In general I prefer awards handed out by a well-chosen jury with a clear agenda. Public voting prefers the popular games too much. For example, the winner of the Finnish Players’ Picks 2004 is fairly easy to guess — there aren’t many games that could do it. My bet is Carcassonne and if it doesn’t win, it’s second.
And, frankly, that isn’t very interesting. Which is exactly the reason why I’ve made it mandatory to name at least five games. After Carcassonne and whatever is popular and good is named, there’s some room for more. I get to see a larger picture of what people enjoy. There can be some quite surprising games that turn out and get support from several people. And that’s really the interesting part of Finnish Players’ Picks. I don’t really care about the winner, I care about what I can learn of other games people play and enjoy.
Well, we’ll see how it turns out. I’ve received over 20 ballots already and hopefully will get 100 more in the weeks to come. If you know some Finnish boardgamers who haven’t voted yet, make them vote! More voters we have, more interesting the results will be.