The Spiel des Jahres (SDJ) award is intended to recognize games for “family and friends.” Does it hit that mark? The Kennerspiel des Jahres (KSDJ) was created to recognize more advanced games. Anecdotally, this is obvious from the difference in games that have won the awards, but is there a way to quantify this difference? Not dissimilar from other media, the complexity level of a game is represented by what gamers generally call “weight,” which is available as a community contributed measurement on BoardGameGeek.com. All graphs have been derived from data obtained from BoardGameGeek.com in June and July 2017.
Let’s take a look at the weight of SDJ and KSDJ winners and nominees over the years for insight into their level of complexity:
- What are their average and relative weights?
- Have their weights changed over the years? (Are the games getting more or less complex?)
- Have there been major changes over the years? What were the likely events that caused these changes?
Note: If you are starting your reading with this article, you might want to jump to the introduction here: Industry Focus: Spiel des Jahres & the BGG Community Part 1
Though some table top gaming enthusiasts believe that the Spiel des Jahres annual awards are not relevant for them, there is no doubt that these awards are important drivers in table top games in general. There is enough urban legend and pontificating about the awards that don’t report the facts that a deep dive into the statistics related to the awards is perfect for an article in the Analysis Paralysis series. Through this analysis, we will have a better idea of what makes a Spiel des Jahres game, the common aspects of the games that have been named in the awards – as winners, nominees, or recommendations – and how the awards have changed over the years. In particular, we will viewing this information through the lens of the BGG community (as expressed in the game and user data available on the BGG website). Eventually, we will also be able to compare data for the 2017 nominees before and after the awards to gauge the impact.