The American Tabletop Awards, the annual celebration of the best new board games, is returning on Tuesday for the fifth year in a row. The United States’ alternative to Germany’s Spiel des Jahres, the event fields entries in several novel categories to be judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Together, these 20 titles represent some of the best art and design work out there. The winners are exceptional examples of their type and would make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection.
This year’s categories are the same as in previous years, and include the best titles for beginner gamers, an assortment of casual games, more traditional strategy games, as well as complex games for experienced players.
We have indicated what are the recommended winner and runner-up titles for each category. Most are available for sale online – or at your friendly local game store.
boop The grand prize winner in the Early Gamers category is the one who narrowly escaped kites And A kind of insect, Designed by Scott Brady with illustrations by Kurt Covert, it also wowed us mightily as a prototype at last year’s Gen Con. Published by Smirk & Dagger, the final product is now widely available. This surprisingly strategic little match-three game has you petting cats and kittens on a tiny, plush bedspread. Most rounds are played in only 20-30 minutes, making this the perfect warm-up game for a long night at the table with friends.
turing machine (pictured above) has won the Casual Games category this year Next Station: London And cat in the box, Designed by Fabian Gridel and Yoann Levet, with art by Sébastien Bizos, the game is literally an analog computer made out of cardboard—not unlike the original computational engine invented by mathematician-turned-cryptanalyst Alan Turing in 1936.
The computer itself is the focus of the competitive deduction game, where players interrogate the proto-computer for clues. The game has over seven million problems to solve, all facilitated by a handy online app.
Ryan Lambert and Adam Rehberg planet unknown is the surprise winner in the strategy games category. Featuring a rotating game board with art by Yoma, planet unknown is a spacefaring game about the exploitation of habitable worlds outside our solar system. Players begin developing their own individual exoplanet, dodging stellar phenomena while building their engines to sustain future colonists. highly regarded in the runner-up return to the dark tower And guild of merchant explorers,
planet unknown Currently out of stock, but you can sign up to know when more copies become available by using a Google Form.
Xavier George’ carnegie, featuring art by Ian O’Toole, takes home the prestigious Complex Games Grand Prize this year. The historical economic simulation asks players to “hire and manage employees, expand their business, invest in real estate, manufacture and sell goods, and build transportation chains across the United States”. It also sprinkles in some historical data that corrupt monopolist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie may have likely encountered on his way to becoming the richest man in the Gilded Age. Players are also able to spend their own money to curry favors – just like the infamous Robber Baron of old.
The runners-up in this hotly contested category include frost haven And my father’s work,