Spiel des Jahres 2023 is around the corner! As in the previous years, I’ll try to predict what games have the best shot at ending up on the longlist (aka recommendations) and the shortlist (aka nominations) when the jury announces their picks on May 22nd.
As every year, I’ll let the algorithms speak. The predictions for the longlist come directly from the recommendendations out of all eligible1 games. Our very own Kennerspiel score is then used to sort those into their respective list of the top 10 contenders for either award. You can find the detailed analysis here and complete results here. But without further ado, here are the favourite games to win Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023.
Candidates for Spiel des Jahres 2023
#1: Next Station: London
1–4 players, 25–30 minutes, 8+ years, light (1.4), 100% Spiel
Draw tube lines to cross the Thames and connect London.
#2: Splendor Duel
2 players, 30 minutes, 10+ years, medium light (2.0), 70% Spiel
Renaissance merchants go head to head to please nobility.
#3: Wonder Woods
2–5 players, 20–25 minutes, 8+ years, light (1.2), 100% Spiel
Use bluff and deduction in order to find the best mushroom spots.
4–8 players, 6 minutes, 10+ years, light (1.3), 100% Spiel
Cooperative Kitchen Work serving client from all over the world.
2–4 players, 20–30 minutes, 8+ years, medium light (1.8), 100% Spiel
Build your Greek city on multiple levels to keep your districts perfectly placed.
2–6 players, 30–45 minutes, 8+ years, medium light (2.0), 100% Spiel
Discover the most promising escape option and break out of the zoo.
#7: Caldera Park
1–4 players, 30–40 minutes, 10+ years, medium light (2.0), 100% Spiel
Take care of animals in your park by forming big herds and avoiding bad weather.
#8: Inside Job
2–5 players, 20–30 minutes, 10+ years, medium light (1.7), 100% Spiel
Agents work together to complete missions and gather intel but who’s “The Insider”?
3–5 players, 45 minutes, 8+ years, medium light (1.6), 100% Spiel
Bid ANYTHING to bail out companies, but just don’t bid the MOST!
#10: Dorfromantik: The Board Game
1–6 players, 30–60 minutes, 8+ years, medium light (1.7), 100% Spiel
Experience the peaceful and relaxed atmosphere of the video game on your table.
Candidates for Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023
#1: Terra Nova
2–4 players, 60–90 minutes, 12+ years, medium (2.8), 100% Kennerspiel
Control one of ten asymmetric factions in a streamlined version of Terra Mystica.
2–4 players, 60–90 minutes, 14+ years, medium (3.0), 100% Kennerspiel
Hire artisans, set them up in the market and acquire prestige in feudal Japan.
1–5 players, 60 minutes, 10+ years, medium light (2.2), 100% Kennerspiel
In a magical realm a village awakes, and artisan dragons make coffee and cakes!
1–4 players, 30–120 minutes, 12+ years, medium (2.7), 99% Kennerspiel
Choose your actions carefully as you balance the needs of the community and nature.
1–4 players, 60–100 minutes, 14+ years, medium (3.4), 100% Kennerspiel
Use dice for resources and actions to gain riches in the Renaissance.
#6: Beer & Bread
2 players, 30–45 minutes, 10+ years, medium light (2.4), 100% Kennerspiel
Two villages face off in the traditions of brewing beer and baking bread.
#7: The Guild of Merchant Explorers
1–4 players, 45 minutes, 14+ years, medium light (2.1), 100% Kennerspiel
Explore strange lands, establish trade routes, and search for treasure.
#8: Whirling Witchcraft
2–5 players, 15–30 minutes, 14+ years, medium light (1.8), 98% Kennerspiel
Use your recipes to generate ingredients and overflow your opponent’s cauldron.
#9: The Hunger
2–6 players, 60 minutes, 12+ years, medium light (2.3), 100% Kennerspiel
As a vampire, you want to hunt humans, but you must return home before sunrise…
2–4 players, 60–120 minutes, 8+ years, medium light (2.4), 100% Kennerspiel
Rangers help local communities and defend their Kingdom in order to restore hope.
My two cents
This is where I usually take the algorithmic predictions for the longlists and pick three games each that I think the jury will nominate. But this year, I’ll proceed a little different – because I don’t agree with the algorithms all that much… 🙈 So I’ll go pretty freestyle with my predictions for the nominees, both with picks from outside the algorithm’s top 10 and contradicting the Kennerspiel score. 😅
My predictions for nominees for Spiel des Jahres 2023
My predictions for nominees for Kennerspiel des Jahres 2023
Lastly, let me squeeze in a few more titles in order to increase my chance of covering the whole list. Since I’ve already turned my back on my own algorithms, let me just throw out a few more title I think it might have missed… 😉
As you can tell from the somewhat uncommon way I picked the predictions for the shortlist, I feel like there are much fewer “obvious” candidates than in previous year – in particular for Kennerspiel, which is weird, since that’s usually the award where us board game nerds are much more up-to-date.
So even more than in previous years, I’ll be excited to hear what the jury will surprise us with.
Finally, let’s not forget Kinderspiel des Jahres. I’m really curious about that one – but from a regular customer’s perspective, since I really appreciate the guidance to new games I can try with my kids. 👨👩👧👧
As every year, it’s not straightforward to determine what games are eligible for the awards. Generally speaking, it’d be those games release between April 2022 and March 2023 into German retail. Hence, filtering by BGG release year will exclude games that were released earlier elsewhere, but only recently in Germany, and likewise let some games pass that have not seen a German release in that time window. I did my best to catch what I could, but there’s always some that get away. ↩︎