Designer of the Year Awards: 1955-2018
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There are several annual awards that select a Game of the Year. But since there are quite a few designers who create multiple games every year, why not consider a Designer of the Year award? That was the question I asked myself during the early 00's, so I decided to do something about it. I began writing an annual series of articles, first for the old Boardgame News website (the one Rick Thornquist originated) and more recently for the Opinionated Gamers website. Each article listed my picks for the leading designers each calendar year, together with my selection of the Designer of the Year (DotY). People seemed to like the writeups, so it's become an annual tradition.

After the 2013 article was posted, a couple of people asked for the complete list of winners, preferably in a Geeklist. This list is in response to those requests. I'll be updating the list after every subsequent article.

So what kind of games am I considering when I assign the awards? I'm excluding standard wargames and children's games, which for the most part have a completely separate set of designers (and which frankly I know very little about), but I'm including everything else: boardgames, card games, role playing games, collectible card games, dexterity games, etc. Expansions aren't eligible, but redesigns of earlier games are (although I give them less weight). I consider gamer's games, family games, Eurogames, Ameritrash, party games, the whole lot. Toss 'em all in the mix and see who has the best creations.

The criteria I use to select each year's best designer includes the quality of the games, how well received they were at the time of their release, and how well they have stood up to the test of time. In particular, I give heavy weight to games which have high average ratings on the Geek and which have garnered wins and nominations for the major gaming awards. In a few of the years, the decision between two designers was so close that I assigned joint awards (and I even split the award three ways a couple of times), but I try as much as possible to pick a single winner.

Since I've always been interested in the history of gaming, when I created the idea of the awards, I went back and looked at previous years, to see who I would have picked as the leading designer. I tried to take it back as far as I could and eventually stretched it all the way back to 1955. Prior to 1990, many of the awards went to designers with only one game, since there were very few folks cranking out multiple titles in a year. This means that many of these early awards are more or less Game of the Year awards, which really wasn't the original intent. Still, I found the exercise interesting and it allowed me to include all of the great designers we celebrate on the Geek with one set of awards.

My descriptions for those early years will be much shorter, since there's frankly less to talk about. Many times, there is just one logical pick for DotY. Starting with the 90's, I'll provide more detail, along with the other designers I also think had good years.

To show the award performance of each of the cited games, I use the following codes. The letters S, K, D, and I show that the design won Game of the Year honors from the Spiel des Jahres (SdJ), Kennerspiel des Jahres (KdJ), Deutscher Spiele Preis (DSP), or International Gamers Awards (IGA), respectively. The lower case letters s, k, d, and i show that the game was nominated for the indicated award, or, in the case of the DSP, finished in the top ten. r indicates a game that was a recommended SdJ or KdJ game and $ shows that the game won an SdJ special award (for example, Most Beautiful Game or Best Children's Game). "A" shows a game that won Fairplay's a la carte award (best card game), while "a" indicates a top ten listing. g shows that the game was nominated as GotY for the Golden Geek awards or that it was a category winner; G indicates that it was the Golden Geek Game of the Year. t and T show the same thing for the Dice Tower awards. M shows one of the three winners of the Meeples Choice Awards and m indicates an MCA nominee. Z is for Games MagaZine's Game of the Year. H shows that the game is included in the Sumo/Counter Hall of Fame, while h indicates that it's in the Games Magazine Hall of Fame. Finally, if a game is italicized, it indicates that it's a redesign of a previously published title by that designer.

Please feel free to comment on my picks, particularly if you think I've missed an obvious choice. Just remember, I'm not trying to reward the best game of the year, but the best designer of the year. Very often, that will mean that someone who creates a fabulous single game will lose out to a designer with a larger portfolio. In fact, during the last 20 years, it's been almost impossible to win the DotY with just one game, no matter how great it is.

I hope you enjoy this list. If you do, check out my next DotY article on the Opinionanted Gamers website (http://opinionatedgamers.com); they usually appear in early March of each year.
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51. Board Game: Tower of Babel [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1581]
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2005
Reiner Knizia - Tower of Babel(m), Pickomino, Poison(ram), Beowulf(m), Palazzo(m), Euphrat & Tigris: Contest of Kings(a), Head-to-Head Poker, King Arthur Kartenspiel

Wolfgang Kramer – Hacienda(dim), Australia(Z), Verflixxt(sd)
Rüdiger Dorn – Louis XIV(DiM), Raub Ritter
Martin WallaceRailroad Tycoon(im), Byzantium, Conquest of the Empire, Runebound: 2nd Edition
William Attia – Caylus($DIGM)
Jason Matthews/Ananda Gupta – Twilight Struggle(IgmH)
Alan MoonTicket to Ride: Europe(Im), Diamant(riagm), Gracias, Walk the Dogs

Knizia’s large and very varied collection of games receives no major awards or nominations, but is good enough to earn him his sixth Designer of the Year award. Once again, Kramer is one of the year’s leading designers, with an output that includes a fine gamer’s game, a family game, and Games Magazine’s pick for their Game of the Year (Australia). Dorn finally gets a major award (for Louis) and adds the nice semi-abstract Raub Ritter. Wallace’s Railroad Tycoon, a substantial remake of his masterful Age of Steam, gains a wide audience, and, together with Byzantium and Conquest (based on his earlier Struggle of Empires), gives him another fine year. First-time designers William Attia, Jason Matthews, and Ananda Gupta make big splashes with their multi-award winning games. And Moon has a fine follow-up to his Designer of the Year award, with the IGA-winning TtR:Europe being the highlight.
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52. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:114]
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2006
Bruno Cathala – Mr. Jack(Im), Mission: Red Planet, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects(m), Animalia, Du Balai!, Tomahawk, Paparazzi
Richard Borg – Command and Colors: Ancients(im), BattleLore(im), Narnia Risk Junior

Reiner Knizia - Blue Moon City(sdiM), Medici vs. Strozzi(im), Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation—Deluxe Edition, Times Square, Great Wall of China, Genesis, Tal Abenteuer, Figaro, Double or Nothing, Toppo
Bruno Faidutti – Warrior Knights, Mission: Red Planet, Tomahawk, Silk Road
Vlaada Chvatil – Through the Ages(dI), Graenaland
Martin Wallace – Perikles(m), Tempus(m)

Two designers take very different paths to earn co-Designer of the Year status. Borg’s output is small, but his two brilliant designs from the Command and Colors series are among the top-rated games of all time (at least, that was the case in 2006). Meanwhile, Bruno Cathala scores with a large output, highlighted by IGA winner Mr. Jack and designs that visit such varied locations as Mars and ancient Egypt. Knizia is a close third, thanks to a typically huge design total, the oft-nominated Blue Moon City, and a superior two-player version of his classic Medici. Faidutti has a solid year, with his redesign of Derek Carver’s Warrior Knights being the best rated of his games. Vlaada Chvatil puts the Czech Republic on the gaming map with a brilliant Civ-lite game and a well regarded Settlers spinoff. And Wallace has another fine year, with two more games with quasi-historical themes.
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53. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:28]
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2007
Stefan Feld – In the Year of the Dragon(rdim), Notre Dame(rdim)
Tom Lehmann – Race for the Galaxy(iAgTM), Phoenicia(m)
Uwe Rosenberg – Agricola($DIGtMH)

Corey Konieczka/Christian Petersen – Starcraft: The Board Game, Tide of Iron
Wolfgang Kramer – Colosseum(m), De Vorsten van Florence, El Capitán, Trapper, Auf Achse, Europareise, Die Hauptstadt von Alturien, The Market of Alturien, Origo
Klaus Teuber – Anno 1701, Anno 1701 Card Game(a), Die Siedler von Catan: Das Würfelspiel, Settlers of Catan Junior, Entdecker: Im Reich der Jadegöttin, Tintenherz

An unusually weak year for designers gives us a three-way tie for the award. Relative newcomer Stefan Feld features two well regarded Alea designs, both of which earn multiple award nominations. Veteran designer Tom Lehmann’s list includes the incredibly addictive Race and Phoenicia, a condensed version of the classic Outpost. And Uwe Rosenberg, who created little of interest for the last five years, returns to glory with his brilliant paean to 17th century farming, Agricola, which sweeps the annual awards and, even more impressively, unseats Puerto Rico from its long run as the top-rated game on the Geek. Christian Petersen and Corey Konieczka finish close behind this trio with two games designed for Petersen’s company Fantasy Flight. Kramer has one of his most prolific years, but the list features many redesigns and of the original titles, only Colosseum gets much critical acclaim. Teuber makes the list for the first time in a decade, also thanks to an unusually large output.
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54. Board Game: Tinners' Trail [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:568]
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2008
Martin Wallace - Tinners' Trail(im), Steel Driver(m), After the Flood(m), Toledo

Reiner Knizia – Keltis(Sdm), Municipium(m), Lost Cities: The Board Game(m), Poison(ra), Ilium, Strozzi, Looting London, Sushizock im Gockelwok, Battleship Express, Black Sheep, Cthulhu Rising, Los Banditos, Robot Master
Donald X. Vaccarino – Dominion(SDiAGTMH)
Corey Konieczka – Battlestar Galactica(itm), World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game
Kevin WilsonCosmic Encounter, Android

Wallace releases a strong collection of games, including the first three Treefrog titles, all of which are rated highly, to handily win his second DotY award. Knizia finally breaks his SdJ jinx with Keltis; this, together with his typically enormous output and some nicely regarded designs, give him a runner-up finish. Newcomer Donald X. Vaccarino bursts onto the scene with the biggest hit of the year, Dominion. Konieczka again impresses, with his very popular cooperative game BSG leading the way. And Fantasy Flight veteran Kevin Wilson releases the highly unusual and very polarizing Android, along with a much hailed redesign of the all-time classic Cosmic.
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55. Board Game: Steam [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:152]
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2009
Martin Wallace - Steam(im), Automobile(im), Rise of Empires(m), Last Train to Wensleydale, God's Playground, Waterloo, Steam Barons, Railways of England and Wales

Reiner Knizia – FITS(sm), Ra: The Dice Game(m), Keltis: Das Kartenspiel, Keltis: Der Weg der Steine, Modern Art: The Card Game, Priests of Ra, Samurai: The Card Game, Take it Higher!, Genial Spezial
Stefan Feld – Macao(m), Arena: Roma II, Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel
Bruno Cathala/Ludovic MaublancMr. Jack in New York, Cyclades, Dice Town(t)
Michael Schacht - Valdora(rd), Die goldene Stadt, Bürger, Baumeister & Co.
Uwe RosenbergAgricola: Farmers of the Moor, At the Gates of Loyang

Wallace is the year's dominant designer, as his large group of highly rated games, highlighted by the IGA nominated Automobile and Steam (the latest redesign of his own Age of Steam) gives him his second consecutive DotY award. Outside of the SdJ nominated FITS, all of Knizia's games are spinoffs of earlier designs, but there is enough originality and quality there to make him the runner-up. The portfolios of Feld and the team of Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc both feature an original hit (Macao and Cyclades) and a well regarded sequel (Roma II and Mr. Jack in New York). Schacht returns to the list for the first time since his '03 win, with a trio of designs highlighted by the DSP nominated Valdora. And Rosenberg's latest meaty game Loyang is joined by an involved expansion to his brilliant Agricola.
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56. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:48]
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2010
Antoine Bauza - 7 Wonders(KDIAgTM), Hanabi & Ikebana, Mystery Express, Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk, Rockband Manager

Martin WallaceAge of Industry(Im), London(iM), First Train to Nuremberg, Moongha Invaders, Gettysburg
Friedemann Friese – Black Friday, Famiglia(i), Fürstenfeld, Friesematenten, Stich-meister(a), Fauna Junior, Remmelplatz, Tadaaam!
Wolfgang Kramer – Asara(sdim), Seeland, Tikal II(Z), 11 nimmt!(a), Merchants of the Middle Ages
Corey Konieczka – Runewars, Space Hulk: Death Angel
Jason Matthews/Christian Leonhard – Campaign Manager 2008(Im), Founding Fathers(m)

Antoine Bauza's award-winning blockbuster hit 7 Wonders, plus some other strong games, make his first mention on the DotY pages a winning one. Wallace comes close to a three-peat, with the IGA-winning Age of Industry highlighting another deep group of games. Friedemann Friese releases no fewer than 8 designs, but there's not enough oomph in any of them to put him over the top; remarkably, it's the first DotY mention for the Man in Green. Kramer is ageless, with a bunch of fine games headed by the SdJ nominated Asara. Konieczka gets cited for the third time in four years, thanks to the highly rated Runewars. And Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard show that American history and gaming can mix and they have an IGA award (for Campaign Manager) to prove it.
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57. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:15]
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2011
Stefan Feld - Castles of Burgundy(rditM); Trajan(dImZ); Strasbourg(kd)

Martin Wallace – A Few Acres of Snow(IgtM); Discworld: Ankh-Morpork(m); Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861; Zeitalter der Vernunft; Volle Scholle; Old Men of the Forest; Schlacht am Buffet
Vlaada Chvatil – Mage Knight(igtm); Dungeon Petz(im); Pictomania(r)
Touko Tahkokallio – Eclipse(iGTm); Walnut Grove; Principato
Corey Konieczka – Mansions of Madness(g); Gears of War; Rune Age
Matthias Cramer – Lancaster(kdm); Helvetia(dim); Mieses Karma

Stefan Feld finally wins a major award (an IGA for Trajan) and his three designs all have multiple nominations and sport high ratings. It's enough to earn him his second DotY award. Wallace continues his streak of four first or second place finishes, thanks to the IGA-winning Few Acres and a bunch of lighter games and spinoffs. Chvatil boasts of three nominated games, with Mage Knight breaking into the Geek’s top 10, but he can only manage a third-place finish in a strong year. Finland’s Touko Tahkokallio has a terrific debut, with Eclipse ranked fifth on the Geek and Walnut Grove also doing well. Konieczka makes it four mentions in five years, with three more thematic titles. And yet another newcomer, Matthias Cramer, shows his mettle, with games based in England and Switzerland both garnering multiple nominations.
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58. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:225]
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2012
Uwe Rosenberg - Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small(Im); Le Havre: The Inland Port(I); Würfel Bohnanza; Farmerama; Bohn to be Wild!

Simone Luciani – Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar(rdiM); Sheepland; Urbania
Peter Lee/Rodney Thompson – Lords of Waterdeep(tm); Dungeon Command
Daniele Tascini – Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar(rdiM); Sheepland
Ignacy Trzewiczek – Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island(it); The Convoy

Rosenberg's pair of popular 2-player spinoffs of his successful earlier titles are the highlights of a collection of games that bring him his second DotY award. The fact that both won the IGA award doesn't hurt. Newcomer Simone Luciani is geared up for success, thanks mostly to the very innovative Tzolk'in. Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson, a pair of veteran miniatures designers from Wizards of the Coast, score in the world of Eurogames, as Waterdeep is one of the hits of the year. Daniele Tascini partners with Luciani on two of his games. And Poland's Ignacy Trzewiczek channels his inner Friday, as Robinson Crusoe is a highly rated cooperative game.
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59. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:179]
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2013
Stefan Feld - Bora Bora(diM); Amerigo(rm); Bruges(kditm); Rialto(dm)

Uwe RosenbergCaverna(diT); Glass Road(d); Sissi!: Die Bohnenkaiserin
Wolfgang Kramer – Coal Baron; Nauticus; Expedition: Famous Explorers; Flash 10; The Walking Dead Card Game; Primo
Andrew Parks – Star Trek: Attack Wing; Canterbury
Bruno Cathala – The Little Prince; Le Fantome de l'Opera; SOS Titanic(ra); Longhorn; Pentos; Sheepzzz

Feld's four big-box games, all highly rated and all with multiple nominations, give him a rather easy path to winning his third DotY award. Rosenberg follows up his big 2012 with a strong second place, thanks to the great reception for Caverna. Kramer celebrates his 40th year as a designer with another nice crop of games, headed by Coal Baron and Nauticus. Andrew Parks boldly goes where he hasn't been before (the DotY page), largely due to big ratings for Star Trek: Attack Wing. And Cathala's half dozen titles give us a little bit of everything, including a classic children's tale, a Mr. Jack spinoff, and the most famous shipwreck of all time.
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60. Board Game: Arcadia Quest [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:131] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
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2014
Eric Lang – Arcadia Quest; Warhammer 40,000: Conquest; Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men; Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men; Kaosball; Quarriors! Light vs. Dark; Generation Hex

Bruno Cathala - Five Tribes(gm); Abyss(g); Madame Ching; Haru Ichiban; Desperados of Dice Town; Dragon Run
Uwe Rosenberg – Fields of Arle(m); Patchwork(gm)
Mike ElliotMarvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men; Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men; Shadowrun: Crossfire; Thunderstone Advance: Worlds Collide; Quarriors! Light vs. Dark; Sangoku
Rüdiger Dorn – Istanbul(Kdigm); Faulpelz; The Hobbit: Enchanted Gold
Ted Alspach - Castles of Mad King Ludwig(gM); One Night Ultimate Werewolf(gm); Ultimate Werewolf

Lang’s collection of seven highly ranked and critically acclaimed thematic games are more than enough to give him his first DotY award. Cathala isn’t far behind, with a sizable collection highlighted by his “worker displacement” game, Five Tribes. Rosenberg’s pair of two-player games, including the stratospherically rated Fields of Arle, lift him to third place. Many of Elliot’s designs are spinoffs of earlier ones, but there is enough there to place him in the top group. Dorn is all the way back from designer purgatory, thanks to the Kennerspiel winning Istanbul. And first-timer Alspach continues to find success with tile builders (Castles of MKL) and Werewolf extensions.
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61. Board Game: Mombasa [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:63]
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2015
Alexander Pfister – Mombasa(rDIm); Isle of Skye(Kdim); Broom Service(Km); Oh My Goods!(a)
Simone Luciani – The Voyages of Marco Polo(rDItM); Grand Austria Hotel(im); Council of Four; Monsters' Tower
Eric Lang – Blood Rage(rigtm); XCOM: The Board Game; A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (2nd edition); DC Dice Masters: Justice League; Dungeon & Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerun; Marvel Dice Masters: Age of Ultron; Marvel Dice Masters: The Amazing Spider-Man; DC Dice Masters: War of Light; Yu-Gi-Oh! Dice Masters
Bruno Cathala – 7 Wonders: Duel(rdIAgtm); Raptor(i); Mission: Red Planet (second edition); Queen's Necklace; The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars
Matt Leacock – Pandemic Legacy: Season 1(kdiGTm); Thunderbirds
Vlaada Chvatil – Codenames(SdiagtM); Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization(tm)
Daniele Tascini – The Voyages of Marco Polo (rDIgtM); Council of Four
Andreas Pelikan – Isle of Skye(Kdim); Broom Service(Km)

In what is probably the greatest year ever for designers, Pfister has three games that win major awards (which had never been done before), as Mombasa, Isle of Skye, and Broom Service win four major awards in all (and Oh My Goods! gets some appreciative buzz as well). It's one of the greatest years of all time and naturally wins him DotY. The year's cup runneth over, as there are no fewer than seven other designers with outputs good enough to win the award in a normal year. First runner-up is Luciani; the highlight of his year is the multiple award-winning Marco Polo, although he also has two other highly regarded games. Lang's output includes nine games (although six of them are Dice Masters titles), including Blood Rage, a top 20 game with a sky-high rating and five nominations. Frequent DotY visitor Cathala is next, mostly on the strength of the IGA-winning 7 Wonders: Duel. Fifth place goes to Leacock, whose resume includes the remarkable Pandemic Legacy, which zoomed to the #1 spot on the Geek in less than three months. He's followed by Chvatil, whose two excellent titles include a light game (SdJ winner Codenames) and a much heavier one (the acclaimed redesign of his classic Through the Ages). Tascini, the co-designer of Marco Polo, earns the seventh spot, while Pelikan, who "only" has two KdJ award winners, finishes eighth. The results for 2015 are simply astonishing; congratulations to all eight men for their remarkable efforts!
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62. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:24]
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2016
Bruno Cathala – Kingdomino(SdmZ); Kanagawa; A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King; Zany Penguins; Dice Stars; Histrio; Pocket Madness; (Conan)
Uwe Rosenberg – A Feast for Odin(digtm); Cottage Garden; Agricola (revised edition); Agricola: Family Edition; Bohnanza: The Duel(a)

Corey Konieczka – Star Wars: Rebellion(igtm); Star Wars: Destiny(i); Mansions of Madness: Second Edition(gtm)
Alexander Pfister – Great Western Trail(rdIgtM); Broom Service: The Card Game; Port Royal Unterwegs!
Eric Lang – The Others; Arcane Academy; Bloodborne: The Card Game; D&D Dice Masters: Faerûn Under Siege; Marvel Dice Masters: Civil War; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dice Masters; H.M.S. Dolores

Cathala’s eight completely original designs and Rosenberg’s blockbuster hit Odin, together with some highly rated redesigns, earns them joint DotY awards. It’s the third award for Uwe and the second for Bruno. The Force is sufficiently behind Konieczka to give him a third place finish, with Star Wars: Rebellion being his highlight. Pfister shows he’s far from a one-year wonder, as Great Western Trail is one of the most praised games of the year. And Lang continues his impressive recent run, with the apocalyptic miniatures game The Others being his big entry.
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63. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:41] [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked]
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2017
Michael Kiesling – Azul(SDigdM); Heaven & Ale(kdiM); Riverboat(m); Reworld; Haste Worte? Jubiläumsedition; Torres
Eric Lang – The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire; Arcadia Quest: Inferno; Ancestree; Secrets; plus 4 Dice Masters Games (Guardians of the Galaxy; Superman/Wonder Woman; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--Heroes on the Half Shell; Iron Man/War Machine)
Isaac Childres – Gloomhaven(diGTm)
Inka & Markus Brand – Rajas of the Ganges(dIgm); Scotland Yard: Das Kartenspiel; plus 6 EXIT: The Game titles (Dead Man on the Orient Express; The Forgotten Island; The Polar Station; The Forbidden Castle; The Sunken Treasure; Das Haus der Rätsel)
Reiner Knizia - The Quest for El Dorado(sm); Voodoo Prince(a); Medici: The Card Game; Modern Art; King’s Road; Amun-Re: The Card Game; Criss Cross; Axio; Khan of Khans; Schollen Rollen; plus 6 other games

Kiesling finally emerges from design partner Kramer’s giant shadow to win his first DotY award, thanks to the multiple award winning Azul, Meeples Choice pick Heaven & Ale, and some other well regarded games. Lang is the runner-up, with Corleone’s Empire and the standalone expansion Arcadia Quest: Inferno being the highlights of his portfolio. Childres gives us the year’s most popular title, as Gloomhaven becomes the #1 rated game on the Geek. Gaming’s first couple, the Brands, score with their IGA-winning Rajas of the Ganges, plus another half dozen titles in their very popular EXIT: The Game series. And Knizia makes his first return to the DotY pages since 2009, thanks to the SdJ nominated El Dorado and a bunch of other interesting designs.
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64. Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:113]
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2018
Wolfgang Warsch – The Quacks of Quedlinburg(KdgtM); The Mind(sdagtm); That’s Pretty Clever(kgm); Illusion(a); Fuji; Brikks
Martin Wallace – Brass: Birmingham(igtM); AuZtralia; Wildlands; Lincoln(I); Brass: Lancashire; Moa; Exodus: Paris Nouveau; Book of Dragons (contributed “Dragon’s Bluff”)
Eric Lang – Rising Sun(gt); A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures; Warhammer 40,000 Dice Masters; Battle for Ultramar; Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers Infinity; Munchkin Collectable Card Game
Scott Almes – Heroes of Land, Air & Sea; Tiny Epic Zombies; Boomerang; Tiny Epic Defenders (Second Edition); Claim 2; Best Treehouse Ever: Forest of Fun; Claim Kingdoms
Reiner Knizia – Yellow & Yangtze(m); Blue Lagoon; Lost Cities: Rivals; Heckmeck Deluxe; Stephenson’s Rocket; Lost Cities: To Go; Sakura; Forbidden City; Brains: Burgen & Drachen; Kartel; Clickbait; Karate Tomate

Warsch, almost totally unknown at the beginning of the year, has four games published in the first three months of 2018, including KdJ winner Quacks, the ultra-elegant SdJ nominee The Mind, and the sophisticated roll ‘n’ write That’s Pretty Clever (also nominated for the KdJ). This bolt from the blue is enough to make him one of our most unlikely DotY winners. Wallace has his best year in almost a decade, thanks to a sequel to his earlier classic Brass (which snares a Meeples Choice award) and three well rated combative titles (AuZtralia, Wildlands, and IGA award winner Lincoln). Lang’s output, headlined by Rising Sun and the Ice and Fire Miniatures game, puts him on the DotY shortlist for an impressive fifth year in a row. Conversely, Almes makes the shortlist for the first time, thanks to the 4X-ish Heroes of Land, Air & Sea and yet more Tiny Epic goodness. And all-time great Knizia continues his comeback with titles reminiscent of his older classics (Yellow & Yangtze from Tigris & Euphrates, Blue Lagoon from Through the Desert, and Lost Cities: Rivals from Lost Cities and Ra).
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