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10 things you didn’t know about Spiel des Jahres

Posted Monday, 3-Aug-2015

Movie buffs have the Oscars, music fans have the Grammy Awards, board gamers have the Spiel des Jahres.

Contributed by BoardGamePrices.com staff

 

The Spiel des Jahres (German for Game of the Year) is the most famous award in the board gaming world. The prize is presented each year in Germany by a commission of game journalists and focuses on family-style games.

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres went to Colt Express (see Review of Reviews for Colt Express).  Searches for Colt Express on BoardGamePrices.com virtually doubled when its nomination was announced.

 

2015 Spiel des Jahres winner Colt Express
2015 Spiel des Jahres winner Colt Express

 

Popular board game titles such as Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, The Settlers of Catan and Dominion have all won this award in the past.

While the nominations for the Spiel des Jahres is the one of the most-hyped board game events of the year, there might be a few things you still didn’t know about it…

 

10 things you didn’t know about Spiel des Jahres:

 

The most famous board game award, but not the first

The Spiel des Jahres is by far the most famous board game award, but not the first one ever created.

 

Spiel des Jahres wasn't the first major award for board games.
Spiel des Jahres wasn’t the first major award for board games.

 

Established in 1979, it arrived four years after the Origin Award (USA, 1975) and two years after the Speelgoed van het Jaar (the Netherlands, 1977).

 

What is the best game of the year?

The award winner not only needs to have excellent gameplay, but also well-written rules, a functional aesthetic design, and great replayability value.

 

1998 Spiel des Jahres winner Elfenland is known for its spectacular aesthetics.
1998 Spiel des Jahres winner Elfenland is known for its spectacular aesthetics.

 

Being a German award, the winning game also needs to have a German language version available.

 

The Spiel des Jahres jury

The current jury is composed by ten members, all board game journalists from German-speaking countries. Each member plays hundreds of games per year to shortlist the nominations.

 

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres jury
The 2015 Spiel des Jahres jury meets four times every year.

 

The jury meets in person only four times per year, but the members exchange messages on their own Internet forum.

 

The Spiel des Jahres nominations 

The jury meets each May to create the final nomination list. The list is a combination of each member’s personal top 20 lists of the year.

 

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominations
The 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominations

 

The final list not only contains five nominees for the prize, but also an extra list of honorable mentions that have been recommended by the jury.

 

A sober award ceremony

The winner is typically declared in June during a press conference in Berlin.

 

Spiel des Jahres Winners put the award logo on their packaging which helps to increase sales.
Spiel des Jahres Winners put the award logo on their packaging which helps to increase sales.

 

The awards have no monetary prize, but for publishers and designers having the Spiel des Jahres logo on their game box can be the best moment of their careers!

 

The best recommendation possible

Spiel des Jahres nominations do not take into account sales figures, but they are themselves substantial sale boosters.

 

Spiel des Jahres winners typically see an explosion in sales.
Spiel des Jahres winners typically see an explosion in sales.

 

Nominees usually sell around 10,000 extra units, while the winner can even reach 300,000-500,000 extra copies sold.

Published by BoardGamePrices.com



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