Important and Influential Game Designers
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A listing of important and influential game designers. Meant to be a jumping-off point for learning more about their styles, designs, and what other games of their you may like.

Inspired by this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/893983/a-primer-on-impor....

Please help make this a complete reference by adding anyone i missed, but please try to keep the same format as i have used here.

Additional designers to be added, though feel free to add ones not listed:

Bruno Cathala
Leo Colovini
Matthias Cramer
Cyril Demaegd
Rüdiger Dorn
Stefan Dorra
James Ernest
Bruno Faidutti
Friedemann Friese
Xavier Georges
Mac Gerdts
Dirk Henn
Chad Jensen
Gordon & Fraser Lamont
Corné van Moorsel
Emanuele Ornella
Alex Randolph
Karl-Heinz Schmiel
Mike Selinker
Aaron Weisbloom
Kevin Wilson
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1. Board Game Designer: Robert Abbott
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Known for his math-intensive abstract and deduction games, Mr. Abbott influenced his contemporaries and many later designers. His most famous game is probably Eleusis. He has only 18 games on BGG, but his chess variants and card game variants filled books.

His highest ranked game is currently at #458: Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
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2. Board Game Designer: William Attia
 
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The term "worker placement" did not originate with Caylus, but the mechanism, and the term, became much more popular after it's release, and meteoric rise on BGG. Mr. Attia paved the way for later designs. His later designs have not been the lighting in a bottle Caylus was, but his effect on game design is unmistakable.

His highest ranked game is currently at #12: Caylus

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3. Board Game Designer: Antoine Bauza
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With a variety of imitated, highly-rated, and innovative designs, Mr. Bauza continues to impress. His first game to come to prominance was the cooperative game, Ghost Stories. His most popular game is 7 Wonders. Both have spawned multiple expansions and promo items.

His highest ranked game is currently at #13: 7 Wonders
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4. Board Game Designer: Richard H. Berg
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United States
Eugene
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Perhaps the most prolific wargame designer, Berg put
some truly innovative game designs out there. His Terrible Swift Sword
was SPI's first monster, as well as translating the minis concepts
of ACW fire and movement onto a map. He is known for one of the
most ridiculously detailed and involved games, The Campaign for North Africa,
which pioneered tracking supply in more than a cursory manner - an
idea which was then migrated (in simplified form) to The Desert Fox,
a far more playable game on the same subject. Mr. Berg has more than
150 games registered in the BGG db.

His most popular games are collaborative efforts, topped by the
multi-player CDG Successors (third edition) - ranked #318. His most popular
game of which he is the sole designer in the BGG db is Pax Romana, ranked at #892.
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5. Board Game Designer: Richard Borg
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Known for his Commands & Colors series of games which split the playing area into three parts. Players use cards to order units in each of the parts or more than one part at a time. Custom dice generally are used for combat rolls. Most of his games are light war or combat based games. Memoir '44 is likely consider thee gateway game into wargames.

Highest ranking game is currently #28 Commands & Colors: Ancients.
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6. Board Game Designer: Richard Breese
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Mr. Breese designs games with intricately interlocking systems, very often with financial elements. They always have a bit of a learning curve, and thanks to his sister, Juliet, they are usually beautiful and distinctive. He is best known for his Key-series (Keydom, Keywood, etc.).

His highest ranked game is currently at #196: Reef Encounter
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7. Board Game Designer: Cameron Browne
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Cameron is on the left in the image...

A designer of modern abstract games, and an expert on connection games, Mr. Browne is also the author of 2 books, and the programmer of LUDI, a computer system designed to design games. He has more than 60 games on BGG.

His highest ranked game is currently at #2744: Yavalath

Spoiler (click to reveal)
(I know this seems low for an "important and influential designer" but abstracts, true abstracts, kinda take a beating here on BGG. Peruse the Abstract game forums for 10 minutes and you'll see what i mean).
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8. Board Game Designer: Frank Chadwick
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United States
Eugene
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Introduced the 'Monster Game' - pushing the boundaries
of the wargaming hobby to games with huge footprints
in both time and space, in what was to become the Europa Series.
He has over 100 games credited to him on the BGG database.

His highest ranked game here is A House Divided at #446, a game
which ironically was much more abstract than most wargames -
yet still a fairly solid simulation.
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9. Board Game Designer: Jim Dunnigan
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United States
Eugene
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Took the early wargame idea, and pushed for a principle of
realism beyond getting the OOB's correct. While many of his
designs are good games, they were designed with an eye toward
actually trying to simulate the conflict portrayed.
He has over 100 games credited to him on the BGG database.
His most historically notable game is probably PanzerBlitz,
which gave significantly detailed tactical rules to WWII combat on the
Eastern Front.

His highest ranked game is Panzergruppe Guderian at #879
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10. Board Game Designer: Stefan Feld
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Mr. Feld has become almost synonymous with the publisher Alea since he came on the scene, indeed the last 6 Alea Big Box games (well, last 5 and the next announced one) are all his designs. He has more than 30 game entries on BGG.

His highest ranked game is currently at #23: Castles of Burgundy
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11. Board Game Designer: Mark Herman
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United States
Eugene
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Best known as the inventor of the very popular CDG style of game
(which has branched beyond the realm of wargames - but invigorated
the hobby), Mr. Herman also was the primary designing force behind
the Great Battles of History series, which has brought tactical
pre-gunpowder games to a new level of detail and playability. On
top of this, he designed some very innovative games back when
he led a band of refugees from SPI to his new company, Victory Games.
He is credited with over 65 games in the BGG db.

His highest ranking game is the newest incarnation of the very first
CDG, Washington's War, ranked at #135.
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12. Board Game Designer: John Hill (I)
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Eugene
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There is perhaps no wargame more popular nor played than
Squad Leader and its later franchise, ASL. Mr. Hill
made the seminal extremely small scale tactical WWII game which
still holds strong attention among a large portion of the wargaming
hobby. He's only credited with 20 games here, but for this one
he's had a humongous impact on the hobby.

His highest rated game here is Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943, ranked at #123
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13. Board Game Designer: Rudi Hoffmann
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While not as well known in the US, Rudi Hoffman was, with Sid Sackson and Alex Randolph, one of the most influential board game designers of the late 1960s, when the seeds of the modern German game market were sewn.

His highest ranked game on BGG is Café International, currently at 1366. He has 53 games listed on BGG, and likely many that haven't yet been listed.
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14. Board Game Designer: Michael Kiesling
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Often found working with Wolfgang Kramer (as in the Mask Trilogy -- Tikal, Java, and Mexica), Michael Kiesling has some games he designed solo as well (Vikings). He has over 20 games on BGG.

His highest ranked game is currently at #112: Tikal
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15. Board Game Designer: Reiner Knizia
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German-born but now living in England, Dr. Knizia (PhD in Mathematics) designs well-balanced games with tough decisions and interesting scoring systems. He is well-known for his Tile-Laying Trilogy (E&T, Samurai, DdW) and his Auction Trilogy (Medici, Ra, Modern Art). He has over 400 games in the BGG database attributed to him.

His highest ranked game is currently at #20: Euphrat & Tigris
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16. Board Game Designer: Wolfgang Kramer
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Another designer equally adept with light (6 nimmt!) game and heavy (Tikal) ones. He often worked in concert with Michael Kiesling (see separate entry) but is just as comfortable on his own. He has almost 200 games listed on BGG

His highest ranked game is currently at #16: El Grande
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17. Board Game Designer: Eric M. Lang
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If one were to talk about card games, certainly Richard Garfield comes to mind; however in the same breath you would also mention Eric Lang. A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, Warhammer: Invasion, and Star Wars: The Card Game make Eric a genre-defining designer. He and Fantasy Flight Games not only brought LCG's to the board gaming public, but united them with it's formerly collectible followers. Eric has also crossed into the board game realm with several offerings, most notably:

His highest ranked game is currently at #45: Chaos in the Old World

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18. Board Game Designer: Matt Leacock
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Goose Creek
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His cooperative game Pandemic set a new standard for pure co-op games. It's numerous spin-offs - including Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, Pandemic expansions, etc. - appeal to a broad range of gamers and gaming styles. His latest, co-designed by Rob Daviau, Pandemic Legacy has risen quickly on the charts.

Highest ranked game: Pandemic Legacy at #3 in Board Games.
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19. Board Game Designer: Thomas Lehmann
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Known for intricate designes that function like well-oiled machines, mr Lehmann has old-school (Fast Food Franchise), modern (Race for the Galaxy) and even train (1846) games up his sleeve. Mr. Lehmann has about 30 games listed on BGG.

His highest ranked game is currently at #17: Race For The Galaxy
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20. Board Game Designer: Jason Matthews
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Mr. Matthews works professional well inside the beltway in Washington, D.C. His involvement in politics has worked its way into several award-winning and highly rated games on BGG. His games combine systems from eurogames, wargames, and american style games.

A little-known fact: he is funny as hell. Don't try to keep a straight face around him.

With less than 10 games on BGG he nonetheless holds the #1 spot, with Twilight Struggle.
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21. Board Game Designer: Alan R. Moon
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Probably best known for his light train games, Mr. Moon has been designing games longer than you been playing them, kid. Multiple SdJ nominations, including 3 in one year, and multiple wins as well. He has almost 100 games in the BGG database.

His highest ranked game is currently at #64: Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries
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22. Board Game Designer: John Prados
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
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This is the man who brought the idea of grand strategic wargames,
with economic and (limited) diplomatic rules to the hobby, with
the game Third Reich. This pioneering work has lead to many of the
most beloved strategic wargames. He is responsible for over 30
games in the BGG db.

His best ranked game here is that key design, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,
ranked #850.
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23. Board Game Designer: Charles S. Roberts
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United States
Eugene
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More or less invented the concept of board wargaming.


While he only has 16 games listed in the BGG db,
Many of the AH 'classics' are his design.
Add to that pioneering efforts in the field of games
for adults at all, and you have a giant in the hobby.


His highest ranked game is Bismarck at #2221.
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24. Board Game Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
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Originally known for his light but counter-intuitive card games like Bohnanza and Klunker, that all changed with the release of Agricola. This farm game cemented Mr. Rosenberg as a heavy game designer, and he followed up with more heavy games like Ora et Labora while still giving us more bean farming expansions. He has almost 100 games on BGG.

His highest ranked game is currently at #2: Agricola
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25. Board Game Designer: Harry Rowland
David Dockter
United States
Minnesota
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Gave the wargaming hobby two of its cornerstones: World in Flames and Empires in Arms. Both epic masterpieces. Interviewed on Guns, Dice, Butter episode V (May 25, 2012).
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