21 October 2014

Buying Guide: Award for Excellence Year in Review - 2004

The Wargamer's highest award is the Award for Excellence. It is given to only the best games reviewed and meet with the approval of our eclectic staff of writers. Browse through our list of the 10 games to receive this prestigious award in 2004.

Published on 31 DEC 2004 12:00am by Scott Parrino
  1. public relations, best of the year awards, buyer's guide

Introduction

Readers know this shield is the mark of The Wargamer's highest award: our Award for Excellence.  We bestow this award to only the best games we review - which is a list very few games have the caliber to make.  Over the course of the year, reviewers nominate the best games to receive this Award: only those games which meet the approval of our staff can receive the award.  For that reason, it's a tough award to receive, but we believe a truly meaningful one.  We've assembled this year's list of winners (a mere 10 of them) into this article.

We should point out that this list is only a compilation of the games we've reviewed in 2004.  There are games which were released in 2004, but we've not yet reviewed, and may yet earn an Award for Excellence.

The Award for Excellence Winners of 2004

Ardennes '44

Publisher: GMT Games
Reviewed on: February 4th

"More than just one or two things that set Ardennes '44 apart from its peers, there are many. Beginning with the gorgeous maps and oversized counters, carrying on with the superbly done rulebook with valuable bonus features (particularly the extended example of play) to system features that really distinguish it from other games, Ardennes '44 has it all. Best of all, it conveys a sense of historicity that is hard to come by in any game. "I love this game!" My introduction said it all and for good reason. Designer Mark Simonitch has delivered a truly outstanding game dealing with a subject that has had many treatments. He and GMT Games are to be commended." -- From Greg Borisko's review.

Part of the excellent map.

The Quick Start display.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Publisher: Lucas Arts
Reviewed on: February 10th 

"It's been a very long time since I've experienced anything on par with the original Star Wars movies - to the point of being moved, fascinated, overwhelmed, and riveted all at once. While good games such as Dark Forces and Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast did justice to the series, little things like Episode I and II have caused consternation among fans of the genre, and subpar games like Force Commander have hurt the genre in general.

Knights of the Old Republic is everything a good game should be - deep, involved, long, and the kind of game that makes me want to come back for more; playing for eight to twelve hours straight just because it becomes a physical impossibility to stop. Star Wars has a new and rewarding experience awaiting not just fans of the genre but anyone who loves great sci-fi." -- From Michael Eckenfels' review.

The dialogue in this game is outstanding, and can delve into emotions, making it very easy…

…to be drawn in. Yeah, it's just a game, but good writing is good writing.