News and Stuff – 4th June 2010

After last week being a pretty slow one in news, this time around there’s loads to talk about – most notably, the biggie when it comes to awards. Yes, it’s that time of year again – the 2010 Spiel des Jahres shortlist has been announced. Five titles are up for the award this year:

* Dixit – designed by Jean-Louis Roubira, published by Asmodee

* Indentik (also known as Portrayal) – designed by Amanda Kohout and William Jacobson, also published by Asmodee

* A la carte – designed by Karl-Heinz Schmiel, published by Heidelberger Spieleverlag

* Roll Through The Ages: The Bronze Age – designed by Matt Leacock, published by Gryphon Games

* Fresco – designed by Marcel Süßelbeck, Marco Ruskowski and Wolfgang Panning, published by Queen Games

What surprised me about this year’s lineup is the simpleness of it all. I’d say only one out of the five is a reasonably hardcore boardgame (Fresco) and even I was able to play that without messing up too badly. Something else to note is the age of some of the nominees – A la carte first came out in 1989! The rule with the SdJ is that it needs to have been released in Germany within the last year, though, so original release dates don’t really matter. All five games have their good and bad sides, but for me… well, I’d like to see the nod go to either Dixit or Roll Through The Ages (and not just because RTTA designer Matt Leacock was on episode three of the show). There was also a special award (“Spiel des Jahres Plus”) for a game they felt deserved a particular mention – World Without End, the follow up to Pillars Of The Earth. The winner of this year’s prize will be officially announced on June 28th, and with luck you’ll be able to hear from them soon after on a forthcoming episode of The Little Metal Dog Show. Also, if you fancy giving Roll Through The Ages a go and have an iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad (you lucky bugger), it’s currently available on the App Store for £2.99 – bargain!

Staying on the subject of the triumvirate of Apple devices (well, the smaller ones, anyway) – The official adaptation of Carcassonne app was submitted to the powers that be earlier this week and is now available for purchase. Adding to the rapidly increasing selection of board game adaptations (of varying degrees of quality) is certainly a good thing, and from the development team’s Twitter feed it looks like this version will be on the decent side. Very early reviews are also very positive. Online multiplayer with push notification when it’s your turn seems to be the order of the day, as well as games against the AI. An official iPad version is also planned for release later in the year, but this one seems to scale up pretty nicely to the bigger screen. Will it be as good as the Xbox Live version though? We shall see soon enough!

Finally, this weekend sees the annual UK Games Expo taking place in sunny Birmingham. After starting small a few years ago, it has become the country’s biggest gaming event, covering everything from board and card games to wargaming, minis and even Live Action Role Playing. There are demos of games new and old, plenty of traders, talks, book signings and workshops, so plenty to do! I’ll be there on the Saturday, wandering around looking bemused – report to follow sometime this weekend.

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to grab the latest edition of the show – currently on iTunes, it’s got interviews with SdJ nominee Matt Leacock and ace filmmaker Lorien Green. Should you fear Apple’s behemoth, you can grab the show directly from here! Just right click and save. Anything you want to tell me? Then email littlemetaldog@gmail.com or grab me on Twitter – I’m idlemichael. Thanks for reading!

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