Well, I don’t imagine too many monocles were dropped in surprise this morning when we learned that Camel Up has been awarded the 2014 Spiel des Jahres, and Istanbul the 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres. In my readings of blogs and reviews and my conversations with colleagues who have played one or both, both seemed like pretty safe bets. Camel Up has appeal as a family or a grown-up game, and can scale up to eight players (and apparently does so very well). It’s easy to teach and easy to learn, so it’s good as a gateway game, which is always handy. (Let us not forget the endless opportunities for off-color jokes involved in the mechanic that involves camels mounting each other’s backs…) Istanbul has the elegantly fresh mechanic of creating your path with assistants, it has solid theme, it’s relatively easy to learn, and the modular board lends it high replay value.
I’ve not had the opportunity to saddle a camel or wander a Turkish souk, but I’m in line with many other American gamers to pre-order them for August. It’s not so long to wait now, and in the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with Malcolm, the wonderful camel who graces my desktop.