The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

GCA Nominees - 2002

Greg Aleknevicus

May, 2002

The Strategy Gaming Society sponsors the annual Gamers' Choice Awards. Every year an international panel of gamers select a list of games they feel are deserving of special recognition. There are three distinct categories; Multi-Player Strategy, Two-Player Strategy and Historical Simulation. I serve on the Multi-Player and Two-Player Strategy committees and am pleased to announce this years finalists:

Multi-Player Category


Alan R. Moon, Aaron Weissblum
Schmidt Spiele
Building the eternal city is the theme of this game. Card play is the driving mechanic as players must construct buildings, top them with a roof and then place them in specific districts. Having the most "floors" in a district confers victory points. However, you'll need to save some of those precious cards to use in the critical auction phase. The valuable district improvements available there will often spell the difference between victory and defeat.

Die Händler von Genua

Ruediger Dorn
Rio Grande / Alea
Do you enjoy trading? If so, this game is one to check out. Everything in the game is tradable and negotiable. There are a variety of ways to make money and so the players have many different strategies available to them. Each turn a player controls the movement of a trader around the city. The areas visited each have an associated action and the active player sells this action to one of the other players (or performs it himself). Planning a route that will return the greatest reward is critical to your bottom line.


Philippe Keyaerts
Evolution was never so much fun! Move your dinosaurs around the island trying to avoid both the blistering heat and the freezing cold. New genes are auctioned off every turn which can make your species faster, more prolific or "furrier" amongst others. Be careful if your neighbours develop horns though as they may decide that the vegetarian life is not for them.


Friedemann Friese
2F Spiele
A game with a very novel theme: the creation of a electric power network. Players create various sources of energy (nuclear, coal, oil and wind power) and then try to deliver this power throughout the map.


Günter Cornett

Bambus Spieleverlag
Making sacrifices to the gods is the way to victory in this Polynesian-themed game. Players move around the islands collecting offerings for the five deities. Movement is rather restrictive and different for each player. Not only do these offerings count as victory points but the player that has made the most in any colour will receive that gods' favor. Since these special abilities are very powerful it's important to be well looked upon by the powers above.


Martin Wallace

The French Revolution is the setting for this "majority" game with a twist. The twist being that you're concerned not only with controlling the most areas but which type of faction wins each area. The ultimate victory conditions for the game depend on whether France ends up ruled by radicals, moderates or royalists.


Stefan Dorra
Rio Grande, Hans im Gluck
Rebuilding the famous city of Medina is the player's goal in this game. Beautiful wooden components (it says so right on the box) add to the feel of the game as players add buildings, walls and people to the board. Each player will eventually claim four buildings and the goal is to have the most valuable set at game's end. Buildings gain points for their size, proximity to walls and the number of people that wander by.

Müll + Money

Jürgen Strohm
Rio Grande, Hans im Gluck
Factory work can be fun! Each player runs his or her own factory in this game. You'll need raw materials, workers and an order to produce goods. Doing so earns you money but also produces unwanted waste. Each turn you'll perform three actions which can include purchasing raw materials, improving the efficiency of your factory or reducing the waste you've accumulated. If you don't get rid of those barrels of sludge disaster is right around the corner.

Pampas Railroads

Martin Wallace
Railroad construction in Argentina. Players take turns either buying stock, developing towns or constructing track. Naturally you want to be able to do all on your turn so it's not an easy decision. As expected the most money at the end of the game wins so knowing when to invest is key.

San Marco

Alan R. Moon, Aaron Weissblum
Yet another "majority" game and again, one with a very clever idea not often seen before. Each turn a player is given a set of cards, some good, some bad. It's his goal to split these into two sets. Another player then chooses one set leaving the other to the "divider". Dividing the cards can be agony! You want to split them up so that your opponent gets the least advantage possible while leaving yourself with good cards.


Martin Wallace
TM Spiele
Players are constructing railway lines across central Europe hoping to create the most valuable network. Scattered throughout the map are cities and goods that need delivering. Every turn each player will add 2 or 3 sections of track to the board and then transport goods to their destination. Players profit each time a section of their track is used (by any player) so it's important to build sections that everyone needs to use.

Wyatt Earp

Mike Fitzgerald, Richard Borg
Rio Grande, Alea
An "unofficial" entry in the Mystery Rummy line of games. This time players are lawmen in the old west trying to capture various outlaws. If the players combine to form a long enough "run" for a particular criminal, he's caught and the reward is split amongst the capturing players. Special cards increase rewards, let criminals go free or determine the "fastest gun in the west" (amongst others).

2 Player Category


Kris Burm
Don & Co.
The latest in the Gipf Project of games. The game starts with players placing disks on an elongated hexagonal board. Once this is filled up players move their pieces creating larger and larger stacks. When you move a piece it must move exactly the number of pieces in its stack and must "capture" another stack. This often means that larger stacks are weaker as their number of moves gradually decreases. Further complicating maters is the fact that each stack must remain connected to one of the three special "Dvonn" pieces scattered about the board. Since these pieces can become part of a stack (and therefore moved around the board) this is a lot trickier than first appears.

Flower Power

Angelika Fassauer, Peter Haluszka
Is there anything that CAN'T be turned into a game? Planting flowers is the theme here and players are rewarded for creating large beds of similar varieties. Each player has their own plot as well as a shared common area.

Kupferkessel Co.

Günter Burkhardt
The hardest part of any Magician's day is collecting the necessary ingredients for all your potions and that's exactly what this game tries to simulate. Players move around the edge of a 6 by 6 grid of ingredients collecting items. Your choice of what to pick up isn't easy as it not only counts for your score at game's end but determines how far you'll move on your next turn.

Sternenschiff Catan

Klaus Teuber
Mayfair, Kosmos
The Settlers of Catan Card Game goes to space! Each player is the pilot of a single ship traveling about the cosmos trying to buy and sell goods for a profit. Upgrading your ship is a necessity but there's always more to do than you're able to accomplish. Should you buy thrusters to move faster or cannons to fight pirates? Increase the size of your cargo hold or buy another landing craft?


Nick Neuwahl
Often considered a member of the "pipe-laying" genre of games, Toscana is actually about the building of a small villa. In this tile laying game, one player owns the buildings and the other owns the streets. Each has a separate stack of tiles and each tile will have six sections that belong to them and two that belong to their opponent. Your goal is to create a group of your sections that's larger than your opponents. There's often a great tension in deciding whether to go on offence (add to your area) or defence (by cutting off your opponent).

- Greg Aleknevicus

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