Yes ladies and gentlemen you heard right. At the recent Board Game Expo 2012 in Birmingham, UK we were treated to a fantastic event. Among the highlights was a seminar of two industry giants proclaiming their Top 10 games that shaped their world. These two guys set up a small games company in 1975 called Games Workshop manufacturing traditional games like Backgammon and Go. As the tiny London office was only just big enough for the two of them, the first employee they hired had to organise the mail orders of original Dungeons & Dragons from the dustbin cupboard outside.
These two figureheads wrote the original Fighting Fantasy roleplay gamebooks, and of course went on to produce the enormous Warhammer and Warhammer 40k worlds. Ian also went on to be a vital part of the progressive digital Games industry and was given an OBE by the queen in 2006.
So what defined and inspired these world changing people?
Smallworld, Ticket to Ride, Acquire, and Diplomacy amongst others. The top 10 list and explanations awaits you …
Great production values, and the gentle game nature made Ticket to Ride first on the list as a real defining and inspirational game for Ian.
Great holiday game. The game that shows that a losing player will always be on the bottom and a winner will always be on top – able to portray the fact that “Life is hard if your on the bottom!” – this game may inspired the Deathtrap Dungeon Promotional Cardgame
Resource Management, very involving, a huge amount of choices.
Great game to pull out when traveling and someone says “You know about games, show me a game!”. Also a decent substitute for a gambling game if that is your kind of thing.
How the whole game unfolds across a play through and the key timing needed when making certain choices
Resource Management and motivation to invest correctly. When this was released it was hailed to be a VERY clever game. Made by a British designer and the precursor to the pc game Railroad Tycoon
Brilliant game of probability, you literally “Can’t stop” pushing your luck. The predecessor of Pass the pigs.
Ian hates the game, but Steve had fond memories of playing it with his father. A clever game that involved some early take-that mechanisms to foil your opponent.
Wonderful variations produced by combining races throughout the game, and of course the points offered for the unfavorable races. Steve always wins!
Totally compelling game and a precursor to the computer game.
As far as Election Games goes, this is “The Daddy of them all”. It is the delicate balance in keeping your supporters that makes the unfolding of this game so great. Grab it if you don’t have it.
A very clever game about mountaineering. A balancing game that is itself very well balanced – Steve is especially fond of this game.
Global Domination game that has a fantastic Balance of Power struggle.
A computer game that took up most of Steve’s life when he played it. The first major RTS to come out, such a well thought departure from normal turn based games, he could hardly let go of the mouse!
Economics abound in this oil hunting dice game. Simple to play and a very clever positional dice mechanic coupled with playing the market make this game highly recommended.
Very neat game rules. Unbelievable balancing, Steve was in awe as he pondered how the creator of Caylus balanced such an eclectic game board and rules set.
The art of negotiation had a huge impact on Ian getting into games. Late nights with friends playing this game days at a time. It was way ahead of its time and was a real progressive flag bearer for the early world of boardgames.
Studying at Keele and playing Diplomacy, a friend of Steve’s tempted him saying “Risk is ok … but you should try Warlord”. Immensely curious, he found out what was to be his favourite boardgame of all time. A high stakes guessing game where players will make huge strides or massive losses depending on a simple but hugely tactical “What number am I thinking of…”. This was republished as Apocalypse by Games Workshop.
Together these two figure heads both cited Gygax and Arneson’s roleplaying masterpiece as their number one most influential game. Without D&D, the world would have been a very different place for Games Workshop and as such, the modern state of games. It had an amazing effect on society as a whole and Ian and Steve might not have produced the Fighting Fantasy series without it. As such, we must tip our hats to the progenitor of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.
This was a real highlight of the Expo for me. I was introduced, like many people, to the world of gaming by reading/playing The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Fantastic seminar.
This is truly an awe inspiring list!
Fighting Fantasy books and white dwarf magazine were pretty much the reason I got into the great RPG hobby (well that and the big MERP boxset from the 80’s), and I always find it humbling to see just how prolific these two great game designers were!
Come to think of it, they used to spurn me onwards in my programming too, since fighting fantasy books were pretty much the ideal project to convert to a digital format…. Damn I miss the late 80’s/early 90’s :D
Looking forward to pouring over this list and posting it all over Twitter :D
You guys may be interested in hearing the whole talk… I may have it going up on the Little Metal Dog Show podcast feed tomorrow ;)