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Spiel des Jahres 2022 winner is wildlife board game Cascadia

Living Forest wins Kennerspiel.

Cascadia, the board game about building an ecosystem in North America, is the winner of the Spiel des Jahres 2022.

Announced via the Spiel des Jahres website, Cascadia has been awarded the most prestigious accolade in the tabletop gaming industry, beating out card game Scout – by Kei Kajino and Oink Games – and Aurélien Picolet and Cocktail Games’s Top Ten.

Designed by Randy Flynn, the creator behind the upcoming board game Tabriz, and published by Flatout Games, Cascadia is a board game that focuses on the wildlife and environment of the Pacific Northwest. The game sees one to four players attempting to form their own ecosystems by placing certain tokens with particular habitats, creating patterns on their boards in order to score the most points possible.

Cascadia board game layout
Image credit: Flatout Games

Cascadia has players taking turns to select a habitat and wildlife token, placing both onto their board. Players want to place matching habitat tokens adjacent to each other in order to create the largest possible space in order to score bonus points, whilst wildlife tokens will need to be placed on certain types of habitat and adjacent – or sometimes not – to particular kinds of wildlife. Depending on the wildlife scoring goals, players will earn a certain number of points at the end of the game, with the player holding the most points being named the winner.

Besides the winner of the Spiel des Jahres 2022, the winner of Kennerpspiel des Jahres 2022 – an award reserved for board games designed for more experienced players – was also announced, with Living Forest by Aske Christiansen and Ludonaute/Pegasus Spiele Games walking away with the award. Living Forest was chosen over Cryptid by Hal Duncan, Ruth Veevers and Osprey Games/Skellig Games – a board game where players race to discover the location of a hidden creature – and the deckbuilding game by Paul Dennen and Dire Wolf, Dune: Imperium, which is based on the recent film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novels.

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Living Forest is a board game for one to four players that takes place in a mysterious forest populated by spirits. As one of these nature spirits, players will be attempting to save their home from the flames of Onibi, utilising the animal guardians in order to complete their mission. During the game, players draw various animal cards in order to form a help line that they can use to perform actions in order to collect the things they need to win the game. However, players will need to be cautious when drawing cards in order to avoid drawing too many solitary symbols, which prevents them from performing more actions.

The announcements for the winners of the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres 2022 follow the reveal that Magic Mountain – known as Zauberberg in German – by Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber, published by Amigo, had been awarded the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2022, an award designed for kids' board games.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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