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Spiel des Jahres Games
of the Years

The Spiel des Jahres is a prestigious and longstanding award for board and card games. As you may have guessed, the name is German and means Game of the Year. It's been going since 1978 with the purpose of rewarding family-friendly game design, and promoting excellent games in the German market.

It's a really useful way of finding some amazing games for your family, whether they are new or released many years ago. They include awards in the following categories that increase in complexity:

  • Children's Game of the Year
  • Game of the Year
  • Connoisseur Game of the Year

This list includes 34 games from the last 29 years, with 222 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play award winning board games. We break them down into the following areas:

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We have 16 Award Winners lists of games, like these:



Catan is a strategy game set on an uninhabited island where you accumulate, spend and trade resources to build the biggest kingdom. Players must compete for space, resources and ultimately for ten victory points to be crowned the winner. What starts as...


Ticket To Ride (Series)

Ticket to Ride is a railway-themed strategy board game where players compete to earn the most points by collecting cards, placing trains and completing journeys. It is an easy-to-learn game that can be gently competitive and has become a popular classic.



Dominion is a medieval theme strategic card game where you collect and refine a hand of cards to build the most powerful kingdom. The goal is to gain the most victory points and to avoid curses. It stands out for the wide variety of strategies and play...

The Magic Labyrinth

The Magic Labyrinth (also known as The Magic Maze) is a traversal puzzle game where magician apprentices retrieve magic objects from their master's maze. However, there are invisible walls in the maze that you have to avoid. The walls are set up under...



Dixit is a communication game where you guess which Picture cards are related to someone's clue. Each round you each pick a card to match the Storyteller player's clue and then try and guess which one was the Storyteller's. It's clever because of the...



Qwirkle is an abstract sequencing puzzle game where you compete to create rows of matching (or series of) colours and shapes. You score more points by matching multiple directions but need to be careful not to leave points for other players to...

7 Wonders

7 Wonders is a card collecting game where players compete to build one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You play by collecting and playing cards to perform different actions. It is a strategic game of building and trading, where you need to...



Carcassonne is a strategy game where you lay tiles to create a medieval landscape of farms, rivers and cities. Each new tile must match the roads, rivers, farms and cities of those around it. As you place it you can claim one of these elements that...

Kingdom Builder

Kingdom Builder is a strategy world-building game where you create a kingdom by placing settlers' houses. You work to build settlements with positions and orientations that meet three specific criteria chosen at the start. This, along with special...



Hanabi is a cooperative game where you create a firework show by placing the cards in the right order. Your goal is to organise all the suits of cards in ascending order like Solitaire. The twist is that only other players can see your cards and you...


Camel Up

Camel Up is a crazy push-your-luck game where you bet on and influence camel races. Each turn you can move the camels, bet on which will win or place tokens to slow or speed things up. It's clever because it rewards players who make bets early and it's...


Splendor is a trading-up strategy game where you play a global trader during the European Renaissance. Nobles once content with large castles and fur robes, now seek dark sapphires and glittering diamonds. You must balance accruing currency or investing...


Colt Express

Colt Express is a traversal game where you move a bandit along an express train in the Old West to collect the most loot. Each player pre-selects moves, attacks and pick-ups that then play out together. Unusually, play becomes about planning, predicting...

Machi Koro

Machi Koro is a world-building game where you create a thriving city full of different buildings and landmarks. You play by rolling dice, collecting money and buying buildings with unique powers. It is a game of building big and building quickly and...

The Game

The Game is a cooperative card game where you work to discard 98 numbered cards onto four piles in order. You aren't allowed to communicate about the cards you have, so you must try and leave things open enough for other players while also working to...



Codenames is a team communication game where you play two competing spy networks. One player in each team gives clues to help them find the cards that are their agents without hitting the assassin. It's a novel combination of push-your-luck, clue-giving...



Kingdomino is a kingdom-building game where you place domino tiles to match terrain types and score points. As you play, you build a territory in a grid that requires careful consideration of where dominoes are placed to maximise points. What makes this...

Ice Cool (Series)

Ice Cool, and the follow-up Ice Cool 2, is an action game where you flick plastic Penguins around cardboard school rooms to collect points and avoid the Catcher. Like a cross between Subbuteo and Cluedo, you slide, jump and barrel your penguin through...


The Mind

The Mind is a cooperative sequence card game with a telepathic twist. Each card has a single number on it. Your task is to play them in order, the lowest first. However, you are not allowed to communicate physically or verbally to coordinate who plays...


Azul is a tile-laying collection and sequencing game where you help the king decorate their palace with Portuguese tiles. You aim to gain tiles on your game card that form patterns to score the most points. What makes it unique is its balance between...

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a sequencing game where you are "quack" doctors making medicine brews by adding random ingredients to your pot. In push-your-luck style you have to be careful not to add too much otherwise it explodes. It's a game about the...



Wingspan is a relaxing, award-winning strategy card game about birds for one to five players. You create flocks of birds to extend a chain of powerful combinations in one of your three habitats. Your goal is to discover and attract the best birds to...

Just One

Just One is a communication party game where you guess words based on one-word clues from the group. You work together to help the guesser by writing one-word clues on the wipeable easels. Unusually, if the clues are the same they are removed before the...

Valley of the Vikings

Valley of the Vikings is a dexterity traversal game where real barrel bowling fuels a race for gold. Along with the fun of knocking the barrels over is a looping scoring track where sequence is all important and strategy abounds. It's a great balance of...


Speedy Roll

Speedy Roll (also known as Hedgehog Roll) is an action dexterity game where you roll the hedgehog (a fuzzy tennis ball with eyes) to collect woodland items that stick to it. This determines which path you can take through the forest to get back home...

My City

My City is a world-building game where players compete to create the highest-scoring city by placing Tetris-shaped buildings on their map. However, it's a Legacy game which means the board and rules change as you play through 24 rounds over a number of...


Pictures is a puzzle game about recreating pictures with everyday objects. You are assigned a picture from a grid of cards on the table and given a set of materials (cubes, sticks and stones, cards) to make it with. How well you do is determined by how...


MicroMacro: Crime City

MicroMacro: Crime City is a puzzle brain game where you are solving crimes by discovering clues hidden in black and white pictures. You solve a series of cases that relate to different large pictures you lay out on the table between all the players. The...


Dragomino is a matching and collecting tile game similar to Kingdomino but tuned for really young players. You take turns to pick and add a Domino Land card to your growing grid and earn dragon eggs. It works for youngsters with...

Lost Ruins of Arnak

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a collecting game where you explore an uninhabited ancient island. You play Action cards to find resources, defeat monsters and uncover treasures. It is a game about overcoming your limitations and fears in order to fully uncover...



Cascadia is a collecting world-building game where you create habitats for the wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. You balance building habitats and placing wildlife to score points. It's like Solitaire where you match habitats and wildlife, but with...

Top Ten

Top Ten is a communication game where you have to match other player's answers to silly questions on a scale of 1-10 scale. You play by reading a question, then giving answers you hope the guesser can put in the right order to match your number. It is a...


Scout is a sequencing card game where you must play sets of increasing value from a hand you can't reorder. This ordering restriction is cleverly offset by being able to insert cards from the table to prepare runs and sets for your next go. This, and...


Dorfromantik Board Game

Dorf Romantik is a cooperative world-building game where you strategically place tiles to create countryside regions to score points in a variety of ways. Play is solitaire-like, but rather than matching suits you're matching landscape. It stands out...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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