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Saturday, December 20, 2008


The boardgame Mt. Rushmore

Noted some discussion on Boardgamegeek about who would be on the Mount Rushmore of boardgames. Good question. One that has kept me thinking throughout the day.

Keep in mind that the faces on Mt. Rushmore are those of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. The first three are solid picks in any one's book. But Roosevelt? Roosevelt is kind of an iffy pick. In my book that gives us a little leeway for our boardgame Rushmore.

My first three picks are solid. Sid Sackson, Charles Roberts and Gary Gygax. (The father of German games, the father of modern wargames, and the father of role playing games). Don't dig RPGs myself, but the impact of RPGs on modern boardgames and gamers is undeniable and will be confirmed when boardgame history books are written.

The fourth person is less obvious. I like Reiner Knizia a lot. A whole lot. I also like Francis Tresham. I also have a notion that other people would expect to see Richard Garfield on my list. Knizia is the most prolific of the three designers, and has designed my two favorite games. Tresham has designed few games but two of his games define genres and have spurred numerous copies, 1829 and Civilization. Garfield created collectible card games and, as such, gave a boost to the entire game market. I am not convinced that CCGs will have as lasting an effect on games and gamers as RPGs undeniably did. If anything CCGs will be on the Mount Rushmore of marketing.

That leaves me with Knizia and Tresham.

18xx and Civilization will both have their own chapters in the history book of boardgames.

Knizia will have his own chapter, but so far has not designed a game that is deserving of its own chapter.

Gotta go with Tresham by a nose as the Teddy Roosevelt of the Boardgame Mount Rushmore. He is a true godfather of gaming. Knizia suffers the misfortune of being first among a slew of active, talented designers. Tresham distinguished himself in the second wave of pioneers.

Sackson, Roberts, Gygax, and Tresham. Four greats of boardgaming.

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