5 German Board Games for Any Day of the Year
This post has been updated. Be sure to read to the very bottom to catch all the updates.
Besides books and reading, it's safe to say the board games are an important German cultural element. Games are so important to Germans that there is a Verein (club) that reviews games every year known as the Spiel des Jahres (game of the year). There are different categories, three of which are:
- Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year)
- Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children's Game of the Year)
- Kennerspiel des Jahres (Game of the Year for Experienced Players)
You can stay up-to-date on their announcements by signing up for their newsletter.
Since German games are awesome and some of them are now cult games of epic proportions--Catan (Affiliate link) even had a mention on The Big Bang Theory--here are a few games you could get to know any day of the year, and if you're looking for some German Christmas presents, they'll serve you well!
There may be extra space & extra description dedicated to my favorite game...I'm totally biased. And for good reason!
Some of the links below are affiliate links. They are marked with (Affiliate link), which means that if you click through that picture/link and make a purchase, I'll receive a small amount of that purchase as a thank-you. And the prices are as of today's publication (Dec. 5, 2016). Enough disclosure--Lasst die Spiele beginnen!
1. Spiel des Jahres 2016
This year's winner is a Czech game based on secret agents with code names (thus the title). The object is to make contact with your own spies!
Ages 14 & up, for 2-8 players
(Affiliate link) $14
2. Für die Kleinen (For the Little Ones)
HABA makes toys and games for kids and their Orchard game is awesome for kids! This one is for kids 2 & up so it's geared for the even younger crowd.
Ages 2 & up, 1-4 players, $25
I've played the regular Orchard game (3 & up) with some kids and it was delightful! (Affiliate link)
3. For the Serious Player
Carcassonne is a game named for the actual Carcassonne Citadel in France. This game is fantastic for serious players because there is a base game and then expansion packs. This one is the "Carcassonne Big Box 5," which is the base game plus 4 different expansion packs and, as the ad says, much more.
The makers of this game are so clever they've even timed out how much time each expansion adds to the base game, some being 30-45 minutes.
A game of epic proportions that I can and do recommend to board game fans!
4. ♥ Nicole's Personal Favorite ♥
Ich lege es Ihnen am Herzen, dieses Spiel zu kaufen und zu spielen!
I "lay it on your heart" to buy and play this game.
I LOVE THIS GAME!
This game is an *actual labyrinth* because a portion of the pieces on the board move with every turn. Your job is to move through the ever-changing labyrinth to land on different objects and then get back to your home piece.
Ages 8 & up, for 2-4 players. $23.
Buy it directly from Ravensburger or click the picture to buy it on Amazon:
5. For Train Lovers and Geography Lovers
This is the Märklin Collector's Edition and it's incredible. This is the game I bought with my Christmas money last year and it continues to lead to hours and hours of enjoyable playing. You play against yourself as much as you do against the other players.
The trains featured on the cards of this game are historical and beautiful. You can also extract elements from this game to make it more manageable for younger players.
This is as physical as it is cerebral so give yourself a 2-3 games to get used to playing it before you really let loose.
N.B. This game can be found for $49.99 elsewhere, but I couldn't find available copies.
Ages 8 & up, for 2-5 players, $150.
Not only is Labyrinth an amazing game, but it's also available in an OCEAN variation! This is perhaps one of the coolest variations any kid could have.
Ages 8 & up, for 2-4 players $27.
Buy it directly from Ravensburger (affiliate link) or click the picture to buy it on Amazon:
Update June 1, 2020:
A couple of months ago a friend of mine said "My mom and I are doing this jigsaw puzzle, have you seen this one before?" I said, "Yes, I have, and it's from Ravensburger." Astonished he said, "How did you know?" "I can see the quality!" was my response.