The Games of Franz-Benno Delonge
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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It has been some time ago that a geeklist to celebrate the games of Franz-Benno Delonge was posted (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/2528), and I certainly agree with the geeklister's comments.

As Mr. Delonge has since produced quite a few more games, I thought it was time to post a new list with all his games. The designs that I know and have played, and I own a few myself, do seem to stem from an idea that is more theme than mechanic. I usually enjoy games more, even though they are firmly Eurostyle, if the theme is not so easily interchangeable, because the mechanics stem from the theme. I am sure you will agree that this is the case with quite some of Delonge's designs.

The designer isn't necessarily unique in that aspect (thankfully), but his games do stand out in the crowd, also because Delonge's designs don't shy away from direct player interaction and confrontation. I hope he has more great ideas for wonderful boardgames that will come to fruition in the coming years.

So here they are, in order of appearance: The Games of Franz-Benno Delonge!
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1. Board Game: Big City [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:669]
 
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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1999, Goldsieber

played and owned

Big City is such a fun game and can easily be used to introduce non-gamers to the modern boardgaming scene. It still feels fresh, a sentiment shared by Valley Games, who is going to republish this little gem. A worthy debut!
 
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2. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:717]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2001, Winning Moves

played

TransAmerica could easily be dismissed as just so much fluff, but it is a much-played game. This is due to the short playing time, but also that it is very easy to get non-gamers to join in. It is simple, yes, it is random too, but it is fun!
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3. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:1700]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2002, Kosmos

neither played nor owned

I don't know how players rate Hellas in comparison to the other Kosmos/Rio Grande 2-player games, not having played it myself. However, comments suggest this is definitely a Delonge, with good theme and interesting mechanics.
 
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4. Board Game: Zahltag [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:7372]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2002, Ravensburger

neither played nor owned

Every designer has his cardgame, and this is Delonge's. Not much press around here on this game, and not a high rank. There are some positive comments about it though.
 
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5. Board Game: Dos Rios [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1484]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2004, Kosmos

played and owned

Fresh and wicked, Dos Rios to me really stands out as a game. It is not brilliant, but quite different and a whole lot of fun. I think it is one of Delonge's best designs, though it does have some small problems. I do admire the fact that the theme shines through, and there are no annoying "balance" rules that are so prevalent in most Euros.
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6. Board Game: Goldbräu [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1537]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2004, Zoch

played and owned

Goldbräu is another strongly thematic game. It does have some niggly rules that I tend to forget, and therefore need to reread the rules before a session. But the flow of play is very smooth, the game is tense and there are nailbiting decisions to make. As with all of Delonge's games, the components are topnotch. He seems to find the right publisher each time, though his designs are quite different from each other.
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7. Board Game: Nah Dran! [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2004, Piatnik

neither played nor owned

A trivia game of sorts, with some guessing and bluffing involved. Very little information available on this game, here and elsewhere. More of a curio, I suppose.
 
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8. Board Game: Fjords [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:835]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2005, Hans im Glück

played and owned

An adorable little two player game, great fun, small, and quick! It is an abstract offering (I wonder if it was originally themed as a "viking game"), and in that sense somewhat a departure for Delonge. But the confrontational style is all there, and the phased gameplay makes it an interesting little challenge.
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9. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:443]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2005, Zoch

played

Delonge's highest ranked game on the Geek isn't one of my favorites. I should play it again some time, I might not have taken it in properly during my first session with it. I see what he's trying to do with it, and the confrontation is all there (the theme somewhat less, but still more than with Fjords), but to me it is in some aspects an atypical Delonge.
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10. Board Game: Trans Europa [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:879]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2005, Winning Moves

neither played nor owned

It was inevitable that Delonge's most succesful design would get a follow up. I have no first-hand experience with it myself, but I hear good things about it. Even though it is ranked somewhat lower than TransAmerica, it must have given Delonge a chance to refine and polish the original concept.
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11. Board Game: Der Prestel Kunstmarkt [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:6128]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2006, Prestel

neither played nor owned

An artgame designed for a specialist publisher, this game has garnered little attention. It is a thematic offering with good components, and apparantly is targeted at a family market.
 
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12. Board Game: Vexation [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2007, Rio Grande

neither played nor owned

A small and simple addition to TransAmerica and TransEuropa, that spicens the games up.
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13. Board Game: Zanzibar [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:8548]
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2007, Winning Moves

neither played nor owned

Somewhat more of an abstract offering, it seems, and not much good word of mouth on this game.
 
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14. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:422]
 
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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2007, Valley Games

yet to be published

A co-design, Containers is an anticipated boardgame on the Geek. It is on quite a number of want- and wishlists, and word of mouth from playtesters is good. It looks to have the usual Delonge ingredients: theme, interaction, and confrontation. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it at Essen 2007.
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