The juries of Spiel des Jahres eV have announced the titles nominated for the three awards Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres.

The selection of the jury members is eagerly awaited each year. In advance, fans predict what they think will be the best games of the current year. They aren't always right either: this year Dorfromantik by Michael Palm and Lukas Zach, published by Pegasus Spiele, seemed to be set. The board game based on the video game received a lot of praise - so it's no big surprise that the title ended up on the shortlist for the game of the year 2023.

Next Station London by Matthew Dunstan and the publisher HCM Kinzel is also not a big surprise, after all the charming doodle game was able to build up a little hype at the last games fair in Essen. Third on the list is Fun Facts, a work by Kaspar Lapp from Repos Productions – this title is also an Essen novelty and was positively received at the trade fair.

Game of the Year 2023

game of the year 2023

The nominees for Game of the Year 2023 have been announced. Logo: SdJ eV

Village Romance - The Board Game by Michael Palm and Lukas Zach
Pegasus Spiele
Illustration: Paul Riebe
Idyllic placement game for 1 to 6 people aged 8 and over

Fun facts by Kaspar Lapp
Repos Productions
Illustration: Repos Productions
Enlightening self-assessment for 4 to 8 people aged 8+

Next Station London by Matthew Dunstan
HCM Kinzel
Illustration: Maxime Morin
Colorful on the move in London's underground for 1 to 4 people aged 8 and over

Recommendation list

  • Acropolis by Jules Messaud (Kobold Spieleverlag / Gigamic)
  • Hitsters (Jumbo)
  • Kuzooka by Leo Colovini (Pegasus Games)
  • Mantis by Ken Gruhl and Jeremy Posner (Exploding Kittens)
  • QE by Gavin Birnbaum (Strohmann Games /
  • Sea Salt & Paper by Bruno Cathala and Theo Rivière (MM games)
  • That's Not a Hat by Kasper Lapp (Ravensburger)

The nominees for the connoisseur's game of the year are eagerly awaited by those who play a lot. There are hardly any surprises here either. Both Challengers! by Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck as well as Iki by Koota Yamada and Planet Unknown by Ryan Lambert and Adam Rehberg were able to convince fans and trade press alike, the mere fact that Council of Shadows only made it onto the list of recommendations may cause astonishment. 

Kennerspiel of the year 2023

Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023

The nominees for Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023 have been announced. Logo: SdJ eV

Challengers! by Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck
1 More Time Games / Z-Man Games
Illustration: Jeff Harvey
Turbulent tournament game for 1 to 8 people aged 8+ (jury recommendation: 10+)

Iki by Koota Yamada
Giant Roc / Sorry We Are French
Illustrations: Dommiy, David Sitbon, Koota Yamada
Trade race through historic Tokyo for 2 to 4 people aged 14 and over

Planet Unknown by Ryan Lambert and Adam Rehberg
Strawman Games / Adam's Apple Games
Illustration: Yoma
Productive planetary puzzles for 1 to 6 people aged 10 and over

Recommendation list Kennerspiel

  • Council of Shadows by Martin Kallenborn and Jochen Scherer (Alea)
  • Mindbug by Marvin Hegen, Christian Kudahl, Skaff Elias and Richard Garfield (Nerdlab)

The children's play area seems to be well staffed this year. Instead of dull nonsense, games that also set small thematic accents made it onto the nomination list. 

Children's game of the year 2023

children's game of the year 2023

The nominees for the children's game of the year 2023 have been chosen. Logo: SdJ eV

Carla Caramel by Sara Zarian
Illustration: Apolline Etienne
A cooperative ice cream parlor for 1 to 6 children aged 4 and over

Gigamon by Johann Roussel and Karim Aouidad
Miracle / Studio H
Illustration: Marie-Anne Bonneterre
Remarkable monster collecting for 2 to 4 children from 5 years

Mysterium Kids by Antonin Boccara and Yves Hirschfeld
Libellud / Space Cow
Illustration: Olivier Danchin
Acoustic association game for 2 to 6 children aged 6 and over

Recommendation list child's play

  • Douzanimo by Sebastien Decad (Djeco)
  • My First Adventure (volumes 1 to 7) by Roméo Hennion, Mathilde Malburet, Jean Philippe Sahut
  • and Arnaud Boutle (Board Game Box)
  • Slide & slide! by Joel Escalante and Rafael Escalante (Game Factory)

The winners of each category will be announced on Sunday, July 16th. However, the mere selection as a nominee is an accolade for authors and publishers - and a prestigious recognition that can boost sales properly.

 Gaming cafés: significantly more in other countries 

The nominations were announced in the Frankfurt games café "Playce", not without a dig at club boss Harald Schrapers: He is pleased that in the German-speaking area a lot of games are played in families and among friends, but the public is less aware than in other countries. Gaming cafés are much more common there. The Spiel des Jahres association promotes, among other things, “playing in public”, as Schrapers notes. 

The German-speaking area is a kind of "blank spot" in terms of venues, my Schrapers. It has to be filled out so that "even more people can come to the game", try out new games and ultimately find their way into the hobby. At this point, we come full circle with the Game of the Year awards, which honor those titles that have a special appeal, not least to newcomers. On the other hand, there are plenty of games clubs and trade fair events in the DACH region.

The Spiel des Jahres eV criticized the editors in the publishing houses: This year one or the other weak point was discovered there, for example in the graphic design or the instructions. The latter factor in particular is essential, because in order for beginners to be able to really get started with parlor games, the barriers to entry must be low. The very first is usually the set of rules. If something goes wrong here, there is a high probability that non-players will jump off and seek salvation in other hobbies. 

The award ceremony in July will be a premiere: For the first time in 14 years, the pawns will be awarded at a joint event. “There is a joint special prize that goes with this,” explains Harald Schrapers, “which, strictly speaking, consists of two special prizes.” The Unlock series is awarded:

  • Unlock! Game Adventures - Ticket to Ride Mysterium Pandemic by Cyril Demaegd, Mathieu Casnin, Thomas Cauët and Jeremy Koch (Space Cowboys)
  • Unlock! Kids: Detective Stories - On the Farm · McUnlock's Castle · Chaos in the Park by Cyril Demaegd, Wilfried Fort and Marie Fort (Space Cow)
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