Map-searching puzzle game MicroMacro: Crime City has been named this year’s winner of the Spiel des Jahres, the major German ‘Game of the Year’ award.
A combination of visual puzzle book Where’s Wally? (or Waldo) and mystery games such as Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, the co-op game by designer Johannes Sich tasks players with scanning a detailed fold-out map of the titular metropolis to solve a number of crimes by spotting details, suspects and important locations as prompted by cards for each case.
MicroMacro saw off competition from fellow Spiel des Jahres nominees The Adventures of Robin Hood - a co-op board game by Legends of Andor creator Michael Menzel, which features a dynamic world via use of an evolving board - and Annick Lobet’s family-friendly legacy game sequel Zombie Teenz Evolution.
Also announced during the awards ceremony was the 2021 Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, the counterpart ‘Expert Game of the Year’ prize that recognises board games of a higher gameplay complexity than the Spiel des Jahres’ typically family-friendly fare.
This year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres went to Paleo, Peter Rustemeyer’s co-operative Stone Age survival game that challenges players to keep their early humans alive by exploring locations, gathering food and crafting tools without meeting an unfortunate end.
Shortlisted for the Kennerspiel des Jahres were Betrayal at House on the Hill designer Bruce Glassco’s kingdom-building card game Fantasy Realms and Lost Ruins of Arnak, the hybrid of deckbuilding and worker-placement from Mín and Elwen.
“There is one undeniable trend this year: there are more and more remarkably good co-operative campaign games,” Spiel des Jahres chairperson Harald Schrapers said of the co-op-heavy shortlist ahead of the winner announcements. “This has nothing to do with the pandemic, as this trend has been growing over the past few years.”
The two Game of the Year reveals follow the announcement of the 2021 Kinderspiel des Jahres last month. Decided by a separate jury to the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres, the Children’s Game of the Year prize was awarded to Dragonimo, the kid-friendly spin-off from previous Spiel des Jahres winner Kingdomino.