Top Ten Game Designers
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This is the latest edition in my series of "top ten" lists of games based on mechanisms and themes. Here are the previous entries:
[blogpost=23068][/blogpost]
[blogpost=23255][/blogpost]
[blogpost=23453][/blogpost]
[blogpost=23646][/blogpost]

Game designers are the wonderfully brilliant people who assemble the combinations of mechanisms that make up the games we all know and love. Some designers are particularly good at scratching my gaming itches. Here are my ten favorite - I'll always look at games designed by these folks.

As always, this list represents my personal top ten list of designers, not BoardGameGeek's.
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1. Board Game Designer: Richard Garfield
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Iowa
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Richard Garfield is probably responsible for devouring more of my time and thought than the next nine designers on this list combined. Two of his creations - Magic and Netrunner - have eaten many, many, many hours of my attention over the years, and that doesn't include many other creations by him that I've enjoyed. Putting Richard at #1 was easy and I will always be interested in any games he designs.
Key Games: Android: Netrunner, Magic: the Gathering, King of Tokyo, Robo Rally
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2. Board Game Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
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Uwe Rosenberg has hooked me hard on the heavy worker placement and resource management games, which just scratch a deep mental itch for me. He is the absolute master of creating multi-hour resource management brain-burners that somehow leave me wishing deeply that there was just one or two more turns in the game. Plus, most of his designs work very well as compelling solo gaming experiences, which pushes him a little higher on this list.
Key Games: Agricola, Le Havre, Ora et Labora, Bohnanza
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3. Board Game Designer: Sid Sackson
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Sid Sackson is perhaps the "grandaddy" of the modern boardgaming era. He was an incredibly prolific designer during the 1960s through the 1980s, coming up with countless classic games that most of today's designers grew up playing. For me, his games always seem to do an amazing job of distilling one or two mechanisms down to this pure form that makes for a deeply compelling game.
Key Games: Acquire, Sleuth, Venture, Can't Stop
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4. Board Game Designer: Carl Chudyk
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Carl Chudyk is brilliant in his ability to make an incredibly deep game out of a single stack of cards. Both Innovation and Glory to Rome center around a giant stack of cards, yet in both of those games, the cards are all used in such a variety of ways and they combine together with seemingly infinite variety. If I'm looking for an innovative card game and it says Carl Chudyk on the box, I'm probably going home happy.
Key Games: Innovation, Glory to Rome, Flowerfall, Impulse
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5. Board Game Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
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Vlaada Chvatil is a master of variety. Whenever you open a box with his name on the lid, you don't know what you're going to get, but you can be pretty sure that it'll be engaging and it will probably use game mechanisms either in a way you've not seen before or in a way that's been duplicated by others. I find that I usually either love or hate Vlaada's games - there's no middle ground for me - but I'm always interested in what I find in the box.
Key Games: Through the Ages, Mage Knight Board Game, Galaxy Trucker, Space Alert
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6. Board Game Designer: David Sirlin
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David Sirlin has only three games to his credit thus far, but they've all deeply impressed me. Each one revolves around distinct player powers that are surprisingly balanced and lead directly to different tactical and strategic decisions within the game. Each one has hooked me badly at different times. I am deeply interested in any future game releases from this guy.
Key Games: Puzzle Strike, Yomi, Flash Duel
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7. Board Game Designer: Stefan Feld
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Stefan Feld has hooked me on the medium-weight resource management games, in parallel to Uwe's hooking me on the heavier games. For me, Stefan's games stand out because they often use dice in unusual ways or incorporate pieces of ancient games such as mancala, remixing things to create something unusual and new and fresh. Whenever I see his name on the box, I want to see how he's taken something familiar and twisted it in a new way.
Key Games: Castles of Burgundy, Trajan, Notre Dame, Macao
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8. Board Game Designer: Corey Konieczka
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Corey Konieczka is incredibly good at making a deep and rewarding game that also oozes with theme. Many of his games are long and involved offerings (though not all), but not only do you get the sense of a great gameplay experience with them, you also get this sense of being a part of a story. If you're looking for games that mesh together theme and great gameplay, look for Corey's name on the box.
Key Games: Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars: X-Wing, Runewars, Mansions of Madness
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9. Board Game Designer: Alan R. Moon
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Alan R. Moon designed the game most played by my game group and the game I've played the most times with my children. Those two achievements alone earn him a place on this list, but the strangest part is that neither of those two games are my favorite Alan Moon game.
Key Games: Airlines Europe, Ticket to Ride, Incan Gold, Union Pacific
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10. Board Game Designer: Friedemann Friese
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Friedemann Friese has designed several games I love deeply that have very little in common with each other. Power Grid is a network building resource management game, while Copycat is a deckbuilding and worker placement game, and Friday is a solitaire card game. His games are of all different types, but I always find myself entertained by them. Also, his games are usually green.
Key Games: Power Grid, Copycat, Friday, Fauna
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