The Spiel des Jahres association has announced its nominations for the three awards Spiel des Jahres 2021, Kennerspiel des Jahres 2021 and Kinderspiel des Jahres 2021. The titles of the recommendation lists are now also known. Due to the corona situation, the announcement took place via livestream, as last year. 

Due to the pandemic, the presentation of the nominated board games and the presentations of the "remnants" of the "long lists" took place in the live stream - without much extras revealed the chairman of the game of the year eV, Harald Schrapers, and the coordinator of the children's game jury, Christoph Schlewinski , which titles were able to successfully recommend themselves for the coveted list positions this year. 

Game of the year: The games "for everyone"

“Games for everyone” is how Harald Schrapers described the idea behind those board games that are eligible for the Game of the Year award. The nominated titles are often all door openers and thus board games that can provide entry into the scene. According to Schrapers, you can tackle the titles with acquaintances, in the family or in a flat share or with colleagues.


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The selection of titles for the nomination list is not particularly surprising, two of the three titles had almost been set in advance - even if MicroMacro does not turn out to be the ideal type of family board game, at least purely thematically. The nomination of Zombie Teenz Evolution is somewhat surprising, and the selection of the titles on this year's recommendation list holds one or two surprises in store that one would not have expected. 

The nominees for the game of the year 2021

Robin Hood, MicroMacro - two board games have been nominated as possible titles for the Game of the Year 2021 award that fans and critics have seen beforehand on this very list. Harald Schrapers described the selection as the “best games”. The award will be presented on July 19th.

The following three board games have been nominated for the Game of the Year 2021:

  • The adventures of Robin Hood by Michael Menzel, published by Kosmos
  • MicroMacro: Crime City by Johannes Sich, published by Pegasus Spiele und Edition Spielwiese
  • Zombie Teenz Evolution by Annick Lobet, published by Asmodee

What is still missing are the games on the recommendation list. Each of the five titles on this list missed the 2021 Game of the Year nomination. Still, all of the board games on the extended recommendation list are entertaining titles.

The jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV expressly recommends:

  • Bite 20 by Lena Burkhardt and Günter Burkhardt (three magicians)
  • Chakra by Luka Krleža (Game Factory)
  • Points salad by Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich (AEG / Pegasus Games)
  • Switch & Signal by David Thompson (Kosmos)
  • The Key: Sabotage in Lucky Lama Land by Thomas Sing (Haba)

The barriers to entry for the board games are low overall, the selection corresponds to the idea behind the Game of the Year award: playable with many types of players, understandable, "door opener".

Nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2021

In addition to the "Game of the Year", which is generally assigned to the family game category, the Spiel des Jahres eV awards an award for particularly challenging board games.

The following titles have been nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2021:

  • The lost ruins of Arnak by Michaela Štachová and Michal Štach, published by Heidelbär Games
  • Fantastic realms by Bruce Glassco, published by Strohmann Games
  • Paleo by Peter Rustemeyer, published by Hans im Glück

The following four board games are on the "Long List" for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2021 this year:

  • Aeon's End by Kevin Riley (Indie Boards and Cards / Frosted Games / Pegasus Spiele)
  • Riftforce by Carlo Bortolini (1 More Time Games)
  • Gloomhaven: The Paws of the Lion by Isaac Childres (Cephalofair Games / Tierra del Fuego)
  • Hydro power by Tommaso Battista and Simone Luciani (Cranio Creations / Tierra del Fuego)

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 2021

Prizes are not only awarded for adult games in the main categories, the Spiel des Jahres eV also honors child-friendly concepts with a special award every year: that of the children's game of the year. Trying out games with children was "difficult" given the Corona situation, according to jury coordinator Christoph Schlewinski. "It was very hard." The test workload, on the other hand, did not drop significantly. Instead of in elementary schools and kindergartens, it was played in families. Spiel des Jahres eV had recruited them in order to be able to filter out the possible winners of the Children's Game of the Year award. 

That was a lot more work, but it was necessary for the prize to be awarded at all, Schlewinski explains. The problem: If you had not been able to test too few titles, an assessment would hardly have been possible. In the end it worked out with the nominations.

The jury has nominated the following titles for Children's Game of the Year 2021:

  • Dragomino by Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort, published by Pegasus Spiele
  • Fabulous worlds by Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort, published by Lifestyle Boardgames
  • Mia London by Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat, published by Scorpion Masqué

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

  • Hipp Hopp Hippo by Anna Oppolzer and Stefan Kloß (Schmidt)
  • Inspector nose from Reinhard Staupe (NSV)
  • Captain Kuller by Kirsten Hiese (Schmidt)
  • Memo Friends (Goula)
  • Swip Sheep by Yann Dupont (Djeco)
  • Tapikékoi? by Romaric Galonnier and Laurent Toulouse (Djeco)
  • Dream catcher by David Franck and Laurent Escoffier (Space Cow)

The award ceremony for the children's game of the year 2021 will take place on June 14th.

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