The highly anticipated Spiel des Jahres nominees for 2023 have been announced via a live stream today. Considered the most prestigious award in the board gaming industry, the Spiel des Jahres honors games that excel in innovation, accessibility, and entertainment value.
Since its inception in 1979, the Spiel des Jahres has played a crucial role in shaping the board gaming landscape, highlighting outstanding games and introducing them to a wider audience. Winning the award brings immense recognition to the designers and publishers, often resulting in increased popularity and tons of sales for the chosen titles.
Today, the committee first gave their long list of possible titles and then narrowed it down to the three finalists:
Dorfromantik: The Board Game
Based on the video game from developer studio Toukana Interactive, Dorfromantik: The Board Game has up to six players working together to lay hexagonal tiles to create a beautiful landscape. Players must try to fulfill the orders of the population, while at the same time laying as long a track and as long a river as possible. The better the players manage to do this, the more points they can score at the end of the game. During the campaign, the points earned can be used to unlock new tiles hidden in initially locked boxes. These pose new, additional tasks for the players and make it possible to raise the high score higher and higher.
This cooperative party game will test players’ knowledge of trivia and each other. In each round, a question is read to be answered by all the players. A sample question might be “How many pushups do you think you can do in a row?” Or “How much do you enjoy making lists (from 1-100)?” Once everyone has written their answer, but before they are revealed, the answers are ordered in the center of the table from what people think is low to high. Everyone then gets a chance to adjust the position of their own answer. Once that’s done, the answers are revealed, and any that are out of order are removed. Points are scored for the ones that remain.
Next Station London
Next Station: London is a flip-and-write game that tasks players with reimagining the London Underground. Players will be using 4 different colored pencils to draw routes on a grid map. As cards are drawn, players will have to draw routes on their grid. At its heart, Next Station: London is the optimization puzzle. Players score points based on building a route in multiple districts yet having that be multiplied by their largest number in a single district creates a unique tug of war with how to proceed.
Other games on the SDJ shortlist were Mantis, That’s Not a Hat, Hitster, Acropolis, Kuzooka, Sea Salt and Paper, and QE.
Also released were the Kennerspiel des Jahres nominees, which are the “connoisseur” games. Something a bit heavier they’re the SdJ games.
The nominees were: Challengers, Iki, and Planet Unknown, with the long list also including Council of Shadows and Mindbug.