The gentleman standing next to the oversized Blood Rage Frost Giant above is of Eric Lang: panda lover, aviation nerd, and brilliant professional game designer whose name you should know. This year, he won the Diana Jones Award at GenCon, an industry award given for excellence in gaming (fun fact: Wil Wheaton and the crew of TableTop won the award back in 2013).
Having been a designer for nearly 20 years (before North American publishers put the names of designers on the front of the boxes), he’s probably designed games you’ve played and loved. A short list of the most popular games he’s worked on includes, CMON’s Blood Rage (one of our picks here at Geek & Sundry for best game of 2015), Wizkids’ Quarriors and Dicemasters (both co-designed with Mike Elliot), Fantasy Flight’s Chaos In the Old World, as well as Fantasy Flight’s living card games for Star Wars, Warhammer 40,000 and Game of Thrones.
When asked, Eric divulged many of these games took years to develop. Part of the reason he’s so prolific as a designer is that he’s often working on between 8-12 games at any one point. To prove the point, four games of his launched at GenCon this, all of which we’re excited about and think you should be too:
Bloodborne: The Card Game
Given Eric’s pedigree in working with top-shelf licenses, it’s no surprise he was tapped for Bloodborne by Cool Mini Or Not. He started designing it at GenCon in 2013, and it has all the hallmarks of an Eric Lang game: a fantastic balance of strategy, head-to-head player interaction, and enough luck to make the game feel fresh and new every time you play it. Based on the namesake video game, you’ll play one of the several Hunters entering the Chalice dungeon. As the game is semi-cooperative, you’ll have to work together to get close to the end of the dungeon together, while killing the other players off so that you can emerge from the dungeon as the victor.
You can see how the game plays in this fantastic Watch It Played video:
The Others: 7 Sins
What happens when you take a dungeon crawl-style board game and set it in a demon-filled universe not unlike that of Supernatural, you have a sense of the game that is The Others: 7 Sins. Published by Cool Mini Or Not, the game features beautiful art and highly paintable miniature components. Given CMON’s penchant for expansion packs (as seen with Zombicide) we’ll be playing our copy with fingers crossed for a Sam, Dean, and Castiel F.A.I.T.H. team expansion in the future.
You can see Eric talk a little more about the game in this interview:
If you’re at all a Harry Potter fan, you will LOVE this IDW game which Eric co-designed with Kevin Wilson. As a student of a wizarding school, you’re trying to be the best in the class by completing assignments. Seems simple enough, except you have to take into account the fact that your rivals have access to magic (turns out you’re not the only one), and might have powers that can help them or hinder you from getting your homework done.
It’s a fantastic, family-friendly, fun game with a whimsical art style you can check out from this trailer:
Co-designed with Bruno Faidutti, this game is the epitome of game theory in practice. Players take on the role of a shipwrecker. Having lured the game’s namesake ship to be buffeted, crate after crate of loot are now washing ashore and to win the cards with the highest value, you play rock-paper-scissors to negotiate, scramble for first pick, or fight for the booty. It’s a lovely little small-box game that is perfect for passing the time as you wait for treasure ships come in, pirate talk optional.
Who are your favourite game designers? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: Eric Lang | Facebook (With Permission)
Photo Credits: Asmodee (Fair Use)
Teri Litorco is a former Geek & Sundry Vlogger, avid tabletop gamer and author of the upcoming Civilized Guide To Tabletop Gaming. She has a Dicemasters addiction, which you can get a small glimpse into (along with a number of other geeky & gaming addictions) by following her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.