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Board Games by Cole Wehrle

Cole, born c. 1987, grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Indiana University and earned a degree in Journalism and English with additional concentrations in History (19th century) and film. His undergraduate thesis was on the writings of Sir Richard Francis Burton and Franz Fanon. After working as a manager of a group home for children with disabilities in Bloomington, Indiana, he attended the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his MA in 2012 and his PhD in 2017. His dissertation concerns how the experience of empire altered the way British writers imagined distances of time and space during the early and mid 19th century.

Cole now works as a game designer and developer for Leder Games in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Root board game
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Pax Pamir (Second Edition) board game
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Root: The Riverfolk Expansion board game
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John Company board game
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Pax Pamir board game
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An Infamous Traffic board game
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Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile board game
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Root: The Clockwork Expansion board game
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Root: The Exiles and Partisans Deck board game
Heaven's Mandate: the Reunification of China board game
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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

play log
  1. I would like to see a calander view for logged plays. I would like if you have a mouse over or click on a day to see what was played one what day.
  2. I would like to see more stats, stuff like: win/loss rates, people you play with, nickels dimes etc....

GAW

  1. I like it the way that it is, but I would certainly be open to gift certificates, though if we go that route I would like to be able to choose the store that you buy the gift card from.

Interview ideas.

  1. @trentellingsen what is the life of a boardgame site builder like. It has got to be a lot different than a reviewer, a designer, etc.....
  2. Cole Wehrle, ask him about #John Company 2E, ask him about his game project for his game based on the Restoration.
  3. Some big cheese from Panda, I'm curious if the people that actually make all these boardgames make other stuff as well etc....????? Not sure about this one.
  4. Get Liz Davidson on to convert some of the rest of you to solo gaming LOL.

Area Control

Combat

Asymmetry

Root Expansion

Solo Mode

Cole Wehrle (Haha). 

What do you think is a good measure of what a "small" publisher is? I ask because most board game publishers seem to be on the small side in terms of the way they operate and the number of titles they put out, just that there's a huge difference in popularity among them due to that 1-2 big hit they managed to make.

Mine are:

  • Garphill Games - Solid titles one after another, but they're too popular and well known to really qualify for the type of publishers you're talking about I think. Exactly how big are they ? I'd imagine it's still a very small team?
  • Mindclash Games - I haven't even played any of their games but I'm highly interested in #Anachrony
  • Wehrlegig Games - I've only played #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) but I love it. Just the fact that Cole Wehrle is behind the game design makes every one of their releases something that I'll look out for

I suppose for me I would say historical designs by Cole Wehrle would be a instant wishlist addition. 

I haven't gone to that side just yet. Yet. YET. I always go for games that I know for sure will be good for both 2p with my wife and solo. Even if the game will only see maybe 2-4 2p sessions in a year, it makes me feel good knowing that it'll be an option haha

There are games that have come close though:

#Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion - We ended up getting a copy for Board Game Atlas, but if we hadn't, I probably would've gone for it even if it's only for solo.

#Maracaibo - I've considered after hearing about its campaign. In the end though, it gives the impression of a game that's more complex (with many parts) than I typically prefer.

#Pax Pamir (Second Edition) - Another game we got under Board Game Atlas. In hindsight, after experiencing the solo mode, I would've gotten this just for the solo mode. I know for sure that I don't have the right group for a multiplayer session.

#Too Many Bones - I'm definitely hoping to try this out with my wife, but I know that it'd be more of a treat I'd be giving myself.

In general, I think I'm usually attracted to the idea of a game from Chip Theory Games or Alexander Pfister (and why #CloudAge is on my radar.) Cole Wehrle's works will always be on my radar too.

@philryuh I also HIGHLY recommend watching the Heavy Cardboard teach and play of Pax Pamir 2e. Cole Wehrle teaches the game very well and from there you just need to learn the solo play!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-ji--dxeu4&list=WL&index=3&t=1s

This person sounds like someone who should work with Cole Wehrle! I've only read through the description on WA so far and it's an interesting read.

Man that Cole Wehrle is so hot right now. He is making some very intriguing games that have shaken up the board gaming status quo!