Looks like I own 15, previously owned 2 additional. Of those 17 I’ve played 14, which is a high hit rate. This speaks both to the age of the games and the teachability (which is usually the highest barrier for me playing a game with the people in my house).
First Knizia is actually hard to remember? I assume it was Tigris & Euphrates but as I go down the list I’m wondering was it Ingenious? The Confrontation? Samurai? Lost Cities? One of those.
My favorite is Tigris & Euphrates, which is also my favorite game. It’s also a game where I’ve gotten past the macro effects and started noticing all the little bits and levers under the hood, and I’m so over-focused on them that I’ve lost sight of the forest and lost 10 straight games. Like last place lost. Sometimes it’s like that.
I’ve sold Ingenious and Lost Cities. Both are fine games. Lost Cities felt like good - bad - good, another level opened up - ok bad, solved that one too. I kind of want it back to play with kids and non-gamers, but I haven’t regretted it too much.
Ingenious was also good but not good enough. I like the way you can’t help yourself without creating opportunity for your opponent, and you can’t hurt your opponent without also hurting yourself. But I just described Jaipur as well as Ingenious, and Ingenious is also best at 2, so I decided I would be playing Jaipur instead.
With both of those I probably couldn’t have sold them without the presence of an app to scratch the itch when it comes.
But the worst? At some point some poor company bought his entire backlog of unwanted games and was churning out 0.99 apps. I tried Qin, Kingdoms, and Decathlon. I think Decathlon was the worst, I actually wanted it to stop. But it was still interesting from a design perspective, 10 push-your-luck dice subgames that did reflect the underlying athletic events. Qin and Kingdoms were both serviceable but uninspired. I appreciate that you need to design 300 games to make 30 classics, but you don’t need to publish 300 games.
I won’t stick a pin on best designers. What I say is that, if you are going to have a conversation about the “best designer,” Knizia and Rosenberg are the only names that must be included in every discussion. The eventual conclusion may be neither, depending on whether you are talking about pinnacle of achievement, innovation, breadth, depth, consistency, units sold, etc, but those two are the only ones out there who would have to come up every time.
As for his lower ratings:
- His older work is his best, and ratings inflation between .03 and .05 per year is working against him
- Many Knizias have emergent gameplay that doesn’t level out until 5 or 10 games in, and many ratings are based off of first impressions.
But if you ask me, which modern games may still be played 300 years from now? T&E. T&E is the first and only game that comes to me.
I’ll probably come back and ramble about the rest of the Knizia’s I know at some point…