German-style board game

From Academic Kids

German-style board games, also known as new school games, designer games, family strategy games, or European games, are family games designed primarily for the European markets. Board gaming in Europe, especially Germany, is taken far more seriously than in other parts of the world. As a result, there is a thriving boardgaming industry there, releasing games quite unlike those seen elsewhere. In proportion to population, Germany publishes more board games than any other country. These games form their own genre, known generally as "German games" as most are produced in Germany, though a number of games are produced in France, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. Because German Games do not necessarily have to be designed by Germans or published by a German company, some people are uncomfortable with the term, which results in the alternative names for the style.



German Games usually have the following characteristics (although as in any classification, there are exceptions):

  • They are designed to be played by multiple players, usually 2-5 people (scalability gets more and more important).
  • They are often designed to be played by families. This means that they are fairly simple to learn for older children, but have a good level of strategy to keep adults interested.
  • They promote a high level of player interaction. It is most unusual to see a mechanism of "roll the dice and move your counter that many spaces", as is used in Monopoly and many North American family games.
  • There is no player elimination; instead, a game finishes after a set number of turns or after one player achieves a victory condition.
  • They often take between 60 and 120 minutes to finish, although there are of course longer and shorter games.
  • The games are well illustrated and have very high quality components.
  • Use of higher-quality materials than most North American games - thicker cardboard for the board, wood rather than plastic for the pieces
  • The designer of the game is credited on the box.
  • Game components are often designed with an eye towards internationalization; the game is expected to be exported to other countries. This manifests in fewer words on the game components, or a rules book with translations in six languages.

The best known German board game is Settlers of Catan (in German: Die Siedler von Catan), by Klaus Teuber. Other games by Teuber include Entdecker and Lwenherz. Reiner Knizia, another well-known game designer, has designed Tigris and Euphrates (German: Euphrat und Tigris), Samurai, Stephensons Rocket and Lost Cities. Wolfgang Kramer, in partnership with various collaborators, has designed El Grande, Tikal, Java and Torres. Other games of note include Alhambra, Bohnanza, Carcassonne, Citadels, Elfenland and Puerto Rico.

Although German companies like Hans im Glck and Goldsieber only produce German versions of their games, many are available in English, usually from either Rio Grande Games or Mayfair Games.

The most prestigious German board game awards are the Spiel des Jahres ("game of the year") and Deutscher Spiele Preis.

The prolific board game designer Sid Sackson explained the German game phenomenon by the following: "Germans consider it the parents' duty to play games with their kids-- but they avoid all war games."

Game Designers

A German game designer is not necessarily a game designer who is German, but someone who designs German-style board games. Typically, the game designer's name is given a prominent location on the cover of the game box, unlike many other countries where only the publisher's name can be found. Since the designer is known, consumers can decide on which game to buy based on the game designer rather than just the company who produced it. German game designers also have somewhat of a celebrity status in the gaming community.

German Style game designers

External links

de:Autorenspiel ja:ドイツのボードゲーム


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