Why the Spiel Des Jahres is So Important

clever move banner

“Really?  That game won?”

A recent article from Clever Move discusses the nature of the international Spiel des Jahres award and its importance to the international gaming hobby.  Due to the fact that many serious board gamers question the recipients of this award from year to year, Tom Felber, jury foreman for the SdJ jury, explained how the organization works at BGG Con 2014:

…The Spiel des Jahres is NOT for the board game geek. Not for the hobbyist or hard core player…Spiel des Jahres is for the general public. Games that EVERYONE can play.

spiel_des_jahres 150

The Spiel des Jahres focuses on bringing the best games to the forefront that will encourage more people in the general public to participate in hobby games by highlighting lighter games that can be easily digested and played quickly, such as the 2014 winner, Camel Up.

Imagine sitting someone in front of Twilight Imperium when their previous game experience began with Monopoly and ended with Scrabble. They may or may not make it through the entire game, but, either way, they wouldn’t come back for more. Board games, they’d conclude, are not for them.

The article also presents, in a nutshell, the process for selecting the SdJ winner:

  1. There are 13 SdJ jurors.
  2. Each juror nominates 20 games.
  3. Each juror later narrows their list of nominees to 15 games.
  4. Jury meets in April, creates a list of 50-60 games.
  5. Jurors may veto games for any reason, one of the most common being poorly-written rules.
  6. They chop the list down to approximately 25 games.

The games selected for this prestigious award may not appeal to hardcore gamers at first sight, but that is not necessarily the focus of the award.  “The chosen games might be bland, edgeless, and simple — but that’s a good thing once you understand why.”

You can read the full article HERE.