The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

The Iggies

You know what we really need? An award for the best game released 5-10 years ago (N.B. — We don’t actually need this). That was my first thought on looking at the winners of the Iggies. I haven’t actually played Age of Industry (although I gave Brass a few chances), but I did play Campaign Manager 10 times … before selling it. I certainly would have voted for it 6 months ago (honestly, I play so few 2 player games it may still be the best, for all I know). But the games feel too fresh.

Looking at the IGA list from 10 years ago, I think they got the Nominees basically right:

  • Chinatown — Still respected, if not played much
  • Mamma Mia — Not really played
  • Mit List und Tucke — No idea
  • Ra — Yup
  • Stephenson’s Rocket — Not first tier, but OK (I loved it for 6 months)
  • Starfarers of Catan — Flash in the Pan
  • Tikal — Yup
  • Torres — I still have no idea why people like this, but many people do.
  • Union Pacific — Almost a classic, not quite
  • Vinci — Given that it’s the basis for Small World, hard to argue against

Tikal as the winner seems fine, although in hindsight I think Ra is more popular. Lost Cities as the 2 player winner is clearly correct (although Schotten Totten aka Battle Line would not have been embarrassing). Will we look back at the 2010 IGA winners and shake our head? No idea, but looking at the winners from 200-2005, I shook my head at San Marco, but that was a weak field of nominees. The only other raised eyebrow was Princes of Florence over Carcassone, but I prefer PoF (which I agree with).

Looking at the 2010 Nominees, I still think this will go down as a year that I was particularly grumpy. Although I just did get a copy of Hansa Tuetonica, which helps.

Back to my train of thought — I wonder how often each of the voters played the game they wanted to win? I mean, it’s easy enough to fall in love with a new title, but it typically takes just a few more plays to fall out of love with it. Or I’m fickle.


Written by taogaming

September 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Ramblings

5 Responses

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  1. Those nominees were all from 1999, which was a terrific year for games. I think the committee did a really good job in their first year, but it was hard to go wrong.

    Ironically, I’ve been a bigger proponent of the IGAs than you have over the years, Brian, but I have more issues with their 2000-2005 winners than you do. And I have no problem with the two games you cite. I don’t care if Carc was a gaming phenomenon, Princes is a MUCH better game and picking it established the fact that at long last, serious gamers had their own award. And while I would have personally given the award to Funkenschlag in ’02, its amateurish production values probably hurt it. Besides, San Marco is a fine, unique game that continues to get play today and was a worthy winner.

    No, my problems were 2004-05. ’04 remains the greatest year in gaming history and they choose St. Petersburg??? I mean, we had Power Grid, Goa, Ticket to Ride, and a host of other notable games and somehow this decent, but far from great game sneaks through. It’s been 6 years and it still bugs me. 2005 was a considerably weaker year, but you still had Louis XIV, Shadows over Camelot, and Reef Encounter, but the winner was Ticket to Ride: Europe, despite the original game not gaining a single first place vote the year before. Definitely curious.

    This year, we knew going in that there was no dominant game. Age of Industry was kind of a surprise to us all, but it would have beaten almost all of the other nominees in a head-to-head battle, so it had strong support. My group loves Brass so much that I didn’t think I could get them to play this newer version. I guess I’ll have to figure out how to get it played now!

    Larry Levy

    September 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    • Ironically, I’ve been a bigger proponent of the IGAs than you have over the years, Brian, but I have more issues with their 2000-2005 winners than you do.

      What can I say, I’m a curmudgeon with a heart of gold.

      I don’t think St. Pete was a horrible pick, I mean, I’m still playing it. But I’m still playing all the games you mentioned from ’04. It’s defensible. And ’05 was a terrible year. I think TTR:Europe picked up the nod the same way that so many Oscars are given out a decade or two later to say “Oops, we messed up earlier. Sorry.” (Color of Money cough).


      September 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  2. I love Power Grid, and I enjoy Ticket to Ride a lot, especially with the 1910 tickets, but I for one like St. Petersburg more than any of the other candidates.

    I realize I’m in the minority, but I would vote for St. Petersburg if the vote were held today and I had a vote.

    Eric Brosius

    September 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm

  3. The audience for these awards definitely prefer timely winners. This causes a problem for any jury — if you delay the award long enough to play a game sufficiently, you lose relevance (for the audience). Personally, I would prefer an award for best game from 5-10 years ago, but I’m clearly in the minority.

    As for Ticket to Ride: Europe winning? To me, it corrected a great system that was nearly broken in its initial implementation. I think it very much deserved to win whereas its predecessor did not.

    Greg Aleknevicus

    September 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  4. Greg,

    Perhaps the solution is, instead of a generic award for 10 year old games, to set up a Hall of Fame type structure – where (possibly after voting on prior years in order to smooth things out), the committee only looks at a single year of games, and as with the BBWAA selects the cream of the crop. (Unlike the Baseball HoF vote, I do think things should be structured so that the minimum number of games added is one, rather than zero.) I’d love to see a 5-10 year old award as well, but I agree that it’s hard to make it relevant and interesting for a large group of folks.


    The one game from 1999 which I think is missing from the list is Ricochet Robot, which I still see played a fair bit; it would have been a better selection than Mit Liste und Tuecke, for instance. But I agree – it’s a fairly reasonable list.

    Oh – and of the 2004 choices, I’m most fond of Saint Petersburg as well…

    Joe Huber

    September 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

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