Mt. Gamesmore (Brandon Kempf)
So, back in July of 2016, The State of Games did a podcast that they entitled, The One About Mt. Gamesmore. In that episode the gang talked about which 4 designers would appear on their personal Mt. Gamesmore(you know, like Mt. Rushmore, but with game designers). It's been a long while since I have listened to that episode, but I found myself wondering yesterday who would make my gaming Rushmore. Note I said, my Mt. Gamesmore, this is not who I think historically deserves to be on a monument because of their contribution to gaming as a whole, but rather who I think deserves to be on a monument to gaming as relates to me and how and what I play. Low and behold, here we go, something more in writing from me, and hopefully others, we'll see.
So first up. I know a lot of people who got into gaming with Catan, so this place on their Gamesmore would probably be Klaus Teuber, but not me. I bypassed Catan all together as I came into the board game scene a bit later than others so the mystique of Catan never hit me. Carcassonne on the other hand, was that game for me. The one that kind of led me to find out what I like in gaming. I like building things, I especially like building maps or the game board as play progresses, and thankfully I found Carcassonne early on in my gaming life. Better yet, we found Downfall of Pompeii which has the same element of building the game board as you play, but then in the second half, you get to destroy it and hopefully destroy your opponents as well.
Sheer volume alone should put Knizia on any Mt. Gamesmore list, but it's not sheer volume for me, as I've only played about 10 of his games. Lots of game groups seem to have their go to designer, and Dr. Knizia seems to be ours and that special go to game is more often than not, Modern Art. Modern Art is really a masterpiece in simple auction design, I mean what's easier to understand than you are auctioning off pieces of art to your fellow art traders to try to make the most money. The various auction mechanisms work perfectly together to allow for a free flowing game of high stakes art wheeling and dealing, along with a lot of smack talk. I've loved my plays of Ra, High Society, Medici, Indigo, the list just goes on and on.
I don't know of a single other person who would list Xavier Georges, but in the grand scheme of things, no one has more games in my Top 20 than Mr. Georges. There is the brilliance of Ginkgopolis, and the knock down drag out fight that is Carson City and then there is the brain melting Troyes, at least it melts my brain. But that's all from Xavier Georges, Tournay is an okay game that I need to give another shot to, and Royal Palace sits there unplayed by me, but those Top 3 games are enough for me to put him on my Mt. Gamesmore.
This last one is kind of tough for me, on one hand I could go with Vlaada Chvatil, but I lean really to only liking his lighter fare, I love Dungeon Petz, Galaxy Trucker and the Codenames stuff, but I really didn't like Mage Knight at all and have no desire to play Dungeon Lords. Bruno Cathala is close, but ultimately, I think I have to go with:
I don't know if there is any other designer out there that is as universally loved by my family as Antoine Bauza. Takenoko in spite of flaws is one of our favorite family games and in that collector's edition it's so...damn...beautiful. 7 Wonders is the game that just won't die around here, it continues to get played and enjoyed. I am not a huge fan of 7 Wonders Duel as a few of you know, but I won't hold that against him. Hanabi, Open Seasame, Samurai Spirit, Ghost Stories, the list, once again, just keeps on going. But Antoine was also the one that was hardest for me to justify adding to the list as those misses, are bad misses for me, I still think Tokaido really isn't a game, it's just set collecting sets, just to collect sets, but I digress. I think all the enjoyment though that we as a family have gotten, far outweighs those couple misses. But we'll see. Maybe he won't be here when we revisit this in a year or two, or three.
We've got some more contributors chiming in here with their Mt. Gamesmore:
Chris Kirkman: TC Petty III, Richard Launius, Vlaada Chvatil, Stefan Feld
Chris Wray: Alan Moon, Friedeman Friese, Wolfgang Kramer, Riener Knizia
Bill Corey Jr: Friedeman Friese, Uwe Rosenberg, Vlaada Chvatil, Ryan Laukat
BJ: Antoine Bauza, Richard Garfield, Alexander Pfister, Ryan Laukat
Eric Buscemi: Bruno Cathala, Ryan Laukat, Gil Hova, Eric Lang
Charles Hasegawa: Chad Jensen, Martin Wallace, Reiner Knizia, Vital Lacerda
Marti Wormuth: Uwe Rosenberg, Phil Walker-Harding, Bruno Cathala, Antoine Bauza
Doc Logan: Jamey Stegmaier, Antoine Bauza, Stefan Feld, Ted Alspach
Craig Marks: Uwe Rosenberg, Antoine Bauza, Eric Lang, Alexander Pfister
Adrian Richardson: Klaus Teuber, Vital Lacerda, Uwe Rosenberg, Alban Viard
Jamie Maltman: Vital Lacerda, Uwe Rosenberg, Vlaada Chvatil, Mac Gerdts
Patrick Hillier: 1st up is Carl Chudyk - mainly for Glory to Rome but Red 7, Innovation and Impulse round out the multi-use card loving list.
2nd is Bruno Cathala - he is hard to say because he does a lot of games in partnerships but still. Cyclades, Shadows over Camelot, Kanagawa, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects are some of my favorite games.
3rd is Vlaada Chvatil - Such variety from Code Names to Through the Ages. The humor of the Dungeon Series and depth of Mage Knight.
4th is Wolfgang Kramer - Another duo who's name I now best from El Grande, Colosseum and lighter fare like 6 nimmt! and the underloved Seeland!
Let us know in the comments what you think, who is on your personal Mt. Gamesmore, I don't mean who you think is the most historical significant designers in history, I mean your personal favorites!