Game designers tend to bring a certain signature to their games. If Mac Gerts is involved, there is likely to be a rondel. Vlaada Chvatil means deeply euro games with entertaining, even funny settings. And Stefan Feld will have you pushing cubes in interesting ways. While these designers are relatively prolific, here are three other greats that we want to see more from.
Bollinger tends to shake up whatever genre he touches. He created Dungeon Twister, which adds to the world of dungeon crawls. But unlike every other game, it isn’t just about making your way through a cave and slaying bad guys. Instead, the rooms of the dungeon twist and turn and you have to figure out the best way forward to get your treasure and escape.
In Archipelago, a heavy euro title, you can ship, trade, and interact with the natives. But unlike other euro games, this one is semi-cooperative. Each player is attempting to complete their own goals, but if you aren’t careful, there can be an uprising that causes everyone to lose. Keeping that in check while competing with the other players can be extremely challenging.
He’s also the designer behind one of the world’s greatest tactical miniatures board game, Earth Reborn. Without modular purchases or blind buys, this game packs customizable setups, unique factions, close and ranged combat, explosives, destruction, and even randomly generated scenarios to keep the game fresh.
These three major designs occurred between 2004 and 2012. A few smaller titles have emerged, but the board gaming world really needs more of his designs. And, as luck would have it, a new design of his emerged at Essen this year. It may take some time to filter to the States, but it’s definitely one to keep on the radar.
In 2005 and 2006, there was one game that was spoken of in almost hushed whispers. “Hey, have you played… Caylus?” Caylus introduced and popularized a number of now-common concepts, including worker placement. Players are engaged in building the castle for the king and all the while, they need to build up the town around it in order to gain prestige and working supplies. Plus, you have to manage the provost. If he’s not in the right spot, your workers might not get you anything.
Aside from a card game spinoff, Attia didn’t produce anything again until 2013. Then, Spyrium was published. In that title, players place workers around nine cards. Then, you have a chance to either take your worker back and get a coin for every other worker there, or buy the card for one coin per worker at the spot. This creates really interesting choices as placing a worker might make the card more difficult for your opponent to obtain, but might also result in them getting a larger payout.
It now appears that another desert of Attia designs is upon us. He has really neat ideas using simple mechanics that nevertheless produce highly strategic gameplay. Hopefully, it won’t be another seven years before we see another of his titles.
Andreas Seyfarth is the name behind some of the most influential and durable titles on the market today. It’s undeniable that Puerto Rico has had massive influence on the hobby. The idea that one player selects an action and all players engage is something that has been reproduced in other titles. Not to mention, the game itself is straight up fun.
Another of his designs, Thurn and Taxis, won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (the German Game of the Year). Players build routes by playing cards each turn. If they can’t add to their route, they’ll lose the whole thing. It provides a fantastic tension between playing fast, and playing safe.
While Seyfarth does have a few designs beyond these two, the boardgaming world hasn’t seen an original title from him since 2007. It’s time for that to change.
Which designers do you want to see more from? Tell us about it in the comments.
Image Credits: Ludically and Rio Grande Games
Featured Image Credit: Ludically