What games are looking for in 2019

game of the year

One of the most important purposes of the Spiel des Jahres association is to promote play as a cultural asset. It was created in 1978 when game critics, authors and other experts sat together. An antipole should be created to the misconception that people don't get angry, mills, chess and checkers or monopoly are typical board games. It was clear to everyone involved that these classics only provide an outdated view of an entire area in which Germany is even considered a gaming mecca today. Today the game of the year has a groundbreaking character for retailers, buyers and many game experts. Abroad, in particular, focuses heavily on the award, which now includes not only possible special prizes and the main prize but also the children's game of the year and the expert game of the year.

The winners of the main game of the year prize since 1979

The game of the year - a Christmas present

The game of the year is the game that is perhaps most often found under the Christmas tree as a gift every year. The aim is to provide the buyer with an orientation, as several new games come onto the market every year. The winners are marked with a red imprint / sticker (red pawn) "Game of the Year Critics' Prize". It is somewhat irritating that games on the selection or nomination list can also have a similar designation. There is also the blue and the anthracite-colored pawn for the children's game or the expert game of the year.

Evaluation of the board games

The Game of the Year jury thus has an enormous influence on the trade and the buying behavior of the “typical family” who do not deal with the hobby of parlor games on a daily basis. Such a power must follow clear rules and principles. For this reason, the Game of the Year jury has given itself clear key points that are used when evaluating a game. These key points of the assessment criteria are in particular:

  • Game idea:
    How original is a game, is it fun, how is the playability and how is the play value to be assessed?
  • Rules of the game:
    Are the instructions understandable, how are the rules structured, how clear are they?
  • Game material:
    How is the game material designed in terms of functionality, how is it processed?
  • graphic:
    How are the illustrations of the instructions, the game board and the box integrated into the overall concept?

The jury consists of a small number of game critics who are appointed to the panel. On the basis of these evaluation criteria, many publications fall through the grid for the jury. In each “jury year” (for example from the summer of the previous year to the early spring of the award ceremony) there are many games that the jury votes on after a preselection in a secret voting process. At the end of the day, a winning title is determined, which has been named Game of the Year because of its special quality. In addition to the other games on the nomination or selection list, the Game of the Year jury publishes a recommendation list, which is intended for retailers and buyers and lists a number of interesting board games of the year and describes them with meaningful text passages.

The game of the year as an award

The advantage of the Game of the Year over other awards is that the jury members are not publishers or game designers. This means that the committee is independent and works free from economic constraints. Accordingly, the association is only financed through license fees that must be paid by the manufacturers when the label is used for the game of the year and its offshoots.

The annual award for particularly valuable or good board games has contributed to an extremely high level of game ideas, game production and fun. Criticism of the jury and the game of the year is loud almost every year because someone always misses their favorite game or the jury tends to reduce the demands on the player and thus the complexity of the excellent parlor game. On the whole, however, the game of the year follows a line that is intended to get families in particular to play. This has been achieved every year since 1979 with great or greater success.