My favourite designers

Larry Levy had a column in Boardgame News called Rating the designers. He wrote about two different approaches to rating the designers, Knizia approach (counting a sum-based score from ratings given to designer’s games) and Seyfarth approach (counting an average). First approach favours someone like Knizia, who has a wide repertoire of games with varying quality (but lots of very good games), the second someone like Seyfarth or Tresham, with just few very good games.

As Levy wasn’t satisfied with either approach, he came up with some middle ground. His approach takes averages, but adds 12 dummy games rated as 5 for every designer. That balances out the scores. It’s a good way to rate the designers, I think, though the padding takes some adjustment. Well, anyway, here’s my top ten based on this method:

  1. Reiner Knizia (6.76)
  2. Traditional (6.42)
  3. Friedemann Friese (6.21)
  4. Jeroen Doumen ja Joris Wiersinga (6.09)
  5. Kris Burm (6.07)
  6. Stefan Dorra (6.07)
  7. Michael Schacht (6.06)
  8. Wolfgang Kramer (6)
  9. Wolfgang Kramer ja Michael Kiesling (6)
  10. Richard Borg (5.92)

I have rated 34 Knizia games with an average of 7.2, so it’s no surprise he tops this list. Traditional games take a solid second place, which might seem surprising, but once you realise that those games include Go, Crokinole and Mhing — that is, 3/4 of my 10-rated games — it’s not a surprise.

Doumen and Wiersinga are my Francis Tresham’s: three games rated as nine and nothing else. Not bad. Except my stats apparatus misses Bus (as I don’t count play-by-web games), which I’ve rated lower.

All other designers are definitely top 10 material, but I wouldn’t have included Richard Borg on the list myself. After all, his output is fairly minor, mostly Memoir ’44. Just after him there’s Goslar brothers, Andreas Seyfarth and Moon & Weissblum, which I would feel a bit more happy with. Kris Burm is slightly surprising name as well.

Places 30-50 on my list are mostly one-hit wonders: there’s Bernd Brunnhofer, Thomas Stapelfeldt, Karl-Heinz Schmiel, Don Bone, William Attia, Frank Branham & Sandi West, Niek Neuwahl, Mac Gerdts… List goes on: all are very good designers, based on one game. If I ever come up with another game from them I really like, they should jump up on the list. Meanwhile I really can’t see myself calling any of them my favourite designers, really.

Anyway, it’s an interesting way to rate the designers and I’m happy with the results. This will definitely join my bag of board game stats analysis tools.

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2 responses to “My favourite designers”

  1. I’m glad you liked the article, Mikko. You certainly can’t argue with the list you generated, as those are all quality designers. It sounds as if you played around with the parameters, which I think is necessary. I suppose that could weaken the appeal of the method in some eyes, but I think it makes it more flexible. And, of course, there’s lots of refinements one could make. But it’s interesting to see how this works with someone else’s designer preferences.
    And congratulations on the Gone Gaming awards! It’s well deserved. It’s nice to see someone who has supported the hobby for a number of years get additional recognition. Keep up the good work!

  2. Yes, I think I used only eight games. Not that the twelve games made the list bad, but I felt this was perhaps slightly better. Not a big difference in any case. Thanks for an interesting method!