Here Is Games by Stefan Feld

There are few debates around the board game Quest Headquarters that are as intense as a discussion about the employees’ favorite game designer. Experienced editor Andrew Smith, for example, is a follower of Vital Lacerda (and often bursts into kool-aid-man-style rooms, shouting: “Kanban!”), while Brian Biewer, whose favorite game of all time is always the last game he played, usually chooses the designer of the last game he played as his favorite designer of all time.

James Wolff routinely sings the praises of the anonymous designer of classic racing (?) game Candyland and Brandon Bryson never stop talking about their favorite designer Cole Wehrle (although he actually never bother to find out his name and simply refers to him as “the guy with the oath”). The founder of the site, Tony Mastrangeli, is not excluded from these debates and often intervenes by saying that his favorite designer is the one who has included the most complete miniatures in all his designs.

Top 10 Stefan Feld Games

Carpe Diem

One of my personal jabs at Stefan Feld (lovingly said, of course) is that some of his games rely too much on foreign mechanics, which detracts from the simplicity of his bread-and-butter “dot salad” approach (lots of food analogies there). Bonfire and Aqua Sphere (#16) are good examples of this. The anti-example of this is Carpe Diem, a very simple placement game that is easy to play despite a clunky set of rules and a dodgy graphic design. The nuances in the way in-game scoring works are clearly the highlight of the design, as player score certain things only at certain points during the game. In some matter, player can not achieve anything at all.

Merlin

Remember what I just said about the best field games that remove bloated mechanisms? Yes, forget all that. Merlin is as bloated as a can get. There are components everywhere, and there are a billion different options in each round, each with two or three symbols that player need to know about. The base game (Vanilla Merlin, so to speak) is pretty vicious in both field and non-field circles, but the first expansion includes a side-action pick-up track (inflate more!) and fixes some of the problems that the base game had. Merlin is a flawed design, but there is a lot of ingenuity here too. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that this game does not age as well as some of your other games. Speaking of aging well…

Notre Dame

Notre Dame is an old game. And I mean not only because it was released in 2007. No, I mean because it looks a bit old and feels a bit old and contains components that would not pass quality control in today’s market. But trust me: the connected mechanisms and the speed with which Notre Dame moves make it a permanent entry in its catalog for a good reason. It is primarily a design game with an entertaining “load up your actions” mechanism, which Feld has reworked a few times over the year. If you have not played this game before, you should definitely do it.