American Tabletop Awards Selected Board Games

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The American Tabletop Awards, an annual celebration of the best new board games, return for the fifth consecutive year on Tuesday. As an alternative from the USA to the German Game of the Year, the event sorts the entries into several new categories that can be judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Together, these 20 titles represent some of the best art and design work. The winners are exceptional examples of their type and would make an excellent addition to any collection.

This year’s categories are the same as in previous years and include better titles for beginners, a selection of casual games, more traditional strategy games, as well as complex games for experienced players.

Below we have listed the recommended winners and runners-up for each category. Most are available online — or at your friendly local game store.

BOOP

Boop is the main prize winner in the Early Gamers category and narrowly beats dragons and praying mantises. Designed by Scott Brady with art by Curt Covert, it charmed us a lot even as a prototype at last year’s Gen Con. The final product released by Smirk and Dagger is now widely available. The surprisingly strategic little match-three game allows you to collect cats and kittens on a tiny fluffy bedspread. Most games are played in just 20 to 30 minutes, making it the perfect warm-up game for a long night at the table with friends.

TURING MACHINE

Turing Machine (see screenshot above) wins this year in the casual Games category, surpassing Next Station: London and Cat in the Box. Designed by Fabien Gridel and Yoann Levet, the game with artworks by Sébastien Bizos is literally an analog computer made of cardboard — similar to the original computer engine invented by mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing in 1936.

The computer itself is the focus of a competitive deduction game in which the players query a protocol computer for clues. The game has more than seven million problems to solve, all of which are facilitated by a convenient online app.

Not-Known PLANET

Planet not-known by Ryan Lambert and Adam Rehberg is the surprise winner in the strategy games category. Planet not-known has a rotating game board with illustrations by Yoma and is a space game about the exploitation of habitable worlds outside our solar system. Players take turns developing their own personal exoplanet and avoiding the stellar phenomenon while building their engine to support future colonists. Among the finalists are the highly acclaimed Return to the Dark Tower and the Merchant Explorers Guild.

Planet not-known is currently out of stock, but you can sign up using a Google form to find out when more copies will be available.

CARNEGIE

Xavier Georges’ Carnegie with artworks by Ian O’Toole wins the coveted Grand prix for complex games this year. The historical economic simulation asks players to ” recruit and manage employees, expand their business, invest in real estate, produce and sell goods, and build transport chains in the USA.”It also sprinkles some historical figures that the corrupt monopolist turned philanthropist Andrew Carnegie would probably have experienced on his way to becoming the richest man of the Golden Age. Players can also spend their wealth to gain each other’s favor — just like the famous robber barons of yore.

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