FAQ for publishers: Frequently asked questions
Which games are eligible for an award?
Not all games are eligible for an award. In order to be considered in the selection process, the game must meet the following basic requirements:
– Rules and any additional texts relevant for game play must be available in German.
– The game must have been published in the current year or in the previous year. Broadly unchanged new editions or anniversary editions of existing games are excluded.
– The game must be available at retail at the time of the award selection, because the jury will not consider prototypes, mock-ups, or short runs.
– The game must be distributed and sold in German-speaking countries.
– The game must be playable as a standalone game. Expansions to existing games will not be considered.
The jury does not wish to receive any games which do not meet these basic requirements.
Do publishers send in their games like in a competition?
No. In their capacity as games critics the jury members receive or request review copies of new games. This is why it makes no sense to send a game to the jury’s headquarters. The games aren’t judged here.
What are the important dates, is there something like a submission deadline?
In principle, all games from the current year and the year before can be considered, as long as they are released in time and are commercially available. Timely means: they must be available in a final version early enough to be thoroughly scrutinised in the annual selection process. The jury reliably examines all games received by the end of March. Games arriving later can also be considered in the current year, but this cannot always be guaranteed. The recommendation and nomination lists are determined and announced in the second half of May or at the beginning of June, while the main prize-winners are selected in July.
Do publishers have to send review copies to members of the jury?
Of course not. It is the publisher’s decision whether or not they want to send review copies. However, we are only able to consider games which are made available to all jurors.
Is it enough to send review copies only to certain members of the jury?
No – even when all jury members don’t request review copies immediately or all at the same time.
It is part of a games critic’s job to have an overview of the market and to be on the lookout for interesting new releases. So it might be the case that only one jury member comes to you to request a review copy at first. There is a lot of close discussion among members of the association about the year’s new games. Jury members may inform each other about interesting games. You should therefore be prepared for all jury members to request a copy at some point. If you don’t want to provide a review copy to all jury members then it makes no sense to provide a copy to just one.
Should publishers send unrequested review samples automatically to all jurors?
Automatically sending review samples only makes sense in special situations:
– if this would significantly reduce costs and effort for the publisher;
– to ensure the game arrives for evaluation by the end of March.
Please be aware of the general criteria for games. There is no sense automatically sending copies of games which do not meet the formal criteria and which are therefore not eligible for an award.
Do jury members make any contribution to costs to small publishers for their review copies or do they provide any other kind of compensation?
No. For reasons of fairness, jury members receive all review copies without payment and without any other preconditions; it is not possible to return any copies. The requested games are of course tried out by the jury members. Sometimes – although there’s no guarantee of this – jury members may consider the requested games in their published reviews.
I am a new publisher. How do I make the jury aware of my games?
Use the criteria listed above (first question) to evaluate whether your game is formally eligible. If you think the game could be eligible for an award, email is the most sensible way to make the members of the jury aware of it. If they are interested, they will contact you.
Please note that the jury does not evaluate prototypes, mock-ups, pre-releases or short runs. New editions of known games with only minor changes are also not accepted. Please do not send us unsolicited games, even to our main office.
My game is available in my local game shop and I sell it on established online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay. Is that enough to be considered by the jury?
No, as well if the game is offered on a crowdfunding platform or exclusively through a retail chain. In concrete terms, this means that a game must not only be available in sporadic retail outlets in German-speaking countries, but that all retailers (especially in the largest market, the German market) should basically have the opportunity to purchase the game via a distributor or wholesaler in the quantities they want to sell stationary or online.
Which games does a member of the ‘Spiel des Jahres’ / ‘Kennerspiel des Jahres’ jury need to receive?
A member of the ‘Spiel des Jahres’ jury only needs those games necessary to carry out their role as games critic. No publisher should ever feel obligated to send all of their games automatically.
Members of this jury do not need review samples of children’s games. If the member is also active as a reviewer of children’s games, he or she will request review samples just like any other games critic.
Which games does a member of the ‘Kinderspiel des Jahres’ jury need to receive?
A member of the ‘Kinderspiel des Jahres’ jury only needs those children’s games necessary to carry out their role as games critic. No publisher should ever feel obligated to send all of their games automatically.
Members of this jury do not need review samples of adult and family games.
If the member is also active as a reviewer of adult and family games, he or she will request review samples just like any other games critic.
Where is the line between an adult/family game and a children’s game?
Games with an age recommendation of “6 and up” or younger will mostly be children’s games, titles with an age recommendation of “8 and up” or older will mostly belong to the category of adult/family games. Games for “ages 7 and up” are somewhere in the middle. This is only a rough rule of thumb. Members of both juries will discuss any borderline cases together. Jurors will have to play a game before deciding whether it can be considered and for which category.
Which games does an associate member or an honorary member of the ‘Spiel des Jahres’ jury need to receive?
Associate and honorary members of the jury do not need any review samples for their role.
If the member is also active as a games critic, he or she will request review samples just like any other games critic.
Will publishers receive feedback on what the jury members thought of their games?
Members of the jury publish a large amount of games criticism across various media. These reviews give an impression of the range of opinions represented within the jury. Due to the huge number of new releases each year, however, it is impossible for the jury members to publish a review of anywhere near all the games they receive; they are forced to limit themselves to a mere fraction of these.