This year, Melissa Rogerson was invited to give a keynote at the Toy Libraries Australia Conference.
Her talk “Why boardgames?” was recorded and while some of the discussion relates to Toy Libraries specifically, much of it should be of enjoyable to anyone with even a passing interest in board gaming.
Here are the short listed games for the 2018 Best International Game award in alphabetical order.
Designed by Michael Kiesling
Art by Philippe Guérin and Chris Quilliams
Published by Plan B Games
Win acclaim from King Manuel I of Portugal, by completing the best wall tile mosaic for the Royal Palace of Evora. Each turn players choose tiles to make sets on their player board, then move tiles from completed sets to their wall mosaic. At the end of each round the wall tiling is inspected and points are awarded – but beware, wasted tiles bring a penalty. As the game progresses, the mosaic pattern begins to take shape. Players compete to achieve special bonuses for completing rows and columns or laying 5 tiles of the same colour. With an easy to follow rulebook with clear examples, Azul offers pleasing game play, and rewards players for finding new strategies to edge out their opponents with each play. Suitable for two to four players aged 8 and up. At $60-$80, Azul includes 100 colourful tiles that make a great display on the table and feel great in the hand.
Century: Spice Road
Designed by Emerson Matsuuchi
Art by David Richards and Fernanda Suárez
Published by Plan B Games
Century: Spice Road explores the history of spice trading in a strategic game for 2-5 players. Players take on the role of a caravan leader in the spice trade, travelling the silk road to acquire and deliver spices, represented by richly coloured wooden cubes. With beautiful artwork and simple rules – there are only four possible actions on any player’s turn – that lead to wide open possibilities, Century: Spice Road offers a great mix of fun and challenge with interesting options right from the start of the game. Although the box says it will take up to 45 minutes, after a couple of plays this is unlikely to take much more than half an hour. Suitable for ages 8 and up, the game costs around $60-$70.
Designed by Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson and Wolfgang Kramer
Art by Tavis Coburn and Michael Crampton
Published by Restoration Games
A reissue of the classic car-racing game Top Race (Niki Lauda’s Formula 1, Daytona 500), Downforce has been brought well and truly up to date. Players bid on cars and special powers, then race around the track. Will you zoom ahead, or will you block other players’ cars from progressing? Players use the cards in their hand to determine the course of the game. Interestingly, these allow them to move other players’ cars as well as their own. At three different points on the track, they can nominate which car they think will win. But winning the race isn’t everything: money (victory points) is awarded for picking a winner and for finishing the race, and is deducted to pay for the car’s auction price. For 2-6 players, the game is complicated enough to please adults but has simple rules for playing with younger children or for those who don’t want to ‘bet’ on the race’s outcome. You’ll love the toy cars but you’ll love the game even more. Around $55 – $65, with an expansion board on the way already.
Designed by Bruno Cathala
Art by Cyril Bouquet
Published by Blue Orange
As ruler of your domain, select and place domino tiles to extend the lands surrounding your castle. Each domino tile shows two colourfully illustrated landscapes, and your goal is to create areas of landscape that gain bonuses from the crowns shown on each tile. With clever play, you may claim just the right dominoes to fill all of the five-by-five grid allotted to your kingdom. While each turn presents simple decisions, you must choose carefully in order to achieve your best score while keeping an eye on what your neighbouring kingdoms require. Suitable for two to four players aged 8 and up, Kingdomino presented in a compact box, and finishes in 15-20 minutes – so quickly that you will want to play again straight away. The Kings, castles and domino pieces are beautifully presented, yet its $30-$40 price makes Kingdomino a family game essential or great gift
Designed by Inka and Markus Brand
Published by KOSMOS
Word Slam is a hilarious, team-based party game for three or more players. Playing simultaneously, one player on each team sorts through over 100 cards to find clues to a secret word – the rest of the players must guess the word. The restriction – you can only use the words on the cards. No talking, no speaking – just select and play cards from the deck. Meanwhile, your team members must guess what they think it is – and listen to the other team’s guesses in case there’s a clue. Will your team pick “Astronaut” as a “SPACE JOB” before the other team guesses it? What’s your pick for “SCIENCE FICTITIOUS MOVIE TECHNOLOGY LONG OBJECT BLUE”? In the $40 – $50 bracket, Word Slam is sold for ages 12+. We think it works as well for adults-only groups as it does for families from about 10+ – just try to make your teams fairly even. And the movie tech was a light saber, but you guessed that already right?
Here are the short listed games for the 2018 Best Children’s Game award in alphabetical order.
Designed by Carlo Bortolini
Art by Pablo Fontagnier
Published by Stronghold Games
Players take turns to flip cards in this memory game. If the background or foreground of the flipped card matches the previous card flipped, then the player is still in, otherwise they’re out of the round. Once only one player is still in, they get the treasure. After 7 rounds, the player with the most valuable treasure wins in this 2-4 player game.
Promoting memory, the publisher recommends that it is for ages 8+, however it is very playable for ages 6+ and retails for around $25.
Rhino Hero: Super Battle
Designed by Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf
Art by Thies Schwarz
In Rhino Hero: Super Battle, players build skyscrapers for their hero to climb. But the evil monkeys are always hanging around. Who will reach the greatest height before the skyscraper tumbles in this dexterity based brawl for 2-4 players.
Promoting dexterity and decision making, this game is recommended for ages 5+ and retails for around $50.
Designed by Manny Vega
Art by Leah Artwick
Published by Breaking Games
You are princesses that have been trapped in cursed towers. To save yourself you’ll need to play (and read aloud) cards from your hand to the spell book, matching the symbol or colour of a card on the spell book. Once a player has played all the cards in their hand, they’ll take a card from their tower and draw back up. Once a player has taken all of their tower cards, they have escaped and won in this 3-8 player game.
Sparkle Kitty promotes reading in a fun way, is recommended for ages 6+ and retails for around $30.
Designed by Marco Teubner
Art by Esther Diana
Published by HABA
In this 2-4 player game, players will roll dice to attempt to match the icons on one of the tiles on offer. If they succeed, they’ll add the tile to their park. The first player to completely fill their park is declared the winner.
Tiny Park promotes pattern matching and probability, is recommended for ages 5+ and retails for around $20.
Here are the short listed games for the 2018 Best Australian Game award in alphabetical order.
Designed by Phil Walker-Harding
Art by Klemens Franz
Published by Lookout Games and Mayfair Games
Retails for around $60
Build the best bear park in this 2-4 player tile placing game. When you place a tile in your park, the icons that you cover determine which tiles you’ll take into your hand… ready to place on your next turn. With very simple rules, Bärenpark boast quick turn, interesting decisions and an advanced mode that adds achievements to race for.
Designed by Matthew Parkes
Art by Stephen Gibson
Published by Rule & Make
Retails for around $50
Satisfy customers orders in this burger building game. Each order requires a burger with certain ingredients and/or size. To add an ingredient to a burger the icon on the bottom of the card being added must match the icon on the top of the card previously played. At the end of the day, whoever has managed to earn the most money in this 2-4 player game.
Be sure to have some food handy, as Burger Up will have you drooling as you create some delicious and sometimes bizarre gastronomical creations.
Designed by Brendan Evans
Art by Ellie Jang, Dmitriy Logunkov, Neil Martin and Steven Preston
Published by Rule & Make
Retails for around $40
2-4 players compete to build the flying city of Skyward. Each round the player who is the Warden will draw cards and seperate them into piles, one for each player. Everyone picks the pile they want, but the Warden picks last. Thus to ensure they get what they want, the Warden needs to ensure that each pile except the one they want attracts the other players.
Keeping an eye on what other buildings players are looking for and what resources they need is important and a key skill to mastering this game.
Designed by Joel Finch
Art by Nicole Castles, Lina Cossette, David Forest and Philippe Poirier
Published by Good Games Publishing
25 minutes per player
Retails for around $60
Build the best theme park you can. Attract guests to earn money, improve your attractions and if necessary attack your opponent’s parks. All is fair in the theme park business in this 2-5 player game. The game also includes differently themed decks which have a different style of play. During setup one deck per player will be added to the mix of cards which will be used, increasing the replay value of the game.
With delightful artwork, Unfair is a heavily thematic game which gives players to choose to play aggressively or focus on building their own parks.
We’ve added a list of our favourite party games to our Game Recommendations. Party games are great for larger groups, taking anywhere from four to twenty or more players. Our picks are sure to be a hit, so give one of these a try for your next get-together or even for a work retreat.
Submissions for consideration are now open for the Board Games Australia Awards. Submissions must be made by the designer, artist or publisher of the board game and must be received by mail by 31 May, 2018.
Submission guidelines, judging process and criteria as well as the submission form are included within each award’s submission pack below:
The Judging Panel has announced the winner of the 2017 Best International Game Winner
Designed by Antoine Bauza, Artwork by Jérémie Fleury, published by iello
Oceanos was a clear winner this year. It is a superbly illustrated, engaging family game that puts each player in control of their own unique submarine and underwater tableau.
Using some simple card drafting, you’ll choose whether to upgrade your sub, explore the ocean depths, collect specimens, or hunt for treasure – but keep an eye on your fuel and beware the Kraken!
This impressive game is easy to understand and quick to play, but there are enough subtleties and potential for a strategy to make it loads of fun for a range of ages. Better still, it is reasonably priced. So, it is highly recommended as a gift as well as the perfect addition to any family games shelf.
The Judging Panel has announced the winner of the 2017 Best Children’s Game Winner
Ticket To Ride: First Journey
Designed by Alan R. Moon, Artwork by Cyrille Daujean and Jean-Baptiste Reynaud, published by Days of Wonder
Ticket To Ride: First Journey takes the classic game of Ticket to Ride and makes it playable for young children and their parents.
Players will receive two tickets, each showing two cities which they need to connect by train tracks. To lay a track, they’ll need to pay cards showing the track colour. When they complete a ticket, they grab a new ticket to complete. The first player to complete 6 tickets wins.
The judging panel found the game to be fun for the whole family. Ticket To Ride: First Journey finds the balance between simplicity (no reading required to play) and strategy, it’s simple enough for the youngest children to be able to enjoy, but enough strategy to entertain parents.