The German Game Award started in 1990 and is based on popular vote. Ballots are sent to gamers, readers of the spielbox and Fairplay magazines, dealers, game clubs, etc. throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but anyone can vote on the official site. Anonymous votes are not accepted, in order to avoid duplicated votes. Voting occurs until end of July, and only games that appeared in the two previous main German game fairs (Essen and Nuremberg) are eligible. Each person ranks up to five adult/family games and votes for one children's game. A game gets 5 points each time it is ranked first, 4 points if it gets ranked 2nd, etc. The organisation of the award sums the points and publishes the list of the 10 games with the most points, the award going to the first placed. Given the source of votes, the family/adult award tends to go to "gamer’s games". The award for best children's game goes simply to the most voted game.
There is also a special award for outstanding contributions by individuals or organisations and a best rules award. The latter has its own name (Essener Feder - the quill of Essen) and it actually pre-dates the German Game Award. From 1981 to 1988, it was given by the Spiel des Jahres jury. It was not awarded in 1989, and since 1990 it is part of the German Game Award. The winner is selected by a 5 person jury.
The results are announced every year in October, just before Europe's biggest game fair, in Essen, Germany. For more information, see: