What are the guidelines for nominations? Next War: India-Pakistan is technically a 2015 release, but it only started shipping on 12/14.
Yeah, Brant's correct. This happened to one of the Combat Mision titles several years ago. They had the misfortune to release it on something like December 28th. It may have picked up the Kwanzaa voters but missed the Hanukkah/Christmas crowd. As a result, despite being a fantastic game, it simply failed to move the needle because it arrived too late for it to build a successful base.
That's probably the biggest problem with a reader-driven poll: not enough people may get behind a game. But that's also its strength - a game that builds a huge following may blow through "professional" writers' opinions and get a huge response where the "pros" may have panned it.
Game publishers/devs know this. It's a risk they take.