A mystery box filled with miniatures to enhance your RPG campaigns. All official miniatures and for a bargain price!

Buy Miniatures Box »

Not sure what game to buy next? Buy a premium mystery box for two to four great games to add to your collection!

Buy Premium Box »
Subscribe Now »

If you’re only interested in receiving the newest games this is the box for you; guaranteeing only the latest games!

Buy New Releases Box »
Subscribe Now »

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Purchase a mega box to receive at least 4 great games. You won’t find value like this anywhere else!

Buy Mega Box »
Subscribe Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

Top 5 Antoine Bauza Games

antoine bauza 7 wonders duel

We’re back again for another great designer and this time, we’re hopping over the channel to France to visit the works of Antoine Bauza. Bauza has an impressive board game repertoire, including the Kennerspiel Des Jahres for 7 Wonders in 2011 and the Spiel Des Jahres for Hanabi in 2013. But what’s interesting about Bauza is he’s not just a board game designer, he has a few credits on video games and RPGs.

His original passion was for video games but he decided to go into teaching before making his first prototypes in 2003. In 2010, he switched to full time game design and getting one of the coveted awards in board gaming so early in his full time career must have been a real boost to him. There are a lot of games in Bauza’s catalogue, but I’ve looked at my favourite five and here they are!

7 Wonders Duel

I was tempted to talk about the original version of this game, but the reality is, whilst 7 Wonders is a great game for 3-7 players, my player count is usually two, and that’s why I play a lot more of 7 Wonders Duel. In 7 Wonders Duel, you are drafting cards from a shape in front of you, not in the traditional “passing a hand around” method. The goal is to build out your wonders and score as many points as possible.

On your turn, you can take a card and either add it to your tableau to use what’s on it, discard it for money, or flip it facedown and use it to build one of your wonders. The wonders will give you a bonus of some sort, so it helps to build your four before your opponent does as only 7 Wonders can be built. (Clever, Antoine Bauza.) The game ends when every card has been drafted or one of the two special victory conditions are met: either one player reaching the end of the war track, a tug of war throughout the game (I see what you did there, Bauza); or one player getting six of the science symbols.

I love how intricate the game feels but how quickly it can play and just how tight the game can be. It’s one I often use to introduce myself to a new gamer on Board Game Arena because it’s just fun to play. The Pantheon Expansion is one of my favourites because it introduces the mythology I love to the world and gives some extra powers that players will draft together. It just gives a lot of variety across the three ages, something I deeply enjoy in this game.


Time for some cuteness in the form of an adorable hungry panda. The emperor has been provided with the gift of a panda to roam the royal gardens, much to the annoyance of the gardener. The panda is going to want to eat the bamboo, whilst the gardener is trying to lay out tiles to get the patterns the emperor wants and grow the bamboo to the desired height. Handily, that is a part of the action selection that you can do on your turn.

You can choose two out of the five actions and can only choose to do the same one twice if the weather is in your favour. At the start of the turn, you roll a weather die, which will give some kind of benefit depending on the face. For example, the sun will give you a third action whereas wind will give you the option to do the same action twice. The action options are: draw three land tiles and place them; take some irrigation trenches; move the panda in a straight line and eat an available bamboo; move the gardener and grow all bamboo of the same colour around him that is irrigated; or draw a new objective card, which may be land patterns, the food in the panda’s belly or bamboo growth.

The game is super cute and it lets you run around with an adorable panda miniature. It’s pretty simple too, so any new player can dive right in with a little bit of explanation. It also has some staying power – I’ve seen it hit at least one table nearly every time I go to a board gaming café, so it makes a lasting impression.


Next up is a very light Antoine Bauza filler game, which has been co-designed with Corentin Lebrat, Ludovic Maublanc and Théo Rivière. Draftosaurus is a game where players are trying to attract visitors to a dinosaur theme park. Straight from the Jurassic period, players are going to be scoring points from having exciting sets of dinosaurs in their various enclosures. As the name suggests, players are going to be drafting dinosaurs from each other, starting with six colourful dino-meeples drawn from the bag.

The start player will roll a die which determines any restrictions to placement, such as the dinosaurs must go into the woodlands this turn. Every player, except the one who rolled the die, must obey this restriction so careful consideration is taken when drafting your dinos. Two quick rounds of dinosaur drafting and you’re all done. Points are scored from the various pens, which have their own conditions, and most points wins. The game is incredibly quick to play, 15 minutes maximum, and it makes a good little filler game for any who just need a cool down after something bigger.


Hanabi has a really interesting concept – players are building a fireworks display together and they do this by playing cards from their hand in increasing order in one of the five colours, going from 1 to 5. Sounds easy, right? Except the twist is – you cannot see your hand. All of your teammates can, but you are flying blind as far as your own hand goes. So the game then becomes a communication game.

On a turn, you can either play a card, discard to gain a token, or you can spend a token to impart some kind of information to your friend. You can say “this group of cards are a colour” or “this group of cards are this number.” Then it becomes a memory and a deduction game as you try to remember what you have, and figure out what your friends haven’t yet told you based on what you can see. It’s a really interesting puzzle and there’s a lot of tension as you watch hands go over a card you don’t want played but you can’t say anything!

I really appreciate the design and I think it’s a great game to take to the pub for between meals. It does take a hot minute for new players to stop saying “this is a blue 4” or whatever, and if your memory fails you, it can be catastrophic! (In as much as a small box game mistake can be catastrophic.) There’s a lot of fun to have with such a small game, but it’s very easy to take wherever you go. One to pick up if it sounds intriguing.


Regular readers of the things I write may have heard of this last game as the one that got me into gaming. This Antoine Bauza game is THE ONE. I wont harp on about that too much aspect of the game, but it holds a special place in my collection because of it. In Tokaido, you are a traveller exploring the Tokaido pass from Kyoto to Edo (and back again if you like.) Along the way, you’re trying to have the best experience and that will be from any combination of things, such as eating different foods at the inn, enjoying a soak in the hot springs with monkeys, or paying your respects at the temple.

Each player has their own special power which will probably influence how you play the game to some degree, but there is an interesting linear worker placement element where the player at the back goes next. So do you go ahead to get what you need and leave a big space for your opponent to do consecutive moves or do you snipe moves away from them? I think Tokaido is a huge success and I can’t wait to see what the follow up Namiji does.

I’m also intrigued by the introduction of Tokaido Duo, a new two player version of the game. I really dislike the two-player variant in the original game, which introduces a neutral ghost player, but one which is played by the player in first place. Which ends up being much more aggressive than in the usual game, and that feels wrong. I like my calm game, thank you very much, so I’m hoping that Duo fixes those issues.

That concludes our list of the top 5 Antoine Bauza games. Is there any we missed? Have you played many Antoine Bauza games? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.