Spiel Des Jahres

The German Spiel des Jahres is perhaps the world's most prestigious game award. Founded in 1978 by a group of German game critics to promote awareness and to increase the cultural value of games, the award recognizes outstanding games based on originality, playability, and educational value of the game idea; organization, clarity and understandability of rules; packing and layout of the gameboard and the game rules; and functionality and overall quality of the game materials included.

Each year the journalists who compose the Jury cast ballots to select the honorees and to award the main prize, the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year). In past years, a list of Nominees was selected, then a few weeks later, the Spiel des Jahres was chosen from that list. Beginning in 2004, an initial list of Recommended games was published as well as five Nominees announced as finalists; and finally, the Game of the Year is announced a few weeks after that, in early summer.

2012 Awards


Kingdom Builder is a construction game (like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone), in which each player creates his kingdom by placing settler's houses in various locations. The winner of the game is the player with the most gold. However, the gold is only awarded at the end of the game (like Carcassone), according to three sets of rules that were randomly selected and revealed at the beginning.

The rules are simple but the possibilities are endless because of random selection of game sections (4 out of 8) and scoring rules (3 out of 10), the luck of the draw, and competition for resources.

Former Award Winners

Space Alert $47.99

Space Alert is a team survival game. Players take on the role of a crew of space explorers sent out through hyperspace to survey a dangerous sector of the Galaxy.The spaceship automatically maps the sector in 10 minutes. The crew's task is to defend the ship until the mission is complete. If they succeed, the ship brings back valuable data. If they fail... it is time to train a new crew.

Space Alert is not a typical board game. Players do not compete against each other. Instead, they work together against the challenge presented by the game. The difficulty of this challenge can be chosen by the players themselves. Completing the most difficult missions requires close teamwork.

GiftTRAP $26.99

GiftTRAP is the "Santa" of board games. You know you are onto a good thing with a game that's won "Party Game of the Year" in USA, Germany, France & Canada.

  • Games Magazine - USA
  • Spiel Des Jahres – Germany
  • Creative Child Magazine – Canada
  • Faidutti.com – France

    GiftTRAP is about the exchange of gifts, ideas, thoughts, likes and dislikes.

    Giving the perfect gift is hard, but when you get it right it’s an emotional experience that builds bonds that form life-long memories.

    It opens the door to people's dreams and wishes. It's the hilarious social conversation starter that will get you connecting more deeply with friends and family.

    It’s rare to find a party game that adults and children both LOVE playing. GiftTRAP has proven global appeal. Play and every day can feel like The Holidays!

    Every round features an amazingly diverse selection of unique gifts. Players review the gift selection to anticipate which gift might be best for each player. Then, everyone secretly gives each player a gift. Players then rate the gifts based on their opinion. Each player then opens and scores their gifts.

    Checkout the sample gift images for a sense of the variety. This game really does have something for everyone. Other global recognition includes;

  • "Best party game since Cranium" - Brett Spill Guiden
  • "2009 Party Game - Hit of the Season” – San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Top Ten Games" - Chicago Tribune
  • 800+ ratings from 36 countries on BoardGameGeek

    GiftTRAP: California Edition $10.00

    Celebrate the diversity of life in California. Explore some of the 180 gift ideas located in/around California. The game includes a total of 640 gift ideas making sure that its still a great game you can play anywhere.


    FITS $32.99

    Can you skillfully fill in your playing board so that all the differently shaped tiles fit perfectly without leaving any spaces?! If a piece doesn't fit precisely, slot it in the best you can because the game's not over yet. The next tile may fit better than the last and make you the winner!

    Fits is a lot of fast-paced fun with just a few easy rules for non-stop entertainment!


    PANDEMIC $34.99

    Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out.

    Players must work together, playing to their characters' strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks.

    A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.

    Cities $38.99

    Cities is a fast, tactical placing and positioning game. Every player builds one of the following cities: New York, Paris, London or Berlin. Each turn you choose the best spot to place the new tile. As your city grows, you place tourists at attractions, terraces and parks. The player who has built the most attractive city and has placed his tourists in the best positions wins the game.

    Think of Cities as the urban planner version of Take it Easy! One player is the Master Builder, removes eight of his 24 tiles from the game, then turns over three tiles. All players, including the Master Builder, create a starting position with these tiles touching only at the corners. The MB then turns over one tile at a time and players add it to their display, keeping all the tiles within a 4x4 space.

    For each tile, a player can choose to place a tourist on that tile or move a tourist already on the board to it. Depending on the level of game play -- which affects the scoring possibilities -- you're trying to connect fields and attractions to give your tourists something to admire or create terraces that overlook the water. The player with the most satisfied tourists (i.e. the most points) wins.

    Einauge sei wachsam! $37.95

    Courageous Pirates, go forth! You need to get valuable jewels, ducats and sabers. Then you can sit as the winner at the pirate's table. Buy island cards at the right time, fight against One-Eye to get more cards, and finally rake in the well-deserved jewels. But only if you gather your pirate booty more cleverly than the others. A pirate's life is always exciting!

    Maori $27.99

    The players explore the islands of Polynesia. Winner is the player who scores the most points from putting tiles on his display. Palms, huts, shells and boats on the tiles influence the scoring.

    Poison $15.99

    The mad doctor has cooked up something evil in Reiner Knizia's Poison, a clever strategy card game. Players choose a potion card from their hand to add to one of three colored cauldrons, being careful not to let the pot go over a total value of 13.

    The player who causes the cauldron to go over 13 must take all of the cards within it, trying to avoid taking a potion mixed with poison. Be the player with either the most or none of any potion and you're safe -- otherwise take the risk of receiving a deadly dose!

    Baker's Dozen $9.75

    In this clever (and delectable!) family card game designed by Reiner Knizia, players attempt to sort different varieties of donuts to form a Baker's Dozen. But don't let the total value go over 13! If you do, you'll have to take all of the donut cards from the pile -- even the moldy, yucky ones!

    Valdora $47.99

    Hidden far away from our time lies a valley full of unimaginable riches. Adventurers from all over the world set off to try to make their fortune here.

    Players purchase equipment and commissions in Valdora's cities. Only with the help of special equipment can they dig for gold and various gemstones. If a player undertakes a commission and delivers the requested gemstones to the house of the patron, he receives victory points. Additionally, he can hire a craftsman. Each craftsman specializes in gold, silver of specific gemstones. The first player to have enough craftsmen with the same specialization may open a workshop. Workshop owners receive bonus points. At the end of the game, players receive victory points for their workshops, craftsmen and gemstones. The player with the most points has made his fortune in Valdora.

    Zack & Pack $30.00

    Each round starts with players rolling dice one after another to see what kind of furniture they have; the furniture comes in different sizes but the pieces aren't shaped like Tetris bits.

    Once everyone has their goods, players each turn one or two truck cards face-up, then race to grab a truck that will best fit all their goods. The trucks not only have a flat area for holding goods, but a different number of levels. Too slow? Then grab a mystery truck from the stack. Then the players have to load their truck with the furniture. They'll get minus points for free space in their truck, and more minus points for unloaded furniture. The best player of a round gets ten bonus points.

    Players start with 75 chips (points) and will normally lose a few of them each round. The game ends when one player runs out, and whoever holds the most chips wins.

    Pack & Stack $39.20

    Players roll to determine which oddly-shaped pieces of furniture they have for the round. Then they reveal some truck cards into the center and madly grab for the one that will best hold their furniture.

    Players lose chips for empty spaces on their truck and furniture they couldn't load. When a player runs out of chips, the game ends. At that point, the winner is the one with the most chips left.

    2008 Awards


    ALHAMBRA $34.99

    Winner of Game of the Year Award 2003 in Germany!

    In Granada, the year 1278, one of the most interesting projects of the Middle Ages begins - the construction of Alhambra. Now you have a chance to take part in this amazing experience, and plot the fate of this Spanish wonder. Players must decide the best way to build their Alhambra and gain victory points in the process.

    Contents of Alhambra:

    60 building and start tiles

    110 cards

    6 summary boards

    12 playing pieces

    1 game board

    1 scoretrack

    1 rule booklet


    CARCASSONNE $24.99

    In the game of Carcassonne, players develop the area around the southern French city of Caracassonne by placing land tiles. During each turn the area becomes larger as the players expand and add roads, fields, cities, and cloisters. The players may also deploy their followers as thieves, farmers, knights, and monks to control and score points for the land that they are able to claim. As each player only has a few followers, it pays to plan each move carefully and deploy followers when and where they can earn the most points. This clever game is beautifully designed on thick, elegant tiles.

    Contents of Carcassonne:

    84 land tiles

    1 scoring track

    40 wood followers




    In The Seafarers of Catan Game Expansion Revised Edition you control a group of seafaring settlers exploring and taming the uncharted Isles of Catan. Embark on a quest to settle the island, build ships, and chart the nearby waters. Guide your settlers to victory with clever trading, cunning development, and by establishing the most productive sea lanes. Acquire your resources through card play and the luck of the dice. Discover far-off mines and use gold and combinations of resources - grain, wool, ore, brick, and timber - to develop your ever-expanding empire.

    This Revised Edition with art updated in 2007 is completely compatible with the original Settlers of Catan and the original Seafarers of Catan.

    Please note: This is not a stand alone game. A copy of The Settlers of Catan is required for play.

    Contents of Seafarers of Catan Game Expansion Revised Edition:

    60 Wooden Ships

    1 Pirate Ship

    6 Frame Pieces

    19 Sea Hexes

    11 Unique Hexagonal Region Tiles

    2 Gold Fields Tiles

    2 Desert Tiles

    1 Fields Tile

    1 Forest Tile

    1 Pasture Tile

    2 Mountain Tiles

    2 Hills Tiles

    50 Catan Chits

    10 Number Tokens

    10 Harbor Tokens

    Color Rules & Scenarios



    There is chaos in the chicken yard! Today's practice for the Chicken Cha Cha Olympics is feather stealing. Each chicken Cha Chas to catch each of their opponents without being caught themselves. Their reward for catching another chicken is tail feathers. The first chicken to have all the tail feathers is the winner! But only a chicken who knows what is in the chicken yard will be able to catch the others and win the game. A chicken with a leaky memory will find himself standing bare-rumped and medal-less when the prizes are distributed!

    Contents of Chicken Cha Cha Cha:

    24 egg-shaped tiles

    12 chicken yard tiles

    4 chickens

    4 tail feathers

    Rule book



    Rummikub is the fast moving rummy tile game that has been enjoyed by people everywhere for over half a century! Players make points by collecting sets or building runs in the same color. This Deluxe Anniversary Edition comes in a lined, leatherette carry case and features special anniversary joker tiles printed in metallic colors. A great combination of strategy and luck makes Rummikub the perfect game for all ages and this top quality set has been designed to give players hours of special Rummikub fun!

    Contents of Rummikub 60th Anniversary Collector's Edition:

    1 Lined, Leatherette Carry Case

    106 Playing Tiles with 2 Special Anniversary Jokers

    4 Sturdy 2-tier Racks with 8 Rack Holders

    Regular and Tournament Rules



    Rummikub is the fast moving rummy tile game! Players make points by collecting sets or building runs in the same color. Now featuring thicker playing tiles with an easy-grip contour, this classic game is better than ever! A great combination of strategy and luck makes Rummikub the perfect game for all ages.

    Contents of Rummikub Original:

    106 easy-grip tiles

    4 one-piece playing racks

    Illustrated instructions


    SCOTLAND YARD $34.99

    An international super-spy, so secretive that he is only known as Mr. X, is detected in London, and Scotland Yard is on the hunt. In the game Scotland Yard, one player takes the role of Mr. X and the others take the roles of the detectives on the chase. Mr. X leaves small clues to his whereabouts as he moves by bus, taxi, or underground. To deaden his trail, Mr. X can take advantage of his limited supply of "black tickets" and move in secret. The vigilant members of Scotland Yard must deduce the location of Mr. X by his mode of transportation and occasional sightings before he can escape the city. Contents of Scotland Yard:

    1 game board

    6 game pieces

    18 start pieces

    125 tickets (54 taxi, 43 bus, 23 underground and 5 black tickets)

    2 double move piece (2x)

    1 log book with paper as inlay

    1 "eye screen"



    Shadows Over Camelot is a unique collaborative game featuring a malevolent twist! As the incarnation of the Knights of the Round Table, you join forces against the game itself in an attempt to protect Camelot. But beware, all is not as it seems among these noble Knights. One of your number might yet turn out to be a traitor-in-waiting, biding his time while sowing havoc and destruction from the shadows!

    Featuring a richly illustrated gameboard of Camelot and its surroundings, finely carved miniatures of the Knights and their foes, and seven Quests to embark upon - Shadows Over Camelot is your gateway to many a memorable game night among friends!

    Contents of Shadows Over Camelot:

    Master gameboard

    3 double-sided Quest boards

    30 miniatures

    168 character, event and loyalty cards

    7 coats of Arms and 8 dice

    16 swords of the Round Table

    1 rules book

    1 book of quests


    THURN & TAXIS $32.99

    In 1490, Kaiser Maximilian I awarded Franz von Taxis the contract to deliver mail between the Kaiser's residences in Innsbruck and Brussels. He did such a good job, that postal services in the country continue to be connected with the name Thurn and Taxis. With the introduction of postal carriages in the middle of the 17th century, members of the family were raised to Count status and given the hereditary title of Postmaster General. The game begins at this point in history.

    Can you emulate the achievements of this family and build a successful postal network? Do you have the talent to connect the right cities to create an effective network and not lose sight of the need to acquire new carriages when they are needed? Plan your moves carefully and watch your opponents' moves carefully, so you are prepared to respond to them. The game takes you back in time and gives you challenges that will bring you back to the game over and over.


    TICKET TO RIDE $39.99

    All aboard for a great family game! Ticket to Ride is easy to learn but requires strategic thinking and quick decision making. Your goal is the collect cards of different types of train cars that you then use to lay claim to railway routes in North America. The longer your route, the more points you earn. You can also get more points by fulfilling "destination tickets" which are goal cards connecting distant cities (ex. New York to Salt Lake City). Each turn you draw more cards, clam a route or get more Destination Tickets. You have to balance greed with speed! Ticket to Ride won the prestigious "Speil des Jahres" (Game of the Year) award in Germany for 2004.

    Contents of Ticket to Ride:

    1 board map of North American train routes

    240 colored train cars

    110 train car cards

    30 destination tickets

    1 summary card

    5 wooden scoring markers

    1 rules booklet

    1 Days of Wonder online access number


    ZOOLORETTO $44.99

    Families are going ape over Zooloretto, winner of the Spiel des Jahres 2007 Award! By displaying a combination of several types of animals and their young offspring, players must beckon as many guests as possible to their particular zoo and thereby securing points. This takes careful planning and consideration because overcrowding conditions can easily ensue. Fortunately, players have the advantage of expanding their zoos and subsequently escaping negative points (calculated by the spillage of animals housed in the barns for lack of room in the zoos). The person with the most points at the end of the game is the winner!

    Components of Zooloretto:

    5 Zoo Boards (Game Boards)

    5 Expansion Boards

    5 Delivery Trucks

    30 Coins

    1 Red Wooden Disk

    5 Summary Cards

    88 Square Animal Tiles

    16 Round Offspring Tiles

    12 Vending Stall Tiles

    12 Coin Tiles

    Instructions in English and French

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