The Spiel des Jahres is the German award for “Game of the Year”. This highly coveted award is given each year to a deserving board game among of group of nominees. The Spiel des Jahres is focused on rewarding excellence in game design. Games are judge mainly on game idea, rules design, component. The award isn’t usually given to the “best” game of the year as the winner must also be very consumer friendly (which means no overly complicated games). The majority of Spiel des Jahres winners are light, euro-style board games.
This years winner goes to Hanabi by designer Antoine Bauza. Hanabi is a memory and deduction card game for 2-5 players. In Hanabi, players try to create the perfect fireworks show by placing the cards on the table in the right order. The key is that a player doesn’t know which cards they hold so players must cooperate to finish the fireworks show before the cards run out.
With a price tag of about $15, this card game is very accessible and beat out a lot of quality games for this coveted award. It’s worth checking out.
Also of note is the Kennerspiel des Jahres award (given to a more strategy oriented game) was given to Legends of Andor by Michael Menzel. Legends of Andor is a cooperative, fantasy themed board game where players must work together to defend a realm from the invading hordes. Each player takes on the role of a hero that must embark on quests over the course of several different scenarios.
This game has been on my radar to check out for a while and I’m hoping to get a copy soon. If you’d like to check it out, you can get a copy for about $50.
Congratulations to the winners and you can view a list of all the nominees here.