Wargaming Map Artists - best of the best
Adam Starkweather
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A sample of several Wargame graphic artists and my personal favorites by each.
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1. Board Game: Summer Storm: The Battle of Gettysburg [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:6296]
Adam Starkweather
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Rick Barber - the only one left that still works by hand and not computer. And this - his labour of love. Absolutely stunning map. Rick is hit or miss with me but he hits a home run with this map.
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2. Board Game: Bonaparte in Italy [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:5136]
Adam Starkweather
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Joe Youst - the best of all in form and function. One of two actual artists I think we have but unlike Craig Grando, Joe also has a firm grasp on function as well. My fav - Bonaparte in Italy. Simply beautiful use of color. Joe's other OSG effort, Highway to the Kremlin, is a close second.
 
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3. Board Game: The Rise of the Roman Republic [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:3817]
Adam Starkweather
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Mark Simonitch - until pretty recently, I found Mark's work the weakest of the "Big Three" but unlike the others, Mark continues to grow and refine his technique. It seems his latest is always around his best. Mark can do browns so well that I find RRR my favorite of his work to date. As an added plus, Mark is the most talented game designer in the artist crowd (sorry Joe).
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4. Board Game: Here Come the Rebels [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:2234] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Adam Starkweather
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Charles Kibler - lost in the faceless crowd at AH, Kibler's work is outstanding. Often lauded as some of the best work ever in the hobby, the GCACW stuff is absolutely first rate.
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5. Board Game: Sicily: The Race for Messina [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:4837]
Adam Starkweather
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Redmond Simonsen - one of the fathers of the hobby and possibly the father of all wargaming artists, Redmond's minimalist ways became the standard. My favorite - of course, is when Redmond wasn't so clear and minimalist but actually threw some color on the map. Some odd function issues with this map but to me, it is SPI at its absolute best. Still holds up well today.
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6. Board Game: Avalanche: The Salerno Landings [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:9796]
Adam Starkweather
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Rich Banner - oh, what a map this one had. One of my all time favorites. No computer feeling here. Sort of like Kibler above, far less distinctive than the other artists (I had to look it up for this for example) - but what a beauty.
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7. Board Game: Napoleon at the Berezina [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:7545]
Adam Starkweather
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Craig Grando - probably our most talented artist but also the one that understands function the least. This is my favorite but there are many choices that are all just as good. Grando has probably made the largest splash in the staus quo of anyone in recent memory. He has singlehandedly made ATO a competitor to S&T. Remarkable example of the power of the visual in this hobby.
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8. Board Game: The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:1617]
Adam Starkweather
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Niko Eskubi - the newest kid on the block and my biggest contribution to the hobby. Niko has finally found a few eyes to see what he can do and what happens? This sample map for Devil's Cauldron was good enough to get MMP to hire Niko as their new staff artist. Blew their socks off...a great new artist and a great friend. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. 5 contracts with other companies seem to show that not just MMP likes Niko's graphic sense.
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9. Board Game: War For the Motherland [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:9441]
Adam Starkweather
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Masahiro Yamazaki - Japan's Joe Youst...but maybe Joe a few years back. Mas does subtle pastels and with a nice understated feel. His newest, and his labor of love - War for the Motherland II is his best - IMO.

Like Knut, wait till you see the latest effort from Game Journal - another new talent from Japan. Nothing here to show off but maybe within a month...whew!
 
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10. Board Game: Eagles of the Empire: Friedland [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:8887]
M. Kirschenbaum
United States
College Park
Maryland
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Friedland, IMO, is the best of Brien Miller's Napoleonic area maps.
 
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11. Board Game: Red Barricades: ASL Historical Module 1 [Average Rating:8.68 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.68 Unranked]
M. Kirschenbaum
United States
College Park
Maryland
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Charlie Kibler's labor of love.
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12. Board Game: The Seven Days of 1809 [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:4725]
A L D A R O N
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Nice maps in this series, legible, clear and detailed, and with a period feel.
 
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13. Board Game: The Killing Ground [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:4067]
Adam Starkweather
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I forgot one - and one of the best...Mark Hinkle. No one, and I mean no one does the whole package as well as Mark. Killing Ground - from charts to counters to map...a first class package beautifully coordinated. Mark's maps might be a little too "computer" looking for me but certainly worthy of this list.
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14. Board Game: This Hallowed Ground [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:4000]
Adam Starkweather
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Yep - as Ben Notes - I forgot Dean Essig...

THG? Simply a great map. BTW, if you are curious why THG has a different sort of look from other Essig maps - Rick Barber did the first draft of the map...I have a copy of it and Dean gots lots on inspiration from it.

Dean, even more than Hinkle, suffers from a "computer" look but sometimes, he really hits the mark. Browns really help to give a nice contrast as well.
 
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15. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:945]
Peter Kruijt
Netherlands
Eindhoven
NBr
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Franz Vohwinkel - My absolute favourite illustrator. Did most (or all?) of the maps in the Phalanx Games line of games.
 
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16. Board Game: Bonaparte at Marengo [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1178]
A L D A R O N
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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An unusual map worthy of mention for originality, and for keeping to a consistent design vision.
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17. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:981]
Jorgen
United States
Ferndale
California
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IMO The Ogre/G.E.V. maps look realy nice
 
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18. Board Game: La Squadriglia degli Assi [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Andrea Angiolino
Italy
Rome
European Union
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Dario Calì - handmade aquarel with no computer graphic, based on real WWI recon photos on the Italian front. The drawing has a new life now as the background of the "Wings of War" cards. Sorry for listing a game of mine, but I think it's wort. After this one, Dario made a similar map for a "Steampunk" air combat game for the Italian publisher Hobby&Work, but it is not listed on BGG.
 
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19. Board Game: Pax Britannica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2451]
Eric Smith
United States
Philadelphia
PA
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Ted Koler or SPI and Victory Games - he executed dozens of maps for Redmond Simonsen at SPI and designed and executed all of Victory Games' maps. He is a little known talent, but a major one. It is too bad that there is no good reproduction of his map for 'Pax Britannica' on BGG, it is one of his best.
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20. Board Game: Russian Front [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2015]
Robert Wesley
Nepal
Aberdeen
Washington
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How's about a 'shout out' for THIS 'gem'? The only couple of 'regrets' that I'd consider, is that they 'used' WHITE 'print' when another 'color' would have been more easily 'seen' AND the 'matte' look of the 'counters'! Check out the upper left corner in this photo of the partial 'City HEX' to 'see what I mean', if you can!
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21. Board Game: Raid on St. Nazaire [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1802]
Scott Clinton
United States
Texas
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One of my all time favorite wargame boards.

Looks like a damned photo and it was done decades ago.

..sniff...sniff...I miss Avalon Hill! cry
 
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