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Board Game Awards… Explained


Game of the Year (abbreviated GotY) is a title awarded annually by various magazines, websites, and game critics to deserving tabletop games, including board games and card games. Many publications award a single “Game of the Year” award to a single title published in the previous year that they feel represents the pinnacle of gaming achievement that year. Look out for these seals on your next purchase!

The Spiel des Jahres (German: Game of the Year) is an award for board and card games, created in 1978 with the purpose of rewarding family-friendly game design, and promoting excellent games in the German market. It is thought that the existence and popularity of the award was one of the major drivers of the quality of games coming out of Germany, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. A Spiel des Jahres nomination can increase the typical sales of a game from 500–3,000 copies to around 10,000, and the winner can usually expect to sell as many as 500,000 copies.

The Golden Geek Awards are a set of awards for board games and video games given out annually by the online community at BoardGameGeek. BoardGameGeek (BGG) is a popular website that serves as a comprehensive resource for board game enthusiasts, offering information on games, reviews, forums, and more.

The Golden Geek Awards cover various categories, recognizing outstanding achievements in the board gaming industry.

The Deutscher Spielepreis (German: German Game Prize) is an important award for boardgames. It was started in 1990 by the German magazine Die Pöppel-Revue, which collects votes from the industry’s stores, magazines, professionals and game clubs. The results are announced every October at the Spiel game fair in Essen, Germany. The Essen Feather is awarded at the same ceremony.

In contrast to the Spiel des Jahres, which tends to be awarded to family games, the DSP is awarded for “gamers’ games” with particularly good or innovative gameplay. Although at one point it was not uncommon for the DSP and the SdJ to be awarded to the same game (as was the case for The Settlers of Catan, El Grande, and Tikal in the 1990s), since Carcassonne (2001) only two games have succeeded in winning both awards: Dominion in 2009 and Azul in 2018.

Each year, hundreds of Mensans meet over one weekend to play and rate the year’s newest board games. The top five games earn Mensa Select distinction and may display the Mensa Select seal on their packaging.

The Mensa Select seal indicates that a game is original in concept, challenging, and well-designed. Additionally, these games are a good value for the price, easy to comprehend and play, and, above all, fun! Look for the Mensa Select seal when purchasing your next game.

The American Tabletop Awards (ATA) were established to recognize and celebrate outstanding board games in the United States. These awards aimed to highlight the best board games released each year in various categories, such as strategy games, family games, and complex games.

The ATA typically consisted of a panel of board game reviewers, content creators, and industry professionals who collaborated to identify and honor exceptional games. The awards aimed to provide valuable recommendations to players, families, and gaming communities looking for high-quality tabletop experiences.

The “As d’Or” is a prestigious French board game award, often referred to as the “Golden Ace” in English. The award is given annually during the Festival International des Jeux (International Games Festival) in Cannes, France. The festival is a significant event in the world of board gaming, attracting game designers, publishers, and enthusiasts from around the globe.

Winning the As d’Or is considered a prestigious accolade in the board gaming industry and can significantly boost the recognition and sales of a game. It’s an acknowledgment of excellence in game design, innovation, and overall contribution to the world of tabletop gaming.

The UK Games Expo Awards are presented annually as part of the UK Games Expo, which is one of the largest hobby games conventions in the United Kingdom. The awards recognize excellence in various categories within the board gaming industry. The UK Games Expo itself is a major event that encompasses tabletop games, role-playing games, card games, and other gaming-related activities.

The winners of the UK Games Expo Awards are typically determined through a combination of public votes and the decisions of a panel of judges. These awards contribute to the recognition and promotion of exceptional games within the UK gaming community.

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