What Are The Most Prestigious Board Game Awards?

This article answers the question of What Are The Most Prestigious Board Game Awards by exploring the most well-known board game awards – and a few a bit less-known.


When checking out board game boxes you’ll often note several award icons that they like to boast with. These are the awards that a game has received at certain conventions or from communities.

As is usual in our complicated world, there is no one definitive award, but rather several. The situation can often be confusing, so this article will help you out in defining which ones you should keep an eye on.

Award and Categories

To further confuse the matter, each award comes with several sub-categories. I will mention some, but not all of them carry the same weight. For example, Best production value award doesn’t tell you much about the gameplay quality.

So keep that in mind if you see a game sporting a bizarre category award from a community you’ve never heard about. On the other hand, having many different seals is always a good sign.

What are the most prestigious board game awards?

The most prestigious board game awards are Spiel des Jahres, Golden Geek Awards, and Dice Tower Awards. Other worthy awards include Jogo de Ano, The Deutscher Spiele Preis, International Gamers Award, BoardGameQuest Awards, and others.

What are the most prestigious board game awards robinson crusoe
Some games are not shy of their awards.

Spiel des Jahres

Spiel des Jahres is a German award, promoting family-friendly game design. It was created in 1978 and it’s one of the most respected awards in the business, although it’s slightly “skewed” in favor of family games. Notable winners include:

  • Scotland Yard (1983)
  • The Settlers of Catan (1995)
  • Carcassonne (2001)
  • Ticket to Ride (2004)
  • Camel Up (2014)
  • Kingdomino (2017)
  • Azul (2018)
  • MicroMacro: Crime City (2021)

Kennerspiel des Jahres was introduced as a new category in 2011 and it’s aimed at more advanced board games. Notable winners:

  • 7 Wonders (2011)
  • Istanbul (2014)
  • Isle of Skye (2016)
  • Wingspan (2019)
  • Paleo (2021)
What are the most prestigious board game awards spiel des jahres
Camel Up won in 2014.

Golden Geek Awards

Golden Geek Awards are nominated and selected through communities on BoardGameGeek.com, RPGGeek.com, and VideoGameGeek.com websites.

They are awarded annually at the BGG.Con held in Dallas. Since BoardGameGeek is the largest online board game community, these awards have a lot of weight behind them.

  • Golden Geek Board Game of the Year; notable winners:
    • Agricola (2008)
    • Dominant Species (2011)
    • Splendor (2014)
    • Scythe (2016)
    • Gloomhaven (2017)
    • Rooz (2018)
    • Wingspan (2019)
  • Other categories worthy of a mention:
    • Golden Geek Heavy Game of the Year
    • Golden Geek Light Game of the Year
    • Golden Geek Medium Game of the Year
    • Golden Geek Most Innovative Board Game
    • Golden Geek Best Solo Board Game
    • Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game
    • Golden Geek Best Thematic Board Game
    • Golden Geek Best Cooperative Game
What are the most prestigious board game awards clans of caledonia
Clans of Caledonia

Dice Tower Awards

Dice Tower is another large online community, which has grown around Tom Vasel and his video reviews on Youtube. Vasel and the people around him are highly respected in the boar dgame community, and so are their Dice Tower Awards.

  • Game of the Year notable winners:
    • The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine (2020)
    • Root (2018)
    • Scythe (2016)
    • Pandemic Legacy (2015)
    • 7 Wonders (2010)
    • Small World (2009)
    • Dominion (2008)
  • Other categories:
    • Best Artwork
    • Best Board Game Production
    • Best Cooperative Game
    • Best Expansion
    • Best Game from a New Designer
    • Best Game from a Small Publisher
    • Best Party Game
    • Best Reprint
    • Best Solo Game
    • Best Strategy Game
    • Best Theming
    • Best Two-Player Game
    • Best Welcoming Game
    • Excellence in Rules Teaching
    • Most Innovative Game
    • Seal of Excellence
What are the most prestigious board game awards mage knight
Mage Knight Ultimate Edition

Jogo de Ano

Jogo do Ano (Game of the Year) from SpielPortugal.org is an award that is focused on mid to heavy eurogames and it’s been awarded since 2006. Previous winners:

  • 2006 Imperial (Winner)
  • 2007 Brass (Winner)
  • 2008 Agricola (Winner)
  • 2009 Maria (Winner)
  • 2010 Troyes (Winner)
  • 2011 Ora et Labora (Winner)
  • 2012 Keyflower (Winner)
  • 2014 Nations (Winner)
  • 2015 La Granja (Winner)
  • 2016 Mombasa (Winner)
  • 2017 Great Western Trail (Winner)
  • 2018 Lisboa (Winner)
  • 2019 Root (Winner)
  • 2020 Barrage (Winner)

The Deutscher Spiele Preis

The Deutscher Spiele Preis is another gamers’ games award, focusing on a similar spectrum of heavier games as Jogo de Ano. It is awarded since 1990 and notable winners are:

  • 1993: Modern Art
  • 1995: The Settlers of Catan
  • 1996: El Grande
  • 1998: Tigris & Euphrates
  • 2001 Carcassonne
  • 2002: Puerto Rico
  • 2008: Agricola
  • 2009: Dominion
  • 2011: 7 Wonders
  • 2013: Terra Mystica
  • 2017: Terraforming Mars
  • 2018: Azul
  • 2019: Wingspan

International Gamers Award

International Gamers Award (IGA) was started in 1999 and is now a well-established and respected award amongst players, designers, and publishers.

  • Multiplayer Award (since 2000), notable winners:
    • Ticket to Ride Europe (2005)
    • Agricola (2008)
    • Le Havre (2009)
    • 7 Wonders (2011)
    • Terra Mystica (2013)
    • Great Western Trail (2017)
    • Root (2019)
  • Two Player Award (since 2000), notable winners:
    • War of the Ring (2005),
    • Twilight Struggle (2006)
    • Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small (2012)
    • 7 Wonders: Duel (2016)
    • My City (2021)
  • Solo Award (since 2021), first winner Under Falling Skies
What are the most prestigious board game awards 7 wonders duel
7 Wonders Duel features its awards on the side of the box.

 


BoardGameQuest Awards

BoardGameQuest awards are given out since 2014 by the staff of the boardgamequest.com website, a popular review blog. They have quickly gained popularity and reputation as one of the industry’s most credible.

  • Game of the Year,  winners:
    • Five Tribes (2014)
    • Pandemic: Legacy (2015)
    • Terraforming Mars (2016)
    • Clans of Caledonia (2017)
    • Root (2018)
    • Wingspan (2019)
    • Lost Ruins of Arnak (2020)
  • Other categories include:
    • Best Cooperative Game
    • Best Tactical/Combat Game
    • Best Digital Board Game
    • Best Production Values
    • Best Thematic Game
    • Best Euro/Strategy Game
    • Best Game from a Small Publisher
    • Best Two Player Game
    • Best Party Game
    • Best Family Game

The Golden Elephant

The Golden Elephant was awarded from 2013 to 2019 by heavycardboard.com and is all about the heaviest of strategy games. Factors like depth of analysis, planning, gameplay, low luck, innovation, and enjoyment are considered.

The award was unfortunately discontinued in 2019. Winners:

  • Madeira (2013)
  • Arkwright (2014)
  • Food Chain Magnate (2015)
  • 1822: The Railways of Great Britain (2016)
  • Lisboa (2017)
  • Brass: Birmingham (2018)

 

As D’or

As D’or (Golden Ace) is an award given out at an annual gaming festival in Cannes: Festival International des Jeux. It was established in 1988, and since 2006, several categories exist, such as Grand Public, Expert, Children’s Games, and Jury’s Prize.

Notable winners include:

  • Abalone (1989)
  • Kahuna (2000)
  • Alhambra (2003)
  • Dixit (2009, Grand Public)
  • Takenoko (2012, Grand Public)
  • Azul (2018, Grand Public)
  • MicroMacro: Crime City (2021, Grand Public)
  • Scythe (2017, Expert)
  • Small World (2010, Jury’s Prize)
What are the most prestigious board game awards zombie kidz evolution
Zombie Kidz Evolution

UK Games Expo Awards

UK Games Expo Awards are rewarded every year at a festival with the same name. The first year of the awards was 2007, and since then more than a dozen categories exist. Most notable are

  • Best Abstract Game
  • Best Family Game
  • Best New Board Game (American Style, Euro Style, and Strategic sub-categories)

 


The Origins Awards

The Origins Awards are somewhat larger-scale awards. They are for outstanding work in the game industry are presented annually by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design.


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