Making games look beautiful: Claus Stephan
Emmanuel Aquin
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Very active in the gaming industry for the last 15 years, Claus Stephan has maintained a surprising level of quality in his work. From his Dominion cards to the cover of Lancaster, from Palazzo to Through the Desert, Stephan has always provided strong visuals with great colors. And his knack for drawing scenes from the Middle-Ages and Antiquity has made him the darling of many game publishers.

Now, let's explore some of his work over the years.

And you? What is your favorite Claus Stephan artwork?

(This geeklist is part of a series about game artists. To see them all, click here)

(Thanks to Laszlo Molnar for giving me the idea of including Stephan in my geeklist series)
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:76] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
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Stephan is part of a group of artists who participated in the Dominion series. Here is one of his stunning contributions (wrongly credited to Mirko Suzuki on this preview, but corrected in the printed version):

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2. Board Game: Dominion: Seaside [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
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Another one of his gorgeous cards. Note the dynamism of both these Dominion cards, pulling you toward the horizon:

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3. Board Game: Colonia [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2228]
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Another cover that highlights Stephan's ease with the medieval setting:

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4. Board Game: Lancaster [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:283]
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Knights on horses often mean Stephan is close by:

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5. Board Game: Artus [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:3092]
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Some more knights:

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6. Board Game: Palazzo [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1643]
Emmanuel Aquin
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And more gorgeous medieval art:

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7. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2616]
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Now, here's the other time period where Stephan's art shines: Antiquity.

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8. Board Game: The Heavens of Olympus [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:13493]
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Antiquity + Stephan = striking cover:

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9. Board Game: The Golden City [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1975]
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Stephan's talent is not limited to human figures. See how he can show us epic panoramas:

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10. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:631]
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Here's Stephan's cover for the German edition:

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11. Board Game: Aquädukt [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2221]
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This cover highlights Claus Stephan's gift for composition:

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12. Board Game: Circus Maximus [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:8125]
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Stephan's work can also be more cartoonish, while still retaining a classical quality:

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13. Board Game: Alea Iacta Est [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1401]
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Another example of Stephan's cartoonish work (not my favorite, but interesting):

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14. Board Game: Cardcassonne [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3020]
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One last sample of Stephan's cartoon style:

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15. Board Game: Zanzibar [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14063]
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And for the last entry (for me), this wonderful and colorful cover, that shows Claus Stephan's vast range of styles:

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16. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:308]
Laszlo Molnar
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Thanks for creating the list. I appreciate Claus Stephan's art because his artwork is always functional, always nice to look at and quite often it's even inspired, having some nice ideas involved. Like the cards of Lost Cities that tell stories when put together in ascending order...

image by Michael Campbell
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17. Board Game: Keltis [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1505]
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Interestingly, Lost Cities: The Board game came with sub-par graphic presentation (by someone else than Claus Stephan) while Claus Stephan was responsible for the look of Keltis. He made what could have been a boring 5-column excel sheet into something that is full of Irish symbols but also reminding you something like a Black Jack board, showing it's still a card game where luck plays an important role.
But above all... It looks special, it looks very nice.

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18. Board Game: Jäger und Sammler [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:3190]
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If you look at Zombiegeddon

you can appreciate the look of the German version even more. Once again Claus Stephan added a lot to the quality of the game.
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19. Board Game: Kahuna [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1005]
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Very simple game, very simple but inspired components.

image by Matthew Goddard.
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20. Board Game: Times Square [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2847]
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Another game where I love the components and the artwork: they add style to the game while capturing its spirit.




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