2016 Best Australian Game

Every year this award becomes more difficult to judge, as Australian designers produce an increasingly diverse range of games that are great fun to play!

Despite not short-listing quite a few of the nominated games, our “short” list is still quite long! In alphabetical order they are:


Cacao by Phil Walker-Harding and Z-Man Games
Beautiful 2-4 player tile-laying game with simple rules and some tactics in trying to get multiple uses from your workers (on the tiles). 30-45 minutes.

Cogz by Wesley Lamont and RAEZ
Interesting 2-6 player abstract game centering on management of your hand of tiles to seize opportunities as they arise. 30 minutes.

Elysium by Matt Dunstan & Brett Gilbert and Space Cowboys
An intriguing mechanism for claiming cards is at the heart of this 2-4 player game. It offers a lot of variety for experienced gamers, but is a bit too demanding for family play. 60-90 minutes.

One Zero One by David Harding and Grail Games
A fast head-to-head duel for two players. The theme of computer programming might turn some away, but this is a simple and elegant game of positional play. 15 minutes.

Pyramix by Time Roediger and Gamewright Games
An exciting mechanism of piled cubes means that each choice reveals new options for subsequent players. A simple game suited to family play. 20 minutes, 2- 4 players.

Rise to Power by Allen Chang & Alistair Kearney and Rule & Make
A compelling race for 2 – 6 players to build a futuristic city. The game is driven by forming sets of cards representing “PRISM”  then energy source of the future. 45 minutes.

Royals by Peter Hawes and Arcane Wonders


The winner for 2016 is


Royals box, from Arcane Wonders

You are playing the role of one the great noble houses in 17th century Europe trying to gain supremacy by placing your family members in positions of power and influence or even the Royal Courts.  Whilst the game plays in an hour, your family’s strategy builds up over the century as you position the members of your house and through  Intrigue replace members of competing houses.  Who will wield power over Europe?

Royals intrigue cards, from Arcane Wonders

Although there is a lot of strategy, playing the game is quite straightforward. On your turn you either pick up some cards, or else you play cards to claim a board position for one of your nobles. The cards represent the countries in which you have influence. To install a baron is not difficult, but you will need to spend a lot of influence to install a king! The rules are easy and well-explained. The board layout makes the game play flow. This is a well-designed and enjoyable game that people of all ages will be able to enjoy.


Designer: Peter Hawes
Publisher: Arcane Wonders (and Abacus Spiele)
Players: 2-5
Playing time: 60 minutes
Suitable for: Families (Ages 10 and up), Adults


Royals board, from Arcane Wonders