Spiel del Jahres Board Game Prize Winners Announced
The winners of the Spiel del Jahres tabletop game prizes were announced over the weekend. Cascadie, a nature-themed tile-laying game designed by Randy Flynn and published by Flatout Games, won the Spiel del Jahres (Game of the Year) award. Meanwhile, magic mountain, a marble game involving witches hidden in a magical forest designed by Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber and published by Amigo, won the Kinderspiel des Jahres award (children’s game of the year). To finish, living forest, a territory-building game by Aske Christiansen and published by Pegasus Spiele, won the Kennerspiel del Jahres (Connoisseur-gamer Game of the Year) award.
Although Spiel del Jahres focuses on German-language titles, many of the best board games of all time have won or been nominated for the award. Past winners include Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Shadows Over Camelot, Dominion, and Said. In recent years, the award has evolved from a single award focused on a single game to special awards for more difficult games and eventually to three separate award categories to allow for a broader consideration of tabletop games beyond of those intended for family play. The award is credited with helping to increase awareness of European-style board games, and winners often see increased sales from the award.
Spiel del Jahres is the closest the tabletop game industry has come to an Oscar or an Eisner Award, although the categories are still relatively limited. Origins Game Fair (which is run by the trade organization GAMA) has its own attendee-voted award, while popular game/database site Board Game Geek has an annual “Golden Geek Award” with a number of different categories. In 2018, the American Tabletop Awards were founded by a group of tabletop game critics and writers. However, none have quite the prestige of the Spiel del Jahres, although some are increasingly acclaimed.
Congratulations to this year’s award winners.