The board games I collect are also known as designer board games because each game identifies the designer on the box. My favorite designer would be Vlaada Chvatil. Odd since I don’t even have a clue on how to pronounce his name.
I own (or my brother owns) 7 Vlaada designs: Space Alert, Galaxy Trucker, Prophecy, Mage Knight, Dungeon Lords, Dungeon Petz and Though the Ages plus a number of expansions. I haven’t played them all yet, but those I have played I have always loved.
There is little commonality in Vlaada designs. Most of the games above are themed either as a fantasy or sci-fi experience, but the depth of theme varies from game to game. Some are cooperative and some are competitive. Two games are puzzle types that force you to make decisions under a tight time limit. Many of the others are puzzlers in a different way where on your turn there might be an optimal move or sequence of moves and you need to figure it out.
They all have great component design and quality. There is almost always as least one cute bit in a Vlaada game. They all have great rules. Vlaada usually writes two rules sets for each game. One set is a walkthrough of your first game and presents the rules in the order your are likely to run into them. The other is a reference rule set. The rules are almost always funny. Some are side-splittingly funny. This is unusual for a rule book and make Vlaada games a treat.
But needing two rule books is often also necessary because the rules are fairly complex. Some Vlaada games are lightweight, but I’d say most are medium weight games.
The sense of humour in the rules is often reflected in the game as well. Playing the game can often be quite funny.
Anyway, I’d recommend all Vlaada Chvatil designs to anyone interested in board games. They are challenging and fun to play.