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Root, Res Arcana and Gloomhaven lead 2020 nominations for the As d’Or, France’s board game of the year awards

‘Golden Ace’ prizes split into expert, accessible and children’s board games.
Root board game artwork mouse
Kyle Ferrin/Leder Games

The nominations for this year’s As d’Or awards have been announced, with both Gloomhaven and Root vying for the same prize.

The French equivalent of the Spiel de Jahres - the coveted German ‘Game of the Year’ prize - the ‘Golden Ace’ awards celebrate a selection of the best board games from the last year. The selection takes into account games available in French, which may explain why the 2020 shortlist includes several titles released in English before last year.

Separated into three different categories, the As d’Or recognise the best board games for expert players and children, as well as the most accessible game - which collectively form the 12 nominations given out prior to next month’s ceremony.

The expert games of the year nominations include Root, the asymmetric game by Cole Wehrle released in English in 2018, and Gloomhaven, the co-op board game created by Isaac Childres which debuted in 2017. These stand alongside It’s a Wonderful World - a civilisation game designed by Frédéric Guérard that has players expanding their respective empires - and Res Arcana, a fantasy card game about crafting magic designed by Race for the Galaxy creator Tom Lehmann.

Nominations for the As d’Or game of the year award - which typically rewards easy-to-learn beginner board games - include Little Town, the city-building title designed by creative duo Shun and Aya Taguchi, and a party board game about deducing the dead called Fiesta de los Muertos, designed by Antonin Boccara. Also in the running are Oriflamme, a medieval card game created by Adrien and Axel Hesling, and Draftosaurus, a board game about building a dino park produced by a team of four designers including Antoine Bauza, creator of hit card game 7 Wonders.

The As d’Or nominations for best children’s game are Yum Yum Island, a game about feeding animals created by Laurent Escoffier; Valley of the Vikings, a family board game where players attempt to hit coloured barrels with a ball designed by Marie and Wilfried Fort; a co-op game created by Gabriel Leow about fighting nightmares called Dream Catchers; and Hedgehog Roll; a board game where everyone rolls a hedgehog ball to collect food, made by Urtis Šulinskas.

The As d’Or awards ceremony takes place as part of the Festival International des Jeux event held in Cannes every year, with the 2020 winners due to be announced on February 20th.

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