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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Votes for Women Wins the 2023 Summit Award

by Candice Harris

This year has flown by! It feels like just yesterday Red Flag Over Paris was announced as the first-ever Summit Award winner, but in reality, it was a year ago. On December 11, 2023, the San Diego HistCon (SDHC) board announced Votes for Women as the 2023 Summit Award winner. Congratulations to Tory Brown and Fort Circle Games!

In the press release below, you can find more details on the Summit Award, Votes for Women, and the three other Summit Award finalists:

The San Diego Historical Games Convention (SDHist) is proud to announce the winner of the second annual Summit Award. The Summit Award aims to recognize a historical board game published in the preceding year that most broadened the hobby through the ease of teaching, ease of play, uniqueness of topic, novelty of approach, and/or effectiveness as a historical game. The 2023 Summit Award winner (for games published in 2022) is Votes for Women.

Votes for Women, designed by Tory Brown, is published by Fort Circle Games. It features art and graphic design from Brigette Indelicato and Marc Rodrigue and development from Kevin Bertram. Dr. Rachel Michelle Gunter served as historical advisor and Kimberly Himmer served as copy editor.

Votes for Women is a 60-75 minute card-driven game for one to four players. It covers the course of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States from 1848 through 1920, ending with either the ratification or rejection of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Players take either Suffragist or Opposition roles, with the Suffragist seeking to pass the 19th Amendment and then have it ratified by at least 36 of the 48 states and the Opposition player working to prevent either of those conditions. The game offers competitive, cooperative, and solo play modes, with the cooperative mode and the solo mode seeing a Suffragist player or players taking on the “Oppobot.”

The winner of the Summit Award was determined by members of the SDHist Board and SDHist Advisory Board. 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.

Votes for Women was one of four Summit Award finalists announced this October following a public call for nominations over a period of months. Votes For Women received the highest public nominations of any candidate. The other three finalists, selected by members of the SDHist Board and SDHist Advisory Board in October, were (in alphabetical order) Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683 (designed by Robert DeLeskie, published by Capstone Games), John Company: Second Edition (designed by Cole Wehrle, published by Wehrlegig Games), and Stonewall Uprising (designed by Taylor Shuss, published by Catastrophe Games).

Each of the four finalist games was taught and demonstrated at the Nov. 3-5 San Diego Historical Games Convention. Following that, members of the SDHist Board and SDHist Advisory Board met for a final selection of the 2023 Summit Award winner, choosing Votes For Women.

The judges also praised Stonewall Uprising for its unique topic, effectiveness as a historical game, and novelty of approach with the passing action. They endorsed John Company: Second Edition for its novelty of approach with its negotiation focus and substantial reworking from its first edition. And they commended Fire and Stone: Siege of Vienna 1863 for its ease of teaching and play, effectiveness as a historical game with well-crafted asymmetry, and uniqueness of approach with the deception mechanic.

The Summit Award will return in 2024, with games published in 2023 under consideration for that award. A call for public submissions will go out in the spring or summer of 2024. More information can be found on the Summit Award page on the SDHistCon website.

2022’s inaugural Summit Award (for games published in 2021) went to Red Flag Over Paris.

Having played all four of the 2023 Summit Award finalist games, it’s so refreshing to see the evolution of board games in the historical gaming space. Some of these games seem under the radar for how excellent they all are, so hopefully the Summit Award will continue to put games like these on people’s radars.

If you’re looking for more on Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683, you can check out the overview I posted in September 2022. Meanwhile, Mandi Hutchinson and I had an in-depth discussion on Votes for Women on episode 11 of the BGG Podcast. Plus, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tory about the game on Cardboard Creations:

Youtube Video

[Editor’s note: Fort Circle Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a second printing of Votes for Women as the first printing is sold out. Delivery is expected in March 2024. —WEM]

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