Spiel des Jahres (or Game of the Year) is the most influential award for board game design excellence in the world. The award exists since 1979 and has shaped German family game purchases since. For this reason alone it is an important award, but since it is the oldest and most organized of its type it has gathered credence for the rest of the world also.
The format has changed recently when two more categories have been introduced. These are Kennerspiel des Jahres (Advanced game) and Kinderspiel des Jahres (you can imagine). These were created in order to adapt to the ever increasing rate of new games each year, but also to respond to some criticism that the complexity of selected games has decreased over the years.
This years Spiel des Jahres nominees in the 3 categories are:
Pretty soon, the jury will reach a conclusion and at this year’s big convention in Essen, somebody will make a lot of sales. I’m personally interested in Codenames and Isle of Skye. I hope to play them soon enough although Imhotep sounds interesting as well. Remember though, the Spiel des Jahres jury select games with certain characteristics, mainly family friendliness. This means that there’s a lot more to be enjoyed than just this small selection each year.
Nevertheless, this award is a good topic for discussion among fellow board gamers. Everybody has their opinion, and there’s nothing better than to watch two or more geeks having an argument about the merits of that versus that other one. In reality though, this award has stimulated the industry for a long time and will hopefully do the same for a long time to come.