Here are the finalists for 2019’s “Board game of the year” award

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The nominees for board gaming’s biggest award, the German “Spiel des Jahres” trophy, were announced this week and feature a total absence of entries from designers Wolfgang Warsch and Michael Kiesling. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, those two absolutely dominated last year’s awards).

This year, the jury of German critics went with light, easy-to-teach games for the family-friendly “Spiel des Jahres” award. and ( in English) are word-based party games, while is a card-shedding game from design legend Reiner Knizia. All three play in under 20 minutes (!).

The slightly heavier “enthusiast” category, the “Kennerspiel des Jahres,” got a more diverse slate of entries: the new Stefan Feld title , complete with typical Alea “so-bad-it’s-almost-good” old-school artwork, the (long) sleuthing game from Ignacy Trzewiczek and the prolific Poles at Portal Games, and the new Stonemaier title by Elizabeth Hargrave. (Read our recent review of .)

If you have small children, you might enjoy the entries in the “Kinderspiel des Jahres” shortlist: , , and .

If that’s not enough for you, the jury also announced a longer list of recommended titles in each category. Though they aren’t eligible for the prize, each is worth checking out. For the Spiel des Jahres, these additional titles are , and . (The only one of these extra titles I’ve personally played so far is —and I highly recommend it.) For the Kennerspiel, the jury’s additional recommendations are , , the science-themed , and . There are also seven (!!!) more Kinderspiel recommendations, which you can find here.

Congrats to the nominees! The winners will be announced later this summer.

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