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Thunder Road: Vendetta and Sea Salt & Paper take home American Tabletop Award wins

Other winners at the biggest board game award in the US include The White Castle and Blob Party.

The American Tabletop Awards have announced the four winning board games taking home a trophy for the 2024 season. The biggest Spiel des Jahres equivalent on the Western side of the Atlantic Ocean crowned Thunder Road: Vendetta, The White Castle, Sea Salt & Paper and Blob Party in its four distinct categories.

Now in its sixth year, the ATA honoured several board games whittled down from dozens of potential titles through a nomination and judging committee composed of tabletop industry veterans. The final 20 board games fall across four main categories in ascending complexity - Early Gamers, Casual Games, Strategy Games and Complex Games.

Restoration Games’ Thunder Road: Vendetta clinched the top prize in the strategy category for the surprising depth of strategy hiding under all those exploding cars. It beat out Matteo Menapace and Pandemic creator Matt Leacock’s newest design, Daybreak, alongside Elizabeth Hargrave (Wingspan creator) and Jeff Fraser’s The Fox Experiment. Even though they didn’t win, both board games were nonetheless categorised as “Recommended titles” by the ATA.

The best board games you need to play in 2024.Watch on YouTube

The Complex Games grand prize went to Devir Games’ The White Castle, a crunchy Eurogame that found instant popularity amongst hobbyists for its relatively tiny number of rounds and eye towards efficiency. It trumped Board & Dice’s Nucleum and the latest title from Inside Up, Earth, both of which had to settle for nominations.

Moving back down the difficulty scale, the gorgeous card game Sea Salt & Paper from Pandasaurus wowed the judges with its origami aesthetic and compelling push-your-luck interactions between opponents. The tiny box squared up against some very popular tabletop games, including Pegasus Spiele’s Dorfromantik: The Board Game and Next Station: Tokyo from Blue Orange Games - both of which were either nominated or won the 2023 Spiel des Jahres.

The final category, Early Gamers, focuses on board games and analogue titles marketed at a decidedly younger audience but has also included party games and simpler releases in the past. Blob Party, a group word game published by Wizkids, doles out single word clues to each player that they must use to combine with other players via collaborative guesses, eventually forming one massive organism. It fended off would-be winners in the form of the excellent dice roller Chicken! and Flatout Games’ Deep Dive.

A full list of the winners, nominees, recommendations and the judges’ comments can be found on the American Tabletop Awards’ website.

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