2017-07-10 14:55:56 UTC
GREAT WESTERN TRAIL
There were no shortage of outstanding games last year. Check out the Geek and youâll see three 2016 titles in the top 10 and a total of 7 games in the top 25. But when I did my usual personal (and private) prediction of this yearâs winners, three games stood out: Terraforming Mars, Scythe, and Great Western Trail. The first two are in the top 10 and GWT looks to be well on its way to joining them. Star Wars: Rebellion is ranked even higher than the trio, but itâs been a while since a primarily 2-player game took one of the awards. My trio were accessible, exceedingly well regarded, and had the heaviness that Spielfriek voters tend to like. There were certainly other possibilities (if A Feast for Odin snuck in, it wouldnât have shocked me), but I felt pretty comfortable with my picks.
And then came the results of the first round of voting. There were a few surprises, as always. I certainly didnât expect Friedemann Frieseâs games to perform as well as they did. Fabled Fruit making the top 25 didnât shock me, but having it finish as high as seventh place did. And I never expected Fuji Flush to get a nomination, so nice job, Friedemann! However, the main interest, of course, were the games on top. Terraforming Mars had a sizable lead in the top spot and GWTâs lead over the rest of the field was just as large. Both Scythe and Odin did very well. But the third place game was a shocker, at least to me: Yokohama. Now, Hisashi Hayashi has established himself as one of Japanâs leading designers, particularly of meatier games. And Yokohama sports an excellent Geek rating over 8.0 and no doubt was benefiting from itâs recent English language release. But even with all that, I never saw it as a contender for the award. The question was, could it hold on to its support during the final round, against some very tough competition?
At first, the answer was yes, but not in the way I expected. TM raced to the top spot during the first days of voting, but right on its heels was Scythe. Yokohama was third and it was GWT that was lagging behind in fourth. Pretty soon, it became obvious it would be a four game race, with only Odin having an outside chance of pushing its way into the top 3. Then, at the midway point, GWT had a rush of votes, putting it back in second. At the same time, Scytheâs support dried up and suddenly IT was the game being threatened by Yokohama, which kept hanging around. TMâs and GWTâs vote totals were such that they had all but clinched their awards, but the third spot was very much in question. By Wednesday, Scytheâs lead over Yokohama was a mere 2 votes. Then 1 vote! By Friday, the two were tied and late on Saturday, Yokohama edged ahead. When it picked up yet another vote on Sunday, it was all over but the shouting. Yokohama was one of the three winners of the Meeples Choice Awards.
I think this is a pretty big deal. No game outside of Europe or the U.S. had ever won an MCA and very few had even been close. This was particularly true for games from the Far East. In 2012, Love Letter made a spirited run for one of the three slots, but it fell two votes short. But this year, another corner of the world claimed its place in the pantheon, providing yet more evidence of how global our hobby has become.
So congratulations to designers Jacob Fryxelius, Alexander Pfister, and Hisashi Hayashi, and to publishers FryxGames, eggertspiele, and OKAZU Brand, as well as Tasty Minstrel, who produced the English language version of Yokohama. Congrats as well to Jamey Stegmaier, who came so close with Scythe. Itâs the first MCA win for each of the designers. Itâs Fryxeliusâ first nomination, while Hayashi got an earlier one for 2012âs Trains, and Pfisterâs recent hot streak has earned him no fewer than six nominations over the last three years!
Every nominated game got at least two votes, which is nice. The results are listed at the end of this note. The games are shown in the order of the votes they received during the final round, with the number of votes received during the first round shown in parentheses. In just a bit, Iâll unhide the results on the application and youâll be able to see all the voting for both of this yearâs elections, as well as last yearâs, by clicking on the âSee Resultsâ button on your Home page. All four elections are summarized there and you can check out the results by advancing the page. Alternatively, you can click on a specific election and the entire set of results will be viewable on one page. If you click on a game title for a particular election, you can see all the public votes for that game, so you can check out how your buddies voted. I hope everyone enjoys these new features and if there are any glitches with them, please post about them here.
Before I release the full results, I want everyone to check that their preferences are set correctly. Just to remind you, you set these by clicking on the Vote button on the Home page and then click on the Change This toggle at the top of that page. The sentence there states whether you want your votes to be public or hidden. Please make sure that your preferences are the way you want them. Iâll give you all a little time to do this and then Iâll unhide the election results.
70 people voted during the final round. Thatâs a healthy number, but weâve seen decreases in the voting during the last two years and thatâs a troubling trend. If anyone has any suggestions for reversing that, Iâd love to hear them. Moving away from Yahoo Groups has been discussed in the past and the majority has always rejected it, so Iâm not sure thatâs the answer. But please, suggest away if you think you have an idea for how to increase our numbers.
Thanks to everyone who did participate this year. It was a blast as always and I look forward to doing it again next year!
Here are the final results of the 2016 Meeples Choice Awards:
1. Terraforming Mars â 26 (40)
2. Great Western Trail â 24 (32)
3. Yokohama â 19 (24)
4. Scythe â 17 (22)
5. A Feast for Odin â 13 (21)
6. Fabled Fruit â 8 (17)
6. Lorenzo il Magnifico â 8 (11)
6. Star Wars: Rebellion â 8 (11)
9. First Class â 7 (16)
9. Imhotep â 7 (7)
9. Kingdomino â 7 (8)
12. The Oracle of Delphi â 6 (14)
13. Arkham Horror: The Card Game â 5 (7)
13. Clank! â 5 (16)
13. Flamme Rouge â 5 (10)
13. Oh My Goods! â 5 (8)
13. The Colonists â 5 (12)
18. Captain Sonar â 4 (8)
18. Santorini â 4 (7)
20. Colony â 3 (7)
20. Mansions of Madness: Second Edition â 3 (8)
20. Tramways â 3 (7)
23. Fuji Flush / Doppelt und Dreifach â 2 (8)
23. Honshu â 2 (7)
23. Mystic Vale â 2 (8)
23. Railroad Revolution â 2 (9)