The Spiel des Jahres is the German "Game of the Year" award, given out each year to an outstanding family board game. In addition to the "Game of the Year" there are also many special prizes awarded in categories of excellence each year. These special categories are only awarded when a game is released that merits special consideration within a category thus not all categories are awarded each year.

The awards themselves were established in 1978 (first award granted in 1979 for the '78 production year) by a group of German game critics to raise awareness of Boardgaming in general, in the years since its inception the Spiel des Jahres has come to be considered one of the most prestigious awards in the Boardgame industry (others include the Origins Award and the Mensa Select Awards, both US based).

Since the introduction of The Settlers of Catan into the United States in the mid 1990's Boardgaming has seen a resurgence in the US (the previous gaming boom died with the collapse and subsequent acquisition of Avalon Hill in the 1980's).

Most winners go on to place the familiar (to gamers at least) Red ribbon upon their box-top. English names have been used where availiable, my german is horrendous.

Spiel des Jahres Winners by year:

1979:
Hare and Tortise - Game of the Year
1980:
Rummikub - Game of the Year
Das Spiel - Most Beautiful Game
Rubix's Cube - Best Solitaire Game
1981:
Focus (AKA Domination) - Game of the Year
Ra - Most Beautiful Game
1982:
Enchanted Forest - Game of the Year
Script - Most Beautiful Game
1983:
Scotland Yard - Game of the Year
Wir Futtern die Kleinen Nilpferde - Most Beautiful Game
1984:
Railway Rivals - Game of the Year
Uisge - Most Beautiful Game
1985:
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective - Game of the Year
Die Drei Magier - Most Beautiful Game
1986:
Heimlich & Co. (AKA Top Secret Spies) - Game of the Year
Muller & Sohn - Most Beautiful Game
1987:
Auf Achse - Game of the Year
Tatort: Nachtexpress - Most Beautiful Game
1988:
Barbarossa - Game of the Year
Inkognito - Most Beautiful Game
1989:
Cafe International - Game of the Year
Henne Berta - Most Beautiful Game
Gute Freunde - Best Children's Game
1990:
Hoity Toity - Game of the Year
Life Style - Most Beautiful Game
My Haunted Castle - Best Children's Game
1991:
Drunter und DrĂ¼ber - Game of the Year
Master Labyrinth - Most Beautiful Game
Corsaro - Best Children's Game
1992:
Um Reifenbreite - Game of the Year
Galloping Pigs - Best Children's Game
1993:
Liar's Dice - Game of the Year
Kula Kula - Most Beautiful Game
Turtle Tangle - Best Children's Game
1994:
Manhattan - Game of the Year
Doctor Faust - Most Beautiful Game
Loopin' Louie - Best Children's Game
1995:
The Settlers of Catan - Game of the Year
Tri-ba-Lance - Most Beautiful Game
Karambolage - Best Children's Game
1996:
El Grande - Game of the Year
Venice Connection - Most Beautiful Game
Carabande - Best Action Game
Vier zu mir! - Best Children's Game
1997:
Mississippi Queen - Game of the Year
Aztec - Most Beautiful Game
Cut the Painter! - Best Children's Game
Husarengolf - Best Action Game
1998:
Elfenland - Game of the Year
Chicken Cha Cha Cha - Best Children's Game
1999:
Tikal - Game of the Year
Kayanak - Best Children's Game
2000:
Torres - Game of the Year
Arbos - Best Children's Game
2001:
Carcassonne - Game of the Year
2002:
Villa Paletti - Game of the Year
2003:
Alhambra - Game of the Year
2004:
Ticket to Ride - Game of the Year
Spooky Stairs - Best Children's Game
2005:
Niagra - Game of the Year
Das kleine Gespenst - Best Children's Game
2006:
Thurn und Taxis - Game of the Year
Caylus - Special prize for Complex Play
Shadows Over Camelot - Special Prize for Fantasy Game

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