kinderspiel des jahres

Congratulations to Colt Express for winning the 2015 Spiel des Jahres award! Colt Express is designed by Christophe Raimbault and published by Ludonaute/Asmodee.

The Spiel des Jahres is German for Game of the Year and is awarded by a panel of German speaking board game critics for the best family style game.

In addition to the Spiel des Jahres two other awards are given out. They are the Kennerspiel des Jahres (connoisseur game of the year) for best heavier game and the Kinderspiel des Jahres for best children’s game. This year’s winners are Broom Service designed by Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister and published by alea for the Kennerspiel des Jahres and Spinderella designed by Roberto Fraga and published by Zoch for the Kinderspiel des Jahres.

Winning one of these awards is a great achievement for a board game and is quite often accompanied by a large increase of sales. Congratulations are in order for all of the winners as well as the nominees that didn’t win. For the full list of nominees and recommended games you can visit the official site for each award:

Spiel des Jahres

Kennerspiel des Jahres

Kinderspiel des Jahres

spiel des jahres multi

There’s no higher award in the board gaming industry than Germany’s Spiel des Jahres. Each year, an enigmatic “jury” of German board game scholars, reviewers, and educators select their top games in three somewhat nebulous categories:

  • Kennerspiel des Jahres or what we might call “gamer games”. These are the heavier titles that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to casual gamers.
  • Kinderspiel des Jahres are your basic family and kids games. Light rules and friendly themes.
  • Spiel des Jahres is the big one. These fall in the middle of the complexity spectrum, usually consisting of accessible, mainstream-friendly casual games.

Earlier this week, this year’s nominees for the three award categories were announced. Our very own Rob Searing covered the story in his May 18 article. There weren’t many surprises on the list (other than the usual lot of Germany-only titles that haven’t been distributed in the United States), but there was one odd duck: The Game. So, what the heck is The Game?

the game

The full title of the The Game the game is “The Game…so lange du kannst!” which roughly translates to “The Game…play as long as you can!” It’s a cooperative hand-management card game published by Nürnberger Spielkarten Verlag (NSV) and designed by Steffen Benndorf, best known for Qwixx. Despite the oddly spooky artwork, it’s a simple theme-less affair in which players try to empty their hands of numbered cards by laying them in one of four discard piles, two in ascending numerical order and two descending (as noted by some out-of-place tribal arrows). As long as the card you’re discarding is greater than or less than the previous card, following that pile’s rules, the move is legal.

the game cards

Image From BGG

The goal is to discard all 98 cards cooperatively, which means ascertaining which player should go first and playing strategically to ensure the gaps between ascending and descending card values are as tight as possible. The trick is that players can never reveal exactly what values are on their cards, but all other table talk is permitted. As the draw deck begins to deplete, the choices become much more difficult.

There are a few other minor rules and exceptions that are explained in the rulebook, but that’s The Game in a nutshell. Even with the bizarrely non-descript name and the ill-fitting art, The Game sounds like a lot of fun. It reminds me of Hanabi, Red 7, and many classic card games as well. I’ll be shocked if it beats out Machi Koro for the Spiel des Jahres, but if and when The Game gets local distribution, I’ll be interested in checking it out.

spiel des jahres banner

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres, Kennerspiel des Jahres, and Kinderspiel des Jahres award nominees have been announced. To view the official announcement, as well as view a list of all those that were recommended in each category, you can visit the official Spiel des Jahres site here.

Spiel des Jahres

Colt Express, Machi Koro, and The Game

2015_coltexpress 2015_machikoro the game

Kinderspiel des Jahres

Push-a-Monster, Schatz-Rabatz, and Spinderella

2015_pushamonster 2015_schatzrabatz 2015_spinderella

Kennerspiel des Jahres

Elysium, Orléans, Broom Service

2015_bromservice 2015_elysium 2015_orleans