The 2020 nominees for the Golden Geeks are available for voting (now thru May 1, 2021). Everybody knows that the Golden Geeks are really nothing more than a popularity contest so I’m not going to comment on what games deserve to be winners. Instead, the awards show me that, 1) There are many games I haven’t played and, 2) The BoardGameGeek game weight system is horrible.
There are 16 categories of nominated games. I’m not surprised that I don’t know some of the games, but I was surprised at just how few games I actually know.
- 2-Player Game: 11 nominees but I only played The Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games) and Undaunted: North Africa (Osprey Games) which I both really enjoyed. That said, I did put The Shores of Tripoli as my 2020 Wargame of the Year….
- Artwork & Presentation: 10 nominees but I only played Fort (Leder Games) which the RockyMountainNavy Boys and myself enjoyed. I’m sad that my 2020 Boardgame of the Year, Four Gardens did not make the nominees list (for shame!).
- Card Game: 10 Nominees and again I only know Fort.
- Cooperative Game: Another 10 nominees but I only played Back to the Future: Back in Time (Ravensberger) which was a disappointment.
- Expansion: Of the 10 nominees I only played Root: The Underworld Expansion (Leder Games) which I like.
- Innovative: Haven’t played any of the 10 nominees. I tried to nominated Atlantic Chase (GMT Games) but it likely didn’t get enough buzz because though is listed as a 2020 game by the publisher though it did not ship until early-mid 2021..
- Light Game of the Year (GotY): Again, none of the 10 played. I note that this is a perfect category for Children’s games but they seem to be slighted in this category (and every other).
- Medium GotY: Of the 10 I only played Fort, which I hardly call a medium-weight game.
- Heavy GotY: None of the 10 nominees played.
- Print & Play: None of the nominees played.
- Solo Game: None of the nominees played.
- Thematic Game: None of the nominees played (are you sensing a theme here?). Too bad that Moonrakers (IV Games) didn’t make it through the nomination process….
- Wargame: Finally, a category in which I played at least a few games. Here I played Atlantic Chase (GMT Games 2020 but not released until 2021 – strange), The Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games), and Undaunted: North Africa (Osprey Games). I at least recognize all the other nominees!
- Zoomable Game: Huh? None of the 10 nominees played.
- Best Podcast: I regularly listen to So Very Wrong About Games and occasionally Five Games for Doomsday.
- Best Board Game App: For digital implementation of a board game that totally ignores Vassal or TableTop Simulator. Of the 12 nominees I only played Root (Dire Wolf).
So, what does this list of nominees tell me? First, I guess I’m not part of the “in” crowd because I missed so many apparently awesome games. Second, I guess I need to take Fort to game gatherings because it is cute art in a medium-weight card game. Third, if I want to introduce hobby boardgamers to 2-player conflict strategy (aka “wargames”) then The Shores of Tripoli or Undaunted: North Africa is a good bet. Lastly, I apparently don’t play the right “popular” wargames any way.
That’s OK, I’ll stick to my War Engine.