German-style board game

Author games are modern board games (board games and card games ) that are devised by game designers and meet the respect issue, implementation and design of certain characteristics. Most of the authors are also called on the game box. This is in classic board games such as Chinese Checkers, Parcheesi, Risk, Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble not the case. The transitions between the author and other games in the narrow sense of a particularly well-known creator designed board and card games, such as those of the 3M Company ( Twixt, Oh- Wah - Ree ) are partially blurred. The classification of a particular game is therefore not always possible.

In English-speaking author games are also known as designer games or German games. The latter term has been established, despite the fact that a number of these games by authors who do not come from Germany. Far more common is therefore now also the term German -style games ( games in the German style). This recognizes the fact that the trend to author game especially in the initial phase was mainly triggered by developments in Germany. The term German -style games does not refer to the origin of the game or the author, but describes that a game satisfies certain characteristics.


One of the most well-known game designers in the world is Klaus Teuber, who developed the game The Settlers of Catan is a milestone of the author's game. Other well-known games by Klaus Teuber are Coronets, Barbarossa and the Riddler, explorers and Lionheart. Among the most important ever professional game designers are otherwise still Reiner Knizia ( Einfach Genial, Euphrates & Tigris, The Lord of the Rings, King Arthur ), Dirk Henn ( The Palace of Alhambra, Show Manager ), Klaus -Jürgen Wrede (Carcassonne ) and often with other authors cooperating Wolfgang Kramer ( on axis, El Grande, Heimlich & Co., 6 increases, Tikal, Torres) to call. In particular, Reiner Knizia and Wolfgang Kramer are already very successful longer active and have both invented a three-digit number of games. Among the best known non-German game authors who died in 2002 Americans Sid Sackson include ( Acquire) and his 2004 also deceased compatriot Alex Randolph ( Enchanted Forest ), who lives in the USA Briton Alan R. Moon ( Elfland, train to train ), Frenchman Bruno Faidutti ( Citadels ) and the Italian Leo Colovini ( incognito ). A number of game designers has teamed up under the name Game Designer Association to advocacy, which organizes regular meetings among other things, and a magazine out there. The list of games by a certain author is called its Ludographie.


Author games are characterized by a number of properties which have contributed largely to their success and their popularity and continue to contribute. Not every game satisfies all of the characteristics listed below, but in general, the following points are a good description of what constitutes an author games.

  • Game Material: The material of these games is characterized by high quality and an attractive design. Game plans and maps are fanciful and the theme of the game properly designed, being responsible for the graphic design usually professional graphic designer. Game pieces and other small items are often made of wood instead of plastic. Information on the board or on cards are almost always represented by icons and other pictorial representations. This makes it easier for a participation of younger children and contributes to others in the international dissemination, there is often only a translation of the regulations is necessary.
  • Rules: The rules are kept short, complicated rules with many exceptions and special rules are omitted here. However, an adequate depth of play is well thought out game mechanics yet reached, which will appeal to both beginners and casual players as well as advanced players. The relationship between happiness (for example, by throwing dice or drawing cards ) and influence of the players own decisions is balanced. This means that connoisseurs of the game though against newcomers usually have an advantage, but this is not demotivating effect for newcomers.
  • Duration: Most games take about 60 to 90 minutes, some board games and card games, most 30 to 45 minutes. The playing time is almost always limited by the game mechanism so that an extremely long playing time, as occurs for example in the board game classics Monopoly and Risk, excluded or is very unlikely. The game goal is often defined by victory points. Either the player with the most victory points after a specified number of rounds, using up a stack of cards or similar requirements, or the game ends when a certain score by a player.
  • Playing: All players participating in the game take part until the end of the game. A prior resignation or casting out of players, which is for example Monopoly even necessary to win, does not occur in these games. The mechanism is usually balanced so that players at the end of the game are relatively close together in terms of their earnings and an early decision or early of a player falling back is avoided.
  • Players: The number of possible players varies but is usually between two to four or three to six. The mechanism is designed in the rule that the games with different player numbers should be playable equal, which does not always work. Such differences are partly offset by rule variations. From the age of the players fro most of the games are very family -friendly, as they appeal to both children and adults through its design, theme and rules.
  • Topic: Author games are free from violence and war or struggle as a central element. A direct impeding or controlling the opponent is not, or only very restricted usually possible and is not the determining part of the game. Partial mechanisms are included, which make for certain stages of the game a player need some cooperation ( for example, changing a number of rounds, such as in Metropolis ), as is trade in certain play materials between the players a game element commonly used.
  • Interaction: An important element of these games is communication and interaction between the players, for example, by the trade or cooperation mechanisms already mentioned. Ideally, each player is involved at any stage in one way or another in the game, so even in phases, in which he himself is not his turn.
  • Extensibility: For several years, the bestsellers are expandable. This applies not only to official extensions which are published by the respective publishers games and add new games elements or expand the number of potential players. Secondly, these games offer occasional opportunities, the rules to vary independently and thus adjust personal preferences, without this having a negative impact on the underlying mechanism.

And although this has nothing directly to do with the idea and design of this game, characteristic of these games is the fact that often emerge fan communities that communicate for example via the Internet to communicate, share ideas and experiences and organize game nights and tournaments.


Author games have gained in recent decades significantly in popularity, leading to an ever better quality and was associated with increasing professionalisation in the development and commercialization. The above characteristics have more they will develop over time. The current boom of these games began about 1980. One of the first successful games from this period is Civilization, another Scotland Yard. The latter is unusual from the game mechanism ago, a single player plays against the other co-operating players. A milestone in the history of author games represents the game The Settlers of Catan by Klaus Teuber, has since its release in 1995, achieved an outstanding popularity. This game has many people into the hobby board games and thus helped to establish board games as a widespread leisure activity for adults.

Furthermore, Klaus Teuber has initiated with this game, the trend to publish extensions to a game over time. Other games that now have a set of extensions are The Palace of Alhambra, Carcassonne and the card game Bohnanza. Uwe Rosenberg, author of Bohnanza, orients itself with some of its extensions in a humorous manner to the expansion for The Settlers of Catan. In recent years, some games are also released in new versions that have a new theme with a similar mechanism as the original game. This concerns, for example, the hunter-gatherers and the city as variants of Carcassonne or adventure humanity, based on the mechanism of Settlers of Catan.

Has continued to promote the popularization of these games by introducing the awards "Game of the Year" and " German Games Award". The contract awarded since 1979 Price " Game of the Year " is a critics' prize, which is awarded by a jury of automotive journalists. In addition to the main prize "Game of the Year" since 2001, a " Children's Game of the Year". Both the award itself and the nomination or inclusion on the list will be used by manufacturers for advertising purposes. In particular, the main prize, the popularity of these games significantly increases and leads to a huge increase in sales figures. The " German Games Award" has been awarded since 1990 and is a specialist audience award. The decision is made by a vote, to participate in the informed players, journalists and traders. Here, a ranking with rankings from one to ten is published. Since 1992 also the best children's in addition to the grand prize chosen. Since 2001, in a main building and six other categories of the Austrian Games Price awarded " Game of the Year ", and since 2002 in three categories of " Swiss Games Price ". The games magazine " Fair Play " awards since 1991, the "à la carte Card Game Award" for the best card game of the year.

When price " Game of the Year " a card game with the game Dominion in 2009 for the first time awarded, the "German Games Award" this was achieved 6 increases in 1994. Winner of both the " Game of the Year " and the "German Game Prize " were so far the games and Coronets (1990) and the Settlers of Catan ( 1995) by Klaus Teuber, El Grande ( 1996) by Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich, Tikal (1999) by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling and Carcassonne (2001) by Klaus- Jürgen Wrede. The hitherto most commercially successful author games including their extensions and modifications are Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. They have been produced and sold since its release in millions of copies.

International dissemination

Author games are very popular, especially in Germany. In Australia, Germany is seen as the Hollywood of the board game ("The 'Hollywood' for modern boardgames is Germany where family gaming is very popular "). A wide variety is to be found not only in specialized board game stores, author games also have a permanent place in toy stores and department stores. In Germany, the two most important international events for author games take place, namely the Nuremberg Toy Fair and the International Games Convention in Essen.

In the U.S., the market is dominated by large companies that sell their games primarily through TV advertising. Author games in the strict sense still form a niche, with the corresponding hobby scene, however, for several years grows strong. This increase in popularity is due mainly by networking over the Internet. For some years there are companies that import due to the growing demand original games from Europe and deliver together with rule translations. Very popular games are now available in licensed English versions.

In the Netherlands, the author games market is strongly growing. First of all licensed products from Germany meet there on a year by year more buyers and have also found their way into the stores. Games are the prospects at many events directly explained so that a part big hurdle when buying games, learning the rules, is not necessary.

In South Korea, gaming is in so-called games cafes currently a fad, which competes with other leisure activities such as going to the movies or the pub.

In Japan, German games are so popular that Takuya Ono to a book called Doitsu Game de Shoo! has published, in which he presents 66 games that were awarded at the Game of the Year, Children's Game of the Year, the German game prize and à la carte card game price. Furthermore, the game designers Wolfgang Kramer, Klaus Teuber, Reiner Knizia, Alan R. Moon Andreas Seyfarth and Michael Schacht are portrayed.

Pictures of German-style board game