Votes for Women, the critically acclaimed card-driven wargame from designer Tory Brown, has scooped this year’s Summit Award celebrating the historical board game which best succeeded in broadening the hobby.
Brown’s debut game, published by Fort Circle Games, catapulted both designer and publisher into the board gaming limelight following its release last year, picking up widespread praise from reviewers including Polygon’s Charlie Hall, who named it one of the year’s best board games, and game design luminaries including Undaunted series co-designer David Thompson.
The other three finalists were Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683, designed by Robert DeLeskie, Root designer Cole Wehrle’s John Company 2nd Edition, and Stonewall Uprising, designed by Taylor Shuss.
Votes for Women simulates the fight for American women’s suffrage between 1848-1920, with the Suffragist player attempting to get US states to ratify the the Nineteenth Amendment, while the Opposition player presses to prevent Congress passing the amendment or by having 13 states reject it.
The Summit Award win marks Votes for Women’s first accolade, having previously been nominated for a pair of Golden Geek Awards in the Best Wargame and Best Thematic Board Game categories.
The award was created last year by San Diego HistCon, an organisation which aims to create a diverse and supportive gaming community dedicated to playing, discussing, designing, and promoting historically-based board games.
SDHC, which was launched mainly as a local wargaming group in 2015, is led by wargaming experts including Liberty or Death developer Harold Buchanan.
The winner of the Summit Award was determined by members of the 21-strong SDHist Board and SDHist Advisory Board, which includes Buchanan as well as COIN series designer Volko Ruhnke, Twilight Struggle co-creator Jason Matthews and BoardGameGeek news team member Candice Harris.
The judges praised Votes for Women for its novelty of topic, streamlined rules that facilitate teaching and play, effectiveness as a historical game (including with the extensive historical materials included), and well-crafted asymmetry between the sides.
Last year’s inaugural Summit Award was won by Fred Serval’s Red Flag Over Paris, a two-player card-driven game depicting the two months of intense confrontation between the Communards and the government in Versailles during the 1871 Paris Commune.