Why is The Board Game Category Primarily for European Strategy Games?
I'm sure there are plenty of board gamers who prefer non-Euro board games, like Titan, Mage Wars, Runewars, Tash-Kalar, and Mage Knight, but there definitely seems to be some bias towards Euros. Why is this?
"If, like me, you are one of those Magic Realm fans who hoped that MK would be the new MR, then you just shouldn't even bother with it. Or, better still, if you're open to a Euro-puzzly, action-optimizing kind of experience with a comparatively thin fantasy theme to it, update your expectations and try to enjoy MK for what it is. If you've read this far, then you should by now at least know what to expect."
Tash-Kalar is arguably an abstract. I enjoy many kinds of games, I just roll with it. I'll talk about Mage Knight for pages and pages if you want. :P
Mage Wars would have had more going for it had the core set not done the incredible bullshit move of giving an incredibly incomplete set of cards. This is made even more dickish with there being 2 core expansion sets specifically designed to give extra copies of core cards. Both of which still don't give a player a full set of cards.
Can't comment on Tash-Kalar since I've only convinced one other person to play it. Although, for all the complaints people have for flourishes, they do almost nothing if a person has total control of the board.
There are plenty of directly competitive highly political "Euro" games. Look at Vinci as a prime example.
They are broad categories and there are plenty of exceptions, but I still think they're decent terminologies since I generally prefer games where direct player conflict is a major part of the game, and Eurogames usually don't give me that experience.
I categorize Tash-Kalar is an abstract with a wargame-like feel that's essentially a mix between Go, Tetris, Magic the Gathering, and some random area control game.
Kind of broad don't you think?
Why not ignore stupid subcategories and just talk about the boardgame you want in the boardgame thread.
I don't like games where direct player conflict is limited so I find categorizing economy-engine building games as Euros a useful way to categorize games since there are a surprisingly large number of people who will only play games without direct player conflict whereas others find multiplayer solitaire games too dry.
Maybe the best way to categorize board games is to use a horizontal gradient scale with the left side representing a "pure" Eurogame, and the right side representing a "pure" Ameritrash or conflict-oriented game and plot board games on the scale depending on where they fit. For example, I would plot Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica, and Caylus near the extreme left whereas something like Tigris and Euphrates would be somewhere in the middle of the scale, perhaps leaning a little more to the Euro side. On the extreme right, there are games like Titan. It features some economic principles such as filling up the board with your own stacks and producing powerful creatures, but they're ultimately means to an end, but not the end in themselves. In fact, turtlers will get crushed by more aggressive players.
For games that allow for diverse playstyles with varying levels of aggression, such as 4x games with multiple races, I would use brackets to show the range of "Euroness" or "Ameritrashiness/level of conflict" they encompass. In Civilization: The Board Game, there are highly aggressive nations, such as the Germans, the Russians, and the English. But, there are more turtling oriented nations like the Romans and the Chinese as well as some flexible nations. Nonetheless, even turtling strategies have a way to negatively impact other players', and fighting battles is key to most paths to victory. Therefore, Civilization: The Board Game would have a bracket encompassing an area close to the right.
Most European-style board games do not involve the destruction of your opponents' pieces, buildings, territories, etc., so the category "Eurogame" is used to denote European-style board games which involve more engine construction than player destruction.
I'm actually a little surprised that some posters on this forum have never heard of the terms "Ameritrash" and "Eurogame". These terms get used so frequently on BGG, another site where I frequently post.
Galaxy Trucker is near the top of my list, along with Battlestar Galactica and Innovation - all unlikely to be accused of being Euros. Eclipse and Mage Knight, despite being full of plastic and dice, can (and have!) been deemed Euros by some percentage of BGG. One person's thematic strategy game is another person's soulless Euro.
Are you finding a general preference for Euros overall, or this board's preference for Euros? The second one is much easier to explain. (The first, I'd argue is a matter of perception)
These concepts barely apply anymore, though. Both schools of design are liberally borrowing from each other, and designers are just making games, not eurogames or ameritrash games. You will constantly find mechanics from one in games that you would have otherwise associated with the other, perhaps due to theme, visual style, the name on the box, country of origin, etc.
It's just a silly discussion.
This forum debates fast and hard. It's how we roll.
What people are taking issue with is your nomenclature. The terms seem to have too many edge cases, and don't apply neatly to very many games. T&E is considered extremely "Euro" by most people, so your categories don't really line up with current discussion. They line up better with "political vs apolitical" instead.
A difference in terminology doesn't make anyone a retard. If we thought you were an idiot we wouldn't even have asked for clarification.
A nomenclature is only useful if you can clearly categorize most games by it, with few edge cases. If you have a lot of edge cases or games that don't clearly and directly fit, then the nomenclature is largely meaningless.
Some factors that I see lumped in on occasion:
- Overall game length: This separated older games quite well, but plenty of "Ameritreash" designers have challenged themselves to package "Ameritrash" into shorter 60-90 minute games, and the list of edge cases is now way too long.
- Turn length/amount of decisions in a turn (placing 1 worker vs moving a whole army, too specific?): Likely only works to classify certain types of "Ameritrash." There are more rapid-turn games that are of the political nature that don't necessarily use "dudes on a map."
Likewise, even though many board games, such as Tigris and Euphrates and Eclipse, are neither purely engine-building or purely direct-conflict, such games still have varying degrees of focus towards engine-building or direct conflict. The level of conflict in a game significantly impacts the overall gaming experience, so that's why I think it's a good idea to categorize games by conflict level.
Maybe we should just use other terms as opposed to "Eurogame" and "Ameritrash" since they seem to push a lot of buttons.
By the way, has anyone actually played Titan? I'm curious...