A French board game designer whose forte extends beyond the cardboard realm to designing video games and writing books, Antoine Bauza has brought to us some spectacular games like the 7 wonders series, Hanabi, Tokaido & Takenoko to name a few of the popular ones.
An innovative & diverse designer, his games tend to include different mechanics and themes and are more concentrated on the experience of the player journeying through the game than the idea of fixating on any one particular strategy.
Some of his games have very strong influences from his love of Japanese culture and the far East, both in gameplay & artwork, like the vacation themed Tokaido which has a unique movement mechanism and set collection aspect, the quirky Takenoko with tile placing mechanics and cute elements, the Spiel des Jahres winner Hanabi (the Japanese word for fireworks) which is one of the most fun cooperative games about, you’ll never guess, setting off fireworks, an abstract game that explores communication & deduction.
The board games for which he is most famous is the 7 Wonder series, a civilization themed game that was created by his desire to create a 7 player game for his game group that does not have too much downtime- so the idea of drafting cards & playing simultaneously came up. This Kennerspiel des Jahres winner ably lives up to its promise as a very popular drafting gateway game that has spun several sequels. It’s expansions, which are many, have not only added variety to the gameplay but have also increased the replayability and gave us the stellar 7 Wonder Duel, one of the best two player games out there which not just builds on the theme and the mechanic but also alters the gameplay by adding a pyramid mechanic to the mix.
While competitive set collection mechanic & drafting seem to be popular mechanics with Bauza, he has a strong affinity to cooperative games that create a better player experience and interaction like one of his very first games, Ghost Stories, which also has several expansions. Even in the competitive games, the design promotes a kinder player experience by limiting interaction and ability to affect another player’s actions.
The themes and artwork for his game designs are unique, colourful, vibrant and have an approachability that invites both beginners & experienced players.