What Are Your Thoughts on the Golden Geek Awards?

4 03 2014

Golden geekLast Thursday over on the Geek they announced the winners of their annual awards: the Golden Geeks. So we thought this week we would share the list of winners, give a hardy congratulations, and see what everyone else thought about the list of winners: Were there any surprises? snubs? head-scratchers? Let’s take a look!

The list of tabletop games looks like this:

Game of the Year: Terra Mystica

Best Abstract Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends

Best Card Game: Love Letter

Best Wargame: 1775: Rebellion

Best Children’s Game: Forbidden Desert

Best Party Game: Love Letter

Best Print and Play Game(s): Tiny Epic Kingdom and Coin Age

Best Two Player Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

Best Strategy Game: Terra Mystica

Best Thematic Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island

Best Family Game: Love Letter

Best Expansion: Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport

Best Art & Presentation: Mice and Mystics

Most Innovative: Love Letter

Love Letter walked away with four Geeks this year, the most of any other game. Love Letter is certainly basking in the golden light of last week’s announcement; we’ve definitely seen some polarizing opinions on the game, including our own Firestone’s review of the game. While many of the games on the list are no shock,  there are also a few games that didn’t make the list that made our Top Ten list this year, including the Spiel des Jahres winner Hanabi. So we’d like to hear from you: What games got snubbed, what games are you picking up after seeing this list of winners, and what games surprised you by walking away with a Geek this year?

Thanks for reading, and commenting!

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9 responses

4 03 2014

too much love letter, not enough rampage

4 03 2014

Even putting aside my thoughts on Love Letter, it seems weird to me that the winner of “Best Party Game” can only hold 4 players.

Also, Forbidden Desert isn’t a kids game. That award should go to a game designed *for* kids. FD would be my choice for Best Family Game.

I’m fine with almost all of the winners. When we made our Top 10 list, I hadn’t played Terra Mystica. I have now, and while it still wouldn’t be my Game of the Year, it was definitely top-tier, and worthy of this award.

Now I need to get my grubby paws on a copy…

4 03 2014

I think Gravwell got robbed in the Most Innovative category (didn’t even receive the nomination), although I guess this is because it arrived in stores too late last year. Also, Dominion: Guilds wasn’t even nominated for best expansion? And Love Letter takes FOUR awards? These choices represent what is increasingly becoming an echo chamber of opinion.

Or, only one of my choices received its award. 🙂

4 03 2014

Dominion: Guilds was nominated. I really like Skullport, so that was an okay win in my book.

I agree with you on Gravwell. Truly unique. Rampage, La Boca, Tzolk’in, and Article 27 all seem more innovative than Love Letter… :/

4 03 2014

Ach! You’re right. And I probably knew that somewhere, because I did vote in the awards.

Yes, they do. But we’re minority voices in the Love Letter discussion. 🙂

4 03 2014

Agreed that Forbidden Desert seems out of place as “Best Children’s Game”. It might be the case that those who voted enjoy playing it with children, but it’s a better Family game than Children’s game. I picture more children choosing something typically aimed at children.

Love Letter as best party game is a bit odd. I can see how it can work that way – fast play time, easy to explain, and cheap. However it just doesn’t match what most people think for party games which is that a whole group can play at one time.

4 03 2014

Oddly enough, I’ve only played a handful of the games on the list. My good friend has Love Letter but never wants to play it when we game because he dislikes it so much. And I got Star Wars X-Wing for Christmas in 2012, so I’m guessing there’s an offset in the “2013” awards which could bode well for Gravwell, which I have heard nothing but awesome things about. I thought the co-awards for TEK and Coin Age was an interesting take, and is awesome for both Gamelyn and TMG as both of those games are hitting the market this year, could be interesting to see if they make it into the Golden Geeks 2 years in a row…

4 03 2014

My thoughts:
I enjoy Love Letter but it is NOT a party game.

I’ve played Forbidden Desert 8 times and still have not won. As a Children’s game, it would give them nightmares, I know it does me.

X-wing is so scale-able that it could include a lot more players. I’ve played it with 8. With that in mind, it seems odd that it wins best two-player game.

10 03 2014


Tzolk’in was the dominant “gamer” game on BGG in the first half of 2013. That it got shut out of the awards, losing even “most innovative,” says more about the predominance of Cult of the New than anything.

The Best Wargame category is a joke because non-wargamers on BGG will always vote for the most boardgame-like game (read: lightest), which made 1775 a shoe-in. Among true wargamers, Navajo Wars was probably the most highly talked about.

In the Abstract category, Tash-Kalar won for no other reason than it was the most recent release and was fresh in everyone’s minds (see Cult of the New), especially the minds of people who don’t normally like genuine abstract games.

Bugs in the Kitchen should have won Children’s Game.

While Love Letter is best played with two or more combined decks, that still doesn’t make it a Party Game, much less with one deck.

While Terra Mystica is a decent game, it’s too much of a “let’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” game to win Game of the Year or even Strategy Game. Elegant it is not, and it signals a bad trend in Eurogames of trying to be all things to all people and doing nothing exceptionally well. The question is, though, what is better than TM? I would have thrown in with Francis Drake as Strategy Game and Love Letter (NOT Innovative, NOT Party) as Game of the Year, because it certainly was a phenomenon.

As for Hanabi, its fundamental problem is that it debuted in 2010 and was available in wider release in mid-2012, even in Germany, the home of the SdJ. It really wasn’t a 2013 game, even if it didn’t get a full release here until R&R brought it out in spring 2013. You could say the same for Love Letter, which was a 2012 release also, but the fact that Hanabi had two print runs in 2010 and in 2011 makes it sort of a moldy oldie for inclusion as a 2013 game. All that said, I think it trumps even Love Letter, as EVERYONE I’ve played Hanabi with likes it a lot, which I can’t say has been the same case with Love Letter.

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