The Spiel des Jahres is the German award for “Game of the Year”. Probably the most well known award in the board gaming community at least for euro games. Every year a small number of games are nominated based on the following criteria:
- Game idea
- Rules design
- Game materials
- Layout and presentation
The award is known for being given out to games known for being very accessible and easy to learn. So the Spiel des Jahres might not always go to the best new game, but one that is both really well done and very accessible to the public at large.
This years winner goes to Camel Up by designer Steffen Bogen. In Camel Up, up to eight players bet on five racing camels, trying to figure out which will place first and second in a quick race around a pyramid. The earlier you place your bet, the more you can win, if you guess correctly, that is.
Camel Up is definitely a heavier game that last year’s winner, Hanabi, but still an over all light game. Camel Up seems fun and I am looking forward to trying it. If you’d like to get a copy for yoursel, it’s about $38.
Also of note is the Kennerspiel des Jahres award (given to a more strategy oriented game) was given to Istanbul, designed by Rüdiger Dorn. In Istanbul, you lead a group of one merchant and four assistants through 16 locations in the bazaar. I’ve had a chance to play Istanbul and it has some really clever mechanics. The system of moving your merchant and his assistants around the board was both challenging and unique.
Istanbul is a lot of fun and is worth checking out. If you’d like to get a copy, it’s about $38.
Congratulations to the winners and you can view a list of all the nominees here.