Thrower's Tallies: Top Eight Designers
All the discussion about "great designers" that we had a couple of weeks ago left me dissatisfied. Rather than just throwing out names that I thought were good or great, I wanted to put some meat on those bones, some rigour to the process. It wasn't hard to do. And I found the results startling.
DukeofChutney wrote: I'm not sure if i'd stick him in the same category as Garfield.
No, and that's the limitation of the way I approached this. Petersen's designs are mostly co-billings so it's impossible to know what he actually bought to the table during the development process. Whereas Garfield's work is all Garfield and all genius.
Matt, your post struck a chord with me because I went through this recently as well, when I looked back at games on my ratings on BGG and was like "holy shit, Corey K is a shockingly good designer" in a way that I hadn't really thought about.
James Ernest for Brawl and Diceland
Christophe Boelinger for Dungeon Twister and Earth Reborn
The Eon Team for Borderlands and Cosmic Encounter
Tom Jolly for Camelot, Lightspeed, and Wiz-War
Richard Garfield for King of Tokyo, Magic, and Roborally
Reiner Knizia for Battleline, Blue Moon, Circus Flochati, High Society, Ivanhoe, Lost Cities, Tigris & Euphrates, and Too Many Cooks
VonTush wrote: Eric Lang is really jumping up the list for me because of Dice Masters, Chaos in the Old World and Arcadia Quest.
I haven't played Arcadia, but the other two are quite solid.
I'd throw some wargame guys on my list - Chad Jensen, Mark Simonitch, John Butterfield. And while the designs are somewhat eclectic and may not be the most enthralling , game play wise, I'll loo at anything Phil Eklund puts out.
Msample wrote: I haven't played Arcadia, but the other two are quite solid.
The best way I can describe it is tossing a dungeon crawl, hack and slash, arena deathmatch and a campaign game into a blender. It doesn't do any one thing great, but all the elements are done very well and blend together very nicely.
Dan Verssen actually is up there as well for me because I adore his Leader and Field Commander series of games. Him and Butterfield are who I'd consider tops of the Solo/Solitaire designers right now. Good but not great though since they are pretty niche designers.
And I think Rick Priestley and Jervis Johnson from Games Workshop have designed some of the best miniature games ever. They'd both fall under Great for me at least. Necromunda and spinoffs, Titan Legions/Space Marine and Warmaster.
Corey K. would certainly be on my list, along with Eric Lang and Chris Boelinger.
If I ever play Wir Sind das Volk Richard Sivel might have 3 titles on my list as well with Maria and Friedrich.
Although arguably both of these guys have designed one game and then refined it to produce another game (HiS/VQ and Friedrich/Maria).
Eric Lang is a name that might make my list in years to come. To date the only game of his I rate highly is CitOW. But a lot of his other titles seem to skirt greatness by a whisker. I'm sure he'll produce another winner soon.