Here are the 12 games fighting it out for France’s biggest board gaming awards

Two games based on the life and works of Charles Darwin are in the running for awards in this year’s As d’Or, a prestigious French board gaming prize initially created in 1988.

In The Footsteps of Darwin, from publisher Sorry We Are French, is up against Perfect Words and Trio for the general Game of the Year category – which is focused on the best games accessible to the greatest number of people.

Contenders for the main prize must be suitable for eight year olds and adults alike, with rules that are easy to grasp. Last year’s winner was tile-placement game Akropolis, while previous victors have included 7 Wonders Architects, MicroMacro: Crime City and Azul.

The Expert Game category, which rewards “complex games with sophisticated mechanisms that require a significant commitment from the gamers”, sees Darwin’s Journey from Thundergryph Games go head to head against Iello’s The White Castle and La Famiglia, published by Super Meeple.

Small box worker placement game The White Castle picked up significant attention at last year’s Essen Spiel convention, and topped the charts for new owners on BoardGameGeek for two months in a row at the end of last year – although popularity alone does not ensure the game is destined to win the prize.

Nominees for the “Initié” category, which targets regular board games players ready for more challenging mechanisms, are Matagot’s Cat in the Box, Iello’s Eila and Something Shiny and Faraway, published by Catch Up Games.

The children’s game of the year title will be decided between My Puzzle Adventure – Dragon from
Game Flow, Morris The Dodo from Blue Orange and Super Meow from Space Cow.

Winners will be announced on February 22, with prizes awarded at the Cannes International Games Festival, which runs from February 23 to 25.

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