"Game of the Year": From digital to analogue: "Dorfromantik" also awarded as a board game

From the screen to the kitchen table: analogue and digital worlds are getting closer and closer in the gaming scene.

"Game of the Year": From digital to analogue: "Dorfromantik" also awarded as a board game

From the screen to the kitchen table: analogue and digital worlds are getting closer and closer in the gaming scene. With "Dorfromantik" a cooperative board game wins the coveted "Game of the Year" title in 2023, which is based on a computer game of the same name. At the award ceremony on Sunday in Berlin, board game authors and video game developers celebrated their great success together on stage.

"We've really suffered the last few days and are so happy - it's unbelievable," said author Lukas Zach after the award. Co-author Michael Palm was also moved: "Of course I'm relieved, I feel very light, even though I actually weigh 100 kilos." The duo and the team from Pegasus Verlag accepted the coveted wooden trophy to thunderous applause.

Many mechanics from the computer world can be found in the board game implementation of the tile placement game "Dorfromantik", in which an idyllic landscape is put together. Among other things, the players receive secret material if they unlock it from five boxes - a reward system. "A lot of people point out that you can't lose in 'Dorfromantik'. It's a feel-good game. You always get ahead. That's also typical for mobile games," said Zach, who also works in the video game industry. "There's still a lot of potential there."

This is also the opinion of Hermann Hutter, chairman of the games publishers industry association: "It could have advantages. People who already know "Dorfromantik" as a computer game might be inclined to go over there or vice versa." The video game "Dorfromantik" experienced a real boom during the pandemic and won the "German Computer Game Prize" in two categories in 2021.

Zach and Palm were already planning a tile-laying game. They approached the developers at Toukana Interactive and agreed to a licensed collaboration with Pegasus. A profitable decision, as it turned out. "We put one and one together. They gave us a lot of freedom in developing the board game," said Palm.

The title "Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023" was won with "Challengers!" by Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck, a board game also inspired by the video game world. This prize is intended to appeal to more experienced players in particular. The template for the card-based tournament game are so-called "auto-battlers": computer games in which battles take place automatically. It's the same with "Challengers!" – only on the table.

"We notice how both worlds continue to grow together," said Jens Junge, head of the Institute for Ludology (game science) in Berlin. It is no coincidence that good digital games also work in analogue. It's easy to transfer. "If you take the spirit over with you when you have a good game idea, then you can also implement it digitally or analogously."

"Mysterium Kids" by Antonin Boccara and Yves Hirschfeld received the title "Children's Game of the Year 2023". In addition, the association awarded a special prize to the escape game series "Unlock!". The "Spiel des Jahres" association has been awarding prizes for over 40 years. The critics' jury tests hundreds of new releases on the games market every year.

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