2009 Best Australian Game

The Judging Panel for the Best Australian Game congratulates the designers of the following games, which have been shortlisted for the Best Australian Game Award, 2009.

The 2009 Boardgames Australia Best Australian Game was won by Sorts for Kids.

Sorts for Kids

Designer: Craig Browne
Publisher: Crown and Andrews
Players: 2-6
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suitable for: Parties, Families (Ages 9 and up)

Sorts for Kids is a trivia game where near enough is good enough! Everyone plays at once and must sort the four topic items into order, be it: number of superheros in a gang (The Incredibles, Power Puff Girls etc), the age of movie stars (Miley Cyrus, Dakota Fanning etc), or top land speed of different animals. There are also questions where you must pick the two correct answers of four options, and the “line-ups” where players rank themselves on an attribute such as length of hair, or number of buttons! Score is kept on a board and the first to reach the middle is the winner.

The questions are a great mix of zany and serious and will enable adults and children to compete on a roughly equal footing: do you remember on which days of the week The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate his different foods?!

Cannonball Colony

Designer: Phil Harding
Publisher: Adventureland Games
Players: 2-4
Playing time: 20-60 minutes
Suitable for: Families (ages 10 and up), Adults

Build a new island for each game and then race to colonize and control the island. This is a fun strategy game where you build roads to connect your forts, and then carefully position your cannon to protect your own forts and clear the way to take over parts of the island from the other players. Simple rules, lots of opportunities for planning, all in a compact box!

Heads of State

Designer: Peter Hawes
Publisher: Z-Man Games / Eggert Spiele
Players: 2-5
Playing time: 120 minutes
Suitable for: Families (Ages 12 and up), Adults

You represent a noble family in 16th-18th Century Europe, and must scheme to get your family members into positions such as Dukes, Earls or even Kings of England, France, Spain and Germany.

To do this you may take a regular “resources” turn collecting cards such as castles, titles and troops to help position one of your people. The alternative is to take a “treachery” turn where you remove the current occupant of a seat that you would like one of your own family to occupy.

Careful collecting of resource cards and timely alliances with other players will help you to emerge as the Head of State!


Designer: Frank Dyksterhuis
Publisher: Dr Wood Challenge Centre
Players: 2
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suitable for: Families (Ages 10 and up), Adults

Kogworks is a stylish-looking game of pure strategy. Playing pieces are cogs that slip over pegs on the board to build up a whirling rotating machine. You are trying to build a chain and turn the top cogwheel, or else to lock-up your opponent’s master cogwheel. Each turn is simple: just add a cog or move a cog to a new place; but trying to foresee the consequence of your move and set a trap for your opponent raises this game to the level of serious brain-workout fun.

Make ‘n’ Break Compact

Designer: Andrew Lawson & Jack Lawson
Publisher: Ravensburger
Players: 2-4
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suitable for: Families (Ages 6 and up)

Make ‘n’ Break Compact is a fast-paced, exciting game where you race to arrange blocks into the structure shown on a card, and then knock the structure down to start another one. To make it more challenging, each block is a different colour and the card usually requires a specific coloured block in each position of the structure. Sometimes to make the blocks balance, you will be required build them in a precise sequence too! All this must be accomplished under the time presure of another player rolling a die and adding a running total which determines how long your turn lasts.

Word Wrangles Game Pack

Designer: Matthew Shallvey
Publisher: Word Wrangles
Players: 1-4
Playing time: 10 – 30 minutes
Suitable for: Families (Ages 8 and up), Adults

This game pack is really 12 word games in one small box! Word Wrangles Game Pack uses letter tiles like in Scrabble, but for most of the games you play these letter tiles on your own personal game board to form words. Different games will see you compete to link two letters on either side of your board, or race to form different cross-word layouts, or to spot a word amongst the jumble in the middle. There are also several games that can be played solitaire, and most of the games feel a bit like Scrabble crossed with a puzzle, but with time pressure introduced by opponents and a sandtimer. A special feature of these games is that they have a built in handicapping system so that people with different abilities can compete, even putting children on a level playing field with adults.