Hundreds voted in the Coaching for Geeks Awards 2018. Making their opinions known across multiple geeky categories.
Congratulations to all the nominees, here are your winners and runners up.
MOVIE OF THE YEAR 2018
There were fewer than 10 votes between the top 2 showing that Marvel Studios got a few things right in 2018.
In the fight between The Avengers and T’Challa there can be only one and the Coaching for Geeks Movie of the Year 2018 is….
What made Black Panther so great?
The villain of the piece; Erik Killmonger.
I don't think there's been a more relatable villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Killmonger made Black Panther an incredible movie.
Yes, the cast, story, fight choreography, direction, acting, score and art style are all great, but the man who suffered as a youngster, and wants his revenge, makes Killmonger's cause one nobody could really fault him for.
Without Erik, T'Challa would never have seen Wakanda's isolation as such a bad thing, and would never have opened up the borders.
A villain with real depth, Black Panther's Erik Killmonger made this our movie of the year.
As for how important it was in bringing a black lead to a major Marvel movie, a superhero and a king no less, plus powerful female characters including Shuri designing the Black Panther suit itself, bringing a whole blockbuster of sorely needed representation to the MCU, and Hollywood at large, and you should read up about it.
Black Panther was an incredible film because it broke new ground, created wonderfully believable characters and kept the octane high within just a few scenes. It then kept that great tempo going, with a pleasant blend of surprises mixed with some familiar superhero tropes.
Black Panther was a rare film in which the acting, writing and artistic vision aligned to create something higher than just getting all these of those movie-making basics right by themselves would have achieved. Black Panther was a movie that people wanted to talk about and then which lived up to the pressures of peer endorsement.
AVENGERS INFINITY WAR
Infinity War. Just because almost every film in the MCU has been widely held in high regard, this would have been a film that was easy to get wrong. All those characters, all those story arcs.
Marvel have taken their time to craft the backstory and haven't skimped. Black Panther was a key part of this because, although slower in pace, it filled in a lot of backstory that the casual fan wouldn't be aware of. My gut instinct is it will play a large role in Endgame. Chadwick Boseman plays T'Challa perfectly - he's understated, cool and portrays the part of a reluctant hero and an even more reluctant king perfectly. It is epic storytelling without being overtly heavy on action or humour.
Back to Infinity War - which was film 19 in this story arc. Take a second to take that in. 19 movies. Lots of different styles, tones and writing styles. It should be a hot mess (Justice League I'm looking at you) but it works both as a stand alone part one film (story wise) and is a culmination of an arc that started with Iron Man in 2008.
No other movie series has had the level of cohesive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Infinity War is, to me, the pinnacle of what a Superhero ensemble piece should be, far surpassing Avengers Assemble and Age Of Ultron.
Finally... that ending.
I saw it twice in the cinema, and I've never ever had a film finish and the entire audience just sits in stunned silence. Even though it's in the comic books nobody expected them to end on... well the "death" of half of earth's mightiest heroes. It's such a counter intuitive way to end a movie but it works.
What can I say about Infinity War that hasn't already been said? It's a glorious culmination of 10 years of work that manages to balance so many characters so well that Thanos himself would be proud. We laughed, we gasped, we cried, we sat in awe, we cried some more. Breathtaking and Endgame can't come soon enough. Infinity War, my film of the year.
TV SHOW OF THE YEAR 2018
With only 14 votes between first and fourth place, this was a hotly fought bracket.
Long may the battle between network TV and streaming services continue, so they keep on pushing the envelope of television programming.
THE GOOD PLACE
It turns the half hour comedy tropes on its head and it's so darned clever. It makes me want to be a better person...
STAR TREK DISCOVERY
As a lifelong fan of Star Trek, I went into Star Trek Discovery with both excitement and worry. Was it going to live up to what had come before it? Well, it certainly did that! It was a breath of fresh air and mixed it up a bit. I love the fact that it took the Star Trek story in a new direction with strong female leads and LGBTQ+ representation. The storyline kept me glued to the screen from beginning to end. I can't wait until the next season!
BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018
Books! When words combine into a force to be reckoned with. We had a mix of fiction and non-fiction up for the award (we’ll split those out next year).
Our winner, somewhat controversially, is the tenth update of a reference book first published in 2014, but continues to sell like hotcakes with more players joining the roleplaying community than ever before.
D&D PLAYER'S HANDBOOK 5E
If you want to play D&D this is THE essential book. It contains the rules for character creation, adventuring gear, skills, feats, combat and magic. This is your gateway into untold realms of adventure; battle mystical creatures, rescue fair damsels, and explore deadly ruins with your real life friends and in game companions
HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING: REBUILD ALL OF CIVILISATION (with 96% fewer catastrophes this time)
by Ryan North
Genuinely useful and interesting book, framed as a "how to fix your time-machine guide". Spoilers: You can't, so here's how to invent everything else and rebuild civilisation faster. Learn how to navigate, what’s safe to eat, and how long it took humans to use buttons to fasten clothing. (Far too long!)
LIVE EVENT OF THE YEAR 2018
With our large UK following it was only natural for a slew of UK events to make the voting, yet with such a broad category, only 7 events were nominated.
Unsurprisingly, cons and expos made up most of the nominations, with a metal festival and an adventure camp festival making up the numbers.
UK GAMES EXPO
Now beating out Origins in terms of numbers visiting, UKGE features large organised play space, most of the big publishers, geeky entertainment (including our own Role Play Gourmet Paul Flannery's Knightmare Live and MMORPG Show), seminars including how to hand craft a game with Jackson Pope of Eurydice Games, and free gaming space to while away the evening. If you can get a table of course.
With LARPS, RPGS, wargaming, miniatures, family games, as well as all the eurogames, a huge bring and buy, even a cosplay stage and a viking village, UK Games Expo is a boardgamer's delight and is the well-deserved winner of Coaching for Geeks Event of the Year 2018!
We'll see you at the NEC in 2019.
Maybe you like conventions to have hundreds of trade stands or days of roleplaying games. Maybe you prefer open board gaming, tournaments, wargames or live shows and lectures. UK Games Expo has all of these. And a Viking Village. You will find yourself running into old friends in the hotel bar, making new ones while playing epic D&D or trying a demo of a new game and buying it there and then. With over 21k attendees, it is the largest and geekiest UK gathering, and it keeps getting bigger every year. If you are serious about any kind of gaming, this is the con for you.
MCM COMIC CON BIRMINGHAM
MCM’s first event of the year, MCM Comic Con Birmingham, and even with the snow they still put on a great show. A great guest list, fantastic cosplayers, amazing artists, & more traders than you can imagine. So much to see and do, we had a go at learning to wield a light sabre correctly with The Silver Sabres. It is a great friendly environment, with cosplayers especially, and this event did not disappoint with the incredible costumes on show; one of the biggest predator groups in attendance and also a huge Star Wars group doing regular marches throughout the event, including droids displayed by the R2 builders' group.
Simply a fantastic event for the whole family.
BOARDGAME OF THE YEAR 2018
With so many tabletop games being nominated, it should have been no surprise that UKGE would claim event of the year. With 12 games nominated, and a mix from heavy to party, one game quickly took the lead and stayed there (despite being an expansion).
Perhaps Keyforge simply hadn’t been around long enough to stake a claim? Is The Mind more of an experience rather than a game?
Your winner is...
If like me you still have a very fond place for Matthew Inman's (The Oatmeal, Bears VS Babies) art stylings and are in possession of a slightly juvenile sense of humour, then Streaking Kittens (you'll need the base pack Exploding Kittens to be able to streak) will bring a smile to your face before your aunt Karol plays the Cataomic Bomb and you're fresh out of lazer pointers... Continuing to add the the stable of hilarious and excellently depicted cat cards with ~9 new cards to mix into your deck for extra kitten placating fun!
Codenames Pictures is a blast to play because of it's fast game play and its use of imagination. The picture cards have wacky drawings with funny additions which allows for many imaginative associations. Who doesn't want to associate a single spoken word with a picture of a car with wings, a pen with a hat, and a cat in boots? This is a great game for young and old and doesn't rely on being able to read or the ability to understand written English. A fun, quick, and accessible game for all!
Jan Tien Kwek
DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2018
No surprises here! Many were nominated, but one claimed this thorny crown from the outset, with over 100 votes ahead of the runners up.
Fallout 76 simply lacked substance, Bethesda forgot what made the Fallout series great; that it was an interactive world with lots of interesting characters and a great story. Instead Fallout 76 simply gives you an open world with limited enemies and basically says "create your own fun", going against everything Fallout used to be about. That, and the almost criminal business decisions, makes this one of the worst cash grab games I've ever seen. Sure, it may be fun to some people, but all the horrible money making schemes behind the game make it one of the worst games of 2018 for me.
JOINT RUNNERS UP
Far Cry 5 offered up a lot of big promises that it did not deliver on. Although the change in location from jungles and tropical Islands was welcome, travelling through the world was repetitive and, at times, tedious. The overarching evil Joseph Seed was enigmatic and well developed, but by the end I felt completely ambivalent towards him and was more interested in just finishing the game and moving on.
So much promise in the setting. A dystopian alternate reality Britain with absurd elements of Monty Python, 1987, and classic RPG Paranoia mixed in. There's no place for Downers in the game's setting of Wellington Wells, so keep taking your Joy or risk seeing the world as it really is...
A rich setting let down by poor combat, gadgets and traps that are largely ignored, and a Joy mechanic which never feels fully fleshed out.
So much promise in a satire that feels timely, but ultimately is just quite dull. Disappointing.
BEST GRAPHICS 2018
Another very close battle for the top 3 and had release dates been different, I suspect there may have been a different outcome.
I still think Tetris Effect was robbed because it looks pretty bad until you strap your eyeballs into VR.
Red Dead Redemption 2 took the gaming communities by storm upon its release in October 2018, it brought a high octane action beautifully paired with a real sense of atmosphere, engaging characters and frankly incredible visuals. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an immersive triumph and it is no surprise that it has taken the coveted top spot in the CfG awards for best visuals!
The World Serpent. Kratos' beard. The reflections on the water. The particle effects. The single shot camera throughout the whole game.
God of War is a graphical powerhouse almost as much as Kratos is an angry man, and pushes teh PS4 to its limits. At least my launch console which sounds like a jet engine taking off when things get busy.
And they do get busy.
Breathtaking, beautiful, brutal. God of War is my winner, even if it's taking the runner up prize.
BEST SOUNDTRACK 2018
Celeste's soundtrack is, in my opinion, one of the best video game OSTs I've listened to in the last few years. The awesome mix of synth sounds and piano melodies created entirely by Lena Raine are catchy and fresh, and the soundtrack stands out from the crowd of movie-like scores made for releases from much bigger game studios.
The Octopath Traveller soundtrack has every bit of that charming nostalgia factor that got you playing it in the first place. Upbeat 8-bit battle music, sweeping orchestral character themes; it's everything a nerd could ask for! My favourite thing is just how much variance there is in the music. There are different tracks not only the the different areas, but the different bits of story and bosses too. Octopath Traveller's great soundtrack is surprisingly intricate for what appears at first glance to be quite a simple game, and that only adds to the game's complexity and overall charm.
INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR 2018
A golden age of indie games is upon us, not since the bedroom coders of the 80s and demo scene of the 90s have we seen such incredible independent games. Weird, quirky, hard, emotional, experimental, or just a whole bunch of fun, indie games keep on astounding.
THE DARKSIDE DETECTIVE
by Spooky Doorway
The Darkside Detective is a quirky, fun, well written point and click adventure game for fans of the genre. This dynamic duo take the X out of their files and ramp it up to Y. Why? Because no-one else but clued in Detective McQueen and his trusty, loyal, bloodwolf officer Dooly can see the crazy happenings of Twin Lakes.
The humour, the banter, the references and puns are all brilliantly scripted and the puzzles perfectly bizzare pay homage to point and click predecessors such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.
Not played a point and click before? Then give this a whirl and solve the curious cases that those fake detectives shun.
by Beat Games
Let's face it, Beat Saber doesn't excite when it's not moving so imagine the below, but with your face strapped into VR headset.
GAME OF THE YEAR 2018
THE DARKSIDE DETECTIVE
by Spooky Doorway
'Another 8 bit style indie point and click that thinks it's funny' I muttered to myself when The Darkside Detective got a nomination. 'And one which only snuck in off the back of a Switch release, originally coming out in 2017' I continued, like the grumpy old man I've become. I needed convincing, so while visiting my mum for Christmas I downloaded it and played through the first case, and was blown away.
Quirky without trying too hard, the back and forth between Detective McQueen and Officer Dooley as they investigate the spooky goings on of Twin Lakes City is genuinely very funny.
Offering 'microadventures' means it works beautifully on the Switch for anyone who struggles to dedicate large portions of time to gaming, and progress is swift while still posing a challenge.
The soundtrack drips with moody 80s synthwave cool (though track 66-6 Street keeps threatening to turn into 'I Got 5 On It' with that bass lick) and matches the dark yet vibrant pixel art perfectly.
The Darkside Detective is a wonderful little adventure that has reinvigorated my love of the point and click - no small task for a man who was raised on The Secret of Monkey Island and had fallen out of love with the genre.
Developer Spooky Doorway had also built up a passionate fanbase and The Darkside Detective had almost 200 more votes than the runner up. Oh big gaming, your complacency will be your downfall. Well. Your lack of trophy.
Congratulations to The Darkside Detective for taking the Coaching for Geeks 'Videogame of 2018' award!
READ DEAD REDEMPTION 2
by Rockstar Games
I've run out of steam, nobody gave me a box quote, and I haven't played Red Dead Redemption 2. But it's a Rockstar game, you kinda know what you're getting and this one is bigger, prettier, and cowboyier than ever.
Congratulations to all the nominees, runners up, and of course winners!
Disagree? Tell us what should have won in the comments below and join the Coaching for Geeks Community to keep the debate going all year long.
Until 2019, that's all folks!