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Subject: What is so good about euros anyhow? [somewhat related poll included] rss

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jeff miller
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The euros I play are heavily steeped in wargame theme; Imperial, Struggle of Empires, Liberte', but I primarily play them accomidate more than two people.
 
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Poll too long. Attention wanders.
 
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alex352 wrote:

Also, the OP seems to follow Michael Barnes' distinction between "german games" and "euro games". If so, he is not very precisely applying the terms. Barnes use to include T&E in the "german games" category.


It seems like the distinction between a "German" game and a "Euro" game - for the OP - is whether he likes that particular Euro. If he likes it, it is obviously a German game, since he doesn't like Euros. A wonderfully twisted yet self-fulfilling assessment about how bad Euros are.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Your poll is too long.

Euros are intellectually stimulating, competitive and playable in an evening.


Yeah I got partway through the poll, and realized it was PAGES long. Didn't finish.
 
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Joseph
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sgosaric wrote:

4. Again the question in case anybody missed it:
What or Where is the fun in euros?
With that I declare this thread open. Troll and flame at will.
Disclaimer: Within the strict confines of BGG communality rules.



Greetings -

I didn't participate in the poll, but for me, the answer is simple; economy. Permit me to explain.

I know people who won't play certain types of games - wargames, Euros, Science Fiction, direct conflict; take your pick. When I limit myself, I play fewer games. If given a choice between gaming and not gaming, then break out the Euro, if that's all anyone's willing to play.

Hope you can see my point. Also, perhaps the fact that I'm an optimist is relevant. I'm a glass half full kind of person. When I play a game, I look for something of value in it, regardless of whether I'm in love with it or not.

So where is the fun in Euros? In playing a game, and hanging out with my friends, as opposed to not playing a game, while they're all having fun. If I must become mercenary about it, then I offer an exchange. I'll play one of yours, if you play one of mind.

If all they're playing is Stone Age, and my only other option is to stay out, then I'm playing Stone Age.

Cheers

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Samo Gosaric
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@Tall_Walt

Though the connection of euros to theme or absence of it wasn't exactly the focus of the thread here are my thought on the subject.

I think that describing theme to gameplay connection only as "deep theme" on one end and "thin theme" or "pasted on theme" does not represent the role that theme has in certain game. So to think about theme in a specific game is to think what the theme is there for - what design goals it's fulfilling.

Hard to make a decisive list and some of the goals might intersect, but here's my sketch:

A) Game has the purpose of immersing the player in world or character depicted by the theme. More or less ameritrash approach. Let's take a look at AH:
Tall_Walt wrote:
Arkham Horror. The danger of theme is, if you don't like the theme, you don't like the game.
/.../
But, maybe there's a decent game underneath all the art, over-complex rules (chrome), and bad mechanics.
/.../
AH has nothing of the least intellectual, artistic, or thematic interest to me.

One thing about theme immersion or in-character immersion is that the player needs to invest his/her imagination in the game in order to get something out of it (as in reading a book). As some people don't look for that in there gaming or not caring about it AH has a reputation of being a hit-or-miss game. In order to get immersion that AH can offer you must also look at illustrations, read the back stories of characters and all the event cards out loud. In that sense mechanics of AH do not make that game and should not be appreciated as such without combining them with the flavour text and the graphic design. So I would argue a game is not hidden underneath chrome and art and "bad mechnics", but rather rises from them if you care to invest in the game.

B) In euros there's usually another relation to theme, which is making the game intuitive. Intuitive is the game, when the rules are easy to grasp as they relate to our real world experience. Like Power Grid's resources market and the general flow of that game (but plant, buy fuel for the plant, build network, burn fuel in plants and supply electircity through your network to make money).

I haven't played Ra (it is on my wishlist), but if I follow your post, I think your argumentation is that Ra's mechanics are more connected to the theme (I have doubts there, it's still an auction game) than they are in Arkham Horror. Which might be true, even in general mechanics in euros can be more connected to the theme than in ameritrash games, but that doesn't make euros more thematic, at least in my book. The difference being is that theme that aims for immersion is to be be FELT throughout the game whereas the theme/mechanic connection is euros is more on symbolic level, you get it if you THINK about it (which is usually after the game or before it, learning the rules, but not during the game). It's a case of different roles theme plays in each design approach.

C) Theme as a narrative. Similar to A, but more subtle. It's been talked about a lot recently on Ludology podcast. It's about game having a dramaturgical structure (beginning, middle, end) and after you play you can make a story about it in your head. A lot of builidng games I feel fall into that.

D) Of course there are cases where game falls flat on a thematic level, which is "what I am supposed to be doing" disconnection. It's when what are you suppose to be doing theme-wise and what you actually doing game-wise doesn't fit together or if the what you're supposed to be in game makes no sense whatsoever. I would say abstracts are absent from this, as you're not supposed to be doing anything else than what you are - which is usually moving the pieces around.

The reason why I like economic and trading games is because your role is usually very clear - you're investing in stock, you're a trading biying and selling to make profit. It's simple and not deeply thematic, but is intuitive and makes sense when you play.

Z) And there is that weird category of boardgames being essentially toys - not about theme as in a narrative sort of sense, but having nice pieces you can put on a table and they look neat.

joedogboy wrote:
alex352 wrote:

Also, the OP seems to follow Michael Barnes' distinction between "german games" and "euro games". If so, he is not very precisely applying the terms. Barnes use to include T&E in the "german games" category.


It seems like the distinction between a "German" game and a "Euro" game - for the OP - is whether he likes that particular Euro. If he likes it, it is obviously a German game, since he doesn't like Euros. A wonderfully twisted yet self-fulfilling assessment about how bad Euros are.

Ehm, uhm, what? Can you quote me on that one? (or provide arguments for it that come from what I said).

Usually games don't work for me if they lack both interaction and theme involvement as that' what I'm gaming for - to have fun with friends (through enjoying the theme or interacting with friends). I would differentiate old and new breed of euros mostly on the level of interaction and also on the level of rules. I don't get brainburning heavy euros (and I think this is fairly recent phenomenon. Might be wrong, must play Die Macher and then I'll know better).

T&E, hm, probably pushed to the side by the wrong arguments, as it's clearly a different breed. Probably my bias comes from dislike for counterintuitive games (theme-gameplay disconnect). Still I have yet to play it (it's somewhere down the bottom on my wishlist, but still there).

A lot of the issues I had at the beginning of the thread were already being answered and debated:
1) Gaming for competitiveness (hence the design approach of low luck and balance in games). I don't get it (hence I don't like depth in games and prefer the replayabilty to be achieved by other means), but it seems I'm a minority here.
2) Control VS the lack of it (the VERY interesting Meyrs-Briggs aproach. Apparently some people love control, while we, the other half, have fun inthe absence of it. Clearly a personal choice).
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Samo Gosaric
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falloutfan wrote:
I know people who won't play certain types of games - wargames, Euros, Science Fiction, direct conflict; take your pick. When I limit myself, I play fewer games. If given a choice between gaming and not gaming, then break out the Euro, if that's all anyone's willing to play. Hope you can see my point. Also, perhaps the fact that I'm an optimist is relevant. I'm a glass half full kind of person. When I play a game, I look for something of value in it, regardless of whether I'm in love with it or not.


Ah yes, the beauty of vague "trading in the Mediterranean" or "auctioning in rainer-sance" approach. Theme not offending anybody and not exactly pleasing anybody as well.

I'm poking you a bit, but of course I understand where you're coming from and agree with your point. As long as you game and you like what you game, it's all fine.

falloutfan wrote:
So where is the fun in Euros? In playing a game, and hanging out with my friends, as opposed to not playing a game, while they're all having fun. If I must become mercenary about it, then I offer an exchange. I'll play one of yours, if you play one of mind.

If all they're playing is Stone Age, and my only other option is to stay out, then I'm playing Stone Age.


Well my decision was a bit different. As long as I'm the only one buying games in my group I decided not to buy those I know I won't enjoy, I'm just not that masochistic. I will however try to find games suitable for different people so that we all enjoy our games.

However it seems that the taste here is a bit different than on US side of the pond. Nongamers here do not enjoy low interaction games. And my group has even more fun with thematic games than I do, so that's that.

There is one thing else though. I'm understanding far better why people like family oriented euros, what I think you're talking about. I understand far less the love or heavy euros. (Got TTA in a drawer somewhere I must try to play once, which is probably my only hope in near future to get it, have far less hope for unplayed Agricola in another drawer).
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TS S. Fulk
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Not only do we think alike concerning AT vs. Euro, but I've just noticed that you have a Žižek microbadge. I'd give you 2 thumbs up if I could.

sgosaric wrote:
falloutfan wrote:
I know people who won't play certain types of games - wargames, Euros, Science Fiction, direct conflict; take your pick. When I limit myself, I play fewer games. If given a choice between gaming and not gaming, then break out the Euro, if that's all anyone's willing to play. Hope you can see my point. Also, perhaps the fact that I'm an optimist is relevant. I'm a glass half full kind of person. When I play a game, I look for something of value in it, regardless of whether I'm in love with it or not.


Ah yes, the beauty of vague "trading in the Mediterranean" or "auctioning in rainer-sance" approach. Theme not offending anybody and not exactly pleasing anybody as well.

I'm poking you a bit, but of course I understand where you're coming point and agree with your point. As long as you game and you like what you game, it's all fine.

falloutfan wrote:
So where is the fun in Euros? In playing a game, and hanging out with my friends, as opposed to not playing a game, while they're all having fun. If I must become mercenary about it, then I offer an exchange. I'll play one of yours, if you play one of mind.

If all they're playing is Stone Age, and my only other option is to stay out, then I'm playing Stone Age.


Well my decision was a bit different. As long as I'm the only one buying games in my group I decided not to buy those I know I won't enjoy, I'm just not that masochistic. I will however try to find games suitable for different people so that we all enjoy our games.

However it seems that the taste here is a bit different than on US side of the pond. Nongamers here do not enjoy low interaction games. And my group has even more fun with thematic games than I do, so that's that.

There is one thing else though. I'm understanding far better why people like family oriented euros, what I think you're talking about. I understand far less the love or heavy euros. (Got TTA in a drawer somewhere I must try to play once, which is probably my only hope in near future to get it, have far less hope for unplayed Agricola in another drawer).
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sgosaric wrote:
In order to get immersion that AH can offer you must also look at illustrations, read the back stories of characters and all the event cards out loud.

I did do that, to a point, but those event cards are necessarily context free since they can be drawn at any time. At some point they mush together, "The Elder Gods are cranky...blah blah blah." It's a hugely long game, and at some point, I just want the game to get to the point: What do I fight this time?

Really, it comes down to, if I want HP Lovecraft theme, I'll bloody well read HP Lovecraft himself, not some fanboy game designer's imitation.

I take (and agree with) your point that the purpose of heavy theme in a game is to enjoy the theme. I find, however, large numbers of arbitrary rules detract from my ability to do so.

sgosaric wrote:
I haven't played Ra (it is on my wishlist), but if I follow your post, I think your argumentation is that Ra's mechanics are more connected to the theme (I have doubts there, it's still an auction game) than they are in Arkham Horror.

No, but I don't consider AH's off-the-shelf mechanics to be attached to the theme, either. The best way of putting the mechanics of Ra thematically is that you're compete by spending your suns (bidding power) against each other to create the most impressive Egyptian civilization. However, my point is that if you strip the theme away from both games, Ra is still worth playing because it has interesting mechanics; AH is not. (In my opinion, of course.)

I do agree that lightly themed Euros just use the theme as a teaching aid.

sgosaric wrote:
Which might be true, even in general mechanics in euros can be more connected to the theme than in ameritrash games, but that doesn't make euros more thematic, at least in my book.

Container is a game I'd point to with a strong mechanics theme. It's all about markets, and unlike most market games, Container doesn't simulate markets, it creates markets.

I found The Pillars of the Earth annoying because it was trying to connect every possible item in the book to the game, but the mechanics were completely disconnected from the theme. Any materials would make progress on the cathedral, as opposed to Caylus where you need thematically-correct materials to progress.

sgosaric wrote:
The difference being is that theme that aims for immersion is to be be FELT throughout the game whereas the theme/mechanic connection is euros is more on symbolic level, you get it if you THINK about it (which is usually after the game or before it, learning the rules, but not during the game).

I remember an interview with a game designer that went something like this:

Question: Don't you think people like a pirate game because they can stand up a shout, "Ar! I'm a pirate!"
Answer: Why do you need a game for that? Can't you always stand up and shout, "Ar! I'm a pirate!"?

In other words, immersion is supplied by the players. Some people play Ra mechanically. Some people grab the big Ra auction token and shout, "I invoke Ra!"

sgosaric wrote:
C) Theme as a narrative. Similar to A, but more subtle. It's been talked about a lot recently on Ludology podcast. It's about game having a dramaturgical structure (beginning, middle, end) and after you play you can make a story about it in your head. A lot of builidng games I feel fall into that.

I agree about many building games having a dramatic structure to them. I feel board games generally fall short in dramatic immersion. How can they compete with a book or movie where you have nothing to do but immerse yourself in theme? I find computer games more immersive, since they take the burden of immersive mechanics off the shoulders of the player. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and StarCraft come to mind.

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game (2010) is a great civilization game. It still falls well short of the computer game.

sgosaric wrote:
2) Control VS the lack of it (the VERY interesting Meyrs-Briggs aproach. Apparently some people love control, while we, the other half, have fun inthe absence of it. Clearly a personal choice).

On another axis of Myers-Briggs, some people can't have fun unless they Feel the theme; some people can't have fun unless they have some meaty mechanics to Think about. And, of course, party games are for Extroverts, not Introverts.
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Samo Gosaric
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tssfulk wrote:
I've just noticed that you have a Žižek microbadge.


I studied philosophy and this is our most famous guy. (He is getting paid by our department on University, though he's a researcher, not a professor, so he doesn't hold lectures.) Beats "I studied at ____ college" mirobadges.

Also he's probably the most fun philosopher after Nietzsche.
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sgosaric wrote:
Also he's probably the most fun philosopher after Nietzsche.

So, Nietzsche is something like 8364th fun and Žižek is 8365th fun? whistle
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Robert Ridgeway
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Re Poll: I try to avoid answering anything asking what I find "Orgasmic" (just sayin')
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Quote:
In other words, immersion is supplied by the players. Some people play Ra mechanically. Some people grab the big Ra auction token and shout, "I invoke Ra!"


And don't forget the everyone-at-the-table "RA! RA! RA! RA!" chant when we REALLY need him to appear
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Samo Gosaric
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Really, it comes down to, if I want HP Lovecraft theme, I'll bloody well read HP Lovecraft himself, not some fanboy game designer's imitation.

Of course. AH however is rather the best replacement for RPG experience I've found so far. (3 hours is short compared to a year of weekly meetings everybody must be present at)

I'm looking at some light indie one-shot RPGs at the moment to get more free-form experience of this kind.

Tall_Walt wrote:
I take (and agree with) your point that the purpose of heavy theme in a game is to enjoy the theme. I find, however, large numbers of arbitrary rules detract from my ability to do so.


There's a trick to AH that makes it my most successful "gateway game". As this is a co-op you only need 1 person to act as a "rules master" knowing how mythos phase and critter movements work, while the players only need to know a bit about combat and skill rolls and moving around the board. Also it's wise to delegate mythos phase buerocracy around the board.

Tall_Walt wrote:
No, but I don't consider AH's off-the-shelf mechanics to be attached to the theme, either.
They're not. They're part of the puzzle, as it the theme.
Tall_Walt wrote:
However, my point is that if you strip the theme away from both games, Ra is still worth playing because it has interesting mechanics; AH is not.


Which is just to prove why Ra is an euro game and AH is ameritrash.
Theme is much more integral part of AH than it's the case with Ra, though there's no direct connection between theme and mechanics.

Tall_Walt wrote:

Container is a game I'd point to with a strong mechanics theme. It's all about markets, and unlike most market games, Container doesn't simulate markets, it creates markets.

As I wrote somewhere in that post above, I enjoy economic games just fine - and I consider economic games to be those that create markets (either stock markets as in Chicago Express or merchants shouting at bazaar as is the case in Genoa). I have no problem to imagine what my role is in Chicago Express - it's being an investor in early railroad companies.

Tall_Walt wrote:
I remember an interview with a game designer that went something like this:

Question: Don't you think people like a pirate game because they can stand up a shout, "Ar! I'm a pirate!"
Answer: Why do you need a game for that? Can't you always stand up and shout, "Ar! I'm a pirate!"?

In other words, immersion is supplied by the players. Some people play Ra mechanically. Some people grab the big Ra auction token and shout, "I invoke Ra!"

Well falling in the spirit of the game is for me not the same as immersion. Immersion for me means there's a sort of narrative building in your game as you play, connecting random events game produces in something coherent (Tales of Arabian Nights would be a perfect example of that).

Tall_Walt wrote:
In other words, immersion is supplied by the players.


This I strongly disagree with. Game experience is created by a) game/rules and b) players. The same with immersion - immersion happens if you have people willing to immerse and a game that allows for immersion. (Or better: enables immersion). It's a dialectic situation.

An example for me is Middle Earth Quest which I bought as I thought it's similar to Arkham Horror which it shares many mechanics with. However the focus of MEQ is not in-character immersion as in AH, rather MEQ is a strategic game, requiring totally different effort form it's players. We tried to immerse, but the game didn't let us.

AH is not only about theme - it's about individuality you have as a pawn/character as opposed to more euro-ey co-ops. This individuality comes from the structure of the game - it allows for moves which do not directly help towards solving the world, but are used to further the narrative of your character. Hence there is a conflict in the game between the need to solve the world and the desire to further your character (by going to non-dangerous locations).


Tall_Walt wrote:
sgosaric wrote:
2) Control VS the lack of it (the VERY interesting Meyrs-Briggs aproach. Apparently some people love control, while we, the other half, have fun inthe absence of it. Clearly a personal choice).

On another axis of Myers-Briggs, some people can't have fun unless they Feel the theme; some people can't have fun unless they have some meaty mechanics to Think about.

Which axis would be that?

Control/Chaos seems to be Judgment (J)/Perception (P) axis

Tall_Walt wrote:
And, of course, party games are for Extroverts, not Introverts.

Though introverts could do very well as werewolves in a werewolf game.

"why are you so quiet?"
"he's always quiet"
"oh"
"wait there's 5 of us, and 3 are werewolves, but who's still playing"
"me"
"oh, you're here?"

devil
 
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sgosaric wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
sgosaric wrote:
2) Control VS the lack of it (the VERY interesting Meyrs-Briggs aproach. Apparently some people love control, while we, the other half, have fun inthe absence of it. Clearly a personal choice).

On another axis of Myers-Briggs, some people can't have fun unless they Feel the theme; some people can't have fun unless they have some meaty mechanics to Think about.

Which axis would be that?

Feeling/Thinking. The third axis. ENFJ/ISTP for examples.
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I am arriving late to this discussion (which is sort of near and dear to my heart), and I don't have the patience or mental fortitude or whatever to read everything, but I just want to say one thing.

Samo, I think I love you.

Also, I think this topic transcends personality types. I, like Elendil, am an INTJ, and I think Eurogames are so boring.

Ok, that's two things.

Subscribed (three).
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Joseph
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For what it's worth, I'm also an INTJ, and a wargamer. I just like to see stuff blow up.

That being said, some Euros do feature resource denial, permitting you to practice avarice to the detriment of everyone else in the game. The problem with some of these nasty little Euros, is that they drape the conflict in thematic Splenda — making it seem like you're not really being mean to the other players, you're merely depriving them of what they need. Additionally, the player choosing the game spoiling option, gets to pretend they "didn't know you needed that," or some other silliness.

You know, all games have some degree of conflict. Sometimes it's as simple as a race, but ultimately, it's one person against another, or many. Mechanically, I don't find a big difference between depriving someone of using the love hut, when they need it, or eliminating a bunch of their soldiers. Theme, coupled with the game's internal narrative, determines if the conflict is palatable to people not liking war or direct conflict. Someone's darling wife may hesitate to take your capitol city with some panzers, but you'd be unwise to trust in her kindness during a resource deprival game. She may say "sorry 'bout that!," when she crushes you, but in her heart, shines a glittering jewel of pure gamesmanship.

If you strip off the themes and terminology, you may find that some Euros are just as nasty and competitive as war games.



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Strategy Games » Forums » General
Re: What is so good about euros anyhow? [somewhat related poll included]
sgosaric wrote:
tssfulk wrote:
I've just noticed that you have a Žižek microbadge.


I studied philosophy and this is our most famous guy. (He is getting paid by our department on University, though he's a researcher, not a professor, so he doesn't hold lectures.) Beats "I studied at ____ college" mirobadges.

Also he's probably the most fun philosopher after Nietzsche.


I agree that he's quite fun to read. Much better than Lacan. yuk I read him in connection with an English lit course on psychoanalytical (Lacanian) analysis.

There's also Darko Suvin, who does science fiction analysis and gives lectures at McGill University in Montréal. I talked to him once before applying for a MA program there (didn't get in--went to U of Toronto instead--no sci-fi cry). Not philosophy, but lit crit.
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falloutfan wrote:
If you strip off the themes and terminology, you may find that some Euros are just as nasty and competitive as war games.


I beg to differ. Levels of competition differ from one design approach to the other hence games feel much different (and competing factor seems much different).

1) One thing I've noticed are the games where players have their own boards or tableu where they build stuff, more or less playing their own game. If such a game features a take that element (Settlers of Catan cardgame has such cards) it feels much more disturbing than a combat would be in a directly aggressive game. It's like a game can't decide what it wants to do: is the focus building or competing? A RFTG is for me a poster child of this as the game was made with goal than you get the feeling of fulfilment building your civilization even if you loose. As the interaction is too low for me to take competition seriously I play it just for "artistic points" of my tableau. If the game makes me play alone, that's what I'll do if I find it completing (and RFTG has a nice theme that does the job).

2)Then it's an issue of allowing people to hinder other players or not. The latter are low interaction games or racing games of various kinds (racing your resource engine for victory points). If these games have low luck and usually they do, they create an atmosphere of intense thinking how to beat the game better than other players, while not actually talking to them. If however the game allows for hindering other players there tends to be an element of negotiation as well - kingmaking becomes a virtue and is part of negotiating process. Such a game focuses on playing the other players and so it's not about brain to brain competition but much more emotional and involving whole person.

3) Luck elements. Ameritrash is about drama, risking your strategy on a luck die roll. On one level it's more emotional than euro brainburners, on the other level, it's less aggressive in a way or less serious attitude toward outcome. The game design as such can emphasise that the journey is more important than the goal of winning. And then there is the overwhelming chaos of Cosmic Encounter which annoys most of the overly competitive people, as they're out of control of the situation.

So it seems there are other goals to designing games and to playing them than just competing and winning. Narrative is probably the strongest, and it can be building your whatever in medium to heavy euros, narrating a history in wargames or creating drama or theme immersion in ameritrash. Then there's the socialising aspect of many family game euros and party games which is more important then the competition. Actually the games mostly focused at only competing actually seem to be abstract games.

So here's my subjective sketch on the matter.
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Michael Marvosh
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Hmm...

As I think about how I think about this, I'm realizing a few things. Let me preface this by explaining myself as a gamer.

I used to like euros and played a lot of them, and now I don't. There. I hope that was sufficiently brief.

Figuring out why my tastes have changed is a lot tougher, but here's my attempt.

First, I don't think that Eurogames aren't competitive. I actually think they are more competitive than Ameritrash. As I think back to my days of Eurogaming, I remember wanting very much to win. I remember getting a really nice feeling of superiority when I won one of those games. I mean, after all, it was due to my own strategy and nothing else, since there weren't any random elements. Clearly, I was superior, at least in some small way, to the people I gamed with. It was almost a high.

Problem was, when I lost, it meant that I was consequently inferior. And that wasn't fun. I realized somewhere along the line that I played Eurogames to win because they were more fun to win. I actually had more fun winning than I did losing. I would guess that most Eurogamers feel the same way, and I think (perhaps egotistically) that if they disagree with me, they're lying. Or at least misperceiving their own intentions. It feels good to feel superior, and it feels bad to feel inferior. Ergo, heavily competitive.

So there is definitely a level of emotional connection (or perhaps involvement) when playing Euros. The problem is that the emotional connection isn't with the game, it's with the competition. The game is just a platform to deliver competition. I decided I don't like that kind of emotional connection. It is too all-or-nothing.

So I started playing Ameritrash. (The transition between the two was, of course, more gradual than this, but I write for brevity's sake.) I'm going to try to put this in terms of what I wrote earlier. I find that Ameritrash games elicit a great deal of emotional involvement from me, but that it is quite different to that from Eurogames. It is tied almost not at all to who wins and who loses, but to the success or failure of particular endeavors. Let me try to explain.

In a game of Axis & Allies: War at Sea I had fielded the USS Tennessee against a Japanese sub (there were of course other ships involved, but they're not relevant). The sub was firing two torpedoes at the Tennessee, and needed both of them to connect to sink it. Torpedoes only hit on a roll of a six, so my friend commented, "I need two sixes right now." I was sitting there nervously, but not much so, because his odds were so slim. But I didn't want him to put any damage on my ship, much less sink it outright. Well, he proceeded to roll his boxcars, blowing my ship out of the water. But wait! My Tennessee had a toughness roll that, in the case of her taking one last point of hull damage, she had an opportunity to, on a roll of five or six, become crippled instead. A last gleaming hope for me! Of course, I flubbed the roll.

I thought this whole sequence was awesome. It was fun, hilarious, memorable, even somewhat nerve-wracking. Yes, I lost, but it wasn't a big deal because there wasn't anything I could have done about it. So I didn't get so upset. It doesn't mean I'm inferior, or worse at the game. It's just plain fun. And I guess that's where Ameritrash really hits the spot for me. When those dice fall on the numbers I need them to, it is a heady feeling. The stars have aligned and for just a moment, the universe is on my side. But when the dice go against me, it's just not such a big deal. And to top it off, I understand the heady feeling my friend has when it happens for him, which is still pretty fun for me. With Ameritrash, my fun isn't tied to winning or losing; it's tied to playing. So I get more fun for my time, more bang for my buck.

I still have lots of friends who prefer Eurogames. I don't play with them so often anymore, which is kind of a shame, but that very lack of control that I love about Ameritrash, they hate. I can't qualify what makes them so different from me in terms of a desire to control (or at least have the illusion of controlling) the game, but I find the dramatic emotional involvement of Ameritrash games ever so much more appealing than the competitive emotional involvement of Eurogames.
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TS S. Fulk
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Great post! Sums up my feeling pretty well.

Drinkdrawers wrote:
Hmm...

As I think about how I think about this, I'm realizing a few things. Let me preface this by explaining myself as a gamer.

I used to like euros and played a lot of them, and now I don't. There. I hope that was sufficiently brief.

Figuring out why my tastes have changed is a lot tougher, but here's my attempt.

[snip]

With Ameritrash, my fun isn't tied to winning or losing; it's tied to playing. So I get more fun for my time, more bang for my buck.

I still have lots of friends who prefer Eurogames. I don't play with them so often anymore, which is kind of a shame, but that very lack of control that I love about Ameritrash, they hate. I can't qualify what makes them so different from me in terms of a desire to control (or at least have the illusion of controlling) the game, but I find the dramatic emotional involvement of Ameritrash games ever so much more appealing than the competitive emotional involvement of Eurogames.
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Tim Seitz
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Drinkdrawers wrote:
I thought this whole sequence was awesome. It was fun, hilarious, memorable, even somewhat nerve-wracking. Yes, I lost, but it wasn't a big deal because there wasn't anything I could have done about it. So I didn't get so upset.

I agree with this sentiment exactly, and yet I come to an opposite conclusion. Because there was "nothing you could have done about it" the psychological and emotional investment in a luck-based game is much less than if it were more skill- or negotiation-based.

That's why Diplomacy is famous for ruining friendships: the dice didn't beat me, my backstabbing "friend" beat me (may he rot in hell!). In an abstract (or many euros), I didn't lose to a lucky dieroll, I lost because I my opponent is better than me. I submit putting your skills against someone else's are the seeds of true competition.
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Michael Marvosh
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out4blood wrote:
Drinkdrawers wrote:
I thought this whole sequence was awesome. It was fun, hilarious, memorable, even somewhat nerve-wracking. Yes, I lost, but it wasn't a big deal because there wasn't anything I could have done about it. So I didn't get so upset.

I agree with this sentiment exactly, and yet I come to an opposite conclusion. Because there was "nothing you could have done about it" the psychological and emotional investment in a luck-based game is much less than if it were more skill- or negotiation-based.

That's why Diplomacy is famous for ruining friendships: the dice didn't beat me, my backstabbing "friend" beat me (may he rot in hell!). In an abstract (or many euros), I didn't lose to a lucky dieroll, I lost because I my opponent is better than me. I submit putting your skills against someone else's are the seeds of true competition.


Spot on. And somewhere along the line, for some reason, I just decided that I didn't want to emotionally invest myself heavily in playing games. In relationships, maybe in work, but not in playing games. And you prefer the opposite. That's cool.
 
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Brian Schroth
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Drinkdrawers wrote:
Problem was, when I lost, it meant that I was consequently inferior. And that wasn't fun. I realized somewhere along the line that I played Eurogames to win because they were more fun to win. I actually had more fun winning than I did losing. I would guess that most Eurogamers feel the same way, and I think (perhaps egotistically) that if they disagree with me, they're lying. Or at least misperceiving their own intentions. It feels good to feel superior, and it feels bad to feel inferior. Ergo, heavily competitive.


Yeah, who could argue with a brilliant point like "If you don't feel the same way I do, you're lying".
 
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"Re: What is so good about euros anyhow?"

They are worth more then dollars?



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