It’s the 11th of the month, which means it’s time for another edition of The Eleven Artists. This time, we’re featuring the work of
David Cochard is a French artist who is probably best known for his work with Czech Games Edition, though he has worked on a number of other games in his career. Let’s take a look at some of his work.
Sherwood is an early game from my favorite designer, Vlaada Chvátil. It came out in 2005 (pre-Through the Ages), and obviously is about the legend of Robin Hood. And in actuality, David Cochard’s contribution came for the French edition, published in 2008. You’re simultaneously attacking groups of travelers with different groups of robbers. Successful groups get rewarded. It seems like it has the trademark Chvátil chaos, but I’m not here to look at gameplay.
This game never got a reprint after 2008, which is interesting with Vlaada’s popularity. But I wonder if Cochard’s art for the French version inspired their most famous collaboration…
Dungeon Lords came out in 2009, designed by Vlaada Chvátil and published by CGE. It was a game inspired by the 1990s video game Dungeon Keeper. In the board game, you’re building a dungeon to both produce lots of points and keep those meddling adventurers at bay. It’s a really complicated puzzle of a game, and I like it a lot. But you have to admit, the art is the star:
The main purpose of the board is to track the different actions players choose going each round, as well as to store the different components of the game. But there’s an incredible amount of detail here, as well as a bunch of in-jokes and thematic touches. I also like the two sides of the phase board:
On the one side, you have the peace and serenity of the four seasons. On the other…well, it’s supposed to look like hell, and I guess it succeeds.
Khan is a 2010 game designed by Christwart Conrad. It’s a game about conquest – you’re a general in the Mongol horde of the 13th century, and are attempting to drive 8 different rulers from their territories so you can take it. The game is played out on a map:
It’s a nice board, with some good detail in the different terrains. And the characters up top are the rulers you’re going after (I think). This is about as serious Cochard’s art gets – in most of the other games on this list, it’s much sillier.
Dungeon Petz was Vlaada Chvátil’s 2011 follow-up to Dungeon Lords. In Dungeon Petz, you are raising and selling vicious baby pets to the various inhabitants of the dungeons in the area. It’s a worker placement game with a bidding element, and there’s lots of things to do – buy pets, feed pets, clean up the waste of pets, show pets, sell pets, and hopefully not have to send them off to the special farm where old pets go. Here’s the main board:
Apart from being functional, containing all the different spaces you’ll be using in the game, there are a lot of details. I love looking at what all the imps are doing – see if you can find the group playing Dungeon Lords. And also, there’s the pets themselves:
In the rules for Dungeon Pets, Vlaada Chvátil said that “It was probably the first game I started to create with the artist in mind, and it was a pleasure to work with David again.” The art in this game is great, and I think it’s my favorite that he’s done.
Goblins, Inc. was a 2012 game published by CGE, but this time the designer was Filip Neduk. It’s a semi-cooperative game where you are teaming up with another player to build a doomsday robot, then sending them against the other team’s robot. You all have secret agendas you are trying to fulfill. Here’s what a robot might look like:
OK, so it doesn’t look like much. But there’s a bit of a puzzle going on as you try to line up tiles and make the best robot you can. I’ve never played this one, but it does seem interesting.
Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends was Vlaada Chvátil and CGE’s 2013 game. It’s an arena fighting game, though it’s really more of an abstract than, say, Krosmaster: Arena. You basically are playing pieces onto a grid, trying to complete patterns to summon different creatures and powers from your hand. The creatures that you can summon look something like this:
This is another serious art game from Cochard, and the creatures do look pretty terrifying. The art is great. This game fascinates me, and I really want to play it sometime.
Alchemists was the 2014 big game from CGE, this one designed by Matúš Kotry. This is a puzzle deduction game where players are trying to figure out the ingredients of different potions and publish those theories, all the while selling your wares to customers. It’s an app driven game in that the solution is controlled by an app, but the whole thing is played out on a board:
The game is a combination of worker placement and deduction, and this gives you a good idea that there’s a lot to do. But throughout the board, you see a whole lot of that trademark Cochard detail, and it’s very nice to look at.
Papà Paolo is a 2016 game from designer Fabrice Vandenbogaerde. This one is all about pizza delivery. Throughout the game, you’re building routes, upgrading technologies, making investments, putting up new franchises, and so on. It all takes place on this board:
The board is quite pretty, if maybe a little busy. But there’s one touch that I really like – I love that pigeon randomly flying over town with a slice of pizza in its beak.
Waka Tanka came out in 2016 from designer Bruno Faidutti. It’s basically BS with a Native American theme – players are going around a totem, playing cards and trying to get rid of their hands. If you think someone is lying about what they played, you can call them on it and risk taking more cards. The art is nice, and I really like this image from the inside of the box:
There has been a little bit of backlash about the art in this game. Particularly the original European cover:
I wanted to bring this up because it’s an interesting look into how art can be viewed in different parts of the world. Bruno Faidutti himself talks about it in this blog post, so you can read more of the details there and make up your own mind.
Iberian Rails is a 2017 train game from designer Tony Chen. It’s got some role selection as you pick your CEO at the beginning of each round, and also a stock element as you try to increase your cash flow. And of course, it being a train game, you’re also laying track and expand your reach. There’s lots of little twists and turns in the game, but let’s look at the map:
At first, it really looks like a standard train game map. But I always love looking at the little details in Cochard’s work – here, I’m enjoying finding the little sea monsters. They have nothing to do with anything, but there they are.
Dragons is an upcoming game from frequent Cochard collaborator Bruno Faidutti. It’s a kind of push-your-luck game where you are claiming piles of cards, trying to get equipment and sheep. When you claim a pile, you’re using a standee of a dragon to mark it. So of course, we need some cool illustrations of dragons.
The dragons in this game really make me think about Dungeon Petz, which makes sense. The game looks fun, and while it is terribly named (just try searching for Dragons at BGG), it might make for a fun filler type game.
So that’s David Cochard. I only have one more of these to do this year – who will it be? Thanks for reading!