Movies have the Academy Awards, television has the Emmys and board games have the Spiel des Jahres. A board game that gets nominated or wins the award can see a dramatic increase in exposure and sales. The Spiel des Jahres (German for Game of the Year) is awarded yearly by a jury of game critics from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, who review games released in Germany in the last twelve months. The award is separated into three categories: Children’s Game of the Year (Kinderspiel des Jahres), Enthusiast Game of the Year (Kennerspiel des Jahres) and Game of the Year (Spiel des Jahres).
One of the hottest games of the year and nominee of the Kennerspiel des Jahres was Terraforming Mars, a game where you are in charge of a corporation competing with other players of different corporations in a race to terraform Mars into a habitable planet with enough oxygen, water, and heat to sustain life.
For 2017, the winners included Kingdomino, a game where you attempt to maximize the number of points you receive by laying out special dominoes around a castle, Ice Cool, a children’s dexterity game where you control penguins making their way across through a school, and Exit, a card-based game that is like an escape room in your pocket.
The Spiel des Jahres is a big event in the board gaming world and is generally a signifier of the types of games that have a large amount of appeal among children, family, and enthusiast board gamers.
By Chris Murdock