The nominations for the Spiel des Jahres, the most prestigious game design award in Germany, have been released, as well as the nominations for Kennerspiel des Jadres and  Kinderspiel des Jahres.  There was also a special prize awarded to Pandemic Legacy – Season 2 by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau, published by Z-Man Games.

The top award, the Spiel des Jahres ("Game of the Year") nominees include:

  • Azul by Michael Kiesling (Publisher: Next Move/Plan B Games)
  • Luxor by Rudiger Dorn (Publisher: Queen Games)
  • The Mind by Wolfgang Warsch (Publisher: Nurnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag)

The Kennerspiel des Jahres ("Enthusiast Game of the Year") is for somewhat "heavier" games intended for more experienced game players.  The nominees for this year are:

  • The Quackers of Quedlinburg by Wolfgang Warsch (Publisher: Schmidt Spiele)
  • Pretty Clever by Wolfgang Warsch (Publisher: Schmidt Spiele)
  • Heaven & Ale by Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt (Publisher: eggertspiele)

The Kinderspiel des Jahres ("Children’s Game of the Year") nominees are:

  • Emojito by Urtis Sulinskas (Publisher: Huch! & Friends)
  • Dragon’s Breath by Lena and Günter Burkhardt (Publisher: HABA)
  • Panic Mansion by Asger Sams Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen (Publisher: Blue Orange)

Author Stewart Woods described the importance of a Spiel des Jahres nomination in his book Eurogames: The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games.  According to his research, simply being nominated can boost the expected sales of a game from 500 – 3000 copies up to around 10,000.  Actually winning the award can translate into sales of 300,000 to 500,000 copies.

Last year’s Spiel des Jahres winner was Kingdomino, with Exit: Das Spiel winning Kennerspiel (see "'Spiel des Jahres' 2017 Winners Announced").  The Kinderspiel was awarded to IceCool (see "2017 ‘Kinderspiel des Jahres’ Winner Announced"). 

The winner of the Spiel and Kennerspiel will be announced on July 23 in Berlin.  The winner of the Kinderspiel will be announced on June 11 in Hamburg.

For the first time since 2010, the Spiel des Jahres jury decided to award a special prize. Pandemic Legacy – Season 2 by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau received the prize because Pandemic, The Forbidden Island and Pandemic Legacy – Season 1 were all nominated for the grand prize in previous years, but never won.  The jury felt the design duo deserved acknowledgement for outstanding performance of the line.