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Subject: Non aligned Movement! (aka People first games) [not euro, not AT, not wargame] rss

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Samo Gosaric
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Brothers and sisters.

For too long we've been caught between the front lines of uptight accountant euros and arcane nerdy ameritrash.
With bellowed games of ours being taken prisoners by both camps.

Let's start the story at beginning.

I'm Samo and I'm not an euro gamer.
Never was. I'm not interested in puzzling, not interested in optimisation, arithmetic, accounting, cleverness, that sorts of stuff. I don't want to deal with a game. I don't want to do surveillance. I'm freelancer, I do this stuff if I get paid.

I'm Samo and I'm not an ameritrasher.
I realised it looking at my top games of 2012. I can't be bothered with theme I can never encounter because I have to fight my way through arcane rule set full of typos, layers of complicated rules, and it seems that all the willing suspension of disbelief I can muster is never enough.

I'm Samo and this year I've played more games than in 4 years before,
the euros with eurogamers,
the ameritrash with ameritrashers
and fillers and simple games with 10-14 year old kids.
And playing with kids was the most rewarding and fun gaming I had this year.


What do I call for?

1. GET THE GAME OUT OF MY GAMING

I want to see people, I want to play with and against them, I want to be able to out think them, think with them, talk to them, with them, against them, I want to bluff them, do the doublethink, sneakily devise a strategy they never see coming, I want to exploit the groupthink. I want to do all of that and on a good day when the stars are right I might even get away with it.

down with euros:
I don't want all of us dealing with the game. I don't want the game to have centre stage. I don't want to be locked in my head juggling game's items and equations. I want to play against people. I want the game to create an arena where I can do that. Lay me down some framework, give me some tools, and off I'll go.

down with ameritrash:
I don't care about minis, I'm an adult, I appreciate a theme, but are you seriously trying to make me waste 5 hours in solitude to understand this excuse for a rule set? The layers and layers of rules which describe a theme to details I never care about (nobody does) and demands of me a use of 2 brains to deal with all but the kitchen sink you've thrown in here? Now the 5 of us who gathered here will have to bump our heads against each other for hours to complete turn no.1. You're out of your mind. I'll take the interaction, I'll take the theme, even some of the minis, now get the rest of this mess off my desk.

up with the players:
Let us see each other's faces, the stare, the bluff, the sweat and the laughter. Plenty of laughter. Let us be creative, give us simple rulesets which we can exploit, create things with it nobody done before (as they weren't this stupid). Give us room and let us forget some rules for a while. Let us talk, let us act, react and you know, let us be together when we game, not separated by the gaming puzzles and obscure rules. We don't want the game to fill the space in between us, instead let the game be this space around us, creating a place where we can play together.


2. WHERE ARE WE ON THE MAP?

The games of ours are here, they're just not labelled as such. But this is not a first attempt to get out of euro/ameritrash dichotomy, so let's look at it.

the euro games without the euro puzzles

Most of the games that fit our calling are euros, but they're not the centre stage euros. No, they're the old breed, the old german games made for family market where the games had to be simple, interactive and fun. That was before these games came to US and become something else, something more thinky, esoteric and eventually solitary. As these are the euros ameritrashers mostly favour because of their interactiveness and fun attitude, it's no wonder a certain M Barnes wrote about it in (in)famous article "The game that destroyed euros", which puts the split in year 2000.

Some efforts to call these games "German games" has been met by disapproval from eurogamers who appropriated these games, and they might not even like them - it's their heritage, but not their gaming. But I insist these are not the games of the same breed, once they were, now they aren't - one are euro games other are euro puzzles. And even BGG agrees with me in general terms - the latter are "strategic" and the former are "family games". And this is all fine, when we need to find the game, but it's somewhat derogatory as if the gaming has a hierarchy and the more the game obstructs players and their fun, the better it is. I'm not saying opposite, many players are sensitive, they need the games to serve as buffers for inter-personal strife gaming can create. And that's why those are called eurogamers and we all know what they like and what they play. And then there's us who are not eurogamers, at least not of that type.

the ameriless

Ameritrash of old was complicated, obscure and pretty much bad all over, but it came back, it learned from euros and some of the lessons were good, some weren't. Euro simplification won't help if you're still doing games with kitchen sink approach - so there's euro mechanics in your pile of trash? Well picture me unimpressed - you kept the obscure rules and added weird puzzles as well. And bad rulebooks, bad rulebooks and again bad rulebooks didn't help, no amount of plastic could hide it and teenage oriented covers with guys screaming didn't impress either.

And there is the ameritrash that did learn the euro lesson, only it learned the lesson so well it's not ameritrash anymore - it's now called a hybrid. Which is just another name for ameritrash that's not bloody complicated. Or maybe it's ameri-less? However we call it, it's those ameritrash games that your mama or wife or SO won't throw out of the house the moment they open their mouth. Becuse they're sociable.

And don't us forget the ancient ameritrash, the granddaddies, the weird wacky american games of old, before it became complicated. The games that knew the euro lessons before the euros did, and that's because they knew their players. But they did everything in their own unique way so they still confuse the s**t out of everybody, but you know, that's what grampas do.

the outcasts on the margins

And then there are genres hidden in no man lands and contested areas: the bluffing games, the trading games, the negotiation games. Most of them long forgotten from modern design approaches, but began to made a comeback recently with some help of Kickstarter. And we need to embrace them with open arms and lead them to the warmth of our homes.

And the party games! Why should we be scared or ashamed of being seen with a party game at our house? Why should we not praise the fun we get out of party games? Maybe they're their own thing, but they certainly are a member of our tribe.

If we draw a line it seems like we're dealing with niches on the margins of both euro and ameritrash gravity centres - the old German games, the family games, the talkative simple games, the talkative evil games, the hybrids and other small niches. But all these games share a common ground and a common gravity centre: high interaction, low overhead in the general power to the people attitude. That's why they deserve and need to be joined under our umbrella.

3. WE NEED A NAME
[and then a microbadge too!]

This is not about "to each their own" and "play what you like" and "names doesn't matter" and that kind of everything goes garbage. We all play what we like and when we play it doesn't matter.

But giving this attitude of ours a name and using it, makes us visible, it puts us and our agenda on the map of the wide boardgaming community. It means: this is a type of gaming that is important to us and we stand behind it and it is at least as important as the ameritrash and euro churches and cults, yes, we think it's important to gaming in general. It makes communication easier and misunderstandings rarer and we are social people, so we should care about this.

And burn the "gateway". We are not a gateway, this is no train station, air terminal, a stairway or anything of this sort. This is the final destination, a mean on its own, a goal to pursue in its own right. It's a place of a warm welcome, a place of being together, so why would you leave and go to other places? Stick with us.

EDITs: title of this list is a work in progress.
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Christopher Scatliff
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Re: Non aligned Movement!
I will not be subscribing to your newsletter.
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Paolo Robino
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Re: Non aligned Movement!
sgosaric wrote:
Non aligned Movement!

Wouldn't calling the non-aligned for rally make them, um, aligned?
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John Holder
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Re: Non aligned Movement!

No Wargames for you I see.
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Darrell Hanning
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Re: Non aligned Movement! [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
RIGHT!

Now, let's all go buy Harleys, wear the same kind of clothes, ride around together, and go to the same places, so we can celebrate our independence and non-conformity.
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Rich Shipley
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Re: Non aligned Movement! [nor euro, nor AT, nor wargame]
If you want a label, you sound like a Social Gamer to me.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Non aligned Movement! [nor euro, nor AT, nor wargame]
Thanks for all of you gentleman to come, even those not interested in membership or moral support. Unfortunately we ran out of cookies and beer, so apart from the sermon I'm afraid I don't have much to offer.

Maybe "observer status" badges?

[IMG]http://ipolitics_assets.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/...[/IMG]

Paolo Robino wrote:
sgosaric wrote:
Non aligned Movement!

Wouldn't calling the non-aligned for rally make them, um, aligned?


In political terms if we follow the path of our spiritual forebearers the answer would be no.


Firstly because the aligned movements are those already formed and gaining a comparable political influence would require at least a few decades and a nuclear programme.

But the more important is the second reason. The spirit of non-aligned is the spirit of the roots movement, the power of a man (in our case a gamer) and we want to enforce this attitude. Being aligned would make it aligned to the idea, a hierarchical structure. We would rather be considered as a loose grouping of common interests, respecting and acknowledging each of our distinct subgroups.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Non aligned Movement! [nor euro, nor AT, nor wargame]
rshipley wrote:
If you want a label, you sound like a Social Gamer to me.
I can try and test it.

But isn't the social gamer usually derogatory as in "not the real gamer"?
(which is actually a plus).
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Rich Shipley
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
sgosaric wrote:
rshipley wrote:
If you want a label, you sound like a Social Gamer to me.
I can try and test it.

But isn't the social gamer usually derogatory as in "not the real gamer"?
(which is actually a plus).


People can deride with any label, but it seems descriptive. I'm happy to play games with social gamers - just not exclusively.

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Laura Creighton
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
I have good news for you. The German game designers are still making games that are the sort that you and I prefer. They mostly are not translated into English, though. So make a list of nice German online stores, visit them frequently, and when they announce new releases, go read up on the games and you will find a nice stream (well, smaller than a stream. bigger than a trickle, though) of games you will like.
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Martin G
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
You know you can sign me up Samo! I'm fortunate because this type of game is really popular at London on Board too.

Laura - care to name some recent names?

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Laura Creighton
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
Das Lezte Bankett
Rosenkönig (the Geek dates this as 1997, but the retheme is a 2012 release)
Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg (which did get an English edition, The Castle of the Devil
Hab & Gut (which is older than I thought)

Sticheln which I now see is an older game that was reprinted this year. Haven't played this yet. Ask me about it in about 4 days.
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Martin G
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
Thanks! I've played and enjoyed the last three of those.
 
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Lloyd
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
I feel like I'd probably add Hanabi and Kakerlakenpoker Royal to that list; both games I picked up at Essen this year.
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Chapel
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
I'm not a Eurogamer, Amiritrasher, Wargamer, Party Gamer, Role Player, Card Gamer, as I've played all of those over the many decades.

I'm a "Gamer", that's it.
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Abdiel Xordium
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
I play games for the competition and player interaction.

I sympathize with your post, Samo, because I think the current popular trends in game design are to actively minimize player interaction and replace it with various kinds of solitaire puzzles with some token action drafting to justify other players sitting down at the table with you.

I enjoy a well implemented theme, but it's not important for game play. I like games that look pretty, but my tastes rarely conform to the popular standard, and I lived through gaming in the 80s, so as long as the design doesn't interfere with the game play I'm okay. I don't mind complexity as long as the game design does something interesting with it. I don't mind long games, as long as they are interesting throughout.
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Abdiel Xordium
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
I completely agree with your poor opinion of the term gateway game. Just because you can get your board game hating significant other to play Carcassonne with you every once in a while does not make it any more a gateway game than ASL or Talisman.
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Russ Williams
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
abdiel wrote:
I think the current popular trends in game design are to actively minimize player interaction and replace it with various kinds of solitaire puzzles with some token action drafting to justify other players sitting down at the table with you.


I sometimes read this kind of observation, and it feels at odds with my personal "gaming reality". It would be quite interesting to see some real comprehensive statistics about this (i.e. an analysis of the interactivity (if this can even be objectively defined) of ALL games published, year by year).

Most of the new games I personally play are quite interactive. I suspect both of our respective impressions are very anecdotal and subjective and depend on which specific new games (and genres) we happen to have played.
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Abdiel Xordium
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
russ wrote:
abdiel wrote:
I think the current popular trends in game design are to actively minimize player interaction and replace it with various kinds of solitaire puzzles with some token action drafting to justify other players sitting down at the table with you.


I sometimes read this kind of observation, and it feels at odds with my personal "gaming reality". It would be quite interesting to see some real comprehensive statistics about this (i.e. an analysis of the interactivity (if this can even be objectively defined) of ALL games published, year by year).

Most of the new games I personally play are quite interactive. I suspect both of our respective impressions are very anecdotal and subjective and depend on which specific new games (and genres) we happen to have played.

I confess my statements are largely anecdotal, but I base my claim on the popularity of games by Uwe Rosenberg (who has stated that isolating players is one of his design goals for strategy games), Donald X. Vaccarino (particularly the popularity of Dominion), and Stefan Feld; also the popularity of Steam over Age of Steam, the general complaint I often hear on BGG that players don't like it when another player can interfere with their strategy, and the popularity of co-ops which side step competitive interaction entirely. Thankfully with the exception of Castles of Burgundy I'm able to avoid all these trends in my personal game group.
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P.J. H.
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
MWChapel wrote:
I'm not a Eurogamer, Amiritrasher, Wargamer, Party Gamer, Role Player, Card Gamer, as I've played all of those over the many decades.

I'm a "Gamer", that's it.


QFT. I'm open to many different gaming experiences and "gamer" is the only broad stroke label that fits.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
abdiel wrote:
I confess my statements are largely anecdotal, but I base my claim on the popularity of games by Uwe Rosenberg (who has stated that isolating players is one of his design goals for strategy games),

Wha... wow
Can you find a source on this one?

And that from a guy who made Bohnanza, my heart, it is broken.

Quote:
the general complaint I often hear on BGG that players don't like it when another player can interfere with their strategy,

That's not a strategy, that's just one way to solve a puzzle.

Quote:
and the popularity of co-ops which side step competitive interaction entirely.

For me games are a sort of structured group activity (activity being one usually done sitting behind a table, and structured meaning rules). So social component for me comes before the need to compete and co-ops tend to be social: you talk with other people. I'll play it with nongamers and those friends who are scared of competition (being scared of conflict or losing) and I'll do it as I want to share a gaming experience with them.

Of course nobody says, we must all agree on this thread - it's more of a common interest alliance.
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Laura Creighton
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
I forgot a good one -- in the German games not available in English list.
Edel Stein & Reich

sgosaric: This is the game I should have remembered when you were asking about auction games. I think this could very well be the one you are looking for.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
Quote:
Subject: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]

Sounds like the British Liberal Democrats... whistle


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Fernando Robert Yu
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
MWChapel wrote:
I'm not a Eurogamer, Amiritrasher, Wargamer, Party Gamer, Role Player, Card Gamer, as I've played all of those over the many decades.

I'm a "Gamer", that's it.


This. Gamers are gamers whatever the genre..they may not agree with certain games, but should appreciate them for what they are (ie games which certain people enjoy). This applies not just to boardgames but also to videogames, roleplayers, cosplayers etc.
 
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Laura Creighton
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Re: Non aligned Movement! (aka the Social Gamers Alliance) [not euro, not AT, not wargame]
Anybody played Archipelago yet?

Does it live up to:
Quote:
According to the author, what he's tried to create is a "German" economic worker-placement game, but without the two things he dislikes in them: the superficial theme and the lack of interaction. Indeed this game includes a very present theme and a lot of negotiation and potential backstabbing.
 
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