Harald Schrapers, Chairman of the Jury of the Spiel des Jahres
The Spiel des Jahres (German: [ˈʃpiːl dəs ˈjaːʁəs], Game of the Year) is an award for board and card games, created in 1978 with the purpose of rewarding family-friendly game design, and promoting excellent games in the German market. It is thought[by whom?] that the existence and popularity of the award was one of the major drivers of the quality of games coming out of Germany, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. A Spiel des Jahres nomination can increase the typical sales of a game from 500 to 3,000 copies to around 10,000; and the winner can usually expect to sell to as large as 30 million copies.
The award is given by a jury of German-speaking board game critics from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, who review games released in Germany in the preceding twelve months. The games considered for the award are family-style games. War games, role-playing games, collectible card games, and other complicated, highly competitive, or hobbyist games are outside the scope of the award. Since 1989, there has been a separate award for children's games. The jury is not subject to public scrutiny and members of the public are not offered the opportunity to influence the voting.
On occasion, the jury has awarded a special prize for more complex games, such as Agricola in 2008 or World Without End in 2010. Prior to 2011, this award was an exceptional award which was not necessarily awarded annually. In 2011, however, this practice was formalized when the jury created a new category for more complex games called Kennerspiel des Jahres. Along with the nominations, the jury also gives a list of recommended games, and occasionally gives out special prizes for games which will not be considered for the main award. The criteria on which a game is evaluated are:
game concept (originality, playability, game value)
The nominations for the 2011 awards were announced on May 23, 2011, and the winners on June 27, 2011. This was the first year the Connoisseur-gamer Game of the Year award was given, an award for more complex games.
The nominations for the 2013 awards were announced on May 21, 2013, and the Spiel and Kennerspiel winners were announced on July 8, 2013. The Kinderspiel (Children's) Game of the Year was announced on June 12, 2013.
The nominations for the 2014 awards were announced on May 19, 2014. The Children's Game of the Year was announced on June 23, and the Game of the Year and Connoisseur's Game of the Year were announced on July 14.
The nominations for the 2015 awards were announced on May 18, 2015. The Kinderspiel des Jahres winner were announced on Monday, June 8, 2015, and the Spiel and Kennerspiel winners were announced on Monday, July 6, 2015.
The nominations for the 2017 award were announced on May 22, 2017. The winner for Children's Game of the Year was announced on June 19, 2017. The winners for Game of the Year and Connoisseur-gamer Game of the Year were announced on July 17, 2017.
The nominations and the special prize for the 2018 award were announced on May 14, 2018. The winner for Children's Game of the Year was announced on June 11, 2018. The winners for Game of the Year and Connoisseur-gamer Game of the Year were announced on July 23, 2018.
The nominations for the 2020 award were announced on May 18, 2020. The award for Children's Game of the Year was announced on June 15, 2020. The winners were announced on July 20, 2020.