2019 RockyMountainNavy Origins Awards Challenge #boardgame #wargame #miniatures

I combed my game collection once again and found yet another challenge for myself. In this case, it’s to play all the Origins Awards winners I possess. Frankly, I’m surprised I have 16 Origins Awards winners because I think of the Origins Awards as a boardgame award and not a wargame. Surprisingly, 10 of the 16 Origins Awards winners in my collection are wargames.

I have written before about how I feel the modern Origins Awards are nothing more than a popularity contest. Looking back on the past winners I own, I am both surprised and appalled. Games like Ace of Aces (1993 Hall of Fame Inductee) are wonderful and certainly award worthy but the production disasters in the Battletech Introductory Box Set (2007 Miniatures Rules of the Year) make me wonder what game they played.


I belatedly realized my other challenges listed the games. So I am updating this post with my Origins Awards winners for this challenge:

  1. Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series (Flying Buffalo Inc, 1980); 1993 Hall of Fame Inductee
  2. Catan (Mayfair, 1995); 1996 Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board Game
  3. Harpoon 4 (Clash of Arms, 1997); 1996 Best Modern-Day Board Game
  4. Great War at Sea: US Navy War Plan Orange (Avalanche Press, 1998); 1998 Best Historic Board Game
  5. Great War at Sea: 1904-1905, The Russo-Japanese War (Avalanche Press, 1999); 1999 Best Historic Board Game
  6. Fear God and Dread Nought (Clash of Arms, 2001); 2001 Best Historic Miniatures Rules
  7. Star Munchkin (Steve Jackson Games, 2002); 2002 Best Traditional Card Game
  8. Attack! (Eagle-Gryphon Games, 2003); 2003 Best Historic Board Game
  9. Ticket to Ride (Days of Wonder, 2004); 2004 Best Historic Board Game
  10. Commands & Colors: Ancients (GMT Games, 2006); 2006 Best Historical Board Game of the Year
  11. Classic Battletech Introductory Box Set (Catalyst Games Lab, 2007); 2007 Miniatures Rules of the Year
  12. Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 (Academy Games, 2008); 2008 Best Historical Board Game
  13. Quarriors! (WizKids, 2011); 2013 Best Family, Party, or Children’s Game
  14. Trains (AEG, 2012); 2014 Best Board Game
  15. Love Letter (AEG, 2012); 2014 Best Traditional Card Game
  16. 1775: Rebellion (Academy Games, 2013); 2014 Best Historic Board Game

Feature image courtesy Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design

Railing for #Trains (@alderac, 2012)

Here in the RockyMountainNavy house, deck building games are not a preferred format. However, in the case of Trains (Alderac Entertainment Group – AEG, 2012) we make the exception. Trains stays in the game collection because Youngest RockyMountainNavy Boy still likes trains. So on the basis of theme it stays. After tonight’s game, I too am happy to keep it in the collection as it plays better than I remember.

h2a5y5jrrho2wjxyegtfraOur Saturday Game Night was a classic three-way affair. We used the Northeastern USA maps so we were playing close to home. I took Blue and started off in Toronto. Middle RMN Boy was Yellow and started in the Buffalo while Youngest RMN as Green started all by himself in Washington DC.

The game took a bit longer than the rated time partially because we started off playing slowly. It took a while to build our decks and get our game engines going. Once we became more comfortable with the game it clicked right along. In the end, Youngest RMN Boy won with 61 points. Middle RMN was second and I a further behind third.

Playing Trains satisfies one entry in my new 2019 RockyMountainNavy Origins Challenge. Like my 2019 Wargame Challenge – The Charles S. Roberts Award and my 2019 Golden Geek Challenge, I combed my collection looking for Origins Awards winners and committed to playing each at least once this year. Trains was the 2014 Origins Awards Best Board Game winner. With Trains now played, I have completed 1 of 16 games in my Origins Challenge. 

And it was better than I expected.

Personal Quick Take – 2018 Spiel des Jahres Nominations

The 2018 nominations for the coveted Spiel des Jahres Awards are now public. Thank goodness for BoardGameGeek to provide a translation from German to English for me!

As the BGG posting notes, the Spiel des Jahres are primarily aimed at family gamers. Of the three nominees, I don’t own any (although I have come close to ordering Azul). If BGG rankings are to be believed, Azul should be the run-away Gloomhaven-like hit given it is ranked as the #1 Abstract and #1 Family Game on BGG.

The Kennerspiels des Jahres, the “connoisseur’s game of the year” according to BGG, is an even weaker category for me. I know nut-thing about the nominees nor am I likely to anytime soon. As I have stated before, my gaming tastes tend to be more narrow and reflect my legacy of playing wargames. I just don’t buy into full eurogames or the “heavy cardboard” part of the hobby.

On the other hand, the Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year) is a category I watch out for because of my wife’s teaching and a new niece that I hope to introduce to proper gaming someday! Alas, I don’t recognize any of the nominees, nor do they look interesting to me for family play. I am pleased to see that the jury recommended Rhino Hero: Super Battle which I do own and the family finds enjoyable.

So what do I personally take away from the Spiel des Jahres nominations? I see another sure sign that the boardgame/tabletop gaminghobby is alive and well. But as much as hobbyists will try to say that there is no split between Eurogames and Ameritrash, a straight up comparison of the Spiel des Jahres and 2018 Origins Awards nominees or (worse yet) the 2017 Golden Geek [Fan Service] Awards shows that there is still a difference. This is not bad for the hobby. This year I tend to be an outlier in the hobby; I refuse to bow to the Cult-of-the-New (COTN) nor do I spend my precious dollars frivolously chasing away a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)-phobia. As a result, the awarded games and my collection are diverging.

The divergence doesn’t bother me; indeed, it makes me happy that the hobby is strong enough that I can build my collection to my tastes and not have it dictated to me like so many mass-market game companies try to.

Personal Quick Take – 2018 Origins Awards Nominees

As found on the ICv2 website:

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design (AAGAD) released the list of games nominated for 2018 Origins Awards. The Awards will be presented during the annual Origins Awards Ceremony, held on Saturday, June 16.  The Academy added a category to the seven from 2017, Roleplaying Supplement, bringing the total to eight.  The nominees were selected by the Academy; the winners will be selected by a jury of professionals.  Origins Game Fair attendees will vote for Fan Favorite winners at the show.

As a wargamer, I understand the the Origins Awards are not really my cuppa tea. For the longest time the Charles S. Roberts Award was all I cared about, but those ended in 2012. Since then, the Golden Geek Awards on BGG.com have been what I watch, but its really hard for me to get behind that award given that the demographic playing “war games” on the BGG sub-domain is quite different than players on ConsimWorld. Consequently, there are no “war games” of interest to me amongst the nominees.

All that said, I am kinda interested in the Origins Awards from a family gaming perspective. I regret to say that I have not played a single one of the 12 Board Game nominees. Card and Collectible games are not my thing so it is not surprising that I have not played any of those 20 games. I like miniatures but shy away from the cost, meaning the four games in that category are more unknowns to me. I guess this means I failed to qualify as a card-carrying COTN (Cult of the New) member or suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

I admit my roleplaying interests are narrow (usually sci-fi) and I am not surprised that my favorite Cepheus Engine publishers are not recognized. Shamefully, I see Mongoose Publishing somehow got their money-grabbing Traveller Starter Set on the list. I am heartened though by the diversity of other titles and publishers on the Roleplaying Game and Roleplaying Supplement lists.

Gaming Accessories? Looks like the Academy still has to decide what really goes into this category. I see everything from box inserts to game expansions. A firm definition of “gaming accessory” appears to be lacking.

Of course, who am I kidding? These days game awards are less professional recognition and more fan service. Look no further than the fact Gloomhavenwon six of 13 categories in the 2017 Golden Geek Awards. I consider it lucky that 878 Vikings – Invasion of England (Academy Games, 2017) was the 2017 Golden Geek Best Wargame Winner.

Courtesy Academy Games