Fun Facts, Next Station London and Dorfromantik: The Board Game will go head to head in this year’s Spiel des Jahres prize, widely considered the biggest award in board gaming.
Planet Unknown, Challengers! and Iki made the shortlist from the Kennerspiel des Jahres award, aimed at games for more experienced players, while the contest for the children-focused Kinderspiel will be between Gigamon, Mysterium Kids and Carla Caramel.
Much-fancied Spiel des Jahres challenger Akropolis made the 10-strong longlist for the prize but not the final three, while there was no space in the Kennerspiel for popular predictions Heat: Pedal to the Metal or Flamecraft.
A special prize was awarded to Unlock! Game Adventures and Unlock! Kids during the livestreamed announcement from the Playce board game cafe in Frankfurt this afternoon.
Cyril Demaegd, the founder of Ystari Games and co-designer of the Unlock! series, already has a giant pawn award from the Spiel judges for Ystari-published Caylus, which received a special award for best complex game in 2006.
Spiel des Jahres chairman Harald Schrapers, who announced this year’s Spiel and Kennerspiel nominees and shortlists, said it was unfortunate that there were so few women represented in the Spiel and Kennerspiel categories this year.
Carla Caramel, by Austria-based designer Sara Zarian, was the only game designed by a woman in any of the three award longlists, and just eight non-male designers were involved in the 290 games considered for the Spiel and Kennerspiel awards this year.
Schrapers and Spiel des Jahres deputy chairman Christoph Schlewinski, the co-ordinator of the children’s games jury, announced this year’s shortlists from Playce, Frankfurt’s first board game cafe, which was funded by the Spiel des Jahres to help promote board gaming to the general public.
Since it was launched in 1978, the Spiel des Jahres has provided huge sales boosts for its winners and nominees.
Cascadia by Randy Flynn triumphed in last year’s awards, ahead of Oink Games’ card game Scout and party game Top Ten.
Last year’s Kennerspiel went to Living Forest, while the very highly-regarded Dune: Imperium picked up a nomination alongside deduction game Cryptid.
The award winners are chosen by a panel of Germany-speaking board game critics, who assess games released in the preceding 12 months.
Winners of the three awards will be announced in Berlin on July 16 from 6pm CEST.
The full lists of nominees for the 2023 awards were:
Spiel des Jahres
Fun Facts – shortlisted
Dorfromantik – shortlisted
Next Station London – shortlisted
That’s Not a Hat
Sea Salt & Paper
Challengers! – shortlisted
Planet Unknown – shortlisted
Iki – shortlisted
Council of Shadows
Carla Caramel – shortlisted
Gigamon – shortlisted
Mysterium Kids – shortlisted
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