Every year, a group of German geeks gather together and nominate games to receive the very prestigious and highly coveted Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) awards. This is the equivalent of the Grammies, People’s Choice Awards, and the Oscars all rolled up into one for the board game industry. Sadly, no red carpet or models.
The Spiel des Jahres is important for three reasons. First, it promotes the board, dice, and card game industry by calling world wide attention to games and their concepts, rule structures, and designs. How many of you were surprised when you realized that there were games other than Monopoly, for example. Second, games that are only available in other countries have a tendency to be picked up by other game companies once they are nominated and most certainly when they win the Spiel des Jahres. This is great for us because it means that games are translated into other languages and made available for your family gaming table. Third, a little competition is a very healthy thing. By expecting games to perform well and define what makes a great game a “game of the year”, game designers and publishers now have a model to follow and surpass. Games just keep getting better and better with improved components, game play, and innovation.
That being said, here are the 2011 nominees. Each game is linked to Board Game Geek where you can read more about them.
Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year)
Kennerspiel des Jahres (Advanced Game of the Year)
Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year)
All of these games look great. I’ve only had a chance to play one of them, personally, but hope to get a game of 7 Wonders in as soon as possible. I’m am also excited to see if the three Children’s games get picked up by a United States game publisher. We could always use more innovative childrens games. Anything to get them away from the television and video games is A-OK in my book.