Each year, the German Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres are awarded with the intention of promoting board gaming as a cultural asset.This year, Legends of Andor, designed by Michael Menzel, received the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres!
The Spiel des Jahres is 'Game of the Year', and the Kennerspiel des Jahres, formalized in 2011 is an award for the 'expert's' or 'connoisseur's' Game of the Year. The awards are determined by the Spiel des Jahres jury, which consists of journalists who specialize in reviewing games.
Let’s take a look at Legends of Andor, 2013's Kennerspiel des Jahres winner!
Immerse Yourself in the Legends
Brave King Brandur and his son, Prince Thorald, grow worried. Andor has long been a place of peace, but now, vicious monsters – skrals, gors, and the like, have appeared once more in the countryside, making their way toward the castle. Though both King and Prince are great fighters, they know they will not be able to defend Reitburg Castle alone. Prince Thorald rides out to seek help from Andor’s bravest heroes…
In Legends of Andor, two to four players each take the role of a powerful hero as they attempt to save the land of Andor from a horde of evil creatures. The game features beautiful original art, and a special deck of cards that allow you to learn the rules as you play the game.
You take the role of a Wizard, a Warrior, an Archer, or a Dwarf. Each use their unique ability to fight for Andor and for its king. Each character’s hero board can be customized throughout the game as you gain strength, willpower, and various assets, like shields, bows, or falcons.
Once formed, your band of heroes must embark on a series of dangerous quests through the lands of Andor. You’ll confront the deadly foes who threaten the King, and you’ll quest to accomplish objectives which will help make Andor a safe and peaceful land once more.
Travel through dark and dangerous mines, and foggy forests as you and your fellow heroes follow the orders of your King. But hurry! Each hero only has seven hours of daylight each day during which to carry out his tasks. Once these hours are used up, you may work into the night, for a penalty, or begin a new day, which advances the legend even further.
At the heart of Legends of Andor is its unique narrative, the linked scenarios that tell an overarching story as the you successfully complete objectives. For each scenario, or “Legend,” a legend deck conveys the ever-unfolding plot…one in which the you are the protagonist.
A wooden marker moves along the board’s legend track at key points during each scenario, triggering the draw of a new legend card, the introduction of new game-altering effects, and the advancement of the story’s plot.
Ultimately, you must guide the fate of Andor through your heroic actions, aspiring to bring a happy ending to your epic fantasy tale. Legends of Andor features five playable legends, as well as a sixth that allows you to create your own unique adventures.
A Few Questions for Michael Menzel
Legends of Andor designer Michael Menzel took the time to share his thoughts about the reception of the game, and the Kennerspiel des Jahres.
Last time we chatted with you was about six months ago, before Legends of Andor was released. Have you been pleased with the reception?
I am very happy with the way Andor has been accepted. It's always risky to try something new, like we did with the quick-start rules and the tutorial-concept. It really paid off, because without them, we would not have reached the casual players like we did. Though people want to play a game in a fantasy setting, if it has more than four pages of rules, it seems more like work than fun to them. With Andor, they have the chance to enter a fantasy world after only two pages of rules.
What has been your favorite part of this experience thus far?
The most impressive moment for me, was when I first saw how well experienced gamers played Andor. It was comparable to a music composer, who has to imagine how his music will sound in a full orchestra version. When he writes it, he hasn't got an orchestra nearby. When I saw those gamers playing the game, searching and finding the right solutions, nearly failing and then winning in the end – it was just amazing.
Typically, the Spiel des Jahres recognizes Game of the Year for families, while the Kennerspiel des Jahres recognizes Game of the Year for more experienced gamers.
Legends of Andor, with its quick-start rules, and learn-as-you-play style is great for families, and was designed with your son in mind, as a way to find a cooperative fantasy game that was family friendly. That said, it is a great game for more experienced gamers as well, so how do you feel about winning the Connoisseur's category?
I think it is very easy to enter Andor (even for less experienced players) but the deeper you get into it, the more challenging it becomes. It is comparable to a computer game, which no one would rank after playing the tutorial, so it is hard to categorize Andor. But I think all the material in the box and the playing time make it more appropriate for a "Kennerspiel des Jahres”.
For bonus content for Legends of Andor, head to our support page, where you'll find the Wolf Warrior bonus character (pdf, 1.2 MB UPDATED)! Or, head to your local retailer to purchase your copy of Legends of Andor today!...
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