Josh's "Prestige Rating" - BGG's favorite designers
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I’ve seen at least a couple different GeekLists that attempt to rank the designers according to some of the statistics on the Geek. The two I’m thinking of are Tom Vasel’s, which takes the average rating for all of a designer’s games, and Rene Wiersma’s, which counts the number of Top 100 games for each designer. Both of these are very good lists.

It’s impossible to capture all the Geek’s statistical information about a designer’s games in a single number or ranking. But I’ve come up with a method of ranking them, and I’m rather pleased with how it has turned out.

I call the rating “Designer Prestige.” Here’s how it works:

For each designer, I take the five games with the most ratings. Not the highest average, but rather the largest total number of ratings. These are often among the designer’s highest rated games buy not always. The question I’m attempting to answer is:

“How good are the designer’s most popular games?”

I then calculate the average rating users have given these games, with each games weighted according to the number of ratings. The more popular a game is, the bigger its effect on the designer’s prestige will be.

If a designer does not have five games with at least 30 rating each, ratings equal to ‘5’ are added until each of his five most-rated games have a minimum of 30 ratings. So designers with few games published are penalized.

At this point, no more than half of the ratings are allowed to come from one game. Any ratings in excess are dropped. For example, Andreas Seyfarth lost almost half of his Puerto Rico ratings because of this rule. The idea is that a designer will generally need at least two “hits” to make the list.

The initial average is calculated. Then any game beyond the five most-rated is added to the calculation if (and only if) it would raise the initial average. Thus, designers with a surplus of high quality games are rewarded. The addition of these extra ratings typically has only a very small effect on the final results.

Finally, 500 baseline ‘5’ ratings are added, and the average rating is recalculated. This number is the final PRESTIGE rating. Designers with few ratings overall will sink into oblivion when saddled with the baseline votes. The effects of the baseline votes will be much smaller for the designers with many ratings.

I have included in this list every designer with a PRESTIGE of at least 6.0. This gives us 64 designers as of January 2005.

Expansions are not counted. Revisions, remakes or variations of games are not counted unless I judge that they are sufficiently different to qualify as independent games. If a revision or a remake has more total votes than the first version, I will count the revision instead of the original game.

Here are some features (and possible flaws) of the method:

(1) One popular and well-rated game is not enough to give a good prestige rating. A designer needs at least two hits, and more is better.

(2) There is very little reward for extremely prolific designers, since any games beyond their five most-often-rated games will have little if any effect on their prestige rating.

(3) Designers are penalized if one or more of their best-known games are rated poorly. For example, the tepid ratings for Elfenland pull Alan Moon’s prestige down. The same can be said for 6 Nimmt and Wolfgang Kramer, or for Samarkand and Sid Sackson. Consistent high quality is rewarded.

(4) As a corollary of the previous feature, it is better to have two or three big hits and very little else than to have two or three big hits and a dog or two. If the dog has a lot of ratings, it is viewed as a big disappointment, and will sabotage the designer’s prestige. An example of this feature is Philippe Keyaerts, who places at #27 on the list despite having only two games in the database. Both Vinci and Evo are popular and are rated well, and Keyaerts has avoided any big disappointments.

For calibration of the PRESTIGE numbers, consider this: If someone had designed Puerto Rico, Euphrat & Tigris, The Princes of Florence, War of the Ring, and El Grande, that designer’s PRESTIGE would currently equal 8.268.
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1. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
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Reiner Knizia

Euphrat & Tigris - 1986 @ 8.464
Lost Cities - 1838 @ 7.502
Lord of the Rings - 1555 @ 7.315
Ra - 1148 @ 7.943
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - 1100 @ 7.801

Initial average: 7.824 (7627 ratings)
Added:
- Modern Art - 1093 @ 7.936
Revised average: 7.838
PRESTIGE: 7.684

Comments: According to our method, Reiner Knizia is the most prestigious designer on Boardgamegeek. This is no surprise, and certainly it passes the “common sense” test. What is a bit of a surprise is how close the difference is between Knizia and the second-ranked designer. The game that’s keeping Knizia from blowing everyone else out of the water is Lord of the Rings. It was eagerly anticipated (and thus is one of his most-often-rated games) but was met with mixed reviews. With a rating of 7.3 it’s no slouch, but it’s not at the lofty height of games like E&T, Ra, Modern Art, etc. If we were allowed to pick any five games rather than the five with the most ratings, we would choose Modern Art and Taj Mahal instead of Lord of the Rings and Lost Cities, producing a prestige of 7.834 for Knizia. One of the weaknesses of my method may be that it’s unable to fully appreciate someone like Reiner Knizia, with more than 20 games ranked among the top 200 here.
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
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Andreas Seyfarth

Puerto Rico - 1678 (3086 actual) @ 8.749
San Juan - 1087 @ 7.710
Manhattan - 526 @ 6.825
Waldmeister - 35 @ 5.991
Zorro: The Fight Against Alcade - 30 (2 actual) @ 5.100 (6.5 actual)

Initial average: 8.049 (3356 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.654

Comments: Even with the deletion of more than 1400 of his Puerto Rico ratings, Andreas Seyfarth finishes a strong second backed by the one-two punch of Puerto Rico and San Juan. He’s a good case study to see whether our method is working well. Let’s imagine that Seyfarth had only published the two mega-hits, and we’ll drop the rest of his ratings. His prestige falls just a bit to 7.578, and he would drop one spot to finish at #3 in our list. So the vast majority of his prestige is coming from his two most recent game, but the earlier Manhattan is also helping him move up the ranks. That seems reasonable. Now let’s imagine that San Juan doesn’t exist (but Manhattan and Waldmeister still exist). Seyfarth’s prestige falls all the way to 6.909 and #16 on our list. That’s a big drop, but in this case he avoids the fate of a one-hit wonder because Manhattan is well-known and has decent ratings. Now let’s make him a true one-hit wonder, dropping everything but Puerto Rico. In this scenario, his prestige rates a paltry 5.6, and he doesn’t even rank on this list. Taken together, all of this shows me that the system is working as I intended it to work.

Do I really think Andreas Seyfarth is the #2 game designer of all time? No, I don’t. But my formula rates his as the second-most prestigious designer on Boardgamegeek. He has authored the runaway #1 game on the Geek along with another game in the top 50 and a third game that was one of the classic prototype “German games” from the early 1990s. Our method looks like it may be biased toward quality at the top of a designer’s resumé, but then again, we already knew that! No one rating captures every possible point of view.
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3. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:53]
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Richard Ulrich

El Grande (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 1661 @ 8.166
Princes of Florence (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 1427 @ 8.212
El Caballero (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 379 @ 6.832
Die Händler (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 223 @ 7.265
Hot Dog (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 30 (15 actual) @ 5.183 (5.367 actual)

Initial average: 7.970 (3720 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.618

Comments: Richard Ulrich edges out his collaborator Wolfgang Kramer! Honestly, I was expecting this to happen, and it gives us an opportunity to look at some of the nuances of our rating system. First of all, I’m sure many of us wonders which of these two designers were principally responsible for games like El Grande and Princes of Florence, or whether it was more of a 50/50 effort. Probably only Ulrich and Kramer know the answer, and our system awards full credit to each designer. Okay, fine, but how can Ulrich beat Kramer when Kramer is a co-designer of all five of these games, and has also designed many other popular games beyond these five? The answer is simple. Boardgamegeek users consider the Ulrich/Kramer games to be slightly better than Kramer’s catalogue as a whole. Ulrich’s score is dominated by El Grande and Princes of Florence, and the other three games don’t have enough total ratings to depress his overall rating. Most of the depression from his initial average of 7.970 to his final prestige of 7.618 is coming from the 500 baseline ‘5’ ratings we’re adding. Kramer, on the other hand, is known for many other games that are considered on the Geek to be good, but not remotely as good as El Grande or Princes of Florence. Kramer is not quite as prestigious as Kramer/Ulrich. I’m sure Kramer is typically viewed as more a prestigious designer than Ulrich, but this is in part due to him being given the lion’s share of the credit for the Kramer/Ulrich designs. Understandable, since he’s the more famous and established designer, but our method ignores those subjective considerations.
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4. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
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Wolfgang Kramer

El Grande (w/ Richard Ulrich) - 1661 @ 8.166
Princes of Florence (w/ Richard Ulrich) - 1427 @ 8.212
Tikal (w/ Michael Kiesling) - 1372 @ 7.447
6 Nimmt! (w/ Klaus Palesch) - 976 @ 7.083
Torres (w/ Michael Kiesling) - 948 @ 7.423

Initial average: 7.746 (6384 ratings)
Added:
- Maharaja: Palace Building in India (w/ Michael Kiesling) - 465 @ 7.877
Revised average: 7.755
PRESTIGE: 7.567

Comments: Like Knizia, Kramer is probably a bit underrated by our system. That’s the fate of anyone whose credits include more than five big hits. If we wanted to increase the prestige rated for well-established designers like Kramer, there would be several ways of doing so. We could (1) increase the number of games considered from five to something higher, (2) increase the number of baseline ‘5’ ratings (from 500) to punish those with fewer total ratings, or (3) increase the minimum number of votes per game (from 30) to punish those with fewer than five widely-played games. Doing the opposite of any of these would have the opposite effect, helping the designers who are less established (fewer games total and/or fewer ratings for their games). The numbers I chose for each of those factors – 5 games, 30 ratings, 500 baseline votes – are designed to provide a good balance between quality and quantity.
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5. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Klaus Teuber

The Settlers of Catan - 3428 (3640 actual) @ 8.016
The Settlers of Catan Card Game - 1405 @ 7.150
Adel Verpflichtet - 818 @ 6.927
The Starfarers of Catan - 662 @ 7.171
Löwenherz - 543 @ 7.544

Initial average: 7.590 (6856 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.414

Comments: Seafarers of Catan and Cities & Knights of Catan are considered for purposes of this list to be expansions, not independent games. I can see an argument for considering Cities & Knights separately even though it’s sold in the form of an expansion, but ultimately I’m not convinced. Starship Catan currently has a few more ratings than Löwenherz, but I’m counting the latter game in the interest of getting more non-Settlers stuff into the rating. The Domaine/Löwenherz remake has nearly as many ratings as the original Löwenherz, so I think it’s fair to choose Löwenherz over Starhip Catan as one of Teuber’s five most-rated games. This choice helps his prestige rating, but only slightly – either way, he’s well ahead of the next designer on the list. Each of the three Settler-related games that we considered easily qualify as distinct games, not expansions or revisions.
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
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Alan R. Moon

Ticket to Ride - 1649 @ 7.913
Elfenland - 947 @ 6.984
Union Pacific - 806 @ 7.604
San Marco (w/ Aaron Weissblum) - 717 @ 7.364
New England (w/ Aaron Weissblum) - 540 @ 7.142

Initial average: 7.497 (4659 ratings)
Added:
- Elfenroads - 90 @ 7.643
Revised Average: 7.500
PRESTIGE: 7.262

Comments: I don’t consider the inclusion of both Elfenland and Elfenroads to be redundant. Although Elfenland grew out of Elfenroads, the two games are very different animals. However, Elfenroads has so few ratings in comparison with Moon's other games that its inclusion makes only a tiny difference (prestige without Elfenroads = 7.255). Starting some time in the mid-1990s, a consensus emerged that Reiner Knizia, Wolfgang Kramer, and Klaus Teuber were a kind of holy trinity of the German game scene. If a fourth name was mentioned, it was likely to be Alan Moon. In terms of our prestige rating, though, it’s last year’s Ticket to Ride that really pushed Moon up among the top flight of designers on the Geek. Substituting Capitol (his next most-rated game, 461 ratings @ 7.354) for Ticket to Ride yields a final prestige of 7.014, which would drop him from #6 to #12 in rank.
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7. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:615]
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Richard Borg

Battle Cry - 901 @ 7.672
Memoir '44 - 890 @ 8.104
Wyatt Earp (w/ Mike Fitzgerald) - 762 @ 7.253
Hera & Zeus - 738 @ 6.960
Liar's Dice - 616 @ 7.188

Initial average: 7.478 (3907 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.197

Comments: I’ll admit that this surprised me a little. I didn’t expect to see Borg place so high on the list. But with the tremendous success of Memoir ’44 on top of an already solid resumé, Borg should probably be considered one of the best designers going these days. Some may think that I shouldn’t include both Battle Cry and Memoir ’44, and if I hadn’t played Memoir ’44 myself, I might have agreed with them. But having played quite a bit of both games, I would argue that Memoir ’44 is a game unto itself, not merely Battle Cry in World War II clothing. The basic system is the same, of course, but the re-use of successful systems not uncommon in wargaming. Richard Borg and Richard Berg are sometimes confused due to the similarity of their names. Berg is an extremely prolific old-school wargame designer who didn’t qualify for this list because his ratings are too low. Borg’s two biggest hits are wargames of a sort, but he comes much more out of the Euro/family game tradition of design.
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8. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
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Michael Kiesling

Tikal (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 1372 @ 7.447
Torres (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 948 @ 7.429
Java (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 562 @ 7.114
Maharaja: Palace Building in India (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 465 @ 7.877
Mexica (w/ Wolfgang Kramer) - 448 @ 7.231

Initial average: 7.420 (3795 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.139

Comments: Wolfgang Kramer’s other frequent collaborator also makes the top ten, although he doesn’t place nearly as well as Ulrich or as Kramer himself. He’s known mostly for the five games listed as well as Pueblo, another Kramer collaboration. He has proven to be a very consistent performer, with all six of these games rated 7.11 or higher. However, he doesn’t have a runaway hit like Ulrich/Kramer’s El Grande or Princes of Florence. Maharaja is looking like it could approach that level, although I remain skeptical about its staying power.
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9. Board Game: DVONN [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:346] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
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Kris Burm

DVONN - 516 @ 7.788
ZERTZ - 468 @ 7.753
YINSH - 361 @ 8.023
GIPF - 278 @ 7.538
TAMSK - 177 @ 7.041

Initial average: 7.714 (1800 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.124

Comments: Kris Burm is the first designer to make our list with fewer than 3000 ratings, and he’s well under at just 1800 total ratings among his top five games. But his GIPF series has been received remarkably well. It’s impressive that he ranks so high here despite focusing on a niche that’s not really a focal point of the Geek: traditional abstracts – a term I use to mean “two-player luckless, themeless positional games.” His games are of course very popular with the abstract-lovers, but they’ve also become a crossover hit with many Euro-style gamers.
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10. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:114]
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Martin Wallace

Age of Steam - 706 @ 8.056
Runebound - 433 @ 7.186
Princes of the Renaissance - 372 @ 7.855
Liberte - 305 @ 7.381
La Strada - 201 @ 6.673

Initial average: 7.592 (2017 ratings)
Added:
- Struggle of Empires - 85 @ 8.139
Revised average: 7.615
PRESTIGE: 7.112

Comments: Martin Wallace is one of the hottest designers of recent years with an impressive string of hits. He doesn’t have the mass-market cachet of the biggest mainstream European designers, but he’s been on the forefront of developing a hybrid style that lies somewhere between the Euro-style games and the older American historically-based games. Wallace’s prestige will continue to rise if and when Struggle of Empires displaces La Strada as his fifth most-rated game. The La Strada ratings are bogging him down just a bit currently. I predict that he'll be somewhere around 7.20 once Struggle of Empires gets into wider circulation in the U.S.
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11. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:207]
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Sid Sackson

Acquire - 1484 (1785 actual) @ 7.719
Can't Stop - 625 @ 7.223
Kohle, Kies & Knete - 369 @ 7.397
Samarkand - 267 @ 6.562
Sleuth - 223 @ 7.228

Initial average: 7.434 (2968 ratings)
Added:
- Gamut of Games - 92 @ 8.134
Revised average: 7.455
PRESTIGE: 7.110

Comments: The late Sid Sackson places just outside the top ten in our prestige ratings, an impressive achievement for someone whose best-known games date from as far back as the 1960s! He would doubtless rate even higher if our method had some sort of provision for historical significance in the gaming hobby. Samarkand seems to have been viewed as a minor disappointment, and that’s the game that is currently keeping Sackson out of the top ten.
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12. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
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Rüdiger Dorn

Goa - 751 @ 8.048
Traders of Genoa - 682 @ 7.645
Emerald - 227 @ 6.763
Gargon - 225 @ 6.337
Jambo - 87 @ 7.282

Initial average: 7.532 (1972 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.019

Comments: Keep a spot warm for Rüdiger Dorn up near the very top of the list, because it looks like that’s where he’s headed. Virtually unknown prior to 2001’s Traders of Genoa, Dorn is one of the few designers who are producing quality “gamer’s games” for the established German firms. If Louis XIV is as good as the murmurs lead us to believe, Dorn’s prestige rating should continue its ascent.
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13. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
 
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Friedemann Friese

Power Grid - 841 @ 8.154
Finstere Flure - 542 @ 7.188
Fresh Fish - 293 @ 6.903
Fische Fluppen Frikadellen - 232 @ 6.929
Foppen - 63 @ 6.575

Initial average: 7.508 (1971 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 7.000

Comments: The 81 ratings for Funkenschlag are not included, since the newer version (a.k.a. Power Grid) has substantially more ratings. Friese has a solid rating, but none of his game have come close to matching the success of Power Grid. He needs another big hit to move up the ranks, and he’s so young and so inventive that I would think it’s just a matter of time before that happens.
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14. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
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Richard Garfield

Magic: The Gathering - 1325 @ 7.300
Robo Rally - 1245 @ 7.526
The Great Dalmuti - 546 @ 6.560
Netrunner - 286 @ 7.465
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle - 236 @ 6.889

Initial average: 7.253 (3638 ratings)
Added:
- What Were You Thinking? - 64 @ 7.283
Revised average: 7.253
PRESTIGE: 6.985

Comments: Almost 100% of Richard Garfield’s prestige is coming from Magic and Robo Rally. In fact, we could wipe the rest of his slate clean, and he would drop only one spot in our rankings! We haven’t seen anything new from Garfield in years apart from the disappointing Star Wars Trading Card Game. A third major hit would probably secure him a spot in the top ten.
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15. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
 
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Dirk Henn

Alhambra - 1010 @ 7.291
Wallenstein - 610 @ 8.110
Metro - 594 @ 6.879
Atlantic Star - 377 @ 7.306
Rosenkönig - 219 @ 6.582

Initial average: 7.328 (2810 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 6.977

Comments: Dirk Henn has been designing for quite some time, but he was not really a headliner until the success of Spiel des Jahres winner Alhambra. If we calculate his prestige using only his pre-Alhambra games (the five most-rated currently are Metro, Atlantic Star, Rosenkönig, Stimmt So!, and Carat), we show a prestige of 6.392. For comparison, that would rank #38 on our current list. Note that Showmanager is rated significantly higher (7.55) than its re-themed doppelganger Atlantic Star, but has only 229 votes, so we’re using the ratings from latter game. Most of his games that have been published by Queen (or Kosmos in the case of Rosenkönig) are remakes of his earlier self-published games. Wallenstein, the notable exception, is his only completely new game from the past several years. Will his next game be something new, or perhaps a reworking of something like Spekulation or Timbuktu? (I thought Carat a.k.a. Gärten der Alhambra was a surprising choice for a remake.)
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16. Board Game: Advanced Civilization [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
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Francis Tresham

Advanced Civilization - 718 (759 actual) @ 7.830
1830 - 467 @ 7.611
1835 - 150 @ 6.927
1825 - 51 @ 6.069
1829 - 50 @ 6.790

Initial average: 7.565 (1436 ratings)
Added:
- Revolution - 30 (25 actual) @ 8.000 (8.600 actual)
Revised average: 7.574
PRESTIGE: 6.920

Comments: In this case, I'm fudging a bit and using Advanced Civilization instead of basic Civilization. Why? Well, Advanced Civilization has about 80% as many ratings as Civilization does. That's a pretty incredible ratio for what is essentially an expansion, and indicates to me (together with the much higher rating) that most people are playing the game in its Advanced Civilization form. I've also judged that Tresham’s various 18xx incarnations should be considered independent games. They all use a similar basic system, but there are also some profound differences among the games. Just look at the ratings for evidence that the games all play very differently. Tresham also has the fewest total ratings we’ve seen so far, probably because the 18xx games appeal more to a select audience.
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17. Board Game: Risk 2210 A.D. [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1019]
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Rob Daviau & Craig Van Ness

Risk 2210 A.D. - 655 @ 7.181
Star Wars: Epic Duels - 562 @ 7.126
HeroScape (w/ Stephen Baker) - 497 @ 7.793
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (w/ Bill Sabram) - 335 @ 6.660
Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit (w/ Alan Roach) - 326 @ 7.534

Initial average: 7.271 (2375 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 6.876

Comments: When you’re dealing with the larger American game publishers like Hasbro or Games Workshop, it’s often difficult to draw the line between game designer and game developer. Things are usually done in teams, and the developer often takes the lead in the design work. Daviau and Van Ness fill both roles for Hasbro, and for purposes of this list, I’ll just follow the Geek’s lead and give them credit for any game where I see their names listed under “Designer.” If anyone has further information about games that should be included or excluded, let me know and I’ll update the rating. I think it’s easier to keep the two of them together as a pair, since they are both listed on each of their five most-rated games (Axis & Allies: Pacific is very close behind, and Van Ness is not listed on the Geek entry for that one).
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18. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:482]
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Michael Schacht

Coloretto - 746 @ 7.346
Web of Power - 742 @ 7.597
Hansa - 481 @ 7.385
Paris Paris - 367 @ 6.436
Fist of Dragonstones (w/ Bruno Faidutti) - 362 @ 6.506

Initial average: 7.185 (2698 ratings)
Added:
- Magna Grecia (w/ Leo Colovini) - 250 @ 7.216
Revised average: 7.188
PRESTIGE: 6.871

Comments: The prolific Michael Schacht made his biggest splash with 2000’s Kardinal und König (Web of Power), but he hasn’t been able to replicate that success. He has had some second-tier hits like Hansa, Coloretto, Magna Grecia and Industria, and also some disappointments like Knights, Isis & Osiris, and Paris Paris. I would offer my prediction for where he’s headed on this list, but I don’t see a clear trend one way or the other. Except for the trend of releasing many, many, many games.
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19. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:316]
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Bruno Faidutti

Citadels - 1760 (1840 actual) @ 7.531
Mystery of the Abbey (w/ Serge Laget) - 623 @ 6.981
Castle (w/ Serge Laget) - 388 @ 6.075
Dragon's Gold - 387 @ 6.443
Fist of Dragonstones (w/ Michael Schacht) - 362 @ 6.506

Initial average: 7.048 (3520 ratings)
Added:
- Boomtown (w/ Bruno Cathala) - 125 @ 7.201
Revised average: 7.053
PRESTIGE: 6.806

Comments: I had no idea where Bruno Faidutti would rank on our list because his games often provoke extreme reactions one way or the other. I’ve heard from some gamers that he is their favorite designer and from others that he is their least-favorite designer. Faidutti has a very distinctive style, and I guess it all depends on whether that style is a good fit for one’s tastes. Citadels is of course his signature game, but he had good success recently with collaborative efforts like Mystery of the Abbey (actually a spiffed-up older game), Queen’s Necklace, and now Boomtown.
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20. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:563]
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Marcel-André Casasola Merkle

Attika - 925 (958 actual) @ 7.578
Meuterer - 358 @ 7.347
Verräter - 352 @ 6.930
Attribut - 139 @ 6.869
Bakerstreet - 76 @ 5.992

Initial average: 7.291 (1850 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 6.804

Comments: Verräter and Meuterer first put Marcel-André Casasola Merkle on the map as a game designer, but the much-discussed Attika is the reason he has a spot on the first page of our list. For some reason that is unknown to me, it seems no one is allowed to mention Attika without saying that it’s overrated or underrated or skillful or lucky or has faded or is still going strong. (Since I must not violate this hallowed rule, you can put me in the “underrated, skillful, going strong” camp.)
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21. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:366]
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Uwe Rosenberg

Bohnanza - 1706 (2007 actual) @ 7.401
Mamma Mia - 686 @ 6.811
Babel - 566 @ 6.944
Space Beans - 259 @ 6.005
Klunker - 195 @ 6.328

Initial average: 7.039 (3412 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 6.779

Comments: Although the opinions on Mamma Mia and Babel are mixed, they’ve been popular enough to allow Rosenberg to avoid the fate of the one-hit wonder. I’m a bit surprised that his second highest-rated game Schnäppchen Jagd doesn’t have more ratings. It’s considered much better than something like Space Beans, but it suffers because it was Rosenberg’s only major non-Bohnanza-related game that wasn’t released by Rio Grande.
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22. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
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Christian T. Petersen

A Game of Thrones - 782 (789 actual) @ 7.847
Twilight Imperium - 379 @ 7.240
Disk Wars (w/ Tom Jolly) - 182 @ 5.955
Battlemist - 117 @ 6.197
Mag-Blast Second Edition - 104 @ 6.517

Initial average: 7.268 (1564 ratings)
Added:
- A Game of Thrones CCG (w/ Eric M. Lang) - 92 @ 7.635
- Vortex (w/ Tom Jolly) - 64 @ 7.425
Revised average: 7.293
PRESTIGE: 6.777

Comments: Christian T. Peterson makes the first page despite 300 hundred awful ratings for Disk Wars and Battlemist. A Game of Thrones is holding very strong and Twilight Imperium has also been a successful game for him. He has played a key role in the growth of Fantasy Flight Games into a major player in the American market, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from him in the near future.
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23. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:512]
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Aaron Weissblum

San Marco (w/ Alan Moon) - 717 @ 7.364
New England (w/ Alan Moon) - 540 @ 7.143
Capitol (w/ Alan Moon) - 461 @ 7.353
Oasis (w/ Alan Moon) - 289 @ 6.948
King Lui (w/ Alan Moon) - 272 @ 6.449

Initial average: 7.147 (2279 ratings)
Added:
- Spinball - 33 @ 7.538
Revised average: 7.153
PRESTIGE: 6.770

Comments: Aaron Weissblum has released several games on his own, but he is best known for the games he designed with collaborator Alan Moon. That pairing generated a lot of positive buzz with their 2001 trifecta of San Marco, Capitol, and Das Amulett. Now than Weissblum and Moon are no longer working together, it will be interesting to see whether any of Weissblum’s solo designs can attract a similar amount of attention.
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24. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
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Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Peter Olotka (The Eon team)

Cosmic Encounter - 737 (1164 actual) @ 7.272
Dune - 517 @ 7.736
Quirks - 77 @ 6.378
Borderlands - 72 @ 7.118
Hoax - 71 @ 6.007

Initial average: 7.320 (1474 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 6.732

Comments: More than 20 years have past since this troika has released a game, yet they still sport a solid prestige rating. Cosmic Encounter and Dune are widely viewed classics, and Borderlands as something of a hidden gem. It’s too bad they broke up they band, since they had a great thing going. These guys are the highest-ranked “designer” with fewer than 1500 ratings among their top five games.
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25. Board Game: Cartagena [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:845]
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Leo Colovini

Cartagena - 818 @ 6.835
Clans - 766 @ 6.830
Carolus Magnus - 565 @ 7.182
Magna Grecia (w/ Michael Schacht) - 250 @ 7.216
Bridges of Shangri-La - 219 @ 7.156

Initial average: 6.972 (2618 ratings)
PRESTIGE: 6.656

Comments: Leo Colovini rounds out our top 25. He hasn’t had any hits of the first order, but has earned his prestige with a number of mid-level hits. His is the name that comes to mind when I think of the Winning Moves square-box line. Colovini continues to please his fans with his ability to get a large number of his game designs into production.

There's more on the next page!
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