiel dinner: Origins

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

 Spiel des Jahres 2010

Nominee #1

Dixit  Official Site | BGG


The Storyteller creates a title for a lushly illustrated card. Others select a card that best fits this title. Will the players be able to discover which one belongs to the Storyteller?

Nominee #2

Identik (Portrayal) Official Site | BGG


The Describer has 90 seconds to relay every small detail of a bizarre illustration. The Artists must draw the picture as described. Problem is, neither Describer nor Artists know which details are important and will score points!

Nominee #3

Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age Official Site | BGG

A dice driven civlization building game. You have three rolls each turn to generate food, workers, and trade goods to build monuments, purchase cultural developments, and feed your population.

Recommended List

In addition to the nominees, the Spiel des Jahres Jury also posts the short list of recommended titles. Think of these like semi-finalists for the award.

Endeavor   BGG | Official Site

Jaipur   BGG | Official Site

Tobago   BGG | Official Site

Level X   BGG | Official Site

Mosaix   BGG | Official Site

Don Quixote   BGG | Official Site

Jäger und Sammler   BGG | Official Site

Kamisado    BGG | Official Site

Samarkand: Routes to Riches    BGG | Official Site

Hansa Teutonica    BGG | Official Site

Kinderspiel des Jahres 2010 - Nominees

Diego Drachenzahn  Official Site | BGG

Kraken-Alarm  Official Site | BGG

Panic Tower!    Official Site | BGG

Vampire der Nacht  Official Site | BGG

Turi-Tour    Official Site | BGG

Kinderspiel des Jahres Recommended List

Mein Mauschen-Farbspiel
Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt
Ab Auf Wippe
Gackerei ums Huhnerei
Razzo Raketo
Schatz der Mumie
Shaun das Schaf - Echt Schaf!
Inspektor Hase

Mail Bag

Gigantic thanks to David Averara for sending Dave a set of IRON DICE! Look for pictures and a rull review of the game in an upcoming episode.

The Spiel dinner at Origins is set! It will take place on Saturday, June 26 at 6:30 PM. We're eating at the Flatiron Bar & Diner. It is located at 29 E Nationwide Blvd. Columbus, OH.

We will be able to seat a group of 15, so if you'd like to attend, please send me an RSVP via email as soon as you can.

We'll be available for other outings for lunch and dinner throughout the weekend, so please track us down and let us know if you're interested in hanging out.


Music credits (courtesy of Ioda Promonet) include:

"Win or Lose"  by Lew Lewis  -  buy the track

"Everyone's a Winner in This Town"  by Trailer Park Rangers  -  buy the track

"Kid Kaleidoscope"  by Kid Kaleidoscope & the Puppet Players  -  buy the track

"Fabric of Win"  by Joe and Will Ask?, SaintSavior  -  buy the track

"Pictures at an Exhibition"  performed by USSR Radio Symphony Orchestra  -  buy the track

"Picture This"  by Debbie Davies  -  buy the track

"Monument"  by Geri X.  -  buy the track

"J'ai perdu 15 cents dans le nez froid d'un ange bronzé"  by L'infonie  -  buy the track


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



I haven't finished listening to the whole episode yet (almost there, but not yet), but I wanted to make a few comments before I forgot to do so...


1)  While I'm a big fan of the podcast, these episodes where you go over the SdJ nominees are - by far - my favorites each year. This year, unlike previous years, the titles are pretty well known, but it is still cool to see a set of detailed reviews of all of the nominees collected in a couple of podcasts to allow all to compare them using a similar set of criteria. I'm really looking forward to hearing the second episode!


2) You might not know that the Kinderspiel des Jahres started as a special award that was given annually and remained so for many years (1989-2000) before it developed its own juried award. Similarly, the "Spiel des Jahres Plus" award may continue as a special award for a few years they develop a pool of judges. Of course, they have had special awards almost every year, so this could vanish next year. Time will tell...


3) You mentioned Michael Schacht's "Die Golden Stadt" (The Golden City) as a game that might have gotten snubbed. It might have been snubbed, but if it was, it was snubbed last year - it was a Nuremberg 2009 game that shipped almost as soon as it was shown. It didn't make it to the Z-Man edition until early this year, which may be what confused you.


As always, a great show! Keep up the good work!

Thanks, David! We really have to scramble to get the first Spiel des Schpiel episode out the door on time, so it's always great to know our efforts are appreciated. :)

I did not know the Kinderspiel started as an offshoot from the main SdJ. Makes perfect sense, that the SdJ PLUS might evolve along a similar path, especially knowing there's a precedent for it. I certainly hope it does. I don't see the down side to having 3 awards: one for young players, one for families, and one for more experienced players/families. It would only create more attention for the game biz, I would think. I suppose one could argue having a 3rd award dillutes the prestige of the original, but to me it's apples and oranges. It is very hard to shoehorn all the games into a singular category and use the same criteria to judge them all. Case in point, this year's nominees!

Good call on Golden Stadt. I thought it was an Essen release last Fall. Obviously, I didn't do my homework on that one.

Funny - I downloaded Roll through The Ages onto my iPhone fifteen minutes before listening to the Spiel. I then started kicking myself that had I waited I could have had the chance of a free version. Grief turned to relief when I heard that the district of Gormenghast was not included in the deal.

Interesting choices for SdJ this year - I'm not really sure what it tells us about the jury. I suspect that this one is anyone's call.

A little surprising that Valdora didn't make the cut (although personally I'm not that enthused by the game) but maybe I just don't have my dates right. Actually I'm not a big fan of awards. Too many loop holes. 

The Zombie theming of Jaeger und Sammler certainly sounds cool. Enough with the stone age stuff... on with the zombies.


Hey how about a zombie themed Dixit ? or a Zombie Identik ?

Steerpike said: 

A little surprising that Valdora didn't make the cut (although personally I'm not that enthused by the game) but maybe I just don't have my dates right. Actually I'm not a big fan of awards. Too many loop holes.

 This year's nominee list certainly points out how confusing figuring out the selection window for the Spiel des Jahres can be! Four of the games have been out for at least two years. In the case of three of them (Portrayal/Identik, Roll Through the Ages, Dixit), it took that long for a German language edition to hit the market. The fourth involves a reissue of an older title that saw limited distribution originally, with the new edition also being substantially redesigned (A la Carte). While it is confusing, it is also sort of neat to see the German market having to play catch up with the designs that are being put out in other markets as much as we are having to play catch up with the releases outside of the English-speaking world.

 Valdora was a recommended game last year. Like The Golden City, it was a Nuremberg 2009 show title that shipped very close to the show - it just took a while to get to a US publisher to agree to pick it up.

 I would have to think that a Zombie-themed Identik might appeal to me a bit more than the original, but only a little bit more. Portrayal is an interesting design and it is innovative, it's just not a game that I find enjoyable. I feel the same way about PIctionary, so it must be something about drawing games. Since Dixit sold out almost as soon as it was released in the US, I have not gotten a chance to play it. It's been unavailable so long that I am starting to wonder if Asmodee is hanging on to their supply so that they can slap the SdJ award on it if they should happen to win... but then that is starting to make me sound like a conspiracy nut!

Sorry if I am out of line, but it seems you gave even more attention to the recommended list than in the past. Perhaps the more familiar and available list of nominees allowed for expanded coverage? Either way (my mistake or actual bonus coverage), very cool.

I have to remember to save the next episode for the drive to Columbus. Always hard to resist, but well worth it.

Originally,  we only mentioned the recommended games.

Starting last year, though, we decided to give them more attention. There are always several on the extended lists that I would never had known about were it not for the jury's selections. I figure, that's reason enough to spread the word.

I have a fickle memory.

My perception was that it was even better and more in depth this year, so I'll just go with that.

I don't think it likely that Doritos were actually 'now with more nacho cheese flavor' each and every time, but that's what the bag said, right?

I finished  A Game of Thrones over the weekend, and was going to take a break from the series, but the song of the Sirens of the Seven Kingdoms reached my ears, and  now I'm ankle-deep in A Clash of Kings-looking forward to the book club.

Good timing! I actually just finished A Game of Thrones last week and Dave should finish it within the week.

I know *exactly* what you mean. After 800+ pages I figured I would want a break. But I could easily slip right into the next 1000 page tome ready for more.

I just purchased AGoT living card game, so we'll be reviewing it as well as the board game this Fall. I can't wait!

Occasionally, an artist I have avidly followed for years suddenly breaks a new level of success with a piece that leaves me colder than earlier more obscure stuff. The comic artist Chris Ware, for example, wowed Time Magazine and the NYT with Jimmy Corrigan, which I found a bit tedious compared to his more cogent ACME work. Martin is edging in this direction for me as well. While the first Stark book whipped along like a rocket to a terrific cliffhanger, the pace in the subsequent books, especially the second, flags so badly that I began to suspect that Martin, realizing he had a cash cow by the udder, was trying to pad out the series by a whole extra novel- maybe two. (This is one of the big reasons I stopped reading fantasy as a kid, in the days of the umpteenth chronicles of Amber, the Overinflated Spare Tire of Time and the oh-my-goodness-yet-another-chronicle-of-Thomas-Covenant-we-found-down-the-back-of-the-sofa. I like the idea that the story I’m reading will eventually have an ending, preferably before the author in question dies.) Your experience may vary and I very much hope it does but if these books are working for you, I urge you to seek out Martin’s incandescent earlier work including Sandkings, an exemplary collection of horror stories, Tuf Voyaging, a tongue-in-cheek science fiction epic and especially a nasty little piece of work called "Meathouse Man", one of the most emotionally disturbing short stories I’ve ever read. No really. You have been warned.

Even more than that, though, all board game fanatics owe it to themselves to pick up Iain M. Banks’ definitive word on the subject, The Player Of Games.

I'll reserve judgment until I have read the entire series. So far, I am completely engaged and interested in each thread of the narrative.

Thanks for the Ian M Banks recommendation. I have a few other titles by him, but not that one.

Here's one for you: The Squares of the City by John Brunner. The plot of the book is based on an actual chess match. Brunner is a vastly underappreciated sf novelist. Squares is fun, but Stand on Zanzibar and The Shockwave Rider.

I finally caught up on this episode on a 14 hour cross-country drive, I love my iPod :-)
(I had to pull the car over to play along w/Portrayal/Identik!)

Nice podcast and it was interesting to hear about the recs in addition to the nominees.


So for Tobago, you guys said something along the lines of that it was particularly innovative b/c it was the first game to turn the "deduction" games on it's head by making the players clues determine the eventual location... but wouldn't Android be the first game to come up with this idea?  The different detectives play "evidence" and the eventual culprit is the one with the most evidence, from what I understand.  So the culprit essentially does not exist at the beginning of the game and only after the game play does he/she become designated.  Sounds very similar to the Tobago idea.