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Board Games by Alexander Pfister

Designer of Newdale, Maracaibo, Port Royal, Great Western Trail, Isle of Skye, Mombasa, Oh My Goods, Blackout Hongkong, Broom Service and others.

Great Western Trail board game
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King board game
Maracaibo board game
Rank: 240
Trending: 73
Oh My Goods! board game
Rank: 259
Trending: N/A
Mombasa board game
Rank: 294
Trending: N/A
Port Royal board game
Rank: 308
Trending: N/A
Broom Service board game
Rank: 365
Trending: N/A
Blackout: Hong Kong board game
Rank: 614
Trending: N/A
Great Western Trail: Rails to the North board game
Oh My Goods! Longsdale in Revolt board game
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Forum Posts

Great Western Trail Review - Alexander Pfister image
ReviewGreat Western Trail Review - Alexander Pfister ( [Great Western Trail]Like| 0 comments | [+]
ReviewGreat Western Trail Review - Alexander Pfister | Meeple Mountain ( [Great Western Trail]Like| 0 comments | [+]
Deciding between Great Western Trail vs. Maracaibo? Add CloudAge to the Mix image
Deciding between Great Western Trail vs. Maracaibo? Add CloudAge to the Mix [CloudAge]Like| 22 comments | [+]
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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

Good week!  Played a good variety of games!

  • #The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 (solo, physical) x3:  Picked this one up new. It's rare these days that I misfire on a game purchase but this is one of those cases. Now, don't get me wrong,the game is not horrible or anything but it was definitely not what I was hoping for.  It's a solitaire game where you play through the career of a German submarine captain.  The problem is that the game play has very shallow depth but the "story" elements and flavour is also extremely weak. For some people perhaps they can fill in their own story and use the game as a framework. But I was expecting something that would give me more story by itself. 
  • #Blackout: Hong Kong (solo, physical)x2:  Picked this one up for $20 CDN.  Alexander Pfister? Reviewed well?  Why not take a chance on it?  Glad I did!  This is a fun game with a good solo mode!  It's beat your own score which I generally don't like but it works in this one!
  • #Race for the Galaxy with#Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm (multiplayer, board game arena) x2: Played a couple of rounds of this excellent game waiting for our 4th player so we could play...
  • #Petrichor (multiplayer, TTS):  second time playing this although the first time was ages ago.  The game is fine.  The theme is different but the game is definitely quite cut throat so don't expect flowers and dew drops. The only drops of liquid will be tears when someone messes you up big time. (I managed to win so no tears for me this time.
  • #Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars (solo, physical):  Wow! What a game!  I played one round only against the bots.  It took a while to get the rules down and the bots down. I read the rulebook a second time now and highlighted all of the gotcha rules I missed. This game is beautiful, has a ton of history to it and has some excellent in depth game play that is going to take many plays to really get good at. Now this is what I want in a solo able war game!
  • #Cuba Libre (multiplayer, TTS):  my first COIN game and Ireally enjoyed it!  I can see this getting better on subsequent plays.  Especially now that we have seen the whole flow of the game. The interactions between the sides, the map layout balance to where you have to go out of your natural area to win.  It's just great.  I have #Andean Abyss coming for a follow up. 
  • #Russian Railroads (solo, physical): This one is out of print but I found one selling for a good price locally. I know a reprint is coming out but I am more than happy just to have this version. The official solo game is fun because the game is just so excellent in so many ways 

Good week!

Here's more info on CloudAge:

Picture of components

Alexander Pfister and the publisher added in the comments section that:

  • Deck-building is a very small aspect of the game
  • There's no race happening on the modular board
  • Cities and fields become more valuable from start to end

Hmmm no particular game I can think of but I almost always check out a game with potential for in-depth world-building. I also like alternate reality, sometimes dystopian themes, and time-based concepts.

There's barely any info on #CloudAge right now but I added it to my wishlist (and pre-ordered it cover some content for Board Game Atlas). Then again, the fact that it's designed by Alexander Pfister played a big part.

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.

Before You Play is great.  I've only come across them recently, but I haven't found other videos that present a game as well in a way that makes me feel like I've learned how to play a game and how I'd feel playing a game.  They've covered heavy games in the most clear and easily understandable way I've seen, and they've started doing designer-focused videos.  They recently finished up the Vital Lacerda games, and they're a couple games into their Alexander Pfister series, so you get to see the progression of a designer over the course of their career also.  I would highly recommend them.  I like them because I think they tend to like what I like; interesting game play, enjoying complexity, enjoying simplicity, appreciating how theme enhances the mechanics, they don't ride hype trains, and they don't just bash or rave on games.

Solely Solo | Comment

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.

I anticipate that we will see more story elements in Euro games. I think that the games Alexander Pfister released at the end of this year are really going to get other designers interested in incorporating story elements in their games. 

I expect we will finally start seeing a decline in the roll and write genre. By decline I mean the number of roll and writes being released. I do expect that we will see more heavier complicated roll and writes. I admit that this is maybe more of a hope than a expectation. I do not really enjoy roll and writes that well as a general rule. 

I expect that there will be more solid games available in the under 25-30 dollar price bracket. This may be far out. But it feels like the market is getting more expensive and cheaper at the same point. 1 or 2 years ago it seemed like 45 or 50 dollars was what you usually needed to pay. But now there are a lot of sub $30 games. If course, this could just be a change in my perspective. 

These are all pure speculation. I have absolutely no inside information. 

Alexander Pfister. All the games I’ve played by him have been fantastic. Second place? Probably Uwe Rosenberg.