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.

Matt Leacock

#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.

Bruno Cathala

#2 Rank | 122 Games | 7 Wonders Duel

Bruno Cathala is a French game designer who has lived in Haute-Savoie near Geneva, Switzerland, since 1986.

Antoine Bauza

#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.

Jamey Stegmaier

#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.

Uwe Rosenberg

#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.

Emerson Matsuuchi

#6 Rank | 21 Games | Century: Spice Road

Avid Game player, Game Designer. His last name is pronounced like "maht-zoo ooh-chee."

Corey Konieczka

#7 Rank | 65 Games | Star Wars: Rebellion

Game Designer, 'Author’, and Weirdo.

Alexander Pfister

#8 Rank | 36 Games | Great Western Trail

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

Nate French

#9 Rank | 90 Games | Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Nate French creates Call of Cthulhu and Game of Thrones cards for Fantasy Flight Games' Living Card Games (LCG) series, as well as being the designer for the Lord of the Rings LCG and the Arkham Horror LCG.

Donald X. Vaccarino

#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.

Reiner Knizia

#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.

Richard Garfield

#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.

Jonathan Gilmour

#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.

Carl Chudyk

#14 Rank | 26 Games | Innovation

Darwin Kastle

#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.)

Thomas Lehmann

#16 Rank | 47 Games | Race for the Galaxy

Tom Lehmann is a former economist, programmer, technical writer, and game publisher (Prism Games) who now designs strategy board, card, and dice games full time.

Stefan Feld

#17 Rank | 61 Games | The Castles of Burgundy

Stefan Feld is a German-style board game designer who lives in Gengenbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Feld is considered one of the most prominent designers of the Eurogame genre.

Alan Stone

#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.

Alan R. Moon

#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.

Vlaada Chvátil

#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.

Simone Luciani

#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.

Wolfgang Warsch

#22 Rank | 19 Games | The Quacks of Quedlinburg

Wolfgang Warsch is an Austrian molecular biologist and board game designer. He made an explosive entrance into the industry with hit titles including The Quacks of Quedlinburg, The Mind, and That's Pretty Clever in 2018.

Rob Daviau

#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.

Martin Wallace

#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.

Shem Phillips

#25 Rank | 53 Games | Architects of the West Kingdom

Shem Phillips founded Garphill Games in 2009 and has published a wide range of games since. He is most well known for his designs in the North Sea and West Kingdom Trilogies.

Peter Lee

#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.

Nikki Valens

#27 Rank | 11 Games | Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

Designer that used to work at Fantasy Flight Games. She announced her departure from Fantasy Flight Games on Twitter on May 14th, 2018.

Wolfgang Kramer

#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.

Lorenzo Silva

#29 Rank | 32 Games | Potion Explosion

Author of Horse Fever (2009), Dungeon Fighter (2011), Steam Park (2013), Co-Mix (2014) and Potion Explosion (2015). Art lover. Pathologically impatient.

Robert Dougherty

#30 Rank | 69 Games | Star Realms

Robert R. Dougherty is a professional Magic: The Gathering player from Framingham, Massachusetts. He was inducted to the Magic Hall of Fame in November 2006. He is also a tournament organizer and the founder of Your Move Games.

Phil Walker-Harding

#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.

Markus Brand

#32 Rank | 67 Games | Village

Markus Brand is the other half of the famed German board game designer duo known for their breadth of style, with popular titles including Village, Rajas of the Ganges, the Exit series, and more.

Inka Brand

#33 Rank | 67 Games | Village

Inka Brand is the other half of the famed German board game designer duo known for their breadth of style, with popular titles including Village, Rajas of the Ganges, the Exit series, and more.

Bruno Faidutti

#35 Rank | 93 Games | Citadels

Bruno Faidutti is a French board game designer who has authored and co-authored more than 40 games. He is also a unicorn expert, having researched and written extensively about its origin for his doctorate in History.

Vital Lacerda

#36 Rank | 29 Games | The Gallerist

Vital Lacerda is a Portuguese board game designer known for complex, thematic euro-style games. Most of his games such as The Gallerist and Lisboa sell out quickly on a regular basis.

Michael Kiesling

#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.

Eric M. Lang

#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.

Paul Peterson

#39 Rank | 93 Games | Smash Up

Seiji Kanai

#40 Rank | 52 Games | Love Letter

Ludovic Maublanc

#41 Rank | 67 Games | Cyclades

Kevin Wilson

#42 Rank | 89 Games | Cosmic Encounter

Dominic Crapuchettes

#43 Rank | 36 Games | Evolution: Climate

Dominic Crapuchettes is a board game designer and founder of North Star Games, with hit titles such as Wits & Wagers and the Evolution series. But before all this, he once captained an Alaskan salmon fishing boat for 12 seasons.

Ryan Laukat

#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.

Ted Alspach

#46 Rank | 79 Games | Suburbia

Rüdiger Dorn

#48 Rank | 81 Games | Istanbul

Friedemann Friese

#49 Rank | 90 Games | Power Grid

Friedemann Friese is a German board game designer known for his trademark green hair and other quirky trends in his games:

  • Game titles starting with letter "F"
  • Games with green color scheme
  • Unusual themes

Scott Almes

#50 Rank | 87 Games | Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Scott Almes is a product development engineer by day, board game designer by night, and a writer by late-night. He is best known for designing the Tiny Epic series.

Klaus Teuber

#52 Rank | 175 Games | Catan

Klaus Teuber is a German game designer who created Catan in 1995, which has since sold over 32 million copies worldwide by 2020.

Mike Elliott

#53 Rank | 133 Games | Thunderstone Quest

Hisashi Hayashi

#54 Rank | 47 Games | Yokohama

Hisashi Hayashi is a Japanese board game designer whose interests include board games, railways, and history.

Andrew Looney

#55 Rank | 121 Games | Fluxx