And the winner is! – board game awards
Who hasn’t dreamed of being the best at something?
To measure up against others and receive recognition as best of them all. The competition to crown the best, already familiar in ancient Rome (admittedly a rather bloodier competition than today), of course also exists in the board game industry. Take a look at the board game boxes on your shelves – notice any showing off an award symbol or two? You’ll probably notice quite a few different types. These are the awards that a game has received from various conventions, juries, or communities. In this article, we will give a rough overview of some of the most recognizable awards.
Let's start with the German market:
Since 1990, players, journalists and retailers judge games from all around the world to award the “Deutscher Spielepreis.” Anyone can cast a vote for this award via a voting form on the website. All games released in the timeframe of one year worldwide are eligible, so this award is not limited to German releases. Categories are family and adult games, as well as the best children’s game. For adult games, a ranking of the top 10 games is released. Only one children’s game is lauded. Often there is also a special prize or recognition for a person from the industry. Each year, the winners are presented at the International Game Days in Essen in October. The current Game of the Year in the adult games category is “The Lost Ruins of Arnak”. In the children’s games category, “Dodo” came out on top. Winners as well as 2nd and 3rd places receive the right to print the logo of the game award on the box. In addition, recognition and mention in the trade press is certain.
The sales figures of prize-winning games are usually much higher. And let’s not forget about bragging rights…
But really the most important prize in the German scene is the “Spiel des Jahres” (Game of the Year). This critic’s prize with 3 categories is issued annually by the association Spiel des Jahres e.V.. The 14-member jury judges games of the current year based on idea, presentation, functionality and rules. The main prize, the “Spiel des Jahres” is issued for family games. The Expert game is aimed at frequent players and more complex games. Finally, the Children’s Game of the Year is awarded to games for children up to the age of 8. The winners have the privilege to print the award meeple of the respective category on the box. The announcement of the Game of the Year Award takes place in July.
Let's look at other countries
The As D’or is the most important game prize in France. This annual jury-prize has been awarded since 1989, also in 3 categories: Family, Expert and Children’s Game. As of this year, the category of Insider Game is also included. Since the As D’or is awarded in February, it often predicts the prestigious awards of the German juries later in the year.
In the American market, the Golden Geek Awards is one of the most prestigious.
The Golden Geek Awards are presented each year at BGG.Con in Dallas, Texas. Nominees are drawn from a selection of games released during the previous year. Golden Geek winners are nominated by the user communities of the Boardgame Geek community websites and selected by voting.
There are many other industry awards out there, each with their own markets, judging systems, and categories - but all with clear bragging rights!
Some other major industry awards are listed here (this list is certainly not complete and is only intended to give a rough overview):
– Dice Tower Awards
– American TableTop Award
– Board Game Quest Awards
– Graf Ludo