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The Spiel of Approval Award

The Spiel of Approval Award was created to recognize and celebrate games that:

  • encourage thoughtful and strategic play
  • may be complex than a typical family game
  • have clear and comprehensive rules
  • are fun because they make you think  
  • are built to last
  • grow more rewarding the more times you play
  • are original in some aspect

Games that win the Spiel of Approval award tend to:

  • appeal to more experienced players but are not exclusively "gamers" games
  • have multiple paths to victory
  • last more than an hour
  • create lasting moments or memories 

Publishers/games that receive the award are licensed to use the Spiel of Approval Award logo with that product - on the package, in print, and associated media for the edition of the game that was submitted/reviewed. We will will have rolls of labels/stickers with the Spiel of Approval award logo available. Contact Stephen for details. 

Winners of The Spiel of Approval promote thoughtful fun and play. This award exists to honor the games that are most effective at allowing players from around the world to discover and enjoy these qualities.

Each year we hope our experience and expertise can guide you through the thousands of games available to several dozen noteworthy titles you might enjoy too. Here's a list of all the award winning games to date.

And a select few of these winners will also merit the additional honor as Keepers.

Being selected as a Keeper is a special honor above and beyond the Spiel of Approval. These are games we think will stand any test of time. They will remain engaging no matter how many games and how many years pass by. Keepers are a rare breed and deserve special recognition for the lasting fun they create. If you enjoy games that make you think, Keepers are games we think you should definitely make room for on your shelf!



Our Review Philosophy

Thousands of new game titles are published every year. There is no way we can be comprehensive and cover every game that hits the market. That is not our goal.

Our guiding philosophy is to point players toward games we genuinely enjoy and think others might as well. We publish 30 game reviews each season on The Spiel. 

We want a game being selected for The Spiel of Approval to mean something. For every game that makes the grade, there may be ten or twenty others that did not make the cut. 

Fun is the ultimate test. We realize and appreciate that fun comes in many forms from the silly frantic fun of kids or party games (Major Fun!) to the brain burning challenges of heavier strategy games and everything in between. If we think a game is worth of a Spiel of Approval or a Major Fun award, we think it’s fun and MOST IMPORTANTLY, we’ll tell you why! 

It’s not enough for us to say we like a game and you should too. We want you to know basic information about the game (concept, components, mechanics). We also want you to know what sets the game apart from others and then and only then can we give you a sense of why we enjoy the game and what kinds of players might enjoy it as well. From there, we trust you can make your own informed decision about whether this is a game that might speak to you.

We don’t like every game we play. But we do like every game we review.

This doesn’t mean the games we cover are perfect. Far from it. We often point out problems and issues in games we review. That said, if a game is reviewed on The Spiel, we feel whatever its flaws might be, there’s way more fun than frustration waiting for you in the box. We're willing to back that up with our Spiel of Approval!

Publisher Submissions

Publishers are welcome to submit games for consideration for The Spiel of Approval Award. 

There are two important items of note to be aware of before submitting a game:

1. We play hundreds of new games each year.

Our to-be-played pile is always a sight to behold! If you submit a game, we'll play it a few times and give it a fair shake. Just be aware this process will take some time.

2. Submitting a game does not guarantee an award.

All editorial decisions about what games receive reviews/awards are made in-house and are not influenced by publishers.

We want The Spiel to remain a trusted source for objective independent reviews/awards.

This remains true as long as players and publishers trust that the games we review are being selected by us and not because of some back room deal. Our reviews cease to be of value or interest to anyone the minute we let publishers program the show. There are never fees or favors paid for any award or review we publish.

Given the thousands of titles being published, independent reviews and awards like The Spiel of Approval are essential to the game industry both for publishers and players.

For players, we provide a way to make informed decisions about games on the market.

For publishers, receiving a Spiel of Approval is a seal of quality (and a marketing coup) that few games receive.

We enjoy a wide range of games, from kids and party games all the way up the scale to heavy strategy games. You are welcome to submit a game for consideration for either the Major Fun or Spiel of Approval award.

Our focus is on board and card games; we don’t often venture into miniatures, collectible or role playing games. Browse our back catalog of episodes and you’ll see we cover a wide swathe of the game playing world.

I encourage you to contact me ( if you have any questions about whether you think your game is a good fit for one of our awards. 

If you’re a publisher and all of the above is acceptable to you, feel free to send review copies to:

The Spiel
Stephen Conway
1721 Marian Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46240

We know how much time and effort and passion goes into every game. Please know that your work is deeply appreciated, and we are thankful you chose to share it with us.

Please Note

We do not consider yet-to-be-published Kickstarter games. If you are looking for publicity for a Kickstarter campaign, check out our sponsorship page

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