2021 Spiel des Jahres Nominees Announced

The nominees for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres, or German Game of the Year, have bene announced. Considered by many to be the Oscars of the board game world, winning can mean a massive boost in sales and recognition for the game and its designers.

This year’s nominees for the Spiel des Jahres are:

In addition, the jury recommended (essentially, gave an honorable mention to) Biss 20, Chakra, GeekDad Game of the Year finalist Point Salad, Switch & Signal, and The Key: Sabotage at Lucky Llama Land.

In order to be eligible for the award, the game has to have been released in Germany in the prior year. That explains why Point Salad, which was a GeekDad GOTY finalist all the way back in 2019, is on the long list this year–AEG only released the German edition last year.

The Spiel des Jahres is targeted primarily at family gamers, not hardcore hobbyists. That crowd is generally more interested in the Kennerspiel des Jahres, which is awarded to more complex games. This year’s Kennerspiel nominees are:

  • Fantasy Realms, designed by Bruce Glassco and published by WizKids
  • Lost Ruins of Arnak, designed by Min & Elwen, and published by Czech Games Edition
  • Paleo, designed by Peter Rustemeyer and published by Hans im Glück 

The recommended titles in the category are Aeon’s End, Barrage, Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, and Riftforce.

The winners of both categories will be announced in Berlin on July 19.

The nominees for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, or children’s game of the year, are:

  • Dragomino, designed by Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort, and Wilfried Fort, and published by Blue Orange Games
  • Mia London and the Case of the 625 Scoundrels, designed by Antoine Bauza, and Corentin Lebrat, and published by Le Scorpion Masqué. You can read Jonathan’s review here.
  • Storytailors, designed by by Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort, and published by Lifestyle Boardgames

The Kinderspiel des Jahres jury, which differs from the jury for the other two awards, recommended Dream Catcher, Hipp Hopp Hippo, Inspektor Nase, Käpt’n Kuller, Memo Friends, Swip’Sheep, and Tapikékoi. The winners of the Kinderspiel will be announced on June 14.

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