The History of the Awards
The Major Fun Award was developed by Bernie DeKoven to identify games that are:
- clear and have comprehensive rules that can be read in 5-15 minutes
- played in under an hour
- fun enough to play over and over again
- suitable for a wide audience
- easy to store
- made to last
- uniquely fun
- tend to make people laugh
- deep enough to withstand a lot of changes
Major Fun Award-winning games prove to be easy to:
- adapt to younger and older players
- tune to different play preferences and abilities
- make more or less complex, longer or shorter, sillier or more serious
We focus on original games that help people share and build energizing, supportive relationships – friends, couples, family members, neighbors, communities, coworkers, teams, teachers and students, patients and healers. Games give people a way to do serious things without taking them seriously.
There are three kinds of Major Fun awards:
- The Major Fun Award is the primary award level. Games and toys that receive this award have proven themselves to be adaptable, enjoyable, quality products that make our world a better place.
- The Keeper Award is given to those games found to be especially successful in helping people practice principles of playfulness. These games have already shown themselves to be Major Fun, but also prove to be exceptionally flexible, easy to learn, and easy to adapt to a wide range of audiences and play styles.
- The Defender of the Playful Award is a recognition given to other people who have created something valuable, and meaningfully fun, have demonstrated a passion for playfulness, and have somehow been able to make it available to a wide range of audiences.
Submitting Your Games for Review
Manufacturers who are interested in submitting their games should send a copy of each game submitted to the following address:
Stephen (Major Fun) Conway
1721 Marian Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46240
There are no fees for this award
Winners receive the award are licensed to use the Major Fun Award logo with that product – on the package, in print, and associated media.
Your games promote fun and play and joy, and the Major Fun Award exists to honor the games that are most effective at bringing these qualities out in our communities.
Please know that your work is deeply appreciated, and we are thankful you chose to share it with us.
When we receive your games, they go into our playtesting queue. A game moves up through the queue until we play the game and evaluate it with a very basic rubric: is it easy to learn, can you start playing quickly, does it appeal to a wide audience, do you want to keep playing, are the rules clear, is the art engaging. Our playtesters vote YES or NO and the majority decides. I generally don’t override a group decision, but I will decide ties.
When we play a game for the first time, those games, the ones we really don’t want to stop playing, or the ones we want to play again, become candidates for a Major Fun Award.
The process is informal, and not very scientific, but it’s fun and surprisingly accurate. The winning games are reviewed by Major Fun himself. The games we keep bringing back are considered for a Keeper Award.
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 to the brain burning challenges of heavier strategy games (Spiel of Approval) and everything in between. If we think a game is worth of 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. I want you to know basic information about the game (concept, components, mechanics). I 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. There are no negative reviews, so, if you submit a game and it doesn’t get an award, it’s because, fun-wise, it wasn’t found to be, shall we say, Major.
One winner explains how a game publisher might benefit from a Major Fun award:
2) Step 2: After Bernie’s blog post sells out my initial set, I’m tired of making them by hand. New World Games helps me make 250 really cheap, but slightly better copies.
3) Step 3: The game is picked by Games Magazine for their top 100 of 2004. New World Games prints a nicer edition.
4) Many years later Tim Walsh (creator of Blurt and Tri-Bond) comes across one of those and asks Mike Petty if he can pitch the game to some companies.
5) Find It Games takes it on as their first move toward party games. They change it to Oh, Really.
So thanks for your help six or seven years back!.
Stephen (Major Fun) Conway
Bernie (Major Fun, ret.) DeKoven