2019 Best Australian Game

Boardgames Australia has announced the short list for its 2019 Best Australian Game award.

The awards are open to stand-alone board games designed by an Australian, which were first made available (in English) to Australian retailers between 1 June 2018 to 30 June 2019 and are currently available in at least two Australian retailers.

The 2019 Board Games Australia Best Australian Game goes to Gizmos designed by Phil Walker-Harding with art by Hannah Cardoso, Júlia Ferrari, Giovanna BC Guimarães, Mathieu Harlaut and Saeed Jalabi and published by CMON.

Gizmos combines the joy of building a machine that gets bigger and better every turn with a great marble dispenser.

The game is a race to make the best machine, which is made up of Gizmos each of which provide victory points and often provide an affect.

On your turn you choose just one of four options, all of which are handily detailed on your player dashboard:
File: take a Gizmo card from the display and put it into your Archive
Pick (choose an energy from one of the six available from the dispenser and add it to your storage ring)
Build: Build a Gizmo from the display of gizmos or your archive and place it into your machine, paying the required energy
Research: Draw a number of cards from one of the three gizmo stacks

Where the game gets interesting is that each gizmo provides an effect which will trigger when you perform certain actions. For instance you might have built a gizmo that allows you to perform a Pick action whenever you build a red gizmo.

In this way you can get a lot more done with your turn.

Its possible to build machines that allow you to do many things on a turn and finding gizmos that work well with each other is the best path to victory.

And however you end up at the end of the game, it’s always nice to look at the strange machine you’ve created with gizmo cards that combine household items like blenders, phones and fans with strange items powered by hair being brushed by combs to produce static electricity or a bunny on a treadmill chasing a carrot.

It’s a simple game to learn, but one that has enough depth to keep you coming back time and time again

2019 Best Australian Game Short List

Gingerbread House

Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Artist: Andy Elkerton & Klemens Franz
Publisher: Lookout Games
Playtime: 30 minutes
Ages 8+

Players take on the role of a witch, constructing a gingerbread house domino tile by domino tile. As you build up the house, you’ll cover symbols which will enable you to entice various fairy tale characters to earn points and bonuses.


Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Artist: Hannah Cardoso, Júlia Ferrari, Giovanna BC Guimarães, Mathieu Harlaut & Saeed Jalabi
Publisher: CMON
Playtime: 40-50 mins
Ages: 14+

Grab energy marbles to help build gizmos for your incredible machine which will help you grab energy marbles which will help build gizmos for your incredible machine….

But will your machine be better than everyone else’s in this engine building game?

The Great City of Rome

Designers: Mathew Dunstan & Brett J Gilbert
Artist: Martin Hoffmann & Claus Stephan
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Playtime: 60 minutes
Ages: 10+

Two to four builders are trying to impress the Roman Emperor with their designs to rebuild Rome.

Not only must your design for the four by four city including residential buildings, aqueducts, temples, farms and various public buildings be inspiring, but using your influence you must also please the Emperor.

The Stars Align

Designers: Sean Fenemore & Matt Radcliffe
Artist: Ian Reed
Publisher: Unstable Games
Playtime: 15 – 30 mins
Ages: 6+

Place stars from a constellation card in the night sky trying to make seven in a row or a column for a shooting star in this two player game.

The first to five shooting stars is the winner and the cloth bag that the game comes in is the board.

Village Pillage

Designer: Peter C. Hayward & Tom Lang
Artist: Tania Walker
Publisher: Jellybean Games
Playtime: 20 mins
Ages: 10+

In Village Pillage two to five players race to gain three royal relics by playing Farmers, Walls, Raiders and Merchants.  Each turn you play two cards, one to your left and one to your right which are compared with those neighbouring villages who have also played two cards.  

You buy relics with turnips which your farmers produce, but raiders from other villages may steal your turnips, but you can protect them with walls.