Reiner Knizia

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Reiner Knizia
Essen08 - Reiner Knizia 1.jpg
Knizia at Essen 2008
BornNovember 16, 1957
Known forGame designer

Reiner Knizia (German pronunciation: [ˈʁaɪnɐ ˈknɪtsiə] ) is a prolific German-style board game designer.


Early life and education

Born in Germany, he developed his first game at the age of eight. He gained a Master of Science from Syracuse University in the United States and a doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Ulm in Germany. [1] He went on to manage a two-billion-dollar financial company. [1]


Knizia has been a full-time game designer since 1997, when he quit his job from the board of a large international bank. Knizia has been living in England since 1993.

In addition to having designed over 600 published games, Knizia is highly acclaimed as a designer, having won the Deutscher Spiele Preis four times, a Spiel des Jahres (in addition to a Kinderspiel des Jahres and a special award), and numerous other national and international awards. At the Origins Game Fair in 2002 he was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame. His games frequently make appearances on various "top games" lists, including the GAMES 100 list, the BoardGameGeek top 100, and the Internet Top 100 Games List. Several gaming conventions host "Kniziathons", which are tournaments dedicated to celebrating Knizia-designed games. [2]

Reiner Knizia started developing games for his play-by-mail game zine Postspillion, founded in 1985. The zine still exists, and the game Bretton Woods (also a Reiner Knizia design), which was started in 1987, is still going.

One of Knizia's best selling games is Lord of the Rings , published in 17 languages with over one million copies sold. His dice game Pickomino has also reached 1 million copies sold and his Keltis sold over 600,000 copies. His game Ingenious has been published in over 20 languages. In 2011, Knizia designed a Star Trek-themed game for NECA/WizKids, based on the 2009 film that 'reset' the Star Trek universe. [3] In 2015 Ravensburger released Star Wars VII - Galaxy Rebellion based on the popular movie franchise.

A number of Knizia designs have been redeveloped for the electronic gaming & console markets. Ingenious (aka Einfach Genial ) and Keltis have both appeared in CD-ROM versions; Lost Cities was adapted for Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade. An original game for the Nintendo DS, Dr. Reiner Knizia's Brainbenders was published in 2008; Keltis for the NDS followed in 2009. Other mobile implementations of Knizia titles include Lost Cities, Battle Line, Kingdoms, Medici, Ra , Through the Desert, Samurai and Tigris and Euphrates. Knizia has also designed various game applications specifically for the iPhone, including Robot Master, Dice Monster, Labyrinth and Pipes.

Over several years Knizia has developed a number of hybrid boardgames with electronic components, most notably with German publisher Ravensburger. The first of these was the King Arthur adventure game in 2003, later updated for use with the iPhone in 2014. Other titles include Die Insel, the award-winning Wer War's?, Der Drei ??? and in 2015 Captain Black (notable for a talking ghost pirate captain and a 90 cm - 3 feet - 3D ship).

Game characteristics

Knizia's games cover many board game genres. He has designed small two-player card games, children's games, simple games, sophisticated games, and even a live-action roleplaying game.

One element of modern game design that Reiner Knizia has pioneered is abstract theme. Older themed games like Monopoly have traditionally developed their themes by trying to model or emulate the environment or situation they are thematically tied to. So Monopoly has players buying and developing properties as a real estate developer might. Knizia's thematic game designs tend not to try to model a specific environment, but instead try to invoke the thought and decision-making processes that are key to the theme. For example, Knizia's game Medici has a fairly abstract game system of drawing and buying cards that does not try to model any particular environment, but in the game-world, the players are always attempting to price risk, the key success factor in the investment banking business in which the Medicis made their fortune. A further example of this can be found in Knizia's game, Tigris and Euphrates. The players each take control of one of four different dynasties of Mesopotamia around 3,000 B.C. Each dynasty has priests, farmers, traders, and kings who are placed strategically on the board. The players take turns expanding their dynasties, controlling rivers, building temples, and attacking the other players' dynasties. Instead of Tigris and Euphrates having many complicated rules, the game is relatively simple and has very streamlined rules that does not attempt to emulate the real-life conflicts but rather abstracts this out, allowing for the players to focus on strategic decision making. This approach has allowed Knizia to develop games that are comparatively simple but require thoughtful game-play, while still retaining strongly thematic elements.

Using his understanding of principles in mathematics to full effect, pricing and evaluating risk are frequently recurring elements in Reiner Knizia games. Many of his most successful designs use auctions as a vehicle to price risk, as in Ra, Medici, and Modern Art.


Some of Knizia's games are:

See also

Related Research Articles

Eurogame Type of board game

A Eurogame, also called a German-style board game, German game, or Euro-style game, is a class of tabletop games that generally has indirect player interaction and abstract physical components. Eurogames are sometimes contrasted with American-style board games, which generally involve more luck, conflict, and drama. They are usually less abstract than chess or Go, but more abstract than wargames. Likewise, they generally require more thought and planning than party games such as Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit.

Spiel des Jahres yearly award for offline games in Germany

The Spiel des Jahres is an award for board and card games, created in 1978 with the stated purpose of rewarding excellence in game design, and promoting top-quality games in the German market. It is thought that the existence and popularity of the award is one of the major drivers of the quality of games coming out of Germany. A Spiel des Jahres nomination can increase the typical sales of a game from 500–3000 copies to around 10,000; and the winner can usually expect to sell 300,000 to 500,000 copies.

Tigris and Euphrates is a tabletop eurogame designed by Reiner Knizia and first published in 1997 by Hans im Glück. Before its publication, it was highly anticipated by German gamers hearing rumors of a "gamer's game" designed by Knizia. Tigris and Euphrates won first prize in the 1998 Deutscher Spielepreis. A card game version was released in 2005.

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Ingenious (board game) board game

Ingenious is the English name for Einfach Genial, a German abstract strategy board game designed by Reiner Knizia under commission from Sophisticated Games and published in 2004 by Kosmos. Across most of Europe it is titled as the local translation of Ingenious or Simply Ingenious, the notable exception being Mensa Connections in the UK.

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Medici (board game) German-style board game

Medici is a German-style board game by Reiner Knizia. Players buy cards in an auction and match in series and in sets to end up with most points from those formations.

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<i>Agricola</i> (board game) board game

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<i>Keltis</i> board game of Reiner Knizia

Keltis is a board game designed by Reiner Knizia that won the Spiel des Jahres for best game of the year in 2008. In the US, it has been marketed as Lost Cities: The Board Game, though there are some subtle rules differences.

<i>Blue Moon City</i> board and card game

Blue Moon City is a 2006 designer board game by Reiner Knizia. The game has similar artwork to, and some thematic connections with, the Blue Moon card game, also designed by Knizia.

Hansa Teutonica is a German board game designed by Andreas Steding and published by Argentum Verlag in 2009. It placed in the top 10 at the Deutscher Spiele Preis.

This page lists board and card games, wargames, miniatures games, and tabletop role-playing games published in 2012. For video games, see 2012 in video gaming.

This page lists board and card games, wargames, miniatures games, and tabletop role-playing games published in 2014. For video games, see 2014 in video gaming.


  1. 1 2 Knizia, Reiner (2007). "Foreword". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. xi. ISBN   978-1-932442-96-0.
  2. "Reiner Knizia Kniziathon". Archived from the original on 29 December 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  3. "Coming Soon - Star Trek Expeditions!". NECA/WizKids. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  4. Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 88. ISBN   978-1-907702-58-7.