2018 Best Australian Game

The 2018 Board Games Australia Best Australian Game goes to Bärenpark designed by Phil Walker-Harding with art by Klemens Franz and published by Lookout Games and Mayfair Games.

The committee selected Bärenpark due to it’s interesting theme, simple rulebook which includes both a basic and slightly more advanced modes for an experience for a wide range of audiences.

Throughout Bärenpark you’ll be placing tiles from your supply onto your park board and as a result covering symbols which will allow you to take extra tiles from the market into your supply or to add more park boards to grow your park. Tiles come in a range of different shapes and points so trying to place the tiles you manage to get to maximise the space in your park can be tricky.

The game works for two, three and four players and scales nicely. Wether it’s a back and forth with you and another park owner or trying to best three other players, there’s enough tension to make for a delightful game.

But in the end, even when a player falls behind they still have an nice looking park to see in front of them.


This marks the fifth time a game designed by Philip Walker-Harding has been given the Best Australian Game award and eleven of his games have been short listed.


The 2018 Boardgames Australia Best Australian Game Short List

20 August, 2018: Boardgames Australia has announced the short list for its 2018 Best Australian Game award.
The awards are open to stand-alone board games which were first made available (in English) to Australian retailers between 1 January 2017 to 31 May 2018 and are currently available in at least two Australian retailers.

Additionally, the Best Australian Game requires that the game have creative content from designers, developers or illustrators generated by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

For the full details of each award, including the eligibility and judging criteria, as well as the submission form itself, please see the Best Australian Game Award Submission Pack

In alphabetical order, the short listed games for the 2018 Best Australian Game award are:


Designed by Phil Walker-Harding
Art by Klemens Franz
Published by Lookout Games and Mayfair Games
30-45 minutes
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.


Burger Up

Designed by Matthew Parkes
Art by Stephen Gibson
Published by Rule & Make
30 minutes
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
30-45 minutes
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.


The 2018 Boardgames Australia Best Australian Game Judging Panel consists of:

  • Ethan Chau
  • Evan Francis
  • Stefanie Kethers
  • Tim Khoo
  • Fraser McHarg
  • Phil Reakes
  • Shirley Sheak
  • Chris Simms
  • Mathew Utting
  • Daniel Watson
  • Zendy Wongso
  • Daniel Zerman

About the Boardgames Australia Awards
Since 2008, Boardgames Australia has given awards to the best games in three categories, Best Australian Game, Best International Game and Best Children’s Game.

Each award is judged by a panel made up of judges from a variety of backgrounds and Australian cities. Games are judged on a variety of criteria, with a focus on games that can be played by the whole family.
The winners of the 2017 awards were:

  • Best Australian Game: Imhotep by Phil Walker-Harding
  • Best International Game: Oceanus by Antoine Bauza
  • Best Children’s Game: Ticket To Ride by Alan R. Moon

About Boardgames Australia

Boardgames Australia is a non-profit organisation founded in 2007 to stimulate the growth and raise the profile of boardgaming in Australia.

We also aim to

  • increase sales of quality boardgames in Australia and increase the penetration of quality boardgames in retail outlets across Australia.
  • encourage the development of the boardgame industry in Australia, from game design & development, through publishing and sales.
  • promote boardgaming as a way to bring friends and families together to share each other’s company and produce stronger and more resilient families.