Spiel Des Jahres 2020 nominees announced

So here they are

Spiel des Jahres (Game of the year)

My City by Reiner Knizia
Nova Luna by Uwe Rosenberg and Corné van Moorsel
Pictures by Daniela and Christian Stöhr

Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s game of the year)

Foto Fish by Michael Kallauch
Speedy Roll by Urtis Šulinskas
Wir sind die Roboter by Reinhard Staupe

Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur game of the year)

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale by Jordy Alan
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine by Thomas Sing
The King’s Dilemma by Lorenzo Silva, Hjalmar Hach and Carlo Burelli

The original list (in German) is here - along with their list of recommendations.


Quelle surprise! SU&SD has brought visibility to all of the Kennerspiel nominations in one form or another.

It could go 3 different ways as much as I can tell. The only one on my wishlist and the only one I’ve played is Cartographers (I played along with the SU&SD stream).


Personally I hope it goes to The King’s Dilemma, it would be great to see it go to something a little different.

I hadn’t heard of Nova Luna, it looks nice. It’s got massive influence from Patchwork in terms of turn order and moving, as you might expect. It looks light and puzzly.

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Clearly I’ve fallen out of touch. I was reading the first steps of the King’s Dilemma game on the old forum, and I’ve seen several reviews of The Crew, but the others are complete blanks to me.


I only played the Crew.

Im curious on the SdJ nominees - I already have My City on my watchlist. I tend to enjoy the gsmes on SdJ nominations than the Kennerspiel nominations


SdJ: I have My City on my “might buy at some point” list because what I know about it hits a lot of interesting spots for me. It’s a city builder campaign game with a regular mode as well also Knizia. I remember seeing pretty colorful patterns for Nova Luna everywhere last SPIEL but I didn’t bother to check it out and I don’t know what Pictures is.

Kinderspiel: ??? haven’t heart of any of these but not surprising as I rarely buy games for children.

Kennerspiel: A friend of mine said upon leaving SPIEL last year “I tell you get The Crew, it’s going to be SdJ next year.” He didn’t specify which one. So I am kind of rooting for him to be correct :smiley: Besides King’s Dilemma also being something I’d love to have a group for, I dare say the deceptive simplicity of The Crew is what will decide this. But then maybe it is too much like Hana-Bi–one could argue both are coop card games with numbered cards and prohibitions about communication–to win.

Cartographers: I just haven’t played enough, after 2 solos and 1 game with my partner, I gave it to friends to try and they still have it and I don’t miss it. So I really don’t feel like Cartographers is even in the same league as the other two. Am I wrong? Is it that good of a Roll&Write?

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Different people want different things out of Roll&Writes. Some people want mindless doodling, others want tricky puzzles. The “Roll & Write” mechanism is just as broad in its scope as “hand management” but typically people ascribe it to “casual games”. Cartographers is definitely more than that; it’s a strategy game with flip-and-write as its core mechanism.

And that leads to the conversation (that’s probably worth exploring) that it’s a strategy game with a high variance in its input randomness. The plans you make early on can go completely awry just because you get unlucky flips; some people don’t like that… others do. I certainly don’t care for it, which is why I treat games like this as a lark- something to do for fun but I’m not going to sink a huge amount of mental effort into what, after all, is essentially decided by the luck of the draw.

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I own both The Crew and The King’s Dilemma.

The Crew is fantastic, group non dependant, fast, easy to learn and bloody hard at times. It’s a great spin on a classic genre.

TKD is also fantastic. We’re playing as a family and the role playing isn’t quite there which means the gameplay shows up as possibly not as strong as other games. It’s very different from anything else I’ve played. I would love to play it again as a PBP.


For one reason or another, all the Kennerspiel candidate games look like games I would love to own.

Now I am looking up all the other 6, as I had not heard of them before…


I enjoyed Cartographs and I really love The Crew, but both aren’t ‘Kennerspiel’ for me, not even close. I would expect more depth for a Kennerspiel.

This is where the SdJ continually disappoints: even when considering the Kennerspiel, the expectation is that the players don’t necessarily have a BGG account and they are definitely not the type to watch review videos or read design diaries.

i.e. Kennerspiel are not “for us”

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It would be great if Kings Dilemma won, but The Crew seems such a cliche Kennerspiel pick. Based on a traditional card game format that a lot of non-gamers would recognise (but with a twist!) for that ‘recognisable but novel’ marketing, it’s not reliant on a lot of theme, and has that ‘you could have fun with the whole family!’ infomercial factor that Spiel tends to be drawn to. And a game based on classic playing cards hasn’t won before, so there’s another box ticked.

As great as KD is, it’s not sellable in one or two sentences to non-gamers, and isn’t the sort of game you can pull off the shelf to give to a random family and guarantee it’ll be a success.


Even with a feeling of what “an SdJ game” looks like, I’m a little surprised not to see Letter Jam in these lists.


Yeah, it seemed a shoe in after Just One. Maybe they thought nominating a word game the year after another one won was too much? They do seem to want to advertise the breadth of games.

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No Wavelength either, or did that come out too early?

The Crew is a really good game and engagers my family of ‘proper’ gamers but I think I could play it with my parents. IMO it’s a much better game than Just One.

The SDJ is what it is. If The Crew sells a lot more copies then I think it paints our hobby in a good light and may encourage more people to play games.

It’s more of a shame (IMO again) that the Golden Geeks don’t fill the space for an award for ‘proper’ gamers.


2019 per BGG. Schmidt Spiele publish it in Germany, but I don’t know when they released it.

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fyi: Pictures and The Crew of won Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel :slight_smile:
not surprised about Kennerspiel.

PS: I think Wavelength released too late to be nomimated.

Have you played Pictures?

I only know that Pictures was released by PD Verlag (Mac Gerdts’ publishing house). Never tried any other items in their catalog and I always enjoyed the Spiel nominees/winners, so Im curious about this.

No, haven’t played any of the Spiel des Jahres nominees as happens often. I might eventually because friends of ours always pick up whatever won…

edit: as an aside FLGS explained to me how interesting My City was last time I was there but also said that the non-legacy variant is kind of like the prolog games of Pandemic Season 2… it looses its point as soon as you’ve played the campaign. but the guy really seemed to like My City.