The Spiel des Jahres award is the most coveted in the board game industry, especially when it comes to family friendly games. This year’s nominees have been announced, and continue the tradition of the German ‘Game of the Year’ prize in recognising innovation, concept, replayability and accessibility in game design.
Although the Spiel des Jahres has been awared annually since 1978, two additional categories have been added over time to recognise excellence in children’s games and in ‘connoisseur’ or expert games. The award for children’s games – the Kinderspiel des Jahres – was added to the roster in 1989, and the ‘gamer’s game’ – the Kennerspiel des Jahres – has been awarded since 2011.
The 2021’s Spiel des Jahres nominees are:
- The Adventures of Robin Hood: the English version is not yet available, but it appears to be an evolving, free-movement legacy co-op story game, from Legends of Andor creator Michael Menzel.
- MicroMacro: Crime City: a “Where’s Wally?”puzzle game where players solve crimes using a giant foldout map filled with hidden information, from Johannes Sich.
- Zombie Teenz Evolution: a legacy light co-operative and sequel to Zombie Kidz Evolution, designed by Annick Lobet.
The 2021 Kennerspiel des Jahres nominees are:
- Fantasy Realms: an engaging hand-building filler card game from Betrayal at House on the Hill designer Bruce Glassco with surprising depth.
- Lost Ruins of Arnak: the 2020 signature combination of deckbuilding and worker-placement, from husband and wife team Michal “Elwen” Štach and Michaela “Mín” Štachová.
- Paleo: the card-based co-op adventure game of creating a cave painting in the Stone Age which ‘evolves’ as new modules are added, from Peter Rustemeyer .
The 2021 Kinderspiel des Jahres nominees are:
- Dragomino: a domino-style tile laying game of hatching baby dragons that reinterprets the Spiel des Jahres winner Kingdomino for kids, from veteran Bruno Cathala alongside Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort.
- Mia London and the Case of the 625 Scoundrels: a gorgeous little memory/deduction game from former Spiel des Jahres winner Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat where players use a flipbook to identify one of 625 possible combinations of hats, bowties, glasses and mustaches belonging to a notorious scoundrel.
- Storytailors: an imaginitive storytelling game from (again) Wilfried and Marie Fort that uses Dixit-style card selection to create unique story-books.
Winners of the 2021 Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres will be announced on July 19th, while the Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced on June 14th.