It is no surprise that the Spiel des Jahres eV annually announces the nominees for the jury awards - which titles make it onto the nominees and recommendation lists, despite numerous “predictions”, sometimes surprising. This year the nominees were announced in the German Games Museum in Chemnitz. In the following we present the board games nominated for the awards Game of the Year 2019, Kennerspiel des Jahres 2019 and Children's Game of the Year 2019.

Game of the year 2019 - an "important prize"

As part of the opening of a special exhibition at the German Games Museum in Chemnitz, the Game of the Year eV announced the board games nominated for the current season for the awards “Game of the Year”, “Kennerspiel des Jahres” and “Children's Game of the Year”. The jury of experts then uses a secret ballot to determine the winning titles in the two categories “Game of the Year” and “Kennerspiel des Jahres”. The prizes will be awarded on July 22nd and June 24th (children's game).

The coveted awards have been presented for 40 years, reason enough to praise the game as a cultural asset. Michael Menzel, illustrator and author of the successful fantasy board game, explains how relevant the award is to the industry The legends of Andor, Recipient of the Kennerspiel Prize 2013. He speaks not only of the “great importance of the award for his personal and professional history”, but also of how much board games can benefit from the award. Menzel is happy that “the heroes of Andor are part of a game night somewhere in Brazil”, but knows that many players only became aware of Andor because of the Kennerspiel award.

"It's a very important price."

Michael Menzel, announcement of the Game of the Year nominees

The legends of Andor it is a good game, according to Menzel, but “nobody will notice” without the award. Unsurprisingly, his thanks also go to the jury members of the Spiel des Jahres eV, who annually contributed to the fact that many “kitchen table ideas” could reach so many people in the first place.

Harald Schrapers, chairman of the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV, looks back on four decades in which board games have developed “in every respect in giant steps”. This applies equally to public perception, the number of people who like to play and the quality. Around 100 games were on the jury's table this year, which in the 80s “would have made it onto the best list without any problems”, according to Schrapers. Now the competition in the modern age of board games is greater - and there are 26 titles that have made it into the coveted list.

"The board game has a social task and responsibility."

Harald Schrapers, Chairman of the Games of the Year eV

Despite all the technological developments that have dramatically influenced quality standards over the past few decades, be it the board game in particular, which takes a different path: still made “from cardboard, dice and figurines” - with a few exceptions, of course, because also in the board game Segment, technological influences are noticeable in view of modern production processes and the available app support. Schrapers sums up what was and is at the core of board game development in one sentence: “A good board game is made with the players who sit at the table”.

From the “brilliant ideas” of the game authors, the players develop their own personal - perhaps unforgettable - game experiences through their interactions. The board game is also a kind of German success story: 40 years ago the board game was shaped by German, meanwhile “board games” are internationally known and popular. The board game has a social responsibility, explains Harald Schrapers and adds that the Game of the Year eV also adheres to this principle in order to promote tolerance and social cohesion.

The nominees for the game of the year 2019

The board games selected for the nomination and recommendation lists this year are not particularly pompous, but the titles appeal to completely different types of players.

The following three board games have been nominated for the Game of the Year 2019:

  • Just one by Ludowig Roudy and Bruno Sautter; Repos Productions / Asmodee
  • LAMA by Reiner Knizia; Amigo games
  • Werwords by Ted Alspach; Ravensburger

What is still missing are the games on the recommendation list. Each of the six titles on this list narrowly missed the 2018 Game of the Year nomination. Nonetheless, all of the board games on the extended recommendation list ensure great moments on the gaming tables at home. 

The jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV expressly recommends:

  • Belratti
  • dizzle
  • Imhotep The duel
  • Crap shit,
  • Reef
  • Sherlock

With rather low entry barriers, but always above-average game quality, the titles on the recommendation list are notable alternatives to the nominees. All of them are of above-average quality and meet the demands that the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV places on the “best of the year”.

Nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2019

In addition to the “Game of the Year”, which is more commonly assigned to the family game category, the Game of the Year eV awards an award for particularly challenging board games.

The following titles have been nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2019:

  • Carpe Diem by Stefan Feld; Alea Games / Ravensburger
  • Detective from Ignacy Trzewiczek Portal; Games / Pegasus Games
  • Flapping wings by Elisabeth Hargraves; Tierra del Fuego games

Not surprisingly, the nominations from Wingsflap and Detective seem particularly unsurprising. The former scored well with the fans and was even considered a “hype” at times, while Detective convinces with an exciting game mechanism that goes beyond “cardboard, dice and figurines”.
The games on the jury's recommendation list ensure more entertaining hours. The following four board games are on the “Long List” for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2019:

  • Architects of the west of France
  • The deep land
  • Newton
  • PaperTales

Paper Tales in particular has been drawing attention to itself for a long time. And the other game titles also go beyond what average gamers would use as a measure of complexity.

Nominated for Children's Game of the Year 2019

Main prizes are not only awarded for adult games, the Spiel des Jahres eV also honors ideas suitable for children every year with a special award: the children's game of the year.

The jury has nominated the following titles for Children's Game of the Year 2019:

  • fabulous by Marco Teubner; Pegasus
  • Go Gecko Go! by Jürgen Adams; Zoch publishing house
  • Viking Valley by Mari and Wilfried Fort; Haba

In addition, the jury has seven other titles

There are seven other children's board games on the recommendation list:

  • Farm gang
  • Concept kids: animals
  • Magic Maze Kids
  • Monster gang
  • Monster match
  • Octopus
  • Completely blurred

The award ceremony for the children's game of the year 2019 will take place on June 24th.