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 nominated board games and the “remnants” of the “long lists” were presented in the live stream - the chairman of the Spiel des Jahres eV, Harald Schrapers, and the coordinator of the children's game jury, Christoph Schlewinski, revealed without a lot of accessories which titles were successfully recommended for the coveted list places this year. 

Game of the year: The games “for everyone”

“Games for everyone” is how Harald Schrapers described the idea behind the board games that are eligible for the Game of the Year award. Often the nominated titles are all door openers and thus board games that can provide an introduction to the scene. Schrapers believes that you can tackle the title with acquaintances, in the family or in the shared flat 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 - this means that two board games have been nominated as possible titles for the Game of the Year 2021 award, which fans and critics saw in advance on precisely this list. Harald Schrapers described the selection as the “best games”. The prize will be awarded 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 board games are generally low, 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 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 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 in the main categories for adult games, the Spiel des Jahres eV also honors concepts suitable for children every year with a special award: the children's game of the year. Trying out games with children was “difficult” in view of the Corona situation, according to jury coordinator Christoph Schlewinski. "It was very tough." The number of tests, however, has not decreased significantly. Instead of playing in elementary schools and kindergartens, games were played in families. The Spiel des Jahres eV 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.


Last updated on 4.10.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API