There are a few designers that get me excited - Bruno Faidutti, Friedemann Friese, Doris & Frank, Mike Fitzgerald, and of course Kris Burm. Reiner Knizia does not - I've played too many of his crappy card games to not be wary. Klaus Teuber doesn't either - although Settlers is a masterpiece he seems reluctant to try something really new. Wolfgang Kramer doesn't either - although he's made some masterpieces such as Tikal and Gulo Gulo, he's made some dross like Australia and 6 Nimmt! as well. However there are a number of designers that I just can't get emotional about either way, and it's those that I'd like to discuss today.
Rudiger Dorn (Goa, Jambo, Louis XIV, Traders of Genoa) - I own 3 of Dorn's games, and have played Louis XIV as well. Strangely, Goa and Traders of Genoa are games that I've only ever played with the kid, and been unable to motivate or organise myself to play with anyone else. My favourite of his designs so far is Jambo, and it's by far the simplest as well. Maybe I find his games a bit too complex?
Martin Wallace (Railroad Tycoon, Age of Steam, Runebound) - due to his tendency to design long train games, and my loathing for them, it's a wonder that I'm including Martin Wallace in this list at all. However it's an enigma to me that he also designed Runebound, probably my favourite high-Ameritrash game. I should keep an eye on his releases in case he comes up with another gem. (Note that Francis Tresham is not on this list at all.)
Dirk Henn (Alhambra, Metro, Timbuktu) - I used to own Alhambra, but it has the distinction of being the first game I ever traded away. I just thought it was boring. Timbuktu looked very exciting but three and half hours later I'd played more of it than I ever wanted to. However Metro is quite a neat little game although it's in the class of "CyberKev owns it so I can play his copy enough to satisfy me". It's possible that one day there'll be a Henn design that I really really love.
Alan Moon (Ticket to Ride, Diamant, Elfenland, Happy Dog, Pony Express, Union Pacific) - I've previously blogged about Alan Moon and his train games. The poor gentleman suffers from choosing a genre I don't like very much, as demonstrated by my very high opinion of Diamant and Elfenland. Sadly Happy Dog was an unfortunate Kniziaesque crappy card game. (Crappy card game is almost a genre by itself, isn't it? I might write more on that one day.) Maybe one day Mr Moon will design something that really hits the spot for me. Maybe San Marco is it?
Sid Sackson (Acquire, Bazaar, Can't Stop, I'm The Boss) - OK, so the man is a legend, but so is Boy George and opinions vary on him as well. I find Acquire to be mostly a bookkeeping exercise, which is not really what I want in a game, and Can't Stop gets a bit dull after a while - I find Diamant to be a much more interesting example of that genre. However I like Bazaar a lot, and I'm The Boss is a very clever and fun game. I look forward to trying out more of his designs.
Stefan Dorra (Amazonas, For Sale, Hex Hex, Pick Picknic) - I like Amazonas a lot - nobody on BGG rates it higher than I do. It feels a lot like Elfenland or Ticket to Ride with a theme that I enjoy. For Sale and Hex Hex are a bit worn out for me, but I still like Pick Picknic. My nephew thinks I gave it to him for Christmas 2005, but if so why does he only play it when I'm around? A Dorra design is always worth investigating.
The designers I've discussed above have some good designs - enough to keep me interested - but not enough to get me really excited about a new release. Maybe they have great games that I haven't tried yet? If so, please let me know and I'll hunt down a copy.