zwischenzug (ZVI-shen-tsoog) — noun

A chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move, first interpolates another move, changing the situation to the player's advantage (such as gaining material or avoiding what would otherwise be a strong continuation for the opponent).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kinderspiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres

Recently I wrote about the Spiel des Jahres, which is the German game of the year award for family games.  This annual award focuses on the types of game I write about in this blog, but is not the only award handed out.  The group that hands out the Spiel des Jahres also awards the Kinderspiel des Jahres and the Kennerspiel des Jahres.

The Kinderspiel des Jahres is the children’s game of the year, and spotlights those games with the 4- to 6-year old child in mind.  Many of the games under consideration never make it “across the pond”, so we in the States never see them.  I would like to see more of them available; I am pretty certain there are a few that bridge the gap between children’s and family games.

The Kennerspiel des Jahres will be far more interesting.  I am not sure how the term directly translates to English, but the purpose of the award is to spotlight games of interest to hobby gamers.  This year is the first year for this award, which was created (at least as I understand it) to avoid giving away “special” awards year after year, which has been happening of late.  These games will be available in the US, though only through specialty stores.  This year’s games include 7 Wonders, Lancaster and Strasbourg.  Many people thought 7 Wonders would be a Spiel des Jahres nominee, since it is very much a family game.  From reading the rules, it does look like the first game would be tough; there are a lot of icons on the cards.  That fact may have pushed it up to the next category.

I only have 7 Wonders, and it hasn’t made it to the gaming table yet.  (Almost, but not quite!)  Of the games either nominated for this year’s awards or recommended (those not quite good enough to get a nomination), I have three:  7 Wonders, Qwirkle (which I reviewed) and Blockers.  I will ask someone to bring Forbidden Island, rounding the month’s game session to plays of four different games.  At that point, I can review 7 Wonders properly and let you know what I think.

My monthly game session will occur about the time the awards are announced, and I will post the winners.  Until then…

It’s Your Move


  1. "Kennerspiel" translates to "expert's game" and thus "Expert's game of the year."

  2. Both Lancaster and Strasbourg seem interesting to me—but then I am a sucker for pseudo history. Perhaps Strasbourg has a bit more draw for me, since it's set in Germany, or rather Alsace-Lorraine, or rather Elsaß-Lothringen.


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