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Board Games by Reiner Knizia

Knizia has been a full-time game designer since 1997, when he quit his job from the board of a large international bank. Knizia has been living in England since 1993.

In addition to having designed over 600 published games, Knizia is highly acclaimed as a designer, having won the Deutscher Spiele Preis four times, a Spiel des Jahres (in addition to a Kinderspiel des Jahres and a special award), and numerous other national and international awards. At the Origins Game Fair in 2002 he was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame. His games frequently make appearances on various "top games" lists, including the GAMES 100 list, the BoardGameGeek top 100, and the Internet Top 100 Games List. Several gaming conventions host "Kniziathons", which are tournaments dedicated to celebrating Knizia-designed games.

Lost Cities board game
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Rank: 51
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The Quest for El Dorado board game
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Tigris & Euphrates board game
Ra board game
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Rank: 175
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Modern Art board game
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Rank: 191
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Battle Line board game
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Rank: 236
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High Society board game
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Rank: 299
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Through the Desert board game
Samurai board game
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Rank: 331
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Ingenious board game
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Rank: 365
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Added

I haven't removed any in the last month, at least that I can remember

On my radar

  • #Aquatica (for quite a while now)
  • #Tak - this has also been on my radar for a while, but has risen up the list, I think mainly due to a rising interest in abstract games
  • #Blue Lagoon - I'd really like to try out some more Reiner Knizia games, and this one seems very approachable and easy to get to the table. Another option here is #The Quest for El Dorado.
  • #Undaunted: Normandy - highly acclaimed game by the design team of one of my top 5 games (#War Chest).

These would be my picks…

Scott Almes: I have played a few of his Tiny Epic Games, but I would have to go with #Claim. This trick-taker keeps the player on their toes due to each suit (race) having a different ability. With each expansion/standalone the variety and replay ability increases.

Ted Alspach: I would go with #Castles of Mad King Ludwig (#Suburbia is second for me). Nothing like bidding on the next crazy addition of this work in progress castle. I’m sure I am not alone when I say I can’t wait for a deluxe version of this.

Antoine Bauza: #Ghost Stories. My favorite co-op. Love the theme and its brutal difficulty. Damn those hopping vampires.

Bernd Brunnhofer: probably best known for #Stone Age, but for my pick I would have to go with the engine/tableau builder #St. Petersburg. The last time this was reprinted by ZMAN which added some extras (like the market), but I would have loved to have picked up the older version with the artwork that was closer ascetically to the time period when the game was set.

Richard Borg: Honestly, I haven’t played many from Borg. I owned and played the rummy variant #Wyatt Earp and #Thunder & Lightning. I no longer own either.

Inka & Markus Brand: Lots of admiration goes to this power couple. For my money, #Village is their best. What other game allows you to kill off your workers? People say Euros are not thematic, I say check out Village.

Tony Boydell: #Snowdonia hands down. It is one of the few games where the dummy player is not limited to two players. Plus the weather mechanic is nifty. I admit I wanted to like #Guilds of London, but the iconography made it a bear to learn and teach.

Richard Breese: Can’t think of a standout here.

Bruno Cathala: Strangely I feel that this designer does his best work with others. For my pick it would have to be #Abyss which was co-designed with Charles Chevallier. Aside from the artwork, the game does have a lot of neat mechanisms attached to it (press your luck, hand management, and set collection). I will say the game needs the #Abyss: Leviathan to cover what I feel is its weakest points (monster track).

Matthias Cramer: #Rococo which Kind of cheating because it was a co-design with Stephan and Louis Malz. Deckbuilding with area majority. My masculinity is not threatened by dress making. I kinda of regret getting rid of my first printing, but grad school is expensive and I have kids to feed. I did pick up the deluxe version.

Carl Chudyk: I feel like every one of his designs attempts to be like #Glory To Rome. Glory to Rome was the first game after playing CCG/TCG that got me hooked. Every card in this game seems overpowered and the lead follow mechanism is brilliant.

John Clowdus: Known for his small card games, which often seem a bit too similar in my opinion. I will have pick #Omen: A Reign of War. Game is a tug of war race that feels close to a CCG/TCG.

John D. Clair: I’ve played two of his designs: #Mystic Vale and #Space Base. I played a lot of vale via app. I did think it was a gimmicky deck builder at first (card crafting), but the press your luck aspect of corruption is quite fun. I will say that Space Base fixes what I hated about Machi Koro.

Rüdiger Dorn: #Istanbul (not Constantinople). Pick up and deliver mixed with wheelbarrow racing. Favorite aspect is the family member that is constantly incarcerated.

Stefan Dorra: Probably best known #For Sale. For my pick I’ll go with the abstract #Medina (second edition). Basically the most interesting thing about this is how each player plays a game of chicken regarding claiming parts of the city.

Phil Eklund: Haven’t played a ton from him, but I do like #Pax Porfiriana. The Eklunds have a knack for building games that can make a historian swoon.

Steve Finn: King of the fillers. #Biblios is my favorite here. Mix drafting and an auction and you get this game. Will note that is the first game I played with my (now) wife before we started going out. This game also made me realize that I am terrible at teaching rules.

Stephan Feld: I am a stickler for multi-use card games like #Bruges, but for this I have to go with #The Castles of Burgundy. Probably my favorite dice placement game and the very definition of point salad. Genius of how every aspect is so integrated.

Friedemann Friese: To be honest, I was not a huge fan of #Power Grid. Maybe because I was tired the first time I played it, maybe it was the people I played with. Played #Friday quite a bit. Honestly, I don’t think I ever won a game.

Jacob Fryxelius: n/a

Mac Gerdts: #Concordia. Honestly when this pandemic is over with I can’t wait to play this and Ra.

Hisashi Hayashi: Only played a few, but will have to say #Yokohama is our favorite. It is kinda like worker placement mixed with a mancala.

Steve Jackson: #Munchkin. I haven’t played a game of it in years, but I will say that #Munchkin Cthulhu is the best because of its alternate win/end condition. Game does have the tendency to go on like a bad rash.

Wolfgang Kramer: #El Grande. Pound for pound the best area control game. Needs 4 people to be playable.

Reiner Knizia: #Ra. Such a clever auction game with press your luck and set collection. This is a hard one for me as Knizia has a bunch of great designs.

Michael Kiesling: One of my grail games is #The Palaces of Carrara btw. I haven’t played #Azul enough, so my pick would be #Vikings. Haven’t played it in a bit, but how the auction wheel will move as tiles/Vikings are bought.

Richard Launius: I’ve played #Elder Sign a lot, but nothing else from him. Part of the appeal is the Lovecraftian lore (I am from RI after all). Co-op #Yahtzee is what this is. Game does need either the omen expansions like #Elder Sign: Omens of the Pharaoh Expansion or the #Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham Expansion to shine. Probably the only games we house rule as well. Game is technically over when all of the investigators die. Yeah, not doing that…

Scott Lang: Haven’t played enough to pick here.

Vital Lacerda: I own #Vinhos Deluxe, but have yet to play it. Mainly bought one of his titles due to Portuguese pride to be honest.

Daniele Tascini & Simone Luciani: #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. I was ready to chalk up the gears as a gimmick, but they are really an ingenious way to plan when and what a worker will get.

Thomas Lehmann: Much like Chudyk, I feel like most of his games are tableau builders like #Race for the Galaxy. I will say that this game works best with 2 and requires a bit of a commitment to get good at (I’ve played this over a 1000 times and I still suck at it). Common complaint about this one is its iconography.

Paulo Mori: #Via Magica/ #Rise of Augustus. Bingo with a little extras. First game I was able to play with our 2.5 year old.

Corné van Moorsel: Will have to go with #Habitats. Probably his best known title to begin with. Honestly it is an easy tile laying game that requires a little planning. Who does like building their very own ecosystem? Also. If you have the 1st printing, you have those cute handmade ceramic animals as well… or you can do what I did and buy some Red Rose Tea figurines.

Shem Phillips: I own #Raiders of Scythia, but haven’t played it yet. Can’t pick a favorite here.

Alexander Pfister: #Port Royal since I haven’t played #Great Western Trail trail yet. Port Royal is a simple card game with press your luck.

Uwe Rosenberg: Hard choice here as well. #At the Gates of Loyang followed by #Caverna: The Cave Farmers / #Agricola (Revised Edition).

Vladimír Suchý: What I love about this designer is that he rarely designs expansions. I haven’t played #Underwater Cities enough to say that it is his best. I have played #Last Will will a few times and will say that the theme and gameplay are unlike anything else. The entire premise is to blow all of your money to win and the ways that you can part with that cash is outlandish.

Andreas Schmidt: Own #Heaven & Ale, but haven’t played it yet aside from solo. N/A

Reiner Stockhausen: #Orléans. Not sure if this was the first “bag builder”. Orleans is kinda point salad. Probably favorite aspect of this is the travel aspect that reminds me of another favorite, #Village. One expansion can also make this a solo or co-op game as well.

Jamey Stegmaier: #Viticulture: Essential Edition w/  #Tuscany: Essential Edition. Very simple and streamlined worker placement. I used to help my grandpa (Avo) make wine so this always reminds me of him and that time. Lovely production quality.

Ignacy Trzewiczek: I would pick the #51st State: Master Set over #Imperial Settlers. They are similar, mainly because both were modeled after the original #51st State. I think where state has the edge is how the game will end at a set point value. Almost every game of Settlers ends with a blowout and has a set amount of turns.

Justin De Witt: The only game I really played from him is #Castle Panic. The game is akin to those tower defensive games. Simple co-op that is a great entry point into the genre. The game does feel like the #Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower expansion should have been included from the start. Was curious about the failed kickstarter that was going to be a deluxe version.

Martin Wallace: Only played a few from him, but I would pick #London Second Edition.

Cole Wehrle: N/a

Great week of gaming! In addition to the online gaming mentioned by , I got to play:

  • #Jinja - an interesting worker placement game with tight resources but a clever combination of area majority scoring at the end with engine building in the middle; 
  • #Whale Riders - my Kickstarter copy of this new Reiner Knizia game came in and it has gorgeous Vincent Dutrait art and simple to teach, but deep, game play. Typical of Knizia's best! My wife really enjoyed this one;
  • #Red Rising - this is my most played game this week, played at 3-4-5 player counts -- I think I like 3p best, because you have time to read the cards, affect your hand, and still keep an eye on what other players are doing. I liked this one a lot more than the rest of the Gumbo Krewe, but my sons really dug it;
  • #It's a Wonderful World - been on my list for a while, cause my nephews adore this 7W style drafting game. I was lost at first, but the second half of the game made a lot of sense. I'd play it again but not sure I need to own it;
  • #Stockpile - another one of my most played games over the years, it has long been a Gumbo fave since we learned it from the designer way back at Gen Con 2016 (maybe?) -- we played with EVERYTHING -- all the expansion goodness, and I am convinced that's the way to play; and
  • #Block Ness - very polarizing little 10-15 minute abstract game with cute Loch Ness monsters for pieces. My family adores it and the Gumbo krewe was bored. What to do! I'll just keep it at the house and introduce it to friends and non-gamers and family alike. It is fun for what it is and looks great on the table! 

Whew -- so nice to be playing in person again instead of just online, although I am thoroughly enjoying playing games with the Board Game Atlas krewe! 

Having only played #Lost Cities I can't really say it's my favourite Reiner Knizia as there is nothing to compare it to but it is a wonderfully designed little 2-player game. The back and forth and tension of what the other player is going to pursue or withold from you. It plays really quickly but has a nice arc tucked into that and has a really fun decision space. It's not my favourite 2 player game but it's defintely one I'll always happily play a quick game or two of.

Oh, awesome! Thanks for doing this, Stephan! Here's a few questions:

  • How is your day going?
  • What's your favorite game that you've published?
  • What's your favorite non-IELLO game?
  • What's your favorite Reiner Knizia game?
  • I understand that #Royal Visit is a reprint, is that correct? Did you guys make any changes, or work with Reiner Knizia at all to update it? Or was this just a matter of reprinting a game you liked that had been out of print?
  • Are there any other out of print games that you'd like to see reprinted?

I played #The Quest for El Dorado two-handed last night so that Trent and I can compare this vs. Clank! in the future. Great game and I can finally say that I've played a game by Reiner Knizia :)

I'd be interested in some of the people who have been around for a long time, people like Reiner Knizia, Uwe Rosenberg, Stefan Feld, Friedman Friese etc.... I'm very interested in what people like that think about how the hobby has changed from their perspective. 

Also, I would love if you would interview Cole Wehrle and explore how history influences his game design. 

“When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important , not the winning” Reiner Knizia

Eclipse looks awesome, but I think it would encroach on play opportunities for #Dune with my group, so I probably won't ever pick it up, as I'd like to play Dune as often as possible, haha.

As for my wishlist, there are plenty of games that I would love to have, but nothing that I'm dying to pick up at the moment. Part of that is due to having a recent birthday and getting 4 (!) new games, 2 of which I still haven't played. A couple that I'm most interested in picking up eventually are some lighter Reiner Knizia games:

There's also a game in development upcoming from Garphill that I'm likely to back/preorder whenever that is available: #Circadians: Chaos Order. Other than that, there's really nothing coming to mind.

Myself and many friends are very interested in knowing if there is a plan for any re-releases? We also love Reiner Knizia's Ra, but the game is very difficult to find and overpriced. Wish a company would release it with the Uberplay style wooden tokens and at a more reasonable price.

Alright here goes nothing..for simplicity sake, I left off the one's I've played either no games from or games that I didn't particularly enjoy.

Ted Alspach - #Suburbia

Antoine Bauza - #7 Wonders Duel

Bernd Brunnhofer - #Stone Age

Bruno Cathala - #Kingdomino

John D. Clair - #Mystic Vale

Rüdiger Dorn - #Karuba

Steve Finn - #Biblios

Stephan Feld - #The Castles of Burgundy

Friedemann Friese - #Fabled Fruit

Jacob Fryxelius - #Terraforming Mars

Mac Gerdts - #Concordia

Reiner Knizia - #Lost Cities

Michael Kiesling - #Azul

Vital Lacerda - #The Gallerist

Thomas Lehmann - #Res Arcana

Paulo Mori - #Rise of Augustus

Shem Phillips - #Paladins of the West Kingdom

Alexander Pfister - #Port Royal

Uwe Rosenberg - #Patchwork

Vladimír Suchý - #Underwater Cities

Reiner Stockhausen - #Orléans or #Altiplano..can't decide

Daniele Tascini - #Teotihuacan: City of Gods

Ignacy Trzewiczek - #Imperial Settlers

 

After all that, I can safely say I don't particularly care about designers haha. I was surprised I knew a couple of them off the top of my head.

Great to be here. 

1. 3 Minute Boardgames on Youtube. I enjoy the quick, brief review that gives enough of a taste that lets me know if something is worth digging deeper into.

2. I have been in the hobby since... 2006 when my dad got me Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings when traveling to my older brother's college football game. I don't remember where we were or why we stopped near the store we did, but it started a chain of events and a ton of games on my shelf.

3. In no particular order... Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Street Masters, does Dungeons and Dragons count? That's all my friends want to do since we started a campaign almost two years ago. Otherwise, probably have to go with Love Letter! Always one that can get onto the table and easy to gift if others love it after playing for the first time since it's nice and cheap!

#Ra is apparently a classic from legendary designer Reiner Knizia. I've not played it, but it's highly rated on BGG.

It depends on how complex and how out of the mainstream you're looking for, but you might look into some of Mac Gerdts' games like Imperial or Antike; you might try some of the Splotter Spellen games like roads and boats, Indonesia, or the Great Zimbabwe; you could look into some Reiner Knizia games like Tigris and Euphrates, Ra, or Shogun; then there are other games like Caylus, the Crayon rails series, Power Grid, or GMT war games... so many games!