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<div class="article-intro">Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at <a href="http://cardboard.arstechnica.com/">cardboard.arstechnica.com</a>.</div>
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. Just One and Werwörter (Werewords in English) are word-based party games, while L.A.M.A. 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 Carpe Diem, complete with typical Alea “so-bad-it's-almost-good” old-school artwork, the (long) sleuthing game Detective from Ignacy Trzewiczek and the prolific Poles at Portal Games, and the new Stonemaier title Wingspan by Elizabeth Hargrave. (Read our recent review of Wingspan.)
If you have small children, you might enjoy the entries in the “Kinderspiel des Jahres” shortlist: Fabulantica, Go Gecko Go!, and Tal der Wikinger.
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 Belratti, Dizzle, Imhotep – Das Duell, Krasse Kacke, Reef, and Sherlock. (The only one of these extra titles I've personally played so far is Reef—and I highly recommend it.) For the Kennerspiel, the jury's additional recommendations are Architects of the West Kingdom, Lowlands, the science-themed Newton, and Paper Tales. There are also seven (!!!) more Kinderspiel recommendations, which you can find here.
Congrats to the nominees! The winners will be announced later this summer.