The Franz-Benno Delonge Approach
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I recently realized that while I wasn't noticing, a rather unique oeuvre from inventor Franz-Benno Delonge is slowly taking shape.

Two important words come to mind in describing his games: theme and nobility.

When Settlers of Catan appeared, it was quite a hit and remains so today. Why? One of many reasons is that it has simple mechanics, but also a theme that's so internally consistent that the game is very easily comprehended. Sadly few subsequent games have achieved this rare combination. But in the work of this inventor we can see someone working in the same vein.

To talk about nobility it helps to suggest a new definition for the term "family game". Usually it seems to mean "something only good for the kids to play". But I would like to refine this a bit and suggest it means something more, i.e. a game simultaneously enjoyable both by children and adults because both levels find it interesting, challenging and yet winnable. This seems to be a feature of all of this inventor's games. (Some other games, mostly of yesteryear, that seemed to have this quality were Midnight Party, Viva Pamplona, The Great Balloon Race, etc., but also Carcassonne.)

Of course such games should get bigger audiences than more complex ones like, say, Java, so why is there anything "noble" about making such a game? Simply because it is just this type of game in which children, parents and grandparents can all play together, which creates the most gaming fans, even more so than games which can be enjoyed only by children. It's my guess that just about every enthusiast using this database ultimately got started on the road here by being able in youth to play just such games. Thus games of this nature are not simply products, but creators of the game players of the future.

I haven't found out all that much about Dr. Delonge except that he seems to have been born in 1957, a good year for game inventors that he shares with Reiner Knizia and Michael Kiesling, and that he works as a bank director, but with the success of TransAmerica he may well have retired to invent full-time by now for all I know.
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1. Board Game: Big City added by heli on 2004-03-26 17:54:08
2. Board Game: TransAmerica added by heli on 2004-03-26 17:54:08
3. Board Game: Hellas added by heli on 2004-03-26 18:38:27
4. Board Game: Zahltag added by heli on 2004-03-23 15:43:15
5. Board Game: Dos Rios added by heli on 2004-03-26 13:59:59