The big news of the week, of course, is the announcement of this year’s Spiel des Jahres winner. The SdJ is one of the biggest prizes in gaming with nominees and winners able to expect a healthy boost in sales worldwide, despite the award only covering games released in Germany in the past 12 months. Former victors include classics such as Ticket to Ride and El Grande – Dominion took the title last year. While complaints about the lack of ‘heavy’ games on this year’s shortlist were many – Fresco being the only game that could be considered so – the actual winner that the panel chose was Dixit by Jean-Louis Roubira (and art by Marie Cardouat). The premise of Dixit is that one player acts as a storyteller, choosing one of the cards in their hand and coming up with an esoteric sentence about it – other players then choose one of their own cards that they think would also fit, and the chosen cards are all shuffled together. The other players must then choose which image was selected by the storyteller – if everyone (or no-one) gets it correct, the storyteller gets nothing but the others get points. In the case of there being a split decision, points are awarded to those who were correct and the storyteller, and the role moves on to the next person.
I’ve got a copy on the way, and after a few plays I’ll let you know my thoughts on it. For now though, the forums that are exploding with bile because Dixit won should just chill out. The SdJ panel are notoriously random (Niagara, anyone?). Awards mean nothing if people don’t like the game (or even the concept behind it), and complaining won’t make them change their minds. If Dixit isn’t for you, then so be it – go play something you enjoy instead. There’s plenty of other games out there. Like Agricola!
Agricola has been one of the biggest names in games since it came out in 2007, hovering around the top of their best games list and regularly getting to the tables of gamers around the world. Naturally wanting to continue his success, designer Uwe Rosenberg has been keeping the game alive with extra expansions (like card decks) but now has gone full on with the announcement this week of Agricola: The Goodies. What was originally meant to be a small print-run of 2500 copies in English (with a further 500 in Spanish) sold out within a couple of days of being announced – to stop people from being ripped off, the producers have announced that more will be printed shortly. Most of the stuff that comes in the box is already available in Germany – hence the English / Spanish only printing, but if you’re lucky enough to pick one up, you’ll be getting four new decks (including the X-deck of aliens!), double sided player boards, a bunch of stickers and… you guessed it, a huge pile of wooden animals, vegetables and resource tokens to pimp your copy.
Agricola: The Goodies is out soon, and will cost $60 / £40 – a lot of money for an expansion, but people will go mad for it. Knowing how popular the unofficial Agricola animeeples and veggieples made by the guys from Board Game Extras are (and how much they cost) it actually works out quite reasonably in comparison! However, think to the future… if this is The Goodies, how long will it be until we see The Baddies..?
I don’t think it’s actually possible for me to do a news post without mentioning Fantasy Flight Games somewhere. This week is no exception, as a bit more information about their upcoming re-issue of the classic DungeonQuest was released from FFG Towers. Yes, it’s basically a prettier version of the truly hardcore dungeon crawler that we know and love (even if it destroys us nine times out of ten), but one thing really grabbed my interest. In a fantastic bit of cross promotion, all the heroes that come with the new version of DungeonQuest will also be fully compatible with several other FFG releases; namely Runebound, Descent and Runewars. Sure, it’s pretty much just a way for the company to get people interested in their other releases, but I think it’s a rather interesting idea. Will this see a rise in cross-compatible releases from other companies in future? A Small World map for Ticket To Ride from Days of Wonder, for example? Only time will tell.
And that’s it for this week. In case you missed it, Episode 5 of the podcast is available through iTunes right now. If that’s not to your liking, you can always grab it directly from the site by right clicking and saving on this link here. Comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org as always, please! Have a great weekend.