Toy Corner

Top Board Games with the Most Awards

Jun 10, 2024

Most award winning board games

Board game awards have come a long way since their inception. Initially, awards were few and far between, primarily given out by small organisations or dedicated fan groups. However, as the popularity of board games surged, the need for formal recognition grew.

In the early 2000s, awards started to become more structured and prestigious. The Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award in Germany, established in 1978, was one of the first to set the standard. Today, winning this award can catapult a game to international success. Similarly, the Origins Awards in the US, launched by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design, began recognising outstanding games in various categories since 1974. The ENnie Awards, focused on role-playing games, also emerged as a significant event in the early 2000s.

Major Board Game Awards

Spiel des Jahres and Its Impact

Spiel des Jahres, or Game of the Year, has immense prestige in the world of board games. Since its inception in 1978, it has propelled numerous games to widespread popularity. The award focuses on the best family-friendly games, making it a reliable marker for accessible and engaging gameplay.

Other Prestigious Awards in the Industry

The Origins Awards, presented by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design, are another hallmark of excellence. These awards are handed out annually at the Origins Game Fair and cover a wide range of categories. An Origins Award, often referred to as a Calliope, signifies outstanding achievement in game design and innovation.

The Deutscher Spiele Preis, established in 1990, is revered for its focus on gamer-friendly criteria. Unlike Spiel des Jahres, it targets more complex games favoured by enthusiasts. Games like Terra Mystica and Terraforming Mars have won this accolade, solidifying their status in the gaming community.

Additionally, the International Gamers Awards highlight strong strategic elements and replayability. The awards cover both multiplayer and two-player categories, offering recognition to games that excel in strategic depth. And now lets get into our list of most award winning board games.

7 Wonders

7 Wonders is played across three ages, and each age is a pivotal step in building your ancient city. We start by selecting one of the seven great cities of Antiquity. Each player gets a board representing their city and a set of seven cards. The game unfolds in ages, with each age introducing new cards to draft.

The core of 7 Wonders lies in its card drafting mechanism, which it helped popularise in the board gaming scene. Each turn, we pick a card from our hand, use it for resources, military power, scientific skills, or building structures, and pass the remaining cards to the next player. It creates a dynamic interplay as players compete for the same resources and opportunities.

7 Wonders’ extensive accolades speak volumes about its quality and impact. From 2010 to 2012, it garnered no less than 24 awards, cementing its place in the board gaming hall of fame. Titles like the Kennerspiel des Jahres, Golden Geek Board Game of the Year, and International Gamers Award highlight its universal appeal, it is no wonder that it has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

7 wonders board game


Azul is a tile-drafting game that challenges players to create stunning tile patterns inspired by traditional Portuguese azulejos. Each round, players take turns drafting tiles from a central market and placing them on their individual boards, aiming to maximise points based on specific placement rules. It’s a game of both strategy and aesthetic appeal.

Azul has garnered a slew of awards, reflecting its wide appeal and quality. Beyond the Spiel des Jahres, it has won the Deutscher Spiele Preis for Best Family/Adult Game, the Golden Geek Board Game of the Year, and the As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année, among others. These accolades demonstrate the game's international recognition and enduring popularity.

Azul board game


Dominion introduced the deck-building mechanic to the board gaming world when it was released in 2008, shaking things up significantly. In this game, players aim to construct the most efficient decks by purchasing cards from a communal pool. Each card serves a different purpose, from providing resources to granting special abilities.

It’s no surprise Dominion has claimed numerous prestigious awards. Key among them are the 2009 Spiel des Jahres and the 2009 Deutscher Spiele Preis. Such accolades solidify its status, don’t you think?

Although Dominion is easy to learn, it has layers of strategy. Players need to balance immediate gains with long-term planning. Should we focus on getting quick victory points, or should we build an engine that will pay off in the long run? These decisions make every game unique and engaging.

dominion board game

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pandemic Legacy introduces the revolutionary legacy format to the classic Pandemic mechanics. Unlike traditional board games, where the setup and conditions remain constant, this game evolves as you play. Each session carries over to the next, with new rules, components, and story elements unveiled as you progress. It's like participating in a gripping TV series where every episode leaves you on the edge of your seat, wondering what's next.

One of the standout features of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is its compelling and immersive storyline. As you go through the game’s 12-month cycle, you’ll encounter plot twists, turning points, and revelations that fundamentally alter your approach. Characters gain scars and upgrades, cities rise and fall, and events from past games influence future outcomes. It's a dynamic narrative experience unlike anything else.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 has amassed numerous awards, securing its place as one of the most celebrated board games ever. It clinched the Golden Geek Board Game of the Year in 2015, an award decided by the passionate user community of BoardGameGeek.

pandemic legacy season 1


Scythe has garnered numerous awards since its release. It won the Golden Geek Board Game of the Year in 2016, an honour chosen by the user community of This prominent award highlights its broad appeal and acclaim among board game enthusiasts. On top of that, it has been nominated and won several other prestigious awards, including the Dice Tower Awards and the International Gamers Award, solidifying its status in the board gaming community.

Set in an alternate history of the 1920s, Scythe introduces players to a world where five factions compete for dominance in a post-war Europe. The game stands out because of its blend of different mechanics. These include area control, engine building, and resource management. Players work to build their economy, enlist recruits, and deploy mechs, incrementally expanding their control over the board. The combination of these elements ensures that each game is unique and offers deep strategic opportunities.

scythe board game


Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game. Players assume the roles of bird enthusiasts, engaged in finding and attracting the best birds to their wildlife reserves. The game features stunning artwork and real-world bird facts that add an educational element to the gameplay.

Wingspan has received numerous awards and acclaim. Notably, it won the 2019 Board Game Quest Game of the Year and the prestigious 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres, recognising it as one of the best strategy games of its time. These accolades highlight its excellent design, replayability, and broad appeal.

One of the key aspects of Wingspan is its strategic depth. Players must carefully plan their actions to build efficient engines, manage resources, and maximise their points. The different habitat actions – forest, grassland, and wetland – provide various benefits and strategic options.

wingspan board game


Cascadia invites players to create their own unique Pacific Northwest landscape by arranging wildlife tiles and habitat tiles. Players select one habitat tile and one wildlife token per turn to add to their growing landscape. The challenge lies in optimising the placement of these tiles and tokens to create the most points through specific patterns and combinations. This kind of decision-making, though straightforward at a glance, can become wonderfully intricate.

In 2022, Cascadia clinched the American Tabletop Award for Strategy Games. This accolade isn't just a testament to its design but also its widespread appeal. Notably, Cascadia also won the Golden Geek Award for Medium Game of the Year, highlighting its perfect blend of accessibility and depth.

What truly sets Cascadia apart from other tile-laying games is its replayability and modular scoring objectives. The game comes with multiple scoring cards, allowing players to customise each game’s goals, ensuring that no two games are ever the same. This variability keeps the gameplay fresh and engaging over countless sessions.

cascadia board game

Five Tribes: The Djinns of Naqala

The heart of Five Tribes lies in its unique blend of strategy and tactical planning. We start by setting up a grid of tiles representing the Sultanate of Naqala, each populated with tribe members in various colours. Players take turns moving pieces along these tiles, aiming to gain control by capitalising on the abilities of the tribes. We can summon the powerful Djinns, each offering special abilities to tip the scales in our favour.

Five Tribes has been celebrated in the gaming community, snagging awards like the 2014 Tric Trac d’Or and the Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game. These accolades aren't just for show; they underscore the game’s excellent design, balance, and replayability. It's been praised for delivering a rich, immersive experience that appeals to both seasoned gamers and newcomers alike.

The game’s components are top-notch, featuring beautifully illustrated tiles, colourful meeples (tribe members), and intricate Djinn cards. The visual appeal of Five Tribes is matched by its tactile fun, making each playthrough a pleasure. As we place, move, and collect these pieces, we appreciate the quality and thoughtfulness put into the game’s design.

five tribes

Terraforming Mars

Alright, let’s dive into one of our all-time favourites: Terraforming Mars. This game, with its deep strategy and engaging gameplay, has collected a mountain of awards. Created by Jacob Fryxelius and released by FryxGames in 2016, it's garnered attention for its unique concept and immersive mechanics.

Since its release, Terraforming Mars has received numerous accolades. Notably, it won the Golden Geek Board Game of the Year in 2016, a significant nod from the gaming community. It’s also been celebrated at the Deutscher Spiele Preis and honoured with the prestigious International Gamers Award. These awards highlight its status as a must-play strategy game.

We love that Terraforming Mars keeps evolving through expansions. Titles like "Venus Next" and "Prelude" add layers of complexity and keep the game fresh. Plus, there's even a digital adaptation, making it accessible if we can’t get the gang together for a physical session.

terraforming mars board game


Gloomhaven is a cooperative board game where players assume the roles of mercenaries. Set in a dark and richly detailed fantasy world, we navigate through various scenarios, battling monsters and making crucial decisions that influence the overarching story. The game's legacy aspect means our decisions have long-term consequences, creating a unique narrative for each campaign.

Gloomhaven has swept numerous awards since its release, including:

  • Golden Geek Board Game of the Year 2017: This award recognises the best board game of the year, voted by the BoardGameGeek community.

  • SXSW Tabletop Game of the Year 2018: Gloomhaven bagged this accolade for its innovative mechanics and engaging play.

  • Origins Award Best Board Game 2018: A highly respected award in the board gaming world, further cementing Gloomhaven's status.

Firstly, Gloomhaven’s modular board system and branching story paths provide almost endless replayability. No two game sessions are the same, keeping us on our toes and engaged. Secondly, the card-driven combat system adds a layer of strategy. We have to manage our cards carefully, planning our moves in advance to optimise our abilities and actions.

It takes some time to really appreciate the gameplay of Gloomhaven so the tips we have for beginners are:

  • Start with the Rulebook: Gloomhaven's rules can be daunting. Take your time to understand them.

  • Watch Playthrough Videos: Videos can be invaluable for grasping the game's flow and mechanics.

  • Organise Components: Investing in organisers or storage solutions can help manage the vast array of components, making setup and gameplay smoother.