A Newcomers' List of Favorite Publishers
Mark Langston
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I am relatively new to this wonderful hobby, having collected board games now since roughly August of the past year (2013). One of the things that I have noted very quickly is the reputation of certain publishers regarding the quality of their games... some have a reputation for EXTREMELY well-crafted mechanics, others seem to lean heavily towards component quality. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite publishers, along with an explanation of why I came to the conclusions that I did...

I'd love to hear from some of the more "seasoned" gamers out there as well... which publishers really hit the sweet spot for YOU?
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1. Board Game Publisher: Plaid Hat Games
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When I took a gander at their website to view what games they have come out with, I don't see a single "miss". EVERY ONE of their games is quality in every way... from components to rules to general "fun", this is my favorite publisher. Having said that, I realize that they haven't been around as long as some of the others, but they're batting 1.000 in my book. "Mice and Mystics" and "Summoner Wars" are two of my favorite games, and with the addition this upcoming year of "Dead of Winter" and "SeaFall", I'd say that the future looks mighty bright for the folks at Plaid Hat!
 
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2. Board Game Publisher: Days of Wonder
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I call them the "Pixar of Board Games", in that they only usually come out with one game per year, but boy, is that one game a doozy! They've been a bit off their game of late, but with a stable that includes Small World, Shadow Over Camelot, and the Ticket to Ride is a pretty formidable one indeed. Much like Pixar, I anxiously await the announcement of what their next title will be... what untold treasures will await with their next project?
 
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3. Board Game Publisher: Z-Man Games
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The behemoth in terms of sheer quality output... Z-Man's strength is the staggering number of amazing games published. From Carcassone to Dungeon Petz, Tash-Kalar to Pandemic, Agricola to Russian Railroads, is there another publisher in the entire hobby that can boast of such a HUGE amount of BGG faves? I haven't done the math, but it doesn't seem likely.
 
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4. Board Game Publisher: Asmodee
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Call me crazy, but I can't help but smile when I think of the sheer "fun quotient" of this company. Many of their games seem fairly childlike (Rampage, Dixit, Takenoko), but a closer look reveals a TON of time spent refining their games into something deeper, something beyond a mere filler. And then you have the heavier fare: Eclipse, Nations, even 7 Wonders. Asmodee is a publisher that seems to fire well on both ends of the spectrum: they do all things, and do them well.
 
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5. Board Game Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
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Trains. Love Letter. Thunderstone Advanced. Smash Up (my personal favorite). Enough said. cool
 
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6. Board Game Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
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I know, I know... some folks out there view this publisher as the Wal-Mart/Disney/Microsoft of the gaming industry. That giant company that just buys up everything around it. But can you really argue with their choices? Cosmic Encounter, the Lovecraft stuff, Descent, Star Wars X-Wing, etc. Heck, they even coined a new term for the hobby ("Living Card Game"), which took the fairly established idea of Collectible Card Gaming and made it SOOOOOO much better.
 
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