This year’s winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres has been announced as the wizard-themed board game Magic Mountain.
Known as Zauberberg in its native German language, Magic Mountain was chosen by the jury behind the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2022 – or kids board game of the year – as being the award’s ultimate winner. Considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in tabletop gaming, the Kinderspiel des Jahres is awarded to whichever child-friendly board game the jury believes deserves it. The jury behind this year’s Kinderspiel des Jahres chose Magic Mountain thanks to its “innovative marble mechanism,” and “attractive game structure.”
Magic Mountain won over its fellow competitors Quacks & Co: Quedlinburg Dash – a spin-off tabletop title from The Quacks of Quedlinburg, that has players feeding their chosen mounts various foods to win a race – and a kid-friendly version of the roll-and-write game Ganz Schon Clever, or That’s Pretty Clever!, called Auch Schon Clever. (Also Very Clever.)
Magic Mountain is a co-op board game for one to six players that’s set in a fantasy kingdom in which witches and wizards compete against each other for magical power. The players in Magic Mountain are in charge of the wizards. The goal of the game is to have the wizards reach the base of the mountain before the witches do, by having a collection of will-o'-the-wisps – represented by different coloured marbles – hit their figures.
The game starts with the witches and wizards being placed on specific starting spaces. On a player’s turn, they then draw a will-o'-the-wisp from the bag and choose to place it on one of six starting channels. Once the player has let the marble go, it will roll down the channel until it hits a figure. Any figures that stop the marble will then be moved to the next space along the board that matches the colour of the marble.
Depending on how fast the player moves their figure, the will-o'-the-wisp may strike it once again – enabling them to move it even further. However, if a marble ever strikes a witch figure, then players will want to avoid moving it too quickly as they don’t want the witches to progress down the hill. When all five of the will-o'-the-wisps have been drawn, they are placed back in the bag and the game continues. Players win if they manage to get the number of wizards required by the game’s difficulty to the bottom of the mountain before the witches, then the players win.
Magic Mountain was co-created by Jens-Peter Schliemann, a co-designer of the pirate board game Caribbean, and Bernhard Weber, who have previously worked together on the cheese-themed Château Roquefort.
Amigo is the studio behind Magic Mountain, with the company’s previous releases including card games such as Bohnanza, Saboteur and 6 Nimmt!.
The winners of the other Spiel des Jahres awards, including the main Game of the Year award, will be announced July 16th, with the nominees including Cascadia, Scout and Top Ten.