The Dice Tower 2011 Gaming Awards

The Dice Tower recently published their nominations for the 2011 Dice Tower gaming awards. They recently lamented about how there aren't any luminaries talking up their awards, so I figured I would do my part to maintain the status quo. I'm in no position to select from the various categories -- in most cases I've only played about 2 or 3 games on each list -- but I'll give commentary nonetheless.

Best Game of the Year Nominees

Games I played: Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Risk Legacy, The Castles of Burgundy, A Few Acres of Snow, Quarriors!.

Commentary: From the games I've played, I would select Risk Legacy for its innovative design and sheer fun factor. A Few Acres of Snow would be a close second. Quarriors! is fun but lost its luster quickly. Lord of the Rings: the Card game is very similar to other living card games from FFG but innovated with the solo / cooperative play.

Best Family Game Nominees

Games I Played: Quarriors! and Say Anything: Family Edition.

Commentary: I give the nod to Say Anything here, a game that improves on Apples to Apples and comes in a low-priced package. The more I hear about Flash Point: Fire Rescue the more I want to try it. I've heard it is a solid cooperative game in the style of Pandemic.

Best New Game Designer Nominees

Games I Played: None!

Commentary: Can't judge this category! I suspect I'll get to play Nightfall soon in my local game group. The Ares Project is on my list of games to try - might be something to put on the list for BGG.CON this coming fall.

Best Game Reprint Nominees

Games I Played: Can't Stop, A Game of Thrones, Puerto Rico.

Commentary: I can't vote for Puerto Rico here because the game was still available -- this is just an enhanced version of the original game. I didn't realize Can't Stop was out of print so it must get my vote, despite my love for the Game of Thrones board game. Everybody should own Can't Stop.

Best Production Values Nominees

Games I Played: Drizzt, Risk Legacy.

Commentary: I'm not inclined to favor either of the D&D boardgames here as they didn't bring anything new to the table. The pieces and cards, while excellent, look just like every other FFG fantasy game I've seen in the past few years. Risk Legacy, on the other hand, with its great use of stickers, sealed envelopes, and clean interface set the bar and is my choice.

Best Small Publisher Nominees

Games I Played: None!

Commentary: Not much to say here, other than I would like to try Flash Point and Sentinels soon.

Best Party Game Nominees

Games I Played: Crappy Birthday, Train of Thought. I've played the original Dixit before, but not this expansion release.

Commentary: Train of Thought, when played correctly by the rules as published, is a fun party game with the right crowd. I'm not a big fan of Crappy Birthday, and I suspect Dixit Odyssey is a nice expansion on the original.

Best Game Expansion Nominees

Games I Played: 7 Wonders: Leaders.

Commentary: Is the Summoner Wars Master Set really an expansion? I suppose so as it adds a board and the factions appear to be different. I really like the original game so should probably pick this up. 7 Wonders: Leaders was a nice expansion but if it was the best of the year I'd be surprised.

Most Innovative Game Nominees

Games I Played: Quarriors! and Risk Legacy.

Commentary: Even if I'd played the rest of the games, I suspect Risk Legacy would be my choice.

Best Game Artwork Nominees

Games I Played: Lord of the Rings Card Game, Game of Thrones Board Game.

Commentary: I'm a terrible judge for this category, but I love the graphical design and artwork in the Game of Thrones board game.

Best War Games Nominees

Games I Played: A Few Acres of Snow.

Commentary: I pre-ordered the second printing of Sekigahara and suspect I'll really like that one. I don't think I need another tactical squad-based game in my collection so doubt I'll ever play Band of Brothers. I would not be surprised at all if A Few Acres of Snow wins - my three plays have been extremely rewarding.

Best Game Theme Nominees

Games I Played: None.

Commentary: Not much to say here!

Best Digital Boardgame Nominees

Games I Played: Ascension, Ticket to Ride, Elder Sign.

Commentary: My vote goes to Ascension, hands down. Great treatment on iOS, and a great example of how some games get better when turned into a digital form.