- Matt Leacock
- Bruno Cathala
- Antoine Bauza
- Jamey Stegmaier
- Uwe Rosenberg
- Emerson Matsuuchi
- Corey Konieczka
- Alexander Pfister
- Nate French
- Donald X. Vaccarino
- Reiner Knizia
- Richard Garfield
- Jonathan Gilmour
- Carl Chudyk
- Darwin Kastle
- Thomas Lehmann
- Stefan Feld
- Alan Stone
- Alan R. Moon
- Vlaada Chvátil
- Simone Luciani
- Wolfgang Warsch
- Rob Daviau
- Martin Wallace
- Shem Phillips
- Peter Lee
- Nikki Valens
- Wolfgang Kramer
- Lorenzo Silva
- Robert Dougherty
- Phil Walker-Harding
- Markus Brand
- Inka Brand
- Ignacy Trzewiczek
- Bruno Faidutti
- Vital Lacerda
- Michael Kiesling
- Eric M. Lang
- Paul Peterson
- Seiji Kanai
- Ludovic Maublanc
- Kevin Wilson
- Dominic Crapuchettes
- Ryan Laukat
- Christian T. Petersen
- Ted Alspach
- Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
- Rüdiger Dorn
- Friedemann Friese
- Scott Almes
- Kristian Amundsen Østby
- Klaus Teuber
- Mike Elliott
- Hisashi Hayashi
- Andrew Looney
- Frédéric Henry
- John H. Butterfield
- Christopher Badell
- Rory O'Connor
- Kami Mandell
- Paul Bender
- Adam Rebottaro
- Lincoln Petersen
- Mike Fitzgerald
- Bryan Pope
- Sandy Petersen
- Aaron Dill
- John Kovaleski
- Sean Sweigart
- Robert Burke
- Richard Launius
- Andrea Angiolino
- Pier Giorgio Paglia
- Adam Porter
- Ken Dunn
- Brandon Tibbetts
- Frederic Henry
- Andrew Hackard
- Colby Dauch
- Mike Harrison-Wood
- Chris MacLennan
- M. Robert Stribula
- Sylvain Menager
- Jeff Johnston
- Paolo Mori
- Marc Andre
- Johan Benvenuto
- Hans Mielants
- John Kisner
- Dean Essig
- Christophe Boelinger
- Robert Rosen
- Einar Rosen
- Nina Hakansson
- Rustan Hakansson
- Peter Jurgensen
- Jean-Baptiste Lullien
- Nicolas Raoult
- Pete Shelling
Popular Board Game Designers
This is a ranked list of all the board game designers in the world. The rankings are based on the rankings of board games designed.
#1 Rank | 34 Games | Pandemic
I made the switch to designing board games full time in July of 2014, a dream job for me since I was a little kid. Prior to that I was a user experience designer working primarily in community and communications products for companies including Apple, Netscape, AOL, Yahoo!, and Sococo. Throughout my entire career, I've designed games in my free time.
I specialize in family games and have become known for cooperative games since the success of Pandemic (2008) and Forbidden Island (2010). Despite this, I love playing and designing all types of games, gravitating to those that can be played in less than an hour and keep everyone engaged until the very end.
I work as an independent designer and license my work to publishers around the world. If you have an upcoming project and feel that I would be a good fit, feel free to drop me a line.
#3 Rank | 93 Games | 7 Wonders
Bauza was born on August 25, 1978. As a teenager, he was very interested in role-playing games, and wanted to become a video game designer. However, Bauza decided not to pursue video games as a career because he did not want to move away to Shanghai or Montreal, where video game companies were hiring at the time. He instead decided to become a teacher. After reconnecting with friends who started to hold their own game nights, Bauza began making his first board game prototypes in 2003 during his free time while studying at the Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres.
An avid board game player, Bauza decided to start making board games in 2007. In 2010, he began working on board games full-time.
#4 Rank | 33 Games | Scythe
Jamey Stegmaier runs the day-to-day operations of Stonemaier Games, located in St. Louis, Missouri. Jamey designed Viticulture, Euphoria, Scythe, Charterstone, and Tapestry, and he has had a lifelong passion for playing and designing board games. His 8 crowdfunding campaigns raised over $3.2 million, and he shares his insights, mistakes, and lessons learned on this blog.
Jamey grew up in Virginia playing games like chess, Scotland Yard, Labyrinth, Milles Bourne, poker, Risk, Key to the Kingdom, Monopoly, Magic, Dragon Dice, and hearts. He attended Washington University in St. Louis. During that time, he fell in love with St. Louis and has lived there ever since. He currently lives with his girlfriend (Megan) and his two cats, Biddy and Walter. His other hobbies include indoor rock climbing, reading, writing, blogging, watching movies, and playing soccer.
#5 Rank | 173 Games | Patchwork
Uwe Rosenberg (born 27 March 1970) is a German game designer and the co-founder of Lookout Games. He initially became known for his card game Bohnanza, which was successful both in Germany and internationally. He also designed Agricola, a genre-changing game that dethroned Puerto Rico as the highest rated game on BoardGameGeek.com in September 2008 and stayed at the top of the rankings until March 2010.
Rosenberg is well known for the development of complex, economic eurogames, as well as innovative card game mechanisms. Many of his designs have been recognized as being excellent for solitary play.
#10 Rank | 56 Games | Dominion: Second Edition
Vaccarino was a computer programmer. He played Magic: the Gathering when it was released, and actually helped in the revision of the rules for the 6th Edition being credited as an experienced player. He also started playing Euro style games like Settlers of Catan. Since 1994, Vaccarino has been making his own games but did not publish any finished product.
While working on a fantasy adventure board game, Vaccarino had a problem with a combat mechanism in the game. He developed a deck building mechanic to fix the problem. Liking the mechanic, he stopped working on the fantasy adventure board game and began to develop Dominion. Over the next few years, he presented the game to his friends and the game became a huge hit with them. Due to this success among his friends, he finally decided to present the game to Rio Grande Games and the game was ultimately published. The game went on to win the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award.
#11 Rank | 531 Games | The Quest for El Dorado
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.
#12 Rank | 99 Games | King of Tokyo
Richard Channing Garfield (born June 26, 1963) is an American mathematician, inventor, and game designer. Garfield created Magic: The Gathering, which is considered to be the first modern collectible card game (CCG). Magic debuted in 1993 and its success spawned many imitations. Garfield oversaw the successful growth of Magic and followed it with other game designs. Included in these are Keyforge, Netrunner, BattleTech(CCG), Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, Star Wars Trading Card Game, The Great Dalmuti, Artifact, and the board game RoboRally. He also created a variation of the card game Hearts called Complex Hearts. Garfield first became passionate about games when he played the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, so he designed Magic decks to be customizable like roleplaying characters. Garfield and Magic are both in the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame.
#13 Rank | 37 Games | Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
In May of the year 2009 I unleashed Pocket Dungeon on a unsuspecting world. Office productivity will never be the same.
In 2014 Isaac Vega and I (along with the incredible Plaid Hat Games) sent Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game rocketing from the crypt to show all the people who say "Oh not another Zombie game" that there are still things that can be done with Zombies that are exciting. This is the meta-cooperative survival game you didn't know you were waiting for.
2015 Saw the release of Vault Wars from Floodgate Games. A game where you bid on vaults full of treasure that were previously owned by enterprising adventures.
#15 Rank | 55 Games | Star Realms
Darwin Kastle Mess (born 26 July 1971), more commonly known as simply Darwin Kastle, is a champion Magic: The Gathering player from the United States of America, and was a member of the inaugural class elected to the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2005. Kastle also ranks 12th on the all time Pro Tour earnings list. Kastle's likeness is depicted on the card Avalanche Riders, which he also designed after winning the second Magic Invitational.
Darwin Kastle is also a game designer and the Creative Director for White Wizard Games. Their deckbuilding game Star Realms has won numerous awards, including the 2015 SXSW Tabletop Game of the Year Award, four Golden Geek Awards for Best 2-Player Game, Best Card Game, Best Indie Game and Best Handheld Game, two Dice Tower Awards for Best Two-Player Game and Best Small Publisher, and Best Card Game: Fan Favorite at Origins 2015. He has designed Star Realms, Hero Realms, The Battle for Hill 218, The Battle for Sector 219, and Space Station Assault. He has also worked on Epic Card Game, the VS Trading Card game, Battleground Fantasy Warfare, EpicTCG, and Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer.)
#18 Rank | 9 Games | Viticulture: Essential Edition
Alan Stone has been a boardgame player and fan since early childhood. At some point there was a realization that all the available games were just a matter of dice rolls, knowing trivia or acting silly all with a touch of strategy kicked in. These were all fun, but they lose steam after a while.
Then came chess, the perfect game because there is no luck and every game is different, but chess has an enormous learning curve and most people don’t play it. Alan wanted to play games with friends, but the market just didn’t seem to have the right fit.
Then Alan was introduced to a flood of new games within the span of a year. Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Carcassonne, and finally Agricola. All beautifully crafted strategy games with ever more diminishing reliance upon luck and a game that changes every time it’s played.
These new games had an enormous impact on Alan, as his social life got a little more geeky the gears began to turn on game creation. Meeting Jamey and collaborating on Viticulture has given Alan a creative outlet that can’t be matched anywhere else. Game creation is a joy as there is no problem that cannot be fixed with creativity and playtesting.
#19 Rank | 111 Games | Ticket To Ride
After an early introduction to the classic American board games and traditional card games in his youth, it’s no surprise that Alan has had a long and illustrious career in gaming.
His professional life has included stints as an Assistant Editor for Avalon Hill’s magazine, The General; as a developer at Parker Brothers; founder of his own game company White Wind; Director of Games at FX Schmid USA; and Vice President at Ravensburger.
Alan has designed and co-designed dozens of published games including Elfenland, Union Pacific and San Marco.
#20 Rank | 52 Games | Codenames
Vladimír Chvátil (born 1971), often known professionally as Vlaada Chvátil, is a Czech board game designer and video game designer. He became a recognizable name in the board game community following the publication of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization in 2006 and thereafter his designs frequently made the top 100 list on BoardGameGeek. In 2016, he won the coveted award "Spiel des Jahres" (Game of the Year) in Germany for Codenames.
His most notable video game project was a real-time strategy Original War. He later worked on the role-playing video game Vision that has never been finished. In 2006, he left Altar and started to focus on board games. In 2010 he worked on Family Farm, a game that was developed by Hammerware.
#21 Rank | 37 Games | Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Simone Luciani (born in 1977) is an Italian game designer from Fermo. He published his first game (frutti di mare) in 2009, a simple card game. He likes to create any kind of games, but he is known for his more complex game: Tzolk'in (2012), The Voyages of Marco Polo (2015) and Grand Austria Hotel (2015). From 2014 he works as Chief of Editorial Development in Cranio Creations.
#23 Rank | 100 Games | Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Rob Daviau is an American game designer known for creating legacy board gaming. He has guest lectured at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, and New York University on game design and has been a visiting professor of game design at Hampshire College.
#24 Rank | 106 Games | Brass: Birmingham
Wallace worked for a while at Games Workshop, then started designing games in earnest in the early 1990s, his first DTP game being Lords of Creation. Eventually German companies picked up a few of his games, such as Und Tschüss, Volldampf, and Tempus. He has also published a number of games through his own company, Warfrog. These include such titles as Struggle of Empires, Princes of the Renaissance, and Age of Steam. Wallace is now a full-time game publisher and designer.
Wallace is the founder and chief designer of Treefrog (former Warfrog) Games. Wallace is known for designing complex strategy games that depict a variety of historical settings. Two themes he has frequently used are the construction and operation of railroads, and the rise and fall of ancient civilizations. He has developed a reputation for blending elegant European style game mechanics with the strong themes that are more typical of American style games. Many of his games feature economic systems, incorporating rules for income, taxation, and debt.
Martin Wallace's most popular game, Age of Steam, was the winner of the 2003 International Gamers Award, and is one of the top twenty rated games on BoardGameGeek.
#26 Rank | 40 Games | Lords of Waterdeep
Peter is a game designer at Funko Games, and currently part of the design team that releases games as Prospero Hall. Peter led the game design of Horrified and Pan Am. While at Wizards of the Coast between 2008 and 2018, Peter worked on D&D Miniatures, 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: the Gathering (especially War of the Spark, Throne of Eldrane, and Ikoria), Lords of Waterdeep, and many other products.
#28 Rank | 205 Games | El Grande
Wolfgang Kramer is a German board game designer. Kramer formerly worked as an operations manager and computer scientist, but since 1989 he has worked full-time on game design. He has designed over 100 games, many which have been nominated for or have won the Spiel des Jahres.
#31 Rank | 43 Games | Sushi Go Party!
Phil Walker-Harding is a board game designer from Sydney, Australia. He started out by self-publishing for around 7 years, and has since focused on game design and worked with publishers to come out with hit titles such as Sushi Go!, Gizmos, and Barenpark.
#37 Rank | 65 Games | Azul
Michael Kiesling (born 1957) is a German board game designer. Many of his games have been nominated for or have won the Spiel des Jahres, a German games award.
He is best known for the 2018 Spiel des Jahres winner Azul and for co-authoring the board game trilogy Tikal, Java and Mexica, and Torres with Wolfgang Kramer.
#38 Rank | 245 Games | Blood Rage
Eric M. Lang is a game designer. He began his career as a playtester for FASA before publishing his first game, Mystick independently in 2000. He has since worked with publishers Fantasy Flight Games, WizKids, and CMON among others. He is the recipient of the 2016 Diana Jones Award. In March 2017, Lang became CMON's director of game design.
#44 Rank | 57 Games | Above and Below
Ryan Laukat is the designer and illustrator of Above and Below, Near and Far, Empires of the Void, City of Iron, Eight-Minute Empire, and more. When he was thirteen he decided to design a card game so that he could illustrate the cards. Since then, he’s designed and illustrated countless game prototypes. In 2008, he started illustrating as a self-taught, freelance artist, creating art for Dominion cards. Other game illustration credits include: Bridge Troll, Trollhalla, Chocolatl, and Rails of New England. He is grateful to now be combining his passions illustrating his own designs.