Have you ever played a tabletop game that stood out so much from everything else you’ve played that you wondered how you could find other games like it? Are you fairly new to tabletop gaming and are so overwhelmed by the number of choices that you aren’t sure which game to try next?
If you answered “yes” to either question then one way to find that next game is to look up who designed that game you like. I make this suggestion because game designers are becoming a fairly reliable way to know what kind of style and quality to expect from a game. Some designers have even made such a name for themselves that gamers seek out their particular games!
Consider Kevin Wilson. In the past, he designed board games for Fantasy Flight Games, but left a few years back to do freelance game design.
Many of Kevin’s board games use new and unique game mechanics to marry a game’s theme and gameplay. In Arkham Horror, he created a skill slider that would allow you to improve one skill but only at the cost of lowering another (e.g. if you become faster then you cannot sneak around as easily). For Descent: Journeys in the Dark he used different colored dice, each with different numbers and symbols, to represent the advantages and disadvantages of using melee, range, and magic weapons. For example, if you shot an enemy who was very far away with a ranged weapon then the damage dealt would typically be lower than a mid-range shot.
If you like unique game mechanics or any of the following games developed by Kevin Wilson, you should try some of the others: Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, Darkness Comes Rattling, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Fantasy Flight’s edition of Cosmic Encounter, the recently released Awesome Kingdom: Tower of Hateskull, and Android (which has spun off into several other games and books). Of these games, Elder Sign and Awesome Kingdom have the lightest rules.
If you enjoy Sid Meier’s Civilization, A Game of Thrones, The X-Files, or CHEW then you should try the licensed board game versions that Wilson developed. Licensed games are games that inherit their title and setting from another product, usually in a different medium. Unsurprisingly, CHEW and X-Files have fairly light rules compared to A Game of Thrones and Civilization.
Kevin also designed WarCraft: The Board Game and Doom, the precursor to Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Both of these games are out of print, but are excellent if you can get your hands on them. Kevin is currently designing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles board game, so keep your eyes open for that one too!
Have you played any of Kevin Wilson’s games? Which is your favorite? Which would you recommend to someone who hasn’t played one before? Let us know!
Image Credit: Fantasy Flight Games (Kevin Wilson’s Android: Netrunner Avatar, Android, Arkham Horror, Civilization, Cosmic Encounter, Descent, Elder Sign, Game of Thrones), IDW Games (Awesome Kingdom, CHEW, X-Files), Wyrd Games (Darkness Comes Rattling)
Feature Image Credit: Ciro Cangialosi/ IDW Games