Deutscher Spiele Preis Awards

The Deutscher SpielePreis is one of two major German game awards, and is generally considered to be the "gamers' game" award, in contrast to the Spiel des Jahres, which generally leans toward recognizing family games.

The Deutscher SpielePreis is awarded by the magazine Die Pöppel-Revue, which collects votes from many sources, including game clubs, game industry journalists and other professionals, hundreds of game shops, and its own subscriber list.

The results of the vote--the top ten games for the year--are announced each October at the Essen game fair.


2009 Game Awards


DOMINION

DOMINION $44.95

1st place

You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.

But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents, would be delighted.

Dominion is not a CCG, but the play of the game is similar to the construction and play of a CCG deck. The game comes complete with roughly 500 cards. You select 10 of the 20+ Kingdom card types to include in any given play -- leading to immense variety.

Le Havre $55.99

2nd place

Le Havre is a game about managing a harbor, building ships and constructing buildings. On each turn, players must decide whether to take good of one type or to carry out a building action.

The number of goods on offer varies from turn to turn. New goods of each kind are added regularly, building up until a player takes them. Wood, clay and iron are building resources. Fish, grain and cattle are used to feed your dock workers. Actions in buildings allow goods to be upgraded -- just turn the tokens over to show the reverse side.

At the end of the game, the player with the largest fortune is the winner. This is the total of the player's cash and the value of his or her ships and buildings.

Le Havre can be played by 1-5 players, either in a shortened version or as a full game, ensuring that it provides the right level of challenge for any game table.

PANDEMIC

PANDEMIC $34.99

3rd place

Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out.

Players must work together, playing to their characters' strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks.

A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.

Finca $31.99

4th place

Mallorca. Island of the wind.

A place of golden beaches and a light-blue sea. The almond harvest is at hand. In addition, juicy oranges, lemons, and figs are ready to be picked and taken to the market. Olive trees bewitch the country with their curled branches and sumptuous vineyards invite passers-by to walk among their warm earth. In the midst of this landscape, your centuries-old natural stone farmhouse provides a home and supports your large windmill: your finca.

Listen to the wind, which propels your windmill! Then take in the course of the yearly harvest the sweetest and most valuable fruits from the land. Load them on your old donkey cart and travel around the island, selling them everywhere. If you manage this quickly, you will be soon be the richest farmer on the island.

Small World $44.99

5th place

Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as a fantasy follow-up to his award-winning Vinci, Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans; who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth. Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires -- often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory.

Small World's design emphasizes the playful fantasy theme with rich details and components that beg to be played. The game includes: Two double-sided game boards, one for each of four possible player configurations, 14 Fantasy Races with matching banners & tokens, 20 Special Power badges, a variety of Troll Lairs, Mountains, Fortresses, Encampments, Holes-in-the-ground, 2 Heroes and even a Dragon, along with Victory Coins, 6 Player Summary Sheets, a Reinforcement Die, Rules Booklet and a Days of Wonder Online Access Number.

Valdora $47.99

6th place

Hidden far away from our time lies a valley full of unimaginable riches. Adventurers from all over the world set off to try to make their fortune here.

Players purchase equipment and commissions in Valdora's cities. Only with the help of special equipment can they dig for gold and various gemstones. If a player undertakes a commission and delivers the requested gemstones to the house of the patron, he receives victory points. Additionally, he can hire a craftsman. Each craftsman specializes in gold, silver of specific gemstones. The first player to have enough craftsmen with the same specialization may open a workshop. Workshop owners receive bonus points. At the end of the game, players receive victory points for their workshops, craftsmen and gemstones. The player with the most points has made his fortune in Valdora.

Diamonds Club $53.55

7th place

In England at the tail-end of the 19th century, four experienced gem dealers are competing in the "Diamonds Club" to see who among them is the craftiest. They invest their money in mines, digging rights and the latest inventions, with each trying to use the profits of their gem trade to enhance their estate. Whoever ends up with the best-looking property becomes Lord (or Lady) of the Diamonds.

A detailed take on the game play: Each round, players create a market from dark- and light-brown strips, with one strip of each color per player. Players then spend money in the marketplace to purchase various items, with the cost of each space equal to 1, plus 1 for each orthogonally placed item that's already been purchased. What's for sale? Positions on the start player track, animal tiles to place on your mansion grounds, equipment (mines, ships, mining rights), advancements on the three development tracks on your individual player board. These development tracks determine how many points you'll score for forests at the end of the game, how many gems you'll receive during distribution, and how much money you'll receive each round to spend in the market.

Once the market phase ends, with all players being broke or having passed, the player farthest along the start player track receives a diamond and will go first next round, while the player with the most money remaining must spend all of those coins to purchase a diamond.

Players then acquire gems, with each mining rights tile (numbered 2-5) in their possession being paired with one ship (also numbered 2-5). For each rights/ship pair, you choose one of your mine tiles, which come in four colors, and take as many gems as the lowest number on either the rights or ship tile. For example, a 2 mining rights paired with a 5 ship gets you only two gems of whatever color mine you pair with these tiles. If you've advanced on the gem development track, you receive extra gems, and possibly even a diamond. At the end of the round, you can keep at most two tiles from an incomplete set of three, such as a mine and a ship.

Gems are then converted into goodies for your mansion, such as fountains, rose gardens, gazebos and forests. The price for these items is laid out on the central gameboard, with a rose garden costing two rubies and one sapphire, for example. A player can choose each item depicted only once, and if other players have claimed an item first, you have to pay one additional gem for each player who has done so. Eight bonus cards that show different mansion accessories (e.g., three orange trees) will likely drive your decisions, as will the actions of those jerky players who go before you and take the spots you want. How dare they!

If one or more players have filled the 14 light green spots in their mansion yard, the game ends and players score points based on the their buildings, forests, animals, bonus tiles and placement on the development tracks. (Well, maybe not all the players -- each player has three spaces on their mansion grounds that must be filled with particular tiles; if they don't, they score zero points.) If the game isn't over, players take money to fill up to the mark shown on their development track, rejigger their pieces on the starting track, and reset the market.

Through the Ages $47.95

8th place

Through the Ages is an exciting game of strategy and resource management. Players guide their civilizations up from Antiquity, through the Middle Ages, and into Modern Times. What will your civilization be like? Will it be warlike? Technologically advanced? Religious? Artistic? Choose from Leaders such as Hammurabi, Napoleon, and Gandhi. Build Pyramids, the Great Wall, or the Eiffel Tower. Your civilization's culture is yours to shape -- and you can do it differently every time you play the game.

Through the Ages is playable in three different difficulty levels. Play the short Tutorial Game to learn the game mechanics. Play the Advanced game when you are ready to face the consequences of politics and corruption. And when you want even greater challenge, play the Full Version of Through the Ages and take your civilization from spear throwing to space flight.

This edition has no rule changes from the original edition. It also corrects misprints from the first domestic printing.

Sherwood Forest $39.99

9th place

Sherwood Forest is beleaguered by rivaling bands. Everybody wants to be the best, the leader who unifies all bands. But only the most glorious will prevail, the one who gathers the most riches to give to the poor.

Plan your raids by gathering information, recruiting new companions and couching in your hide-outs. Form alliances to attack heavily guarded gold transports and avoid the sheriff! Clever bargaining and well-planned raids will make you the heir of Robin Hood and the new leader in Sherwood Forest.

Sherwood Forest is full of surprises. First and foremost, it is a turbulent and exciting negotiation game. Clever agreements and choosing the right partner in changing alliances will lead to victory.


2008 Game Awards


Caylus $43.95

The year is 1289. To strengthen the borders of the Kingdom of France, King Philip the Fair decided to have a new castle built. For the time being, Caylus is but a humble village, but soon, workers and craftsmen will be flocking by the cartload, attracted by the great prospects. Around the building site, a city is slowly rising up...

The players embody master builders. By building the King’s castle and developing the city around it, they earn prestige points and gain the King’s favor. When the castle is finished, the player who has earned the most prestige wins the game.

Thurn and Taxis $26.95

Winning the Spiel des Jahres in 2006, Thurn and Taxis takes the theme of the German post office and transforms it into a fascinating game. Players take turns building connecting routes of postal stagecoaches across Germany. Decisions must be made whether to build short, safer routes that may allow them to control territories, or to build longer, more lucrative routes. Fans of Ticket to Ride will enjoy the medium complexity of this game, as players may utilize one special ability each turn to help be the first to build routes in each area. Requiring planning and forethought, Thurn and Taxis is a rewarding experience for those who enjoy strategic games.

Antike $47.95

Antike is a challenging strategy game about evolution and competition among ancient civilizations. Ancient nations create cities, build temples, sail the seas, and discover new principles of science and technology. Their legions and galleys open new settlements and defend their people against attacks from their enemies. Two scenarios can be chosen as the game board is two-sided. Players choose from Greeks, Romans, and Germanic tribes and Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Persians, Arabs, Egyptians, and Babylonians.

Every nation tries to win ancient kings, scholars, generals, citizens, and navigators for themselves. The nation that acquires a specified number (depending on the number of players) of ancient personalities first will win the game!

Lead one of these nations to victory! But watch out for your enemies, as they will want to conquer your cities to destroy your temples. The game depends not on the luck of dice or cards, but on thoughtful plans and skillful diplomacy.

Blue Moon City $31.95

The Dark Age is over. The royal heirs, who caused the conflict and the destruction of Blue Moon City, have fled, and their corrupt advisors have been banished to faraway lands. The bitter division between the peoples of Blue Moon is beginning to heal.

Blue Moon City lies in ruin, but the people have vowed to restore the city to its former magnificence. The three elemental dragons have returned to help in the renaissance of Blue Moon City. They reward good leadership with shards of the Holy Crystal from the destroyed obelisk in the center of the city.

Blue Moon City -- the board game for 2 to 4 players -- picks up where the 2-player card game ended: with the reconstruction of the destroyed city of Blue Moon. Players vie to impress the dragons, collect crystals, and ultimately gain the leadership of Blue Moon City and win the game. Blue Moon City’s modular board is formed from 21 large building tiles, which show building plans on one side and the buildings in their reconstructed glory on the other. The game also includes wooden player figures, 80 cards depicting the 8 races of Blue Moon, and, as in the card game, 3 large molded plastic dragons.

Mesopotamia: Cradle of Civilization $35.95

Several thousand years ago, clans of people began settling in Mesopotamia. Now you can lead one of these clans, exploring unknown areas, building huts to live in, and creating cult centers to collect the valuable and desired Mana.

At the same time, all the players must work together to build a magnificent temple for the god Marduk. Each clan brings their offerings to this mighty temple, hoping to earn the blessings and protection of the deity. The highest rewards will come to the leader who brings all of his people's offerings to the temple first. Can you lead your people to their rightful place in the eyes of the god Marduk?

Elasund: The First City $39.95

Elasund? The little settlement on the coast? Well, those days are long gone. Elasund is growing rapidly and Catanians are streaming into the city, eager to make a fortune! Will you heed the call to drive the city's growth and prosperity and emerge as Elasund's savviest and most influential city developer? Find out in this new Catan adventure!

Masons $31.95 English language edition of Mauerbauer

In medieval times, famous masons competed to build the most beautiful and impressive cities. As we can see from what they left behind, they were perfectionists, but each had his own ideas about the best ways to design cities. Stately government buildings stand next to noble palaces with massive walls and guard towers surrounding the city to protect it from its enemies.

In this beautiful game, the players take the rules of these master masons of old. At the beginning of the game, the board is empty, but quickly fills with houses, palaces, towers, and walls. The guild cards help guide the masons in their building and the special dice offer them the materials they need. Each player decides where to build his houses and palaces. Whenever walls enclose a city, it is scored.

The game will determine which mason makes the best use of his materials and guild cards. But that will not be known until the final scoring, when the final scoring is complete and the players learn which of them has scored the most points to earn the victory as the greatest mason! At least for this game!

Masons -- no walls, no power!

Thebes $39.95 multilingual edition of Jenseits von Theben

More than 100 years ago, within a period of only a few decades, unusually many historical finds, treasures and whole cities of antique cultures were found and excavated; Schliemann discovered Troy, Evans investigated Crete, Carter found the grave of Tutankhamen and Koldewey excavated Babylon.

In Jenseits von Theben the players travel back to this time at the end of the 19th century, take on the role of these famous archaeologists and discover those antique treasures and places, which lay buried in the sands for thousands of years.

Each player slips into the role of an archaeologist, travels across Europe, finds suitable knowledge in different archaeological areas then excavates at antique places. The players receive points (= fame and honor) from discoveries at these locations; the player with most points wins the game. Additionally, the players can acquire articles for better excavation and travel conditions and can visit exhibitions to present their finds.

Hacienda $31.95

Argentina at the beginning of 19th century. The pastures of the pampas seem to go on forever. You have enough money to buy land and cattle to build a small hacienda.

During the game, players develop their haciendas, increase their herds and land holdings, open new markets, and worry about water supplies and harvests. Also, players must watch their competitors at all times. At game end, the winner is the player with the largest and most important hacienda.

The game comes with two game boards, each requiring a different strategy and approach to be successful and win. The game also offers an alternate scoring system, giving players yet other ways to play. Hacienda is a game that requires thought and planning throughout, representing a challenge for each player.

Augsburg 1520 $31.95

In the 16th century, Jakob Fugger organized Augsburg into an impressive trading power. He possessed so much money that he could generously lend it to emperors and kings. In response, he received numerous privileges such as commercial laws, offices and honors -- and thus became increasingly wealthy.

The players take on the role of "Jakob the Rich". Who will lend his money most skillfully and enhance his prestige the most?

Rum & Pirates $31.95

The players take on the roles of pirates. They move the captain along the alleys of the pirates nest, looking for treasure maps and treasure chests. Or they meet the city guard and deal with them if they can. Naturally, they will visit the few pubs to gather and drink some rum together. They will also have opportunities to acquire the special wares needed by pirates like wooden legs and eye patches. At the end of the day, they head back to the ship and wrangle for the few sleeping places available there. All these activities earn the players tiles, which are worth honor points -- most positive, but some are negative. These honor points are tallied at game end. The player who ends the game with the most honor points is the winner!

Nacht der Magier $56.95 Best Children's Game

On dark nights the magicians meet to prove their magic power. On a rocky plateau there are red cauldrons arranged around the blazing fire. This magic place is surrounded by trees and r5ocks. One magician after another tries carefully to push towards the center and everything magically moves. Suddenly, something falls off the rock! The magician stops where he is and the next magician tries to find his way. When the heavy disk with the fire moves, the hidden ring of light slowly appears. And this is where each magician wants to land one of his cauldrons. He is then the winner of the magic night.

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