Spiel des Jahres 2023 shortlists
Image: Spiel des Jahres

The Spiel des Jahres is one of the most recognizable badges of honor a board game box can have stamped on it. And, while the event has a huge focus on the domestic market, with the streams, announcements, and judging process usually conducted in German, the Spiel des Jahres is a hallmark of trust, quality, and admittedly – your next board game poison.

This is why today’s reveal of Spiel des Jahres nominees across three different categories is significant for people who love board games, are on the lookout for the next best thing, or are downright convinced that their favorite game should be getting one of the highest honor in the tabletop hobby. A special prize was granted to Unlock! Game Adventures and Unlock! Kids.

Spiel des Jahres (Board Game of the Year)

The list of games to make the category and the final-three cut is probably already known to you. For the Spiel des Jahres 2023 silverware, the first game on the list is Dorfromantik – Das Brettspiel by Pegasus Spiele and designers Michael Palm and Lukas Zach. The pair has also created one of the best – in our opinion – party games, BANG! The Dice Game.

Another nominee here is Fun Facts by Kaspar Lapp and Ravensburger which is a great way to get to know each other and bring another excellent party game to the table. Lapp actually has another game listed in the category’s, with That’s Not a Hat, but it did not make the final cut.

The third shortlist this year is Next Station London by Matthew Dunstan, who has crafted a number of excellent games besides this year’s contender. The rest of the entries in the category recommendations included:

  • Akropolis by Jules Messaud (Kobold Spieleverlag / Gigamic)
  • Hitster (Jumbo)
  • Kuzooka by Leo Colovini (Pegasus Spiele)
  • Mantis by Ken Gruhl and Jeremy Posner (Exploding Kittens)
  • QE by Gavin Birnbaum (Strohmann Games / Boardgametables.com)
  • Sea Salt & paper by Bruno Cathala and Theo Rivière (MM-Spiele)
  • That’s Not a Hat by Kasper Lapp (Ravensburger)

Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year)

This category saw a similarly interesting field of contestants with the three games making the shortlist undoubtedly deserving to be on it.

The shortlisted games included Carla Caramel by Sara Zarian, who was the only game female game designer to win a nomination in the nearly 300 games that tried to enter this year’s edition of the awards.

Her game is inspired by a previous title, Monsieur Carrousel., which was released in 2019, with the latest edition largely following the artwork of the previous game.

The category also saw Gigamon by Johann Roussel and Karim Aouidad and Mysterium Kids by Antonin Boccara and Yves Hirschfeld featured as well. Other recommendations in the category included:

  • Douzanimo by Sébastien Decad (Djeco)
  • Mein erstes Abenteuer by Roméo Hennion, Mathilde Malburet, Jean Philippe Sahut and Arnaud Boutle (Board Game Box)
  • Rutsch & flutsch! by Joel Escalante and Rafael Escalante (Game Factory)

Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur’s Game of the Year)

The Kennerspeil des Jahres category was a little less crowded space with three games again making the top cut and getting shortlisted. Among those were Challengers! by Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck, Iki by Koota Yamada, and Planet Unknown by Ryuan Lambert and Adam Rehberg, our personal favorite owing to the space theme of the game and our love with the sci-fi theme, but also the well-executed mechanics.

Among the other titles in this category that weren’t shortlisted in the final three are Council of Shadows by Martin Kallenborn and Jochen Scherer and Mindbug by Marvin Hegen, Christian Kudahl, Skaff Elias and Richard Garfield.

If you are even a little like us, your next job is to go and look up every single game on this list and see if you can’t add one of these to your collection. In reality, Spiel des Jahres has a huge impact on board game sales, making it an important distinction for publishers, upcoming designers, and established veterans.

Since it was established in 1978, the Spiel des Jahres has offered guidance to consumers and businesses, and has helped share the love of board games. A

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.