In a surprising move, the Spiel des Jahres jury chose Codenames as its Game of the Year.
This is huge for a game that's already the #1 party game on the Geek. First, it ensures this game will sell even more games over its life. Second, when the follow-up game involving pictures comes out in a few months, it'll have a built-in audience ready for it.
I (Firestone) have already showered Codenames with as much praise as I can muster. We play it almost every week in my game group. We played it for five hours straight the first time we played it. And now I've started gifting it! Just this weekend I went to a friend's birthday party and gave him Codenames. His wife came up to me on Sunday and told me they played it until 1 AM.
The move is surprising because the Spiel des Jahres generally goes to a straight family game--such as the other nominees Imhotep and Karuba--as opposed to a social/party game.
The jury also announced the Kennerspiel des Jahres, which is the award for the next-level game, in terms of depth: Isle of Skye beat out TIME Stories and Pandemic Legacy. Isle of Skye is a decent game, and a safe bet for the Kennersiel.
Also, this is the second Kennersiel win in a row for designers Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister. (They won last year for Broom Service.)
What are your thoughts on the winners? Thanks for reading!