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Spiel Des Jahres: The Board Game Industry’s Most Prestigious Awards Ceremony

History of the Spiel Des Jahres

For those not familiar with the Spiel Des Jahres, it is an annual set of awards for the board game industry which recognizes the best board games from the previous year. The Spiel Des Jahres (Game of the Year) is a German award that is overseen by board game reviewers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Being a German award it is only awarded to German board games or board games with a German translation. Although the process of how awards are given out has changed over the years, the award is usually given to more family friendly board games. The panel of judges usually judge board games based on their concept, how simple and fun the game is to play, and the quality of the components.

The first Spiel Des Jahres was given out in 1979 to Hare and Tortoise (a great game if you don’t mind some math). In the early years the award wasn’t really formalized as there were different awards given out each year with the number and types of awards given out each year changing. There really weren’t any nomination rules either since games won awards years after they were made and games could be nominated in several different years. Until 1990 the Spiel Des Jahres only had one category and all board games had to compete against one another for the award. Occasionally a special award would be given out such as the “Beautiful Game” award which was given to games with particularly nice components.

In 1990 the Spiel Des Jahres decided to split the nomination process into two different categories. The Spiel Des Jahres remained and was used to recognize family and adult board games. The Kinderspiel Des Jahres was created to recognize the best children’s games of the year. The Spiel Des Jahres mostly remained the same for the next 20+ years with the occasional special award given to games that truly deserved an award and didn’t win the Spiel Des Jahres or Kinderspiel Des Jahres. In 2011 the Spiel Des Jahres added the Kennerspiel Des Jahres which recognizes more complex games gauged more towards adults than families.

Although the Spiel Des Jahres is a German award, it is generally the highest regarded award in the board game industry. It is essentially the Oscars, Emmys, or Grammys of the board game industry. The Spiel Des Jahres award is a sign of a high quality game and usually leads to increased popularity and additional sales. According to Wikipedia getting a nomination can lead to tens of thousands of additional sales while winning the award can lead to hundreds of thousands of additional sales. Winning the Spiel Des Jahres usually means that a game will stay in print years after it was released.

Winning a Spiel Des Jahres award is quite difficult though. Most designers are lucky/fortunate enough to have won one Spiel Des Jahres award. Only six designers have won the award more than once which includes Wolfgang Kramer (5 times), Klaus Teuber (4 times), Michael Kiesling (2 times), Alan R. Moon (2 times), Andreas Seyfarth (2 times), and Donald X. Vaccarino (2). Only five designers have won the Kinderspiel Des Jahres multiple times which includes Peter-Paul Joopen (2 times), Manfred Ludwig (2 times), Heinz Meister (2 times), Alex Randolph (2 times), and Klaus Zoch (2 times). Reiner Knizia has the distinction of being the only designer to win both the Spiel and Kinderspiel Des Jahres awards in the same year.

List of Winners and Nominees


Spiel Des Jahres

Hare and Tortoise

The first ever winner of the Spiel Des Jahres award was Hare and Tortoise. Hare and Tortoise is an arithmetic game where players try to figure out how to move around the board in order to reach the finish line. Players acquire carrot cards in the race which are used to move their piece forward on the gameboard. Players can choose to move forward as many spaces as the want/can afford. The catch is that the further you move on a turn the more carrots you will have to pay. Players acquire carrots by moving backwards which players will have to do to get rid of their three lettuce cards before they can finish the race. Basically players need to move forward and backwards as they acquire and spend carrots to move their pieces. Players can’t acquire too many carrots though since they can only finish the race if they have used up most of their carrots.

I have played Hare and Tortoise before and enjoyed the game quite a bit. It is not the type of game that will be for everyone though. The game may seem easy at first but it does require quite a bit of thought as you figure out how far you would like to move forwards or backwards. The game relies pretty heavily on math so if you don’t like mathematical games, Hare and Tortoise may not be for you. If you don’t mind some math though I think you will really enjoy Hare and Tortoise.

Beautiful Game


Seti is a game based of the limited information that we currently have on an ancient Egyptian game. Each player has a pharaoh and high priest playing piece and the goal of the game is to get one of the pieces to the other side of the gameboard.

Recommended Games




Chess Challenger Voice







Spiel Des Jahres


Rummikub is the classic tile game where players try to get rid of all of the tiles from their hand. Players get rid of tiles by playing runs of three or four tiles or by playing three or more tiles of a kind. Rummikub as the name implies is played a lot like Rummy.

Beautiful Games

Rubik’s Cube

Back in the 1980’s the Spiel Des Jahres wasn’t a strict as it is today with regards to nominations which explains why the Rubik’s Cube was one of the winners for Beautiful Game in 1980. For those of you not familiar with the Rubik’s Cube, the objective is to twist and turn the cube to have all of the squares on each side of the cube be the same color.


Spiel is actually a set of games that use a tetrahedral board and a large number of dice in three colors. The set of games includes various types of games including dexterity games, movement games, along with other games.

Recommended Games





Stop Thief

Niki Lauda’s Formel 1


Spiel Des Jahres


After being a recommended game in the previous year, Focus/Domination won the Spiel Des Jahres in 1981. One of Sid Sackson’s award winning games, the goal of the game is to move your pieces around the board to capture other players’ pieces. The player whose piece is at the top of a stack controls the entire stack. The taller the stack of pieces, the more spaces that the stack can move. The last player that can make a move wins the game.

Beautiful Game


Ra is an abstract game that uses a hexagonal board. The goal of the game is to reach the other player’s Ra space. In the game pieces can get stacked on one another which changes how many spaces the pieces can move and how many points are earned if you reach the other players’ Ra space.

Recommended Games

Can’t Stop

Enchanted Forest

Ganoven Jagd






Spiel Des Jahres

Enchanted Forest

After being a recommended game in 1981, Enchanted Forest won the Spiel Des Jahres in 1982. Enchanted Forest is a children’s memory game. Under each tree in the forest a treasure is hidden. Players move around the gameboard looking under the trees to see which treasure is under each tree. When the king asks for one of the treasures to be retrieved, the players need to remember which tree the treasure was hidden under and make their way to the king to tell him the correct location of the treasure.

Beautiful Game


Skript is a word game where one player finds a word in the dictionary and the other players try to guess it. The players who don’t know the word get cards which they can play to get hints from the player that knows the word including getting particular letters in the word, getting the words definition and so on.

Recommended Games


Can’t Stop

Fang Mich! Wenn Du Kannst







Spiel Des Jahres

Scotland Yard

In Scotland Yard one player plays as Mr. X while the other players play as detectives. Mr. X’s goal is to remain undetected until the end of the game while the detectives try to capture Mr. X. Mr. X uses various forms of transportation to move around the gameboard which are revealed to the other players. The detectives don’t know where Mr. X currently is though so they need to deduce the location based on the forms of transportation taken. Periodically the players will be told where Mr. X is located. If at any time one of the detective pieces end up on the same space that Mr. X is currently on, the detectives win the game. If Mr. X avoids capture, the Mr. X player wins the game.

Scotland Yard was a revolutionary game for a couple of reasons. Scotland Yard is generally considered to be one of the first good cooperative games as all of the players other than Mr. X are trying to work together in order to figure out where Mr. X is located. For it’s time Scotland Yard was a great deduction game. Many games have taken mechanics from Scotland Yard over the years. While the game is over thirty years old, it is still a great game. I have played Scotland Yard and have really enjoyed the game. If you are looking for a cooperative deduction game, Scotland Yard is a great game to pick up.

Beautiful Game

Wir füttern die kleinen Nilpferde

In Wir füttern die kleinen Nilpferde each player has eleven chips. Players roll dice and move around the board. If they land on a hippo that hasn’t eaten too many chips, they can give one of their chips to the hippo. If a player meets another player they can give one of their chips to the other player. The first player to get rid of all of the chips wins the game.

Recommended Games


Der schwarze Prinz

Fuzzi, Heinz und Schlendrian



Spiel Des Jahres


Dampfross is one of the older train based board games. In Dampfross players purchase train tracks on a hexagonal board in order to connect different cities. The first player to reach each city gets some bonus cash. After everyone has built their rail lines, the second phase of the game has players complete races using the railroad tracks that they built. In this phase players can use the tracks they purchased in the first phase of the game or they can pay to use other players tracks. After the races have been held whichever player has the most money wins the game.

Beautiful Game


Uisage is an abstract two player game. Each player gets six pieces. On a player’s turn they can jump over one of their own pieces or an opponent’s piece. This will flip their piece from the pawn to king side or the king to pawn side. When the king side of a piece is face up, the player also has the option to move the piece to any adjacent space. All pieces must stay connected to each other with every piece being next to at least one other piece. A player wins the game if they get all six of their pieces king side up.

Recommended Games







Spiel Des Jahres

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

In Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective you play as the famous Sherlock Holmes trying to solve mysteries. Players need to search through evidence, interview suspects, and put the clues together in order to solve the case. Featuring no dice rolls or other luck mechanics, success in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is based purely on a player’s puzzle solving abilities. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is one of the most well received board games of all time since it is currently in the top 100 board games of all time on Board Game Geek.

Beautiful Game

Die drei Magier

Die drei Magier is a roll and move game where players are trying to collect seven different tarot cards. Player move around the board and are able to pick up a tarot card if both their magician and apprentice are on the same space. Players can also duel other players if their magician lands on a space occupied by another player.

Recommended Games



Cash & Carry

Heimlich & Company


Mister Zoo


You’re Bluffing (Kuhhandel)


Spiel Des Jahres

Heimlich & Company

After being a recommended game in 1985, Heimlich & Company won the Spiel Des Jahres in 1986. In Heimlich & Company each player is secretly rooting for one of the undercover agents to score the most points. Keeping this fact secret from the other players, each player rolls the dice and can move any of the undercover agents around the gameboard. When one of the under cover agents lands on the space occupied by the secret file, scoring takes place. Each agent earns points based on the space that they currently occupy. When one of the undercover agents scores enough points the game ends. Each player reveals their secret undercover agent and if one of the players’ secret undercover agents was the agent that scored the most points, that player wins the game.

Despite a pretty weak theme, Heimlich and Company is a surprisingly good game. It is clearly an abstract game but is fun because the game has plenty of opportunities for deception. Players need to move their own undercover agent in order to score points but they can’t make it too obvious or the other players will figure it out and will prevent you from scoring any points. This decision of when to help your own agent while keeping the agent’s secret is what makes the game so fun. While it is not going to be the right game for everyone, if you like abstract games I think you will really enjoy Heimlich & Company.

Beautiful Game

Müller & Sohn

In Müller & Sohn the players send out their two sons to learn how to be a miller. The objective of the game is to obtain millstones which are used to purchase a mill. Players earn millstones by landing or passing through certain spaces, and landing on spaces occupied by other players. Once a player has two mills, they win the game.

Recommended Games

Code 777



In Labyrinth your goal is to move around the labyrinth and land on the spaces matching the cards you are dealt at the beginning of the game. On a player’s turn they take the one tile currently not in the labyrinth and add it to the labyrinth pushing some of the tiles on the board to a new location. Players then can move their piece to any location that it can currently reach. When a player reaches the space that matches their next card, they can get rid of the card and move onto the next card. The first player to get rid of all of their cards and reach their start space wins the game.

I have to say that I was really surprised by Labyrinth when I played it. I thought it was going to be pretty boring since it looks like a children’s game. The game has quite a bit of strategy to it since you really need to think ahead to figure out how to manipulate the labyrinth to reach your next destination. Figuring out how to change the labyrinth is a very solid game mechanic and is a lot more fun than you would expect. The game does rely quite a bit on luck though and has a serious stalemate problem but is still a game that I would highly recommend if it sounds interesting to you.



Top Secret



Spiel Des Jahres

Auf Achse

In Auf Achse each player plays as a semi truck driver. Players try to deliver goods from supply cities to demand cities. Player bid on delivery contracts to deliver goods and must manage the cargo held in their truck. A die is rolled to move a player’s trucks around the gameboard. Auf Achse was never released in English.

Beautiful Game

Orient Express

The Orient Express is a murder mystery game. Players travel between rooms in the train looking for clues that lead to the culprit. Unlike games like Clue, the clues will not give you all of the evidence you need to 100% know who the culprit is so you need figure out how the clues connect in order to determine who the culprit is. If the players are unable to figure out who the culprit is before the end of the game, the culprit will escape.

Recommended Games

Auf Kurs/Maritim

Flying Carpet

In Flying Carpet you and the other players fly your carpets through the city hoping to reach the final destination. At the beginning of the game players place obstacles on the gameboard that the players will have to avoid while flying their carpets. Players roll a die and play cards to determine how their carpet moves through the city. If you fly too low to the ground your path will be blocked by buildings but if you fly too high the wind will impact your flight. Players need to utilize their cards correctly to move their flying carpet to land directly on the finish space.

A while ago I played Flying Carpet and I had fun with the game. The game has a lot of luck like most roll and move games but it has more strategy than most of these type of games. You need to be strategic on how you fly your carpet around the city. Avoiding the obstacles and the effects of the wind can be pretty difficult so you need to think about how you want to move around the city. Landing exactly on the finish spot at the end of the game can be really difficult. While Flying Carpet relies a lot on luck, if the game sounds interesting to you I would recommend checking it out.







Spiel Des Jahres


In Barbarossa, one of Klaus Teuber’s four Spiel Des Jahres winners, players use clay to make an object that can be guessed by the other players. Players want to make their objects not too difficult or too easy since if they make it too hard and no one guesses it they lose points. If they make it too easy they will give out a lot of points to the other players. Players roll a die or spend jewels in order to move around a gameboard which determines which action the player can take on their turn. Players can get victory points, ask for a specific letter in the name of a player’s object, or keep asking yes or no questions until you receive a no answer from one of the players. When a player guesses the object correctly they get points (the earlier they do the more points they get).

Beautiful Games


Each player controls four different pieces on the gameboard. Each player is randomly assigned a secret character and a secret mission. Players move around the board and try to land on spaces occupied by the other players. When they land on a space occupied by another player, that player must give them three description cards with one of the cards being true for their secret identity. Each player also has a secret partner who they must work with in order to complete their secret objective. Players don’t know who their partner is at the beginning of the game though so they need to figure this out as well. The first team to complete their mission wins the game.


In Sauerbaum the players work together to protect a tree from an acid rain storm. Players roll dice to determine how many raindrops are added to the tree and how many spaces the player can move their piece on their turn. When a player’s piece lands on a space occupied by a raindrop, the player can remove that raindrop from the board. If any raindrops reach the roots of the tree, all of the players lose the game. If the players clear enough raindrops that they can’t reach the tree’s roots, the players win the game.

Recommended Games


Forum Romanum


Lines of Action




Schoko & Co



Spiel Des Jahres

Café International

In Café International, players work as servers at a restaurant. Players draw different customer tiles and have to place them somewhere in the restaurant. The customers like to sit with other customers of the same nationality so Americans like to sit with other Americans, etc. The other rule is that each table has to have the same number of men and women sitting at it. Players score points for placing people at tables and lose points for holding tiles in their hand at the end of the game or by playing tiles to the bar.

I have never played Café International before but the game seems like it could be kind of offensive/racist. While it serves a gameplay mechanic, it is kind of stupid to think that people would only want to sit at a table with other people of the same nationality. The game also apparently shows stereotypical pictures of all the different nationalities. I don’t know if the theme is offensive but I don’t get why the theme was chosen since plenty of other themes could have been chosen and still used the same game mechanics.

Beautiful Games

Gute Freunde

In Gute Freunde each player plays as a frog. Players jump around the pond in order to try and collect gold and silver coins. Whoever collects the most coins wins the game.

Henne Berta

In Henne Berta the players are trying to feed Hen Berta (a chicken) in order to get three eggs into their baskets. Players grab different colored grains from a bag with some colored grains being placed on the board in order to guide Berta to a player’s basket while other grains end a player’s turn. When a player has placed a grain on all of the spaces between their basket and the chicken, they are able to roll the dice and start moving the chicken toward their basket. When the chicken reaches a player’s basket they get to keep an egg. The first player to get three eggs wins the game.

Recommended Games


Breakaway Rider

Flieg Dumbo flieg


Magic Dance

Midnight Party

Pole Position


Such A Thing?


Spiel Des Jahres

Hoity Toity

The second Klaus Teuber Spiel Des Jahres winner is Hoity Toity. In Hoity Toity each player plays a bored English noblemen who likes to collect old junk and show it off. Players buy or steal different items to add to their collection. The game uses a rock-paper-scissors mechanic where players need to guess what their opponents are going to do so they can play the right card on their own turn. Players gain points by displaying their exhibits and whichever players scores the most points wins the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

My Haunted Castle

My Haunted Castle is a memory game. One picture is shown uncovered on the gameboard and the players need to find the face down tile that matches the picture. When a player finds a match the tile is flipped over and placed on the image that it matched. This reveals the next picture that has to be found. The player who finds the most matches wins the game.

Beautiful Game

Life Style

Life Style is a game about knowing what the other players think. The current player takes a question card and some related picture cards. The current player reads the card and determines how they would rank the picture cards based on the question. The other players guess how the current player would rank them. Players score points by matching what the current player thought.

Runner Ups/Recommended Games

Die heiße Schlacht am kalten Buffet



Heuchel & Meuchel


New Orleans Big Band


Tutankhamen’s Revenge


Spiel Des Jahres

Wacky Wacky West

After winning the Spiel Des Jahres in 1990, Klaus Teuber won the award again in 1991 with Wacky Wacky West. Wacky Wacky West has an extremely weird theme. You and the other players are in charge of an old wild west town. The city has been built but the townsfolk forgot to build roads, railroad tracks, or dig ditches for a waterway. In order to add the roads, railroad tracks, and the waterway; sacrifices need to be made and buildings have to be destroyed. Players take turns by playing a tile to the gameboard to expand the roads, railroad tracks or waterways. When these are placed over buildings, the buildings are destroyed. The townspeople don’t really care as long as it doesn’t destroy one of the town’s outhouses since everyone know the outhouse is the most important building in town. If a tile is placed over an outhouse the whole town (all of the players) vote to determine if the tile can be played. At the beginning of the game each player is given a secret color of buildings that they are trying to protect. When the game ends, whichever player has protected the most valuable of their buildings will win the game.

While the theme for Wacky Wacky West is pretty strange, the game is quite fun. The game has a problem where one player can get ganged up on but there is a decent amount of strategy as you try to figure out how to move the different tiles towards other players’ buildings and away from your own. The voting mechanics are also interesting and make the game an interesting tile laying game. If you don’t like tile laying games you probably won’t like Wacky Wacky West but if you do I think you should enjoy Wacky Wacky West.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres


In Corsaro/Piraten-Abenteuer the players are all trapped on an island and must work together in order to escape. While trying to escape players need to avoid the nearby pirates or they will lose valuable time and supplies. Players roll two dice with one die controlling their boat and one boat controlling the pirate ships. Players need to find ways to move around the pirate ships and get all of their boats to safety in order to win the game.

Beautiful Game

Master Labyrinth

Similar to the normal Labyrinth game which was recognized years earlier, Master Labyrinth plays pretty much the same. The main difference is that players move around the labyrinth collecting point tokens. The catch is that the one point token has to be taken first, then the two point token and so on. Each player also has three special ingredients that they will receive bonus points for if they retrieve them. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Recommended Games

20 Questions



Conspiracy (Casablanca)

Im Reich des weißen Bären




Spiel Des Jahres

Um Reifenbreite

Um Reifenbreite is a bicycle racing game that simulates a race similar to the Tour de France. Each player controls four racers. Players roll dice and use cards in order to move their racers. Racers can use drafting mechanics in order to help their racers. Racers also have to deal with different types of road surfaces. Players score points based on where each of their racers place in the race and the player with the most points between all of their racers wins the game. Um Reifenbreite was never released in English.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Galloping Pigs

In Galloping Pigs each player has a set of cards that they use to move the pig of the same color. Playing a card moves the corresponding colored pig to the next free space in front of that pig. If the next space is occupied by another pig(s), the pig jumps in front of the other pig(s). If the pig you moved moves to the front you get a vegetable card. If the last card you play in a round moves the pig to the front, you get to keep all of the vegetable cards you earned during the round. If not you lose all of the vegetables you earned that round. Whoever collects the most vegetables wins the game.

Recommended Games

Die verbotene Stadt



Gold Connection


Quo vadis?





Spiel Des Jahres

Liar’s Dice

Liar’s Dice is a really old dice game that is so old that it became a public domain game. Richard Borg created official rules for the game which won the Spiel Des Jahres award in 1993. In Liar’s Dice each player is given a dice cup and five dice. Players bid on how many of a particular number has been rolled between all of the players. Since the player only knows what they rolled, they need to guess what the other players rolled or bluff. Players take turns raising the bid of how many of a particular number was rolled. When one player thinks the person is bluffing and bid too high, they can call them on it. All of the players reveal their dice. If the player’s bid was right the player who called them on it loses a die. If the player’s bid was too high, the player who bid loses one of their dice. The last player with dice remaining wins the game.

Liar’s Dice is a good dice game. The game has a lot of luck like most dice rolling games but there is also a decent amount of strategy and bluffing which allows players to have some impact on the outcome of the game. Being a public domain game, there are many versions of the game so it isn’t hard to find a cheap copy of the game. All you actually need are some dice and a dice cup for each player. If you like dice games you should enjoy Liar’s Dice. If you despise dice games, Liar’s Dice is not going to be for you.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

In Ringel-Rangel the objective is to move turtles around the board with your finger without knocking other objects off the gameboard. Players take turns pushing a turtle from their starting place to their nest. Players can only use one finger to move the turtle. Players need to move the turtle carefully as to not knock any objects off the gameboard. If a player knocks something off the gameboard they must keep it in front of them which is worth negative points at the end of the game. Whoever knocks off the least amount of stuff from the gameboard, wins the game.

Beautiful Game

Kula Kula

Kula Kula is a board game where players race around the board trying to collect shells. The player who collects the most shells wins the game.

Recommended Games


Modern Art







Spiel Des Jahres


In Manhattan players are trying to build the largest skyscrapers in Manhattan. Players play a card on their turn which determines which part of the city that they can add a floor to a skyscraper. The player who has played the highest floor of a tower controls that tower and will score points for it at the end of the round. Players score points for how many areas they control and who controls the tallest buildings. Whoever has scored the most points by the end of the game wins.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Loopin’ Louie

In Loopin’ Louie each player controls a flipper and three chicken discs. An electronic airplane pilot sits in the center of the gameboard and when turned on will move around the gameboard. If the plane hits one of your chicken discs it will knock it down. The goal of the game is to use your flipper in order to flip the plane into the air to prevent it from knocking over your chickens. The last player with chickens remaining wins the game.

Loopin’ Louie is a game from my childhood that I fondly remember to this day. I remember playing Loopin’ Louie all the time when I was a kid. I haven’t played the game in quite some time but what I can remember from the game is that while really simple, the game is deceptively addicting. Loopin’ Louie is a children’s game but is still really enjoyable for adults as well. If you have never played Loopin’ Louie before and don’t hate children’s games, I would highly recommend checking it out.

Beautiful Game

Doctor Faust

Doctor Faust is an abstract board game where players play as demons who are trying to take control of Doctor Faust’s soul. Players have action points that they use to move their demons, lay tiles on the board, or move Doctor Faust. If the Doctor occupies the same space as one of your demons or tiles, you get to take a piece of his soul which is worth points at the end of the game. The player who has the most points at the end of the game wins.

Recommended Games

6 nimmt!

Die Osterinsel

High Tail It!/Billabong

I’m the Boss

Take It Easy!

Was sticht?


Spiel Des Jahres

Catan/Settlers of Catan

Klaus Teuber’s fourth Spiel Des Jahres winner, Catan/Settlers of Catan is one of the most famous and revolutionary board games of all time. Catan is generally considered one of the games that brought board gaming into the mainstream.

In Settlers of Catan dice are rolled which determines which resources are produced each turn. Players gather resources in order to build settlements, roads, creating improvements and generating victory points. Players gain victory points by building settlements, having the longest road and the largest army, and gathering development cards worth victory points. When one player has reached 10 points they win the game.

Settlers of Catan is one of my favorite board games of all time. What is so great about the game is that there is a lot of strategy in the game but it is also accessible for people who don’t play a lot of board games. Outside of the luck of dice rolling, the game relies on your strategy to determine how well you do in the game. If you for some reason have never played Settlers of Catan before I would highly recommend it.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres


In Karambolage players roll two dice. The colors on the two dice determine which two disks must hit one another on the player’s turn. The player flicks a disc matching one of the colors rolled and tries to hit the disc of the other color that was rolled. If they succeed they get a point and get to roll the dice again. A player can choose to quit at any time and bank the points they earned during the round. If a player chooses to continue and misses hitting the disc they were supposed to hit, they lose all of the points earned that round. The player who scores the most points wins the game.

Beautiful Game

Tri-Ba-Lance/Tribalance/Triominos Tribalance

In Tri-Ba-Lance players compete against each other on a triangular board that is always teetering. Players play pieces onto the board in order to score points. The larger the piece and the further away from center of the board that the piece is played determines how many points the player scores on their turn. If the player plays the pieces and the board doesn’t tip to a point when any of the sides or corners touch the frame, the player scores the points. If any side or corner touches the frame though the piece is removed from the board and the player scores no points.

Recommended Games


Galopp Royal


La Trel


The Mole in the Hole




Spiel Des Jahres

El Grande

In El Grande each player takes on the role of a Grande. Each player recruits knights and uses them to seize control of different regions of the world. Players use cards which give them different special abilities and determines turn order. These special abilities determine how players are able to move knights around the gameboard. The goal of the game is to have the majority of knights in a given area at the end of scoring rounds in order to score points. The player who scores the most points during the game wins.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Vier zu mir!/Zoo/Noah’s Park

Vier zu Mir! is a children’s memory game where players are trying to find sets of animals that match the animals on their search cards. Each player controls some animals hidden from the other players. Players take turns asking for specific animals from the other players. If they guess correctly they get to take the animal and ask another player for another animal. When a player controls all of the animals on one of their cards they reveal the card and the matching animals. The player scores a point for that card and draws a new card. The player who claims the most cards wins the game.

Beautiful Game

Venice Connection

Venice Connection is a two player game where the players are trying to build a canal that is a complete loop. Players take turns playing a tile until one player feels like it is impossible to complete the canal and challenges the other player to complete the canal. If the challenged player is able to complete the canal they win the game. If the player is unable to complete the canal, the player who challenged them wins the game.

Dexterity Game of the Year

Carabande (precursor to PitchCar)

Carabande (which is almost the same game as PitchCar) is a dexterity game where players race their cars around a track constructed before the game begins. Players flick their cars around the gameboard trying to be the first player to get their car across the finish line.

Recommended Games

Ab die Post!


In Blink players compete to try and get rid of all of the cards from their hand. The game uses two discard piles where players can discard cards that match the color, shape, or number of symbols on the top card of the pile. All of the players play at the same time and play cards whenever they can. The first player to get rid of all of their cards first wins the game.

Although really simple Blink is a really fun game. The reason I like the game is that it is so fast. You are constantly looking at your cards trying to find the next card that you can play. The game’s rules are so simple and most games can be finished in just a couple minutes. I just find the game to be really fun since you are constantly doing something and there is no break in the action until a round is over. If you like speed games and have not yet tried Blink I would highly recommend that you pick it up.


Gloria Picktoria (Reibach & Co)

Mü & More


Top Race

Wat’n dat!?/Kiproko/Kezako



Spiel Des Jahres

Mississippi Queen

In Mississippi Queen each player controls a paddleboat and races it down the Mississippi River. Players need to navigate the river while picking up passengers along the way. An unique element about the game is that you have a limited supply of coal so you need to conserve it for the times where you need more control over the movement of your boat. The river is built as the players move down river so players are never sure of the next bend in the river will be.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Leinen los!

Leinien Los! is a racing game where players push their little ship along the race track without hitting the buoys. Each ship is made of two parts and the players can only push with one finger on the engine part of the boat. The first player to reach the finish line wins the game.

Beautiful Game


Aztec is a building game where players need to play pieces to create a pyramid. Two players build the pyramid together following the building rules to try and score as many points as possible. A third player tries to prevent the other two players from scoring points.

Dexterity Game of the Year


Husarengolf is a two player game where each player holds one side of the gameboard. A ball is placed in the center of the board and both players twist and turn the gameboard in order to try and get the ball to fall into one of their holes in the board.

Runner Up Games/Recommended Games


In Bohnanza all of the players play as bean farmers. Each player tries to earn the most money by collecting, planting and eventually selling beans in order to make money. Players gather cards and choose which types of beans they would like to plant. Once planted a player can only plant beans of the same type into the same field. When a player decides to sell one of their fields they earn money based on which type of bean and how many of that type of bean that they had planted. Whichever player earns the most money by the end of the game wins.

Having played Bohnanza I would say that it is a pretty good game. At its’ core the game is a set collecting game but has some interesting mechanics that make it different than a lot of other set collecting games. Other than the game being a little long, it is a fun game that fans of set collecting games should really enjoy.

Catan Card Game






Showmanager/Show Manager



Spiel Des Jahres


Elfenland is the first Spiel Des Jahres winner by Alan R. Moon. In Elfenland each player plays as an elf that is trying to visit as many Elf cities as they can using various forms of transportation. Players use movement tiles and transportation cards in order to move around the board. Players place tiles on the spaces between cities and for the rest of the game players need to play one of the corresponding cards in order to move through that space. Each player is given a secret home city that they have to reach by the end of the game or they will lose points for each space that they are away from it. If a player is able to visit all 20 cities before the game ends they automatically win the game. Otherwise the winner is the player who scores the most points.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Chicken Cha Cha Cha

In Chicken Cha Cha Cha each player plays as a chicken who is learning how to dance. The goal is to steal all of the other player’s tail feathers. This is done by passing the other players’ chickens and stealing their tail feathers. Players move forward if they can find the matching tile of the space in front of them. Each time the player picks the right tile, they move forward and get to try and pick the tile for the next space.

Recommended Games


Caesar & Cleopatra


David & Goliath

Die Macher



Through the Desert

Tigris & Euphrates

Tonga Bonga



Spiel Des Jahres


In Tikal you play as a group of archaeologists who are digging through Mayan temples. Tiles are drawn and placed onto the gameboard to give you different things to explore. You use your workers to dig up treasures, guard your treasures/temples, and take treasures from other players. Players earn points for controlling sets of treasures and different temples. When the game ends whoever has the most points wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominee


Kinderspiel Des Jahres


In Kayanak you play as a Inuit or a polar bear (depending on the version) as they go ice fishing. Players move around the ice and find where they want to fish. They use their fishing pole to break a hole into the ice. The fishing pole has a magnet attached to it which players use to pick up metal balls that represent fish under the ice. The player who catches the most fish wins the game.

Recommended Games

El Caballero




Mamma Mia!


Money!, a game by Reiner Knizia, is a set collection game where players try to acquire different types of world currency. Two sets of four cards are placed on the table and players have to use cards from their hands in order bid on the ability to take cards from the table. The highest bidder gets to choose which set of cards on the table they want to take. The object is to try and acquire cards of the same currency since if you don’t acquire enough value of a particular currency, you receive a penalty to the points you would earn from that currency. The player who earns the most points wins the game.

While the set collection mechanics and the bidding mechanics aren’t original, the combination of the two make for an interesting game. The game is easy to play but still has a lot of strategy as you figure out which currencies to collect and which cards to bid with. Since the cards you bid are worth points at the end of the game you need to make wise bids or you will lose points at the end of the game. If you like set collection games I think you should look into picking up Money!

Ta Yü/Tayu

Union Pacific



Spiel Des Jahres


In Torres each player plays as a castle builder. Players use action points to play tower blocks, place knights, move knights, earn victory points or get action cards. Players score points by building the tallest and widest castle. For each castle that a player has a knight in, they score points for how high the knight is in the castle multiplied by the amount of spaces the castle takes up. Players also earn bonus points if they have a knight in the same castle as the king. The player who earns the most points by the end of the game is the winner.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

Carolus Magnus


Kinderspiel Des Jahres


Arbos is a dexterity game where players try to build a tree. The tree is built on a wobbly base and players try to add branches and leaves to the tree. Whenever a player knocks any branches or leaves off the tree, they must take those branches and leaves into their own supply to place on a future turn. The first player to get rid of all of their branches and leaves wins the game.

Recommended Games

Frank’s Zoo


La Città


Port Royal

Taj Mahal


Web of Power



Spiel Des Jahres


Carcassonne the well-known classic tile laying game won the Spiel Des Jahres in 2001. In Carcassonne players draw tiles and place them in order to build a city landscape which includes cities, roads, cloisters, and grasslands. Tiles are played next to one another where matching elements touch. After placing a tile, players have the option to play one of their meeples on the tile that was just played and will score points based on the element (city, road, cloister, grassland) that the meeple was played on. The player who scores the most points wins the game.

When you think of tile laying games, Carcassonne is the first or one of the first games that is brought up. Carcassonne was one of the most revolutionary games in the tile placement genre. The game is simple to play but still has a lot of strategy as well. I really like the game and fans of tile laying games that haven’t played Carcassonne for some reason should really look into picking up the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Runner Up

Zapp Zerapp

Kinderspiel Des Jahres


In Klondike the players play as gold miners. The players take turns using a panhandling plate which has different colored marbles placed on it. One player twists and turns the plate hoping to get rid of all of the black and gray marbles while keeping the yellow ones on the plate. The other players make a secret bid of how many yellow marbles will stay on the plate. A player keeps moving/twisting/shaking the plate until all of the black and gray marbles have fallen off. The player gets to keep all of the yellow marbles that remain on the plate. The players who guessed incorrectly have to pay the current panhandler while the players that guessed correctly are paid by the panhandler. The player who has the most gold at the end of the game is the winner.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Runner Ups

Im Märchenwald

Rüsselbande/The Piggyback Brigade

Historical Game


In Troia players play as archaeologists who are excavating the city of Troy. Players retrieve puzzles pieces and have to assemble the different puzzles in order to exhibit them and score points.

Literary Game

Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings is a cooperative game where the players have to work together to destroy the Ring while evading Sauron. Each player plays as one of the Hobbits with each hobbit having a unique power. Players play cards in order to continue their journey but need to avoid corruption by Sauron. If the ring-bearer is corrupted by Sauron the game ends in defeat. If the fellowship can destroy the ring in Mount Doom though, the players win the game.

Recommended Games




Das Amulett

Ebbe & Flut


Hexen Rennen

River Dragons

San Marco

Turn the Tide

Winner’s Circle

In Winner’s Circle the players bid on the outcome of a horse race. Before each race the players place bids on the different horses. All bids are kept secret from the other players. Players then take turns rolling a die. The die contains different symbols that correspond to different movement rates for each of the horses. After rolling the die the current player decides which horse will move the corresponding number of spaces and that horse can’t move again until all of the horses have moved. When the race is over the players earn/lose money based on which horses they bid on. After all of the races have been completed, the player with the most money wins the game.

I think Winner’s Circle is a pretty good betting game. The betting itself is pretty simple but the decision on how to move the horses is pretty interesting. Since each horse moves more for some symbols than others, how you decide to move the horses has a big impact on the game. You can move the horses you bid on when you good symbols for them or you can choose to move horses other players bid on if the symbol rolled barely moves that horse. This back and forth mechanic where players try to hinder each other’s horses makes for a pretty fun betting game.


Spiel Des Jahres

Villa Paletti

In Villa Paletti the players build a tower with pillars. What is unique is that all of the pillars start at the bottom of the tower. Players need to remove the pillars from the lower levels and place them on higher levels in order to build a taller tower. Players score points based on how they place their pillars. The player who scores the most points wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Runner Ups

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico each player plays a governor on the island of Puerto Rico. Players try to acquire as many victory points as they can by shipping goods to Europe and by creating buildings on the island. Players grow crops that they can sell for points or dubloons. The dubloons earned can be used to purchase buildings. Each round every player chooses a role which determines which actions will be performed during the round. The player to earn the most victory points wins the game.

Puerto Rice is one of the highest rated board games of all time as it currently resides in the top ten best board games of all time. Most people believe that Puerto Rico should have won the Spiel Des Jahres in 2002. Having played Puerto Rico, I can attest that it is a really good game. It is a moderately difficult game but I would highly recommend if you like worker placement games.


Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Atlantic Star


The Bucket King



Der Herr der Ringe: Die Gefährten – Das Kartenspiel

Kupferkessel Co.

Pizarro & Co.

San Gimignano

Kinderspiel Des Jahres
Maskenball der Käfer

In Maskenball der Käfer the players work together to get the ladybugs ready for their costume party. To do this each ladybug has to get a spot of every color onto their back. Spots are exchanged when two ladybugs are brought together and they are attracted to one another. If the players can get different colored spots on all of their ladybugs before seven ants reach the party, the players win the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Runner Ups

Highly Suspect

Strong Stuff!

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Cuckoo Zoo

Funny Bunny

Krokodil unterm Bett

Schnapp zu!


Spiel Des Jahres


In Alhambra players become master builders that are trying to show their skill by building the Alhambra. Players hire builders to expand their Alhambra but these builders must be paid in the proper currency. On their turn a player can take some money, purchase a building from the market, or build/change the position of a building in their Alhambra. Players score points based on who owns the most of each type of building. Players also score points for whoever has the longest outer wall.

Alhambra is tile laying game as well as a strategy game. The game is easy to play but also has plenty of strategy. Being a light to moderate strategy game makes Alhambra a pretty good gateway game for people that don’t play a lot of board games and want to branch off into games that are a little more complicated.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees


In Clans the players control different colored tribes. Players can move any colored tribe but each player is secretly working/rooting for a specific tribe. On a player’s turn they can move all of the huts located in a specific zone to an adjacent zone that contains other huts. While moving huts if a group of huts is formed with no huts in any of the adjacent spaces, the village that is formed is scored. Building villages in different terrains can be worth more or less points based on which round the village is formed.

Clans is a really interesting game. You are trying to help out your own tribe color while trying to keep its’ identity safe so other players won’t purposely sabotage it. The mechanics are really simple since all you are doing is moving huts from one location to an adjacent location. There is a decent amount of strategy though as you are trying to get your tribe’s huts into situations that will score the most points.

Die Dracheninsel

Spiel Des Jahres Recommendations



Balloon Cup

Blokus 3D


Edel, Stein & Reich

Fische Fluppen Frikadellen

Paris Paris



Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Viva Topo!

In Viva Topo! players try to move their mice to specific spots on the gameboard. The further you move the more cheese you earn by reaching your destination. There is a cat that pursues the mice though and if the cat catches a mouse they are eliminated from the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Lauras Sternenspiel

Robbys Rutschpartie

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommendations

Cat & Mouse

Der Krähenschatz

Schloss Schlotterstein




Spiel Des Jahres

Ticket to Ride

In Ticket to Ride you try to build your own train routes around the United States. Players score points for claiming train routes, finishing destination tickets and creating the longest continuous route. Players collect cards of different colors which are used to claim routes. To claim a route players need to play as many cards as there are trains (of the same color) on the route they want to claim. Whoever earns the most points by the end of the game wins.

I really can’t say enough about how good Ticket to Ride is since it is probably my favourite board game of all time. What is so great about the game is that the mechanics are so simple but still provide enough strategy to make a fun game. I would highly recommend the game to anyone from people who play a lot of board games to people who have never played a board game not made by Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

Dawn Under


Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India

Saint Petersburg

Schatz der Drachen

Spiel Des Jahres Recommendations


Carcassonne: The Castle

Cockroach Poker

Coda/Da Vinci Code


Dos Rios

Im Wassergarten

Jumbo & Co/Mausen

King Me!



San Juan

Somethin’ Fishy

Somethin’ Fishy is a press your luck game. Players take turns drawing fish from a pile of cards in the middle of the table. If the fish is a “happy” fish the player gets to put it in front of themselves forming a line of fish. The player can then continue drawing additional fish cards. If they draw another “happy” fish they compare it to the last fish in their line of fish. If it is the same color or size of the last fish in their line they get to add this card to the end of their line of fish. If it is a different size and type of fish, the player has to pass the fish to the player on their left who takes the fish if it matches the size or type of fish at the back of their line. The player can choose to quit drawing cards at any time and then banks the cards in front of them. If the player draws a “hungry” fish or a shark card they loose all of the cards in their fish line. Whoever collects the most fish at the end of the game wins.

Somethin’ Fishy is a decent press your luck game. The game is fun but is not particularly original. The game relies almost entirely on luck since all you can do is decide which card to pick up and when you want to quit and bank the fish in front of you. If you like press your luck games and can find the game for cheap I would probably recommend picking it up.

Sunken City

Tom Tube

Viele Dinge



Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Spooky Stairs/Spirit Stairs

In Spooky Stairs a group of children enter an old haunted castle where a ghost lives at the top of the stairs. The children race to the top of the castle trying to scare the ghost. The ghost is meanwhile trying to turn all of the children into ghosts. If a player rolls a ghost symbol, a ghost is placed on top of one of the other player’s playing piece hiding whose piece it is for the rest of the game. This player needs to remember which piece is theirs for the rest of the game. Whichever piece makes it to the top of the stairs first wins the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Igel und Floh

Macius: Achtung, fertig los!

Mare Polare

Treasure Hunt

In Treasure Hunt all of the players race to visit all of the islands and retrieve a treasure from each island. Players roll the dice to see how far they can move their boat on a given turn. Players then use a wave piece to measure how far a boat can travel in a given direction. Pirate’s occasionally show up to steal treasures from players. The first player to collect a treasure from every island wins the game.

Treasure Hunt is mostly meant to be a children’s game since it is a pretty boring experience for adults. All you do in the game is roll a die and move your ship. Luck of the roll will always determine who wins the game. The game does have some really nice components. Younger children could enjoy the game quite a bit but I wouldn’t recommend picking up the game unless you have young children.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommendations

Chicky Picky


Geißlein, versteck dich!

Tip Tip Ahoy

Können Schweine fliegen?

Leaping Lizard

Monte Rolla

Mücke mit Tücke


Wo bist du, heller Mond?


Spiel Des Jahres


In Niagara players play as adventurers looking for jewels and treasures. Players travel along the river which is always changing speed. Players need to move around gathering treasures and not falling off the falls or they will have to pay a hefty price to get their canoe back. Players also have to deal with thieves that try to steal your treasures. Whichever player gets the most treasure wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

Around the World in 80 Days



That’s Life!

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games



The Gardens of the Alhambra

No Thanks!

Piranha Pedro

Power Grid

In Power Grid each player operates their own set of power plants. Players need to purchase different power plants, acquire resources to generate power, and connect different cities to your power grid. Power Grid is a struggle between purchasing resources for your power plants, and building new power plants to expand you power grid. Whoever acquires the most points wins the game.

I have to say that I am quite surprised the Power Grid was only a recommended game in 2005. Power Grid is a great game that I really enjoy and is one of the highest rated games on Board Game Geek. The only explanation that I have could be that the game is more complicated than most games that win Spiel Des Jahres awards. I would consider Power Grid to be a moderately difficult game. If the concept at all interests you and you are looking for a moderately difficult game, you should really look into picking up Power Grid.

Tanz der Hornochsen!


Wie ich die Welt Sehe

Kinderspiel Des Jahres
Das Kleine Gespenst

In Das Kleine Gespenst players play as a ghost. Players travel around the castle looking for the picture that matches the picture on the clock by checking behind the doors around the mansion. For each match that a player makes they get rid of one of their marbles. Later in the game players roll their marbles around the gameboard hoping to get them to all go into the same hole and win the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Daddy Cool

Mago Magino


Schildi Schildkröte

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Animal Upon Animal

Die Kullerbande

Ene Mene Muh, gib mir deine Kuh!

Flecken Monster

Frantic Frogs


In Snorta each player is given a plastic animal. Players show the other players which animal they picked and then hide it in their barn so the other players can’t see which animal is controlled by each player. Players then start playing cards face up onto the table. When the cards in front of two players match, the two players race to make the sound of the plastic animal held by the other player. Whichever player makes the other player’s sound first gives all of their face up cards to the other player. The first player to get rid of all of their cards wins the game.

Snorta is an interesting combination of a memory game and a game like War. Snorta isn’t a very complicated game but I had fun with the game. The game is a family game that is gauged more towards children but can be enjoyed by adults as well. If the game sounds interesting to you I think you will enjoy the game.


Up and Down




Spiel Des Jahres

Thurn and Taxis

In Thurn & Taxis players build post office routes between cities. Players draw cards and create routes by playing cards of neighbouring cities to create a mail route. Players can only build one route at a time. After a route has at least three cities in it, a player can finish the route and score points. Players get more bonus points if they create longer routes. The player that scores the most bonus points wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

Aqua Romana

Blue Moon City



Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Ausgerechnet Buxtehude



Hart an der Grenze

Hey, That’s My Fish!

In Hey, That’s My Fish! each player controls a group of penguins. On a player’s turn they move one of the penguins in a straight line to any ice berg. The player then removes the ice berg that the penguin was previously on and keeps it for their score at the end of the game. When a penguin no longer has anywhere to move, it is removed from the board. When all of the penguins are removed from the board, the players count up the number of fish they collected. Whoever collects the most fish wins the game.

Hey, That’s My Fish! is a a pretty light game but it is quite a bit of fun. There is actually quite a bit more strategy to the game than you would think. The game can also be quite cut-throat as players try to cut off each other’s penguins. The game is quite short and easy enough to play that children can enjoy the game and adults won’t be bored by it. Unless the game doesn’t interest you at all, I would recommend picking it up.


Objets Trouvés/Was ‘n Das?



Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Der schwarze Pirat

In Der schwarze Pirat each player plays as a sailor. Each sailor travels from one island to another to gather treasure. Players need to avoid the pirate who will try to steal treasure from you. Players roll dice to determine where treasure is added and whether your ship or the pirate’s ship is moved. Players use a puffer to blow on the sails of the ships to move them around the board. Whoever has the most treasure at the end of the game wins.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Giro Galoppo

Los Mampfos

Nacht der Magier


Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games




Castello del Drago

Doktor Schlüsselbart


Mit Felix um die Welt

Ramba Samba

Zoff im Hühnerhof

Complex Game


In Caylus King Philip has decided to build a new castle. Players work to build the castle and the city around it to earn prestige points. Players pay money to put their workers in various parts of town which lets them gather resources or build buildings. The player who earns the most prestige points wins the game.

Fantasy Game

Shadows Over Camelot

Shadows Over Camelot is a cooperative game where players work together to complete quests around the kingdom. For every quest that is completed a white sword is added to the Round Table. For every quest that is failed, a black sword is added to the Round Table. If the team gets enough white swords they win but if they get too many black swords they lose the game. On each turn a player gets to take one heroic action and has to take one of three evil actions. One of the players may end up being a traitor though who will try to prevent the other players from winning the game.


Spiel Des Jahres


In Zooloretto each player operates their own zoo. Players use tiles to add animals and other buildings to their zoo. Tiles are placed onto trucks and then players can choose to take all of the tiles on a given truck. Players try to put animals of the same type in the same enclosure in order to score more points. Any animal that can’t be placed in an enclosure is put in the barn and will be worth negative points at the end of the game. Whoever scores the most points wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees



The Thief of Baghdad


Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Château Roquefort/Burg Appenzell

Danger 13

Der Prestel Kunstmarkt

Die Säulen von Venedig


Notre Dame

The Pillars of the Earth



Würfel Bingo/High Score

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Beppo der Bock

In Beppo der Bock players move Beppo der Bock around the gameboard using a strong magnet and a metal ball they roll around the gameboard. Based on where Beppo lands on the gameboard, determines where the player moves their player piece.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Castle Knights

Gesagt – getan!

Hop Hop Hooray!

Save the Fairy Tale Treasure!

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Der Kleine Sprechdachs

Ding Dong

Enkounter/Kaleidoscope Classic

Heli Hopper

Jungle Treasure/Dschungelschatz/Le trésor des mayas


Mein erstes Mitmach-Spiel


Was zählt?/Voyage des Comptes


Spiel Des Jahres


Keltis is the first and only Reiner Knizia game to win the Spiel Des Jahres. In Keltis players play one of their cards each turn. The card can either be discarded or played in front of the player. Cards played in front of the player need to be the same number, one number lower, or one number higher than the last card played in each pile. For each card played the player is able to move their pawn up one space on the corresponding track of the gameboard. Players score points for going higher up the track but lose points if a pawn doesn’t get far enough up the track. Keltis has never been released in the United States but the same rules are essentially used in the game Lost Cities: The Board Game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees



Stone Age

Witch’s Brew

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Big Points

Cockroach Salad

Galaxy Trucker

The Hanging Gardens

In the Year of the Dragon







Wicked Witches Way

Kinderspiel Des Jahres


In addition to winning the Spiel Des Jahres in 2008, Reiner Knizia also won the Kinderspiel Des Jahres for Whoowasit? In Whoowasit? the players look for a magic ring that was stolen by the evil wizard. Players move their playing piece around the gameboard to uncover clues about who stole the magic ring. If the players can find the stolen ring before they run out of time, the players win the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Capt’n Sharky: Abenteuer auf der Schatzinsel

Didi Dotter

Fluss der Drachen

Ghost Hunters

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Alles Kanone!/Alles Tomate!


Die kleinen Regentropfen

Farben ringsum

Kleiner Teddy

Lauras erste Übernachtung

Pingo Tour

Pino Sortino

Rattle Snake

Wild Vikings

Complex Game


In Agricola each player plays as a farmer. Players get to take actions for each member of their family. Players use their family members to expand their farms and plant crops which they later harvest. The goal is to build the most successful farm by the end of 14 rounds.


Spiel Des Jahres


In Dominion each player plays as a monarch who wants to expand their kingdom and make it better. Dominion is a deck building card game where each player starts with the same set of cards. Players can buy new cards that they add to their deck which are more beneficial to the player. Whichever player is first to reach the designated number of victory points wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominations





In Pandemic the players work together as a team of specialists that are trying to cure four diseases that threaten the world. On a player’s turn they can move around the gameboard, treat cities that are infected by the disease, discover cures for a disease or build a research station. Players need to control the spread of the disease or all of the players will lose the game. If the players cure all of the diseases before the diseases spread too far they win the game.

Pandemic is one of the best co-op board games around. The game is a light to moderately difficult game but plays quickly once you get a hang of the game. The game works really well as a co-op experience since players need to work well together in order to win the game. If you are looking for a good co-op game you can’t go wrong with Pandemic.

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Diamonds Club

Einauge sei wachsam!



Pack & Stack

Poison/Friday the 13th


Kinderspiel Des Jahres

The Magic Labyrinth

In The Magic Labyrinth each player plays as a magician’s apprentice. The apprentices have lost some magic objects and need to find them before the magician returns. Players place walls in the bottom portion of the gameboard. A board is put on top to prevent players from seeing the walls. Each player takes a playing piece (has a magnet) and a metal ball. The metal ball is placed in the lower portion of the gameboard and is stuck to the magnet on the playing pieces. A token is placed on the gameboard and players take turns rolling the dice and moving the corresponding number of spaces on the board toward the token. Since the walls of the mansion are hidden underneath the board, if a player moves through one of the walls their marble will fall off their playing piece and they need to return to their start space. The first person to get enough tokens wins the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Curli Kuller

Hide the Kids!

Tonga Island


Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

6 nimmt! Junior

Der kleine Ritter Trenk

Finde die Tiere!

Hang in There!/Go Gorilla

Hungry Wolves

Klickado/Picky Sticks


Schwarzer Kater

The Suitcase Detectives

New Worlds Game
Space Alert

Space Alert is a cooperative game where the players are crew members on a spaceship. Each game is ten minutes long and the players must work together to protect their ship against various threats that endanger the ship.

Party Game


In GiftTrap each player is given the opportunity to give and receive gifts from the other players. In each round various gift cards are placed out on the gameboard. Each player chooses which gifts they would like to receive (in order of how much they would like them) and which gift they wouldn’t want. Every player also decides which gift to give each player. Each gift can only be given to one player. Players gain points by receiving the gifts that they wanted the most and giving gifts to the other players that they wanted. The first player to receive enough points for giving and receiving gifts wins the game.

GiftTrap is a really interesting idea for a party game. While the game shares elements with other games, GiftTrap is a pretty unique experience. The game is really easy to play and should work well in party situations. The game is not going to be for everyone though. If you like party games and the idea behind the game interests you, I think you will really enjoy GiftTrap.


Spiel Des Jahres


In Dixit, players take turns playing as the storyteller. The storyteller makes up a sentence that describes one of the cards in their hand. All of the other players take one of the cards from their hand that they think fits the sentence and gives it to the storyteller. The card chosen by the storyteller is mixed with all of the cards chosen by the other players. All of the cards are shown to all of the players (other than the storyteller) and each player chooses which card they think was the card described by the storyteller. Players score points based on if they guessed the right card. The player that scores the most points wins the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

A la carte



Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Don Quixote


Hansa Teutonica

Jäger und Sammler



Level X


Samarkand: Routes to Riches


Game of the Year Plus

World Without End

World Without End is based on the book written by Ken Follett. World Without End is a game that takes place in four chapters. Players take actions to try and live a good life. Players build houses, research cures to help sick villagers, make and sell goods, and donate money to build buildings.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Diego Drachenzahn

In Diego Drachenzahn the players are competing in the dragons’ fire spitting competition. Players take turns throwing three balls onto the gameboard trying to get them into the target they chose. After all of the balls have been thrown, the other players try to guess what target the other player was aiming for. The players score points for guessing the right target and throwing balls into their chosen spot on the board.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees


Panic Tower!


Vampires of the Night

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt: Das Original-Spiel zum Buch

Die Lieben Sieben: Ab auf die Wippe!

Gackerei ums Hühnerei

Inspektor Hase


Mein Mäuschen-Farbspiel

Mummy’s Treasure

Razzo Raketo

Shaun das Schaf: Echt Schaf!


Spiel Des Jahres


Qwirkle uses a set of tiles of six shapes and colors. The tiles are played on the board next to other tiles on the table that either match the shape or the color of other tiles that it is played next to. Players score points for all of the tiles in the line that they played tile(s) to. If a player plays the sixth block of a color or shape in a given line, they have created a Qwirkle and they score additional points. The player who scores the most points, wins the game.

Qwirkle is a new take on the game Dominoes that actually improves on its’ predecessor. Qwirkle is such a simple game to play but still has quite a bit of strategy. Unless you have no interest at all in the game’s premise, I would highly recommend picking up Qwirkle.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees


Forbidden Island

In Forbidden Island you and the other players are working together to gather the four treasures from the island before it sinks into the sea. Players move around the gameboard gathering treasures and preventing the island from sinking into the water. Each player has a special ability that they can use to help the team. The players win the game if they are able to get all of the treasures and escape the island in time.

If you have always had an interest in co-op games but have never played a co-op game before, Forbidden Island is the game for you. While the game is a little simplistic compared to other co-op games, it is still a great game. Forbidden Island is probably the best or one of the best co-op games for children and people who don’t play a lot of board games.

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


In Uptown/Blockers! players place tiles onto the gameboard. Each tile has three unique identifiers. This allows tiles to be played in three different areas on the gameboard. When playing tiles players try to play the tiles next to each other since the goal is to have the fewest number of groups of tiles. Since you can’t play all of your tiles next to one another right away players need to try and connect their different groups together to reduce the number of groups that they have. Whichever player has the fewest groups of tiles wins the game.

I have played Uptown and I would say that it is a pretty good abstract game. The game’s theme is extremely weak though and that probably explains why the game was re-themed as Blockers! If you like tile laying games with some strategy, you should enjoy Uptown/Blockers!

The Castles of Burgundy

In Castles of Burgundy each player plays as an aristocrat that controls part of France. Players take tiles and place them onto their land which gives them a special benefit. Players earn points based on getting tiles of the same type and filling different areas of their land. The player who scores the most victory points wins the game.

The Castle of Burgundy is a good light to moderately strategic tile placement game. The game has quite a bit of strategy and is just a well rounded game. If you like these type of games you should enjoy The Castles of Burgundy.




Pelican Cove/Uluru


Skull/Skull & Roses Red

Sun, Sea & Sand

Kinderspiel Des Jahres
Da ist der Wurm drin

Da ist der Wurm drin is a roll and move game where each player tries to reach the compost heap at the end of the garden. Players roll a die to determine which section they add to their worm. Players can bet on which worm will reach certain parts of the gameboard first and gets an extra boost forward if they are correct. Whichever worm reaches the compost heap first wins the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Magician’s Kitchen


Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

1000 and One Treasures

Banana Jump

Roll & Go/Das große Kullern

Das große Tier-Rätsel

Flucht vor dem T-Rex

Ghost Blitz



Kleine Froschmusik

Magors Lesezauber



Zicke Zacke

Kennerspiel Des Jahres

7 Wonders

In 7 Wonders each player is the leader of one of the great cities of the world. Players gather resources, develop trade routes and become the most powerful military. Players are dealt cards and take one of them and pass the rest to the next player. Each card chosen gives players different benefits that they try to use to get more points and win the game.

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Nominees




Spiel Des Jahres

Kingdom Builder

In Kingdom Builder players are trying to build up their kingdoms. The game has nine different types of terrains. On a player’s turn they draw a card and have to play three settlements on that type of terrain. If a player plays next to a location, they get to take the corresponding tile which gives the player an additional action they can take. Players score points based on meeting the conditions on three Kingdom Builder cards chosen at the beginning of the game.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees


Las Vegas

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games





Miss Lupun…und das Geheimnis der Zahlen


Rapa Nui

Santa Cruz

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Schnappt Hubi!

In Schnappt Hubi! players work together to try and chase the ghost out of the house. The game uses a device which randomizes the house for each game. In the first round players move through the house as different animals to discover how the walls of the house are laid out and try to find the magic doors which start the second phase of the game. In the second phase of the game the players try to chase the ghost out of the house. If the players can get the ghost out of the house in time, they win the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Die kleinen Drachenritter

Spinnengift und Krötenschleim

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Broomsticks and Backflips

Captain Kidd

Coraxis & Co.

Flossen hoch!


Mogel Motte


Rhino Hero/Super Rhino

Zirkus Stapelix

Kennerspiel Des Jahres


Each player takes control of a family and tries to give them fulfilling lives. The gameboard is filled with different areas that have a bunch of cubes. People take different colored cubes in order to perform different actions. The goal of the game is to score points during gameplay while also scoring points for their family members living memorable lives that will be remembered after their death.

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Nominees



Kennerspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games



Ora et Labora


Spiel Des Jahres


In Hanabi players work together to create a fireworks show. Each player holds cards in their hand but the catch is that they are held so all of the players but the player holding the cards can see what the cards are. Players try to play cards to the table from one to five in the different colors. Players can get hints from the other players but only a certain number of clues can be given at a time. Clues can only tell a player how many cards they have of a specific color or number. Players can only mis-play three cards before the game ends. Players score points based on how many cards they are able to play before the game ends.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

Augustus/Rise of Augustus


Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

La Boca


Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Hand aufs Herz



Riff Raff



Kinderspiel Des Jahres

The Enchanted Tower

In The Enchanted Tower the kingdom’s princess has been captured and taken to the enchanted tower. One player plays as the evil sorcerer and hides the key under one of 16 spaces on the gameboard. The other players play together as one character that is trying to find the key before the sorcerer gets to it. Once the players have found the key, they get to try it on one of the Enchanted Tower’s locks. If the key was used on the right lock, the player that found the key wins the game. If the key didn’t work the key is secretly placed under a new space and everyone starts again.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Gold am Orinoko

Mucca Pazza

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Bim Bamm!

Bugs in the Kitchen

Catan Junior Madagascar


Linus, der kleine Magier

Mix Fix

Move & Twist

Pingi Pongo

Star Wars: Battle of Hoth

Kennerspiel Des Jahres

Legends of Andor

Legends of Andor is a cooperative adventure board game where the players work as a group of heroes fighting off the evil forces that threaten the realm. Players will go on quests through five scenarios as players need to decide which creatures to stop since they all headed towards the castle. The game plays as an overarching story where actions taken will change how the story unfolds.

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Nominees


The Palaces of Carrara

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Terra Mystica

Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar


Spiel Des Jahres

Camel Up

In Camel Up the players bet on racing camels to score points. Players bet on which camels they think will place first and second. The earlier you place a bet the more you can win but also the more you can lose. When a camel lands on a space occupied by another camel, they are placed on top of the camels they landed on. When a camel moves, all of the camels on top of that camel move as well. In order to impact the movement of the camels players can place tiles that either let the camels move forward or backward one space. Whichever player scores the most points by the end of the game wins.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees


In Concept players need to try to convey different words/concepts using icons on a gameboard. A pair of players work together placing pieces on different icons on the gameboard to indicate a word/concept that they are trying to get the other players to guess. The player who guesses the word/concept gets points as well as the pair of players who described the concept. The player who gets the most points wins the game.

Concept is an interesting take on the word game. There are many word games out there but most of them are very similar to each other. Concept takes such a unique spin on the genre that it should intrigue anyone who likes these types of games. Concept is not going to be for everyone as it is more of an experience than a game, but it is such an engaging experience.


Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Battle Sheep

Love Letter

In Love Letter the men of the kingdom are trying to woo the princess. Your goal is to be the first person to get their love letter to the princess while preventing the other players from doing the same. The game comes with sixteen cards and each player holds one card at a time. On their turn each player draws and plays a card. Each card has a special ability that if used properly can eliminate another player from the game. The last player remaining or the player with the highest ranked card at the end of a round wins the round. The first player to win a given number of rounds wins the game.

Love Letter is what a lot of people call a micro-game. It is a small game that you can bring with you everywhere and is simple enough that anyone can learn it in minutes. The game plays quickly and is more fun than you would think. It is a fun little deduction game that is perfect when you don’t have a lot of time. Love Letter has become so successful that there have been many different versions of the game made that people can easily purchase the version that appeals to them most.

Potato Man


SOS Titanic

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters

In Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters the players play as treasure hunters who are trying to find hidden jewels in a haunted house. Players must work together to get all of the jewels before the ghosts take over the mansion. Plays roll dice to move around the mansion and determine if another ghost is added to the mansion. If players land on a space occupied by a ghost they roll a die to fight the ghost and hope to remove it from the gameboard. Ghosts can overwhelm rooms though so players will have to work together to prevent that from happening. If the players get all of the treasures and all escape before the house is overrun with ghosts, they win the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Brandon the Brave

Flizz & Miez

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Game Over

Gruselrunde zur Geisterstunde

Oh Schreck, der Speck fliegt weg!

Speed Cups

Welches Tier bin ich?

Zieh Leine, Flynn!

Kennerspiel Des Jahres


In Istanbul all of the players play as a merchant and their assistants. Players move around the market and stop at different locations in order to perform different actions. To take the action on a given space though you need to leave behind one of your four assistants. In order to use the assistant in the future though you must return to the space to pick the assistant up. Players continue to take actions in order to acquire five rubies to win the game.

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Nominees



Kennerspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Blood Bound


Russian Railroads


Spiel Des Jahres

Colt Express

In Colt Express each player plays as a bandit robbing a train. Players compete to be the richest bandit on the train by stealing from the train’s passengers and messing with each other’s plans. Players play cards which are resolved in order to give the players different actions that they can perform. Players can move between train cars, punch or shoot other bandits, rob passengers, along with other actions. Whoever acquires the most money by the end of the game wins.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees

The Game

Machi Koro

Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games



Loony Quest

One Night Ultimate Werewolf



Kinderspiel Des Jahres


In Spinderella each player tries to get their three ants through the forest as quickly as possible. Players roll three dice which determine if they can move their own ants or if they move one of the two spiders up in the trees which control where the larger spider moves on the gameboard. The large spider has a magnet attached to it so it will attract the ants beneath it. All ants that are picked up by the spider are sent back to the start. The first player to get all three of their ants to the other side of the forest wins the game.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Push a Monster


Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Bee Alert

Chef Alfredo

Fly Feast/Fliegenschmaus

Fröschlein aufgepasst!

Joe’s Zoo

Schau mal! Was ist anders?

Der verdrehte Sprach-Zoo

Kennerspiel Des Jahres

Broom Service

Broom Service is a card game where players need to try and deliver the most potions through the “Broom Service”. During each round players play four cards that give them different actions that they can perform on their turn. Each card has a brave/risky action and a cowardly/safe action. The safe action isn’t as powerful but the risky action could be stolen by other players. Players have to use the different actions to make potions, move the potions to their destinations and eventually deliver them. Players score victory points for successfully delivering potions. Players need to beware the weather though as well as event cards that change how the game is played. The player who has scored the most victory points after seven rounds wins the game.

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Nominees



Kennerspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games


Fields of Arle

The Voyages of Marco Polo


Spiel Des Jahres


Not surprisingly Codenames was the winner of the 2016 Spiel Des Jahres. Codenames was easily one of the most popular games of the year and it is one of the highest rated games of all time. In Codenames two teams compete to try and make contact with all of their agents/cards. One player on each team knows the identity of all the team’s agents. They give one word clues to their teammates which refer to multiple words/cards on the board that belong to their team. The other teammates can then guess which cards they think their teammate was referring to. When a card is chosen it is revealed which team the card belonged to. If at any time one of the teams choose the assassin card, that team automatically loses. Otherwise whichever team has all of their cards revealed first wins.

Spiel Des Jahres Nominees



Spiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Spyfall/Agent Undercover

Animals on Board

Die fiesen 7



Kinderspiel Des Jahres

My First Stone Age/Stone Age Junior

Based on the popular board game Stone Age, My First Stone Age is a simplified version of the game meant for children and families. In the game players collect goods and try to be the first player that is able to build three huts. Players flip over tiles which are used to tell the players which spot on the gameboard that they are supposed to move to next. Players then perform the action associated with that space. Most spaces have a player collect a certain good. When players land on the trading post they can trade their goods for goods currently available at the trading post. When a player lands on the construction site and they have the necessary goods they are able to build a hut.

Kinderspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Leo muss zum Friseur/Leo Goes to the Barber


Kinderspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

Burg Flatterstein/Flutterstone Castle

Burg Schlummerschatz/Sleepy Castle

Die geheimnisvolle Drachenhöhle/The Mysterious Dragon Cave


Harry Hopper

Mein Schatz

Sag’s mir! Junior/Time’s Up! Kids

Kennerspiel Des Jahres

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King was the 2016 winner of the Kennerspiel Des Jahres. Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King is a tile laying game. The rules for scoring changes for every game so you need to adapt your strategy each game. Tiles are played so matching elements touch (water touches water, etc). On each turn players draw three tiles. One tile they discard and the other two they can put money next to which indicates how much another player has to pay to buy the tile from you. Each player then has the opportunity to buy one tile from another player. After everyone has had a chance to buy tiles, each player places their new tiles into the tiles they have played out in front of them. Players score points after each round based on the objectives of that round. The player to score the most points at the end of the game wins.

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Nominees

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

T.I.M.E Stories

Kennerspiel Des Jahres Recommended Games

7 Wonders: Duel

Blood Rage





Board Game Geek

Opinionated Gamers