The Best of Board Gaming: Spiel des Jahres 2023

May 23, 2023
The Best of Board Gaming: Spiel des Jahres 2023 - Gaming Library
Published on  Updated on  

Hello Gaming Library Family!

Gearing Up for the Board Gaming Oscars: Spiel des Jahres 2023 Nominees Revealed!

It's that exciting time of the year again for board gamers worldwide as we enter award season. We just had Dice Tower Awards and the Golden Geek Awards a couple of weeks back. The much-anticipated nominees for Spiel des Jahres 2023 have finally been announced, paving the way for potential successors to legendary past winners like Just One, Azul, Kingdomino, Carcassonne, Catan, and Ticket to Ride, among others. Recent winners such as Cascadia and MicroMacro: Crime City have also left their mark.

Spiel des Jahres, meaning "Game of the Year" in English, is an illustrious award that recognizes excellence in the board gaming realm. Originating over 40 years ago, its initial purpose was to promote outstanding games within the German market. However, it has now evolved into the most prestigious accolade in the entire board gaming industry. While the Spiel des Jahres award primarily focuses on family games, it also includes separate categories for connoisseur/expert games, known as Kennerspiel, and kid-friendly games, known as Kinderspiel.


Spiel des Jahres 2023 nominees are:



Dorfromantik - Winner
"Experience the peaceful and relaxed atmosphere of the video game on your table"

Designer: Michael Palm, Lukas Zach
1–6 Players
Playing Time: 30-60 Min
Age: 8+

2022 Golden Geek Light Game of the Year Nominee
2022 Golden Geek Best Cooperative Game Nominee

In Dorfromantik: The Board Game, a collaborative experience for up to six players, the objective is to construct a picturesque landscape by strategically placing hexagonal tiles. Simultaneously, players must fulfill the requests of the population, while maximizing the length of their tracks and rivers. They must also consider the placement of flags, which yield points within enclosed areas. The players' skill in accomplishing these objectives determines the number of points they can accumulate by the game's conclusion. Throughout the replayable campaign, earned points can unlock previously sealed boxes, revealing new tiles that introduce additional challenges and opportunities to achieve higher scores. Will the charm of the video game translate into a board game award?


Fun Facts


Fun Facts
"Where do you rank compared to everyone else at the table?"

Designer: Kasper Lapp
4–8 Players
Playing Time: 30 Min
Age: 8+

2022 Golden Geek Best Party Game Nominee

Prepare for uncontrollable laughter and unexpected revelations with this delightful and interactive party game! Fun Facts guarantees hilarious moments among you and your friends, while also providing an ideal opportunity to deepen your connections in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. No one is safe from surprising twists and turns in this game, ensuring an exciting and memorable experience for all. Yes it is simple, and it could be Fun Facts' strength to get the top spot.


Next Station: London


Next Station: London
"Draw tube lines to cross the Thames and connect London. "

Designer: Matthew Dunstan
1–4 Players
Playing Time: 25–30 Min
Age: 8+

2022 Golden Geek Light Game of the Year Nominee

Embark on a prestigious project as the city of London entrusts you with the task of revamping its underground network! Your objective is to maximize connections, cater to numerous landmarks, and utilize the tunnels that traverse under the River Thames. However, be mindful of adhering to the city's strict specifications. Will you prove to be the ultimate project manager and leave a lasting mark on London's transportation system? And will this transportation game be able to find it's way to success?

In addition to the aforementioned nominations, the esteemed SdJ jury put forward the following seven titles as noteworthy recommendations. (These can be treated as runners-up):

  • Akropolis - recently claimed the top prize at France's As d'Or awards
  • HITSTER - a music-themed card game
  • KuZOOka - zoo escape co-op card game
  • MANTIS - the sibling game to the popular Exploding Kittens
  • QE - inventive auction game
  • Sea Salt & Paper - wonderfully compact card game
  • That's Not a Hat - memory-bluffing game


Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023:

The nominations for the Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur/Expert Game of the Year) were selected by the same jury focusing on ‘heavier’ or more complex games.



- Winner
"Capture the flag and hold onto it to win the tournament!"

Designer: Johannes Krenner, Markus Slawitscheck
1–8 Players
Playing Time: 45 Min
Age: 8+

At the prestigious As d'Or awards in France, this game was recently honored with the title of the best "Intermediate" game.

Can your formidable squad prevail? With the assistance of your talented Bard and the flag recently secured by your mighty Kraken, you stand prepared to face your opponent's imminent assault. Armed with the powers of your Necromancer and the unexpected aid of your Rubber Duck, you embody an extraordinary alliance. Uniting extraterrestrial beings and denizens of the deep sea, your disparate allies share a singular objective: emerging victorious in the prestigious World's Greatest Capture the Flag Tournament! But, will this game be the world's greatest expert board game for the year? 




"Hire artisans, set them up in the market and acquire prestige in feudal Japan."

Designers: Koota Yamada
2–4 Players
Playing Time: 60–90 Min
Age: 14+

2022 UK Games Expo Best Boardgame (Euro-Style) Nominee
2022 As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Expert Nominee

Within this captivating game, one encounters not only skilled artisans but also street vendors, shopkeepers, and occupations exclusive to this era. Its core objective revolves around embodying the essence of "IKI," an age-old philosophy revered as the epitome of harmonious living in Edo society. Understanding the nuances of human behavior, cultivating refinement, and exuding allure are all facets that define a true master of IKI. Will IKI be able to IKI-laim the prize?


Planet Unknown


Planet Unknown
"Develop and colonize your planet with oddly shaped tiles served on a rotating tray."

Designer: Ryan Lambert, Adam Rehberg
1–6 Players
Playing Time: 60–80 Min
Age: 10+

2022 Golden Geek Most Innovative Board Game Nominee
2022 Golden Geek Medium Game of the Year Nominee

Planet Unknown, a game designed for 1-6 players aiming to cultivate the most exceptional planet. Throughout each round, participants strategically position dual-resource tiles in polyomino shapes onto their planets. These resources symbolize vital infrastructure necessary for sustaining life on the planet. Every tile placement is crucial, ensuring efficient coverage while progressively constructing a powerful planetary engine. Following the tile placement, players engage in two actions associated with the infrastructure types depicted on the tile. Beware, as certain tile placements trigger "meteors" that impose obstacles on all planets, hindering development and impeding scoring within the corresponding row and column.



Kinderspiel des Jahres 2023:

The games below are nominated for Kinderspiel des Jahres (judged by a separate jury from Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel) 


Carla Caramel 


Carla Caramel
"Help Carla satisfy the kids craving for ice creams!"

Designers: Sara Zarian
1–6 Players
Playing Time: 10-25 Min
Age: 4+

By taking turns, each players will help the ice cream vendor satisfy the kids lining up in front of her Stand by rolling a die, which will either let you add a flavor to an ice cream or move the sun one space, or roll a kid, and give an ice cream to one of the children. Once everyone gets an ice cream, you win! But be careful to the sun, which can melt the ice creams.




"Match the monsters and use the powers of the elements."

Designers: Karim Aouidad, Johann Roussel
2–4 Players
Playing Time: 15 Min
Age: 5+

2015 As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Nominee
2015 As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Enfant Winner

This is the last event to enter the guild of magicians. It remains the ultimate lesson to master: the invocation of Gigamons. After this test, one that will catch more Gigamons be promoted to Elemage. Good luck and good luck to all!



Mysterium Kids - Captain Echo's Treasure


Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo's Treasure - Winner
"Help the ghost to find his treasure using communication through sound."

Use your wit and imagination to tailor the stories to your taste and fit them out with the most suitable characters! This game feels like a cross between Dixit and a nursery rhyme.

Designer: Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort
2–6 Players
Playing Time: 20–30 Min
Age: 5+

Players cooperate to find Captain’s treasure before the moon has traveled across the sky and the night is over. Each round, one player becomes the Ghost of Captain Echo. The Ghost must use a tambourine to give clues that help the other players guess the correct Noise card. If they do, they get to reveal a piece of the Captain’s treasure.


Unlock! and Unlock! Kids, the renowned series of app-powered escape-room-in-a-box puzzles, will receive an extra distinction in the form of a 'Special Prize'. This Sonderpreis award marks the reintroduction of an additional accolade, a tradition last observed in 2018 when Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau's Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 was honored. Sonderpreis is a German term that translates to "Special Prize" in English. In the context of board games, it refers to an additional award or distinction given alongside the main awards. The Sonderpreis is typically granted to games or individuals who exhibit exceptional qualities, innovative gameplay mechanics, or significant contributions to the board gaming industry.


The winners for this year’s Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres will both be announced on July 16th. Kinderspiel des Jahres will be awarded around a month earlier.

Here are our fearless forecast for the winners:
Spiel des Jahres - Dorfromantik
Kennerspiel des Jahres - Challengers
Kinderspiel des Jahres - Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo's Treasure

Who do you think will win Game of the Year?


The winners for Spiel des Jahres 2023 have been announced here!

Congratulations to the winners:
Spiel des Jahres - Dorfromantik
Kennerspiel des Jahres - Challengers
Kinderspiel des Jahres - Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo's Treasure

(Yes, that's 3/3 correct predictions from our fearless forecast!)


About Gaming Library

Gaming Library aims to be the go-to resource for board games, providing not only titles that can be enjoyed by families, but also to be enjoyed by friends both newcomers and veterans alike. By pulling from different resources from all over the world, we at Gaming Library curate an impressive collection of games for consumers to choose from, suitable for anybody from casual players to hardcore hobbyists. In doing so, we hope to provide the best means to foster activities that strengthen family ties and friendships, while teaching relevant skills and practical critical thinking that can be applied to your everyday life.


Published on  Updated on  

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.