Hanabi Gets the Deluxe Treatment

hanabicoverby Firestone Even though it's only September, Hanabi is on my short-list for Game of the Year. So what could make this Spiel Des Jahres winner even better? A DELUXE EDITION.

Designer Antoine Bauza teased a pic on Twitter that revealed a deluxe edition of the game is in the...works. (See what I did there?)

This one will feature tiles instead of cards. Matthias Wagner of Abacusspiele has dropped some details.

The material will be similar to the bakelite used in Hive.

hanabitilesThe tiles will be thick enough to stand up and stack (32x25x15mm).

They'll be engraved.

I love the idea of being able to stack these, turn them sideways, move some forward or backward, or group them. The maneuverability of the tiles is much better than the cards.  But the price of this beauty will be $90, so I'll likely just be sticking to my $10 copy.

Will you be picking this up once it's out?

Thanks for reading!

Qwixx—A Review of the Spiel des Jahres Nominee


By Firestone There were three games on the nominee list for the German Game of the Year award (or Spiel des Jahres). We reviewed the eventual winner, Hanabi, last week. But what about the others? Well I don't know anyone who owns Augustus, so we might not get to that one for a while. But I did manage to snag a copy of the third nominee—Qwixx. Was this dice-fest deserving of a nomination? Should it have won? Let's find out!


Designer: Steffan Benndorf

Play time: 15 minutes

Number of players: 2-5

Recommended age: 8 and up—but I've played it a 5-year-old who can hold his own with some coaching.


6 standard 6-sided dice: 2 white, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 green, and 1 red.

1 score pad



Each person grabs one sheet from the score pad, and then you choose a start player. Easy, innit?!



Before we did into gameplay, I need to explain the scorepad, since that's where the game really happens. As you can see from the image, the numbers move from left to right, with red and yellow going from 2 to 12, and green and blue going from 12 to 2. As the game progresses, you'll be crossing off these numbers. The kicker in this game is that once you cross off a number, you can only move to the right to cross off subsequent numbers. So if you start with a yellow 4, say, you'll never be able to go back and cross off 2 and 3. You can always skip numbers, too, so you could cross off 4, and then 6 in a later turn—but you're never crossing off that 5.

On a person's turn, he or she rolls all of the dice, and announces the sum of the two white dice aloud (or everyone can simply look at those dice...). Everyone in the game can then take that number as a "wild" color and cross off the corresponding number in any available color. It's completely optional. Then the active player can choose one of the white die and pair it with one of the colored die to create a "color number" he or she can use to cross off on the sheet. So the active player will be able to cross off up to two numbers, and each other player will have the option to cross off one number.

If you are unable—or unwilling—to cross off at least one number on your turn, you have to check one of the four boxes on the lower right of the core sheet. These are Failure boxes, and are each worth -5 points at the end of the game.


If you have at least five numbers already crossed off in a color, you are allowed—any time you roll the correct number–to cross off the rightmost number, and then the lock symbol next to it. This locks that color, and you remove the corresponding color die from the game. The game continues until either two of the colors are locked, or one person fills in all four of their Failure boxes, in which case the game ends immediately.

The scoring based on how many numbers you've crossed off in each color, not the value of the numbers. One is worth 1Vp, two is worth 2 VPs, three is worth 6, four is worth 10, and so on... You add up the positive, subtract five for each Failure, and the winner is the person with the highest score!

The Verdict

Look, there aren't huge, strategic decisions to be made here. It's a filler, and a family game—that's why it was up for the Family Game of the Year Award! I like that there's something to do on everyone's turn—and that he decision on other people's turns is actually important. You can just blindly cross off the number on your pad that matches what was just rolled. But will that limit you when it's your turn, and force you to possibly take a Failure? Small decisions, but decisions nonetheless. Yes, it has dice and luck, but it manages the luck in an interesting way.

My family likes the game quite a bit—even my wife! The boys especially love rolling the dice into my dice tower. The 5-year-old still needs some help making decisions about whether to cross something off, but he's still able to play just fine. And after one game he knew how to start counting up his score and putting the correct number in the correct box.

My gamer friends liked it, too—even the ones who hate dice! It's a filler game that's truly filler length; this will be in my game tub for a long, long time.

If I had one complaint it's that there's only one score pad in the box, when it would clearly fit two. Yes, this would increase the cost, but you're already charging me ~12 for six dice and a score pad—I think you can throw another pad in...



Put It on the Table! This game would work with any group: kids, family, youth group, nongamers, and gamers. It's very cheap, and there's no reason not to have a copy of this at every game night.

The Final Verdict

This has been a hit with every group I've played it with. It's cheap, fast, portable, and fun. Pick up a copy!

Spiel des Jahres 2013—And the Winner Is...

HanabiBy Firestone The winners of the coveted Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) and Kennerspiel des Jahres (Gamers' Game of the Year) have been announced. To celebrate, let's set off some fireworks...

In a delightfully surprising move, Hanabi won the SdJ award—the other nominees were Qwixx and Augustus. Hanabi is a co-op card game where you're trying to put on the best fireworks display. It's also one of my favorite games of the last year.

The Kennerspiel award is for a deeper game, though it's still aimed at families, so it kind of straddles the line between light and meaty. Winner Legends of Andor is als0 a co-op game—but one I've not yet played. The other nominees were The Palaces of Carrara and Bruges—I've played Bruges and it's a solid middle-weight Feld game.

Keep an eye out for our review of Hanabi later this week! And we'll have a Bruges review up soon, too. Thanks for reading, and make sure you sign up to follow the blog via email----->. This week we're giving away a copy of Sunrise City from Clever Mojo Games!

Award Announcements: The Spiel des Jahres, Kennerspiel des Jahres, and Kinderspiel des Jahres

By Firestone

HanabiThe biggest awards in boardgaming were announced today.

First up is the big one: The Spiel des Jahres, which is the German game of the year. This is a highly sought-after prize, as a win here can mean big sales—look at Ticket To Ride!

There are only three nominees:

Qwixx, by Stefen Benndorf

Augustus, by Paolo Mori

Hanabi, by Antoine Bauza

I've played Hanabi, and it's terrific.

They also released a list of "recommended games"—kind of a consolation list of games they think you still ought to play.

Libertalia, by Paolo Mori

Divinare, by Brett Gilbert

Hand auf Herz, by Julien Sentis

Escape: The Curse of the Temple, by Kristian Amundsen Østby

La Boca, by Inka and Markus Brand

Riff Raff, by Christoph Cantzler

Rondo, by Reiner Knizia

Mixtour, by Dieter Stein

Yay!, by Heinz Meister

I've played Escape: The Curse of the Temple, and Libertalia, and the latter is one of my favorite games of last year.

BrugesThe Kennerspiel award is for more complex, gamers'-type games. The nominees are:

Bruges, by Stefan Feld

Legends Of Andor, by Michael Menzel

The Palaces of Carrara, by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling

I've played none of these. The recommended games for this category are:

Terra Mystica, by Jens Drögeüller and Helge Ostertag

Tzolk'in, by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini

I've played Tzolk'in, and you can check out my review of it.

And finally, the Kinderspiel des Jahres—the children's game of the year—nominees:

Mucca Pazza, by Iris Rossbach

Gold am Orinoko, by Bernhard Weber

Der Verzauberte Turm, by Inka and Markus Brand

And the recommended games:

Kakerlakak, by Peter-Paul Joopen

Kuddelmuddel, by Haim Shafir and Günter Burkhardt

Move & Twist, by Kerstin Wallner and Klaus Miltenberger

Pingi Pongo, by Peter Neugebauer

Bim Bamm!, by Lukas Zach and Michael Palm

Baobab, by Josep Maria Allué

Linus, der Kleine Magier, by Wolfgang Dirscherl

Mix Fix, by Andrew Lawson and Jack Lawson

Madagascar Catan Junior, by Klaus Teuber

Star Wars—Battle Of Hoth, by Bastiaan Brederode and Cephas Howard

I've played none of these...

Which ones have you played? Were there any glaring omissions in the nominees? Which ones do you think will win?

Thanks for reading! Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Expanding Kingdom Builder - A Review of Nomads

Well, we figured since we're on the subject, why not talk a little more about the 2012  Spiel des Jahres award winner, Kingdom Builder.

Nomads, the first expansion of the game, adds a few new layers to the game, but mostly just adds more variance to the title, which in turn adds to the replayability. Here's a quick rundown of some of the new features Nomads brings to the table—and yes, I'll insert my opinions as well.

4 New Sector Boards—Which brings the total for the set up to 12! The randomness in which you pull them, as well as how you place them, consistently shakes things up. There's even less chance for the board to look and play the same twice!

5th Player Settlements—Now that 5th wheel can join in the fun! I personally LOVE the addition of a 5th player; keep in mind you're still setting up only four sectors to create the game board, so territory becomes more and more valuable as the game progresses—as do ability tokens! The competition is fierce, and cut-throat; I love it when a plan comes together.

Nomads—The title element of this expansion consists of 15 unique Nomad tokens; they look a lot like the special ability tokens but behave slightly differently. Each of the four new sector boards have a Nomad hex (or two) on them; if any of the new boards are selected for the game, one Nomad token is selected randomly and placed on the Nomad hex. The player who claims that token can only use it on their next turn, and then it's removed from the game (whether it's been used or not). The abilities are generally a little more beefed up than your run-of-the-mill extra actions, but only being able to use them once, (and on your next turn) definitely requires a little forethought before just grabbing them up—at least, if you want to get the most out of them.

Stone Walls—One of the new abilities you can claim from one of the four new boards is the Quarry token. This will allow you to place up to two gray circular disks on the board each turn. These disks represent stone walls; they cannot be built on top of, and they break continuity between settlements. They come in handy if you want to cut off your opponents, or build somewhere else on the board but your settlements are adjacent to EVERYTHING.

3 New Kingdom Builder Cards—There are three new ways to score gold in Nomads, but now there's a possibility of scoring gold during the game instead of tallying up only at the end. I would have found this annoying, but I really enjoy the new scoring scenarios, so I don't mind so much keeping score during the game.

All in All, the expansion doesn't completely overhaul the game, or add so much to it that the overall feel and flow of the game is completely thrown out of whack. But it does help the title grow, adds variability,  and let's you bring in a 5th player, which becomes a lot of fun!

Capitol—It's also worth mentioning that there was a promo released last year called Capitol. This consists of 2 Capitol tokens that covered one of the two Castle hexes on the Oracle and Harbor boards. The capitol scores players one gold for each settlement built within two hexes of the Capitol. Personally, I'm not a fan of this small expansion; the Castles seem to do the job, and this pumps up their abilities, while diminishing from the other scoring options.

Thanks for reading; we hope you're enjoying yourself here at Theology of Games. We'd love to hear your thoughts about the blog and the games we talk about! Leave 'em in the comments below!

Nomads and Capitol are both on Amazon!

And the Spiel Goes to...

The German news wires have confirmed what many believed to be a no-brainer for this year's Spiel des Jahres—or as we American types would say, Game of the Year Award. The Spiel is one of gaming's most touted and prestigious awards, with a selection process that is akin to that of a pro sports hall of fame, or an Academy Awards selection. A group of writers (from Germany) nominate a few select games from the scads of games released in a single year, and then pick one of the nominated games to receive the Spiel des Jahres. The game that wins the award is the one that is most likely to "promote games as a cultural asset to encourage gaming amongst family and friends." It's also a virtual guarantee that that the game will sell a jabillion copies.

And the Spiel goes to.... Kingdom Builder! Designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, published by Queen Games.

This gives game designer Donald X. Vaccarino his second SdJ award (his first came from his incredibly popular Dominion). It just so happens that I've been playing the snot out of this game in the past few weeks, and will be reviewing it tomorrow! So check back here in the next 24 hours and see what all the hub-bub is about!