The events of the COVID-19 pandemic (and 2020 generally speaking) has upended much of the normal rhythm in the tabletop hobby. A rhythm that, frankly, most of us took for granted. The rhythm of everyday life and leisurely social experiences. With no major conventions, delays in manufacturing, a downturn in Kickstarter projects, and the inability (or even disinterest) among huge swaths of the gaming community to even sit down and play a game at a physical table with others, 2020 has been, to say that least, a strange year for gaming.
We here at The CR have not been immune to that ourselves – hence the downturn in coverage and discussion of games over the last year. It’s been unfortunate to say the least, and not how we planned to spend our 8th year in operation, but even with some minor adaptations just to stay engaged throughout this interim period, those efforts haven’t come close to replicating what makes board gaming so enjoyable: spending time with friends and experiencing everything the game in front of you has to offer. For a lot of folks, that simple-sounding act has been a monumental challenge over the last 10 or so months to accomplish – or was off the table entirely.
Which brings us to the 2020 Laurels of the Republic.
In short: we are, regrettably, having to delay the 2020 awards.
As most readers are aware, the Laurels are based around our player archetype philosophy of covering games based on who they’re specifically designed for. For us, trying to do even a short review on a game requires multiple playthroughs with multiple gamer groups. To then compile an entire year’s worth of titles into 30 nominees takes many months. And as you may expect, 2020 has not been cooperative to that end. With little access to most of our play groups since April, delays in game manufacturing, difficulties coordinating with publishers, and an added financial cost purchasing and shipping some games we’ve otherwise simply borrowed instead, attempting to pull off a comprehensive set of nominees by our traditional announcement date of mid-February was untenable.
This led us to two options. Option A was to cancel them entirely for 2020 and just chalk the entire year up as a loss. Option B was to delay their unveiling to buy us additional time to pull them off. While we certainly cannot rule out the former entirely if things don’t pan out, at the moment we are full steam ahead with the latter.
Therefore, we are announcing that we are delaying the 2020 Laurels by 2 months. If all goes well the plan will be to announce the nominees in April and the winners throughout May. It’s still going to be a tight deadline to make, but we’re going to do our best to see it through.
This is one announcement that we really didn’t want to have to make, but given the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves in, we hope that you understand. The Laurels have become one of the things we’re most proud of here, and we want to do right by them. 2020 destroyed most of our plans for the site. We’re going to try like hell to make sure the Laurels aren’t one of them.